Yes, here I am again bouncing back into electronic life!
This is a statement of fact and intent and is addressed mainly to myself. Let me explain why I am back here blogging and why I decided to publicly share my intention.
When I first launched a website many years ago I wanted to keep it alive and above all, potentially useful. I knew that many people who might visit these pages would do so because they felt ‘stuck’ in some way. So I resolved to write a regular newsletter in which I would share experiences and ideas that might inspire and motivate them to move on.
I tried and failed. Over and over again, I would beat myself up with guilt for not having blogged for so long and kick myself back into action. Inevitably, there came a time when the self-reprimands became counter-productive and I drifted down that fateful slippery slope into total inertia.
I informed my family and friends that I had made a decision to give up writing forever. They had heard this from me before so I was met with smiling scepticism. But I believed in my decision with all my heart. I revelled in my newfound sense of freedom. I threw myself into new experiences, developed new friendships and deepened old ones. Having only ever previously drawn pin men and lollipop trees, I took up art classes. I loved them and I cannot now imagine not having an art project on the go.
After a couple of years of this self-imposed retirement, I found my ‘old’ self surreptitiously coming back into action. I kept noticing emotional health issues in the news that I watched; in the books that I read; the art I was viewing and also in the personal lives of people around me.
I decided to offer to do some voluntary work. I wrote to a couple of mental health charities. One I never heard back from and another thanked me for my enquiry, but said they were currently too busy and would get back to me later. I should have known better. After all, I had spent the first half of my career working for mental health charities and I understand the time and energy pressures only too well.
But luckily, soon after my rejections I was told that HarperCollins wanted to re-publish four of my early books. This entailed me re-reading them and doing some minor updating.
Reluctantly, I found myself back at the computer. But much to my surprise I felt “at home’. So in short, I have re-employed myself – at least on a part-time basis! With the wisdom of hindsight, I can understand why I drifted down that slippery slope. There was indeed an element of burn-out but, more importantly I was going through a difficult life transition. I had arrived in the ‘senior’ stage of my life and, as happens to most other people at this age, my confidence in myself and my future was taking a dive. An ancient response to stress had surfaced! I was blaming (my computer) and rebelling!
Every January I am asked: “What is the best way to keep to a New Year’s resolution?” Each year I repeat the same advice: When you find yourself slipping back, remove the shame and guilt from your head by writing your positive resolution down and displaying it somewhere where others can see it.
So I am swallowing some of my own medicine and doing just this! Here I am again and now engaging willingly in our wonderful new electronic world. I am resolving once more to feed this website with regular Blogs and Tweets.
Each month I will also be posting a Confidence Challenge on this page. I hope it will encourage us all to take regular little steps out of our comfort zones in order to keep our confidence in Super shape. The first will appear very soon after the start of February. If you are following me on Twitter you will be notified when it is posted.
Happy New Year!