How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Out with the old
Well that's it. Another year whizzed by. It was quite significant for me as I moved from full-time traditional work to being self-employed. I'm in that zone of being too young for proper retirement but, if truth be told, too old to get another 'real' job. A number of friends are in the same boat. Fifty-something folks, though well-qualified and well-experienced, seem to find difficulty in finding another job. Ageism has been illegal in the UK since 2006, but like sexism, racism and others bias, the reality is that it is still rife.
Having said all this, I feel very lucky. I've had some brilliant jobs in the past, although working in change means they have been inherently unstable and I'm accustomed to the work disappearing as jobs complete and economic conditions vary. Mostly at home now, I still have plenty to do. I've written thousands of pages for this site and others whilst working full time, bringing up a family and completing a master's degree in psychology. And now I've got all day as well! I've started writing a couple of books, one as a practical field book of changing minds and another with a friend on how to ensure others tell you the truth (watch this space in about a year's time).
I'm also now for hire. I'm lucky enough not to be desperate so can go with the flow. I've been self-employed before and know the ropes. The first rule is to manage the money and keep the taxman happy. The next is to keep busy. It's too easy to get distracted at home by coffee, friends, television, web browsing, etc. Being self-employed can also be frustrating, as a couple of recently-independent friends have noted. Paid work tends to be feast and famine, and selling yourself, which can take up a remarkable amount of time and effort, is an unpaid activity.
My researches have included a significant focus on happiness, and I try to take my own medicine, enjoying today whilst challenging tomorrow. I've spent my life working all hours and have learned the importance of smelling the roses along the way. After years of early commuting I still get up at 5:30am to walk with my wife and the dogs in a nearby forest. Then it's breakfast and study or write for a while before the main day begins. Sometimes I take a few hours out to indulge in photography, with which I've plans for some business development next year.
It's well known now that longevity has a strong correlation with mental activity even more than physical exercise. I buy this wholeheartedly and, aside from occasional creaks, don't feel remotely old. I intend to be writing and developing this website for many years to come, along with taking up opportunities as they come along for further learning, contribution and earning. A recent report said that before long, 10% of people will live to be over 100, which means you also may need to plan to stay active (and also figure out what retirement you might have). I'll be very happy to get to 80.
So if you're old or young, I hope that like me, you're looking forward to 2011, seizing each day and making of it what you will.