I have found myself in some weird places and odd situations over the past few months. There’s nothing like redundancy for throwing up opportunities that would never have otherwise come your way. Of course it’s not something I would necessarily have volunteered for but even so there’s been much to savour throughout the whole hideous process.
One interesting development that I didn’t foresee is how this mid-life disaster would get my creative juices flowing after years of atrophy. Obviously I’m scribbling a lot. But I’m also beginning to think of myself as an entrepreneur. Constantly on the look out for ways of generating income.
My model for this new me is one of my neighbours in the village. He has a small garage but also runs a whole host of other wheezes for making money. He’s retired three or fours times but each time has been so bored that he’s come back. His family joke that there’s nothing that he owns that isn’t for sale.
He’s one of the sunniest most optimistic people I have ever met. For him the world is a bumper hamper of opportunity. And, given enough time, he is going to open every delicacy in it. It’s a relentlessly upbeat way to think about the world. But it’s one that seems to work for him personally and in his business.
So I’ve pushed myself into all sorts of activities far beyond the outer rim of my comfort zone. I’ve joined all the local business networking groups I can find and now have a busy social whirl both real and virtual. True I have yet to make any money but I figure I am more likely to if I try to put myself in the path of opportunity rather than skulking licking my wounds.
I’ve also been taking up the freebie courses on offer through my current employer and from other suppliers (including the local Business Link). These events have brought me into contact with some fantastically impressive men and women. Folks who it’s exhausting to spend time with because of their energy and enthusiasm for what they do.
A constant for me in all this strange new activity has been the kindness and consideration I’ve had from everyone I’ve met. Of course they may just have been polite but I’ve not met anyone yet who has been whooping with joy over the imminent redundancy of so many of their fellow citizens.
Someone I met at one of these events put it like this. ‘These are potential customers who now have no money – how does that work for me as a business?’
It’s a similar story for local community and voluntary groups that I’ve been in contact with. In their case though the problems are caused by the withdrawal of funding and not a shortage of ‘customers’. If anything, the volume of demand for what they do is on a relentlessly upwards curve.
I’m very conscious of the good fortune that I have had and continue to enjoy. While I can feel upbeat despite what is happening to us as a family I know that isn’t the case for everyone. I just hope that whatever doors open for you and wherever those doors take you, you find a way to live that meets your needs.
Meantime, I’m off to return some calls about some doors that may be opening in our life.