From Darkness to Light- The Art of Starting Over.

Photo by Hernan Pauccara

'Life is a constant challenge for each and everyone of us... dare to disagree!'

I am coming to you from a new place. A space unoccupied until a couple of years ago- 25th  June 2020 to be precise, when I went into work as usual and left a couple of hours later without a job. To call this a challenge is an understatement. In reality, it was a bereavement as I left behind not just my job of many years but also colleagues, close friends and the children and parents whom I worked with on a daily basis. Suddenly I was getting up in the morning without purpose, still recoiling from the shock. Bear in mind that we had already been through the first lockdown a couple of months previously so countless days off work had lost its appeal. I really did not know what to do and had little emotional energy to work with.

Initially I decided to help my son with his business, however, cold calling more than tried my patience and I learnt that I can't even give a great opportunity away for next to nothing despite having good people skills! I started to study bookkeeping and whilst being good with figures and able to create my own Excel spreadsheets, piles of receipts with essential info in different places and the occasional smudged date or price didn't cut it. 

Ultimately I am essentially a people person, so I returned to my first love which is childcare and did some agency work for a while. This went well and I realised that instead of applying for nursery management jobs I wanted to work directly in the rooms, so found myself a fulltime job which I love and am still doing today.

Working as a room leader for a large organisation proved tough. The amount of paperwork is above and beyond crazy, but heaven forbid, with the slightest possibility of something going wrong the people at the top lose all perspective and over-react to anything that happens in the industry, so completing forms with their accompanying actions are part of our everyday requirements. The first couple of months I was totally frustrated by all this ______ (fill the blank yourself) and almost gave up. Just as it was getting easier Covid laid me off big time. I'm not delving backwards so will spare you the details, but it took me a year to get back to working pretty much full-time and the exhaustion factor which is a remnant of said illness still hits hard at times..

The combination of these two major life events taught me a lesson that previously I had not even considered- we can plan and prepare as much as we like but there are still occasions when we have little or no control over our future. In a way it is hard to imagine what might happen, especially, if like me, you have always worked and never been fully incapacitated. I found it frightening but as a great believer in universal power, refused to focus on the negatives. This does not mean I didn't worry, of course I did, but I refused to wallow in it and made sure I swapped my vibe up by focusing on something more upbeat. My thinking is; 'if you are okay right now keep your energy in the now... and be thankful.' Everything else sorts itself out as we go along and it is okay to feel vulnerable, lazy, uncertain, confused and everything else that goes with it in these unexpected situations. I also learnt that we cannot put a timeframe on recovery and every so often I wondered whether I ever would get back to my former self. As there were several elements to that process I think I will speak about it in more detail another time and leave you with the most important lessons which I have finally learnt.

The art of starting over lies in acceptance. Accept who you are right now and the circumstances you find yourself in. Do not try to fight it, do not attempt to do more than you're capable of- this only delays recovery/progress. 
There were times when I couldn't remember everyday things such as the nursery routine and I still have moments of confusion, but these are now blips and I don't give them headspace- laugh and move on! Always give thanks for each minor achievement and look for the next baby step. Yes, this requires patience and we may not feel particularly grateful either, but like everything else attitude has to be cultivated. So with that said, if today you can't achieve as much as you did yesterday, let it go. Life ebbs and flows all the time, so 'Go With The Flow,' which is possibly the greatest singular piece of advice in this situation anyone can give you. 

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

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