Friday, 18 April 2008

Re-inventing oneself

I’ve had to re-invent myself many times over the years, and never more so than when I retired from my job in a bank due to ill health. I didn’t face up to the gaping hole left by leaving the bank, and to all intents ending my career-not until several years later when it came back and bit me in the bum inadvertently through a challenging and difficult chain of events.

Behcets disease means I can go through periods of reasonably good health, although over latter years a good day is just ok. I always have pain somewhere-you just get used to it, and you have to get on with it.

The most frustrating thing about living with it is that my brain is still alive-it’s just that my body won’t always let me do what I want it to!
I was rather pleased when I was able to turn my magpie tendencies of collecting fabric and crafty bits into a small business, Despina Gifts. For years, friends and family told me I should sell some of the keepsakes I’d hand crafted for their birthday and Christmas presents and I eventually I plucked up the courage to go for it. However, because of the popularity of handcrafted items (and my own weakness-being such a ‘driven’ person,) the hobby became a full time job and encroached drastically on home life. Once this happened it had to be worth my while and after several months of sticking my head in the sand, I did concede that making £150 in a month was not sustainable longer term.

Nothing could be as hard as my pronouncement to ‘give in’ to the illness and leave the bank. For years, I told people-“When I lost my job in the bank due to ill health.” Because of the kind of person I am I felt a failure. In addition, I don’t like to do anything unless I do it really well and am successful at it.
The decision to give up my craft business was marginally easier because the facts were harsh-crafting was killing my hands and whilst it was nice to get a bit of pin money I was never going to be a millionaire doing it. And when the arthritis symptom of my Bechets reared its ugly head before Christmas, right at a time when the kitchen looked more like Santa’s workshop, I knew it was time to admit defeat and change what I was doing.

Always the survivor, I’ve become a dab hand at re-inventing myself over the years. As Charles Darwin once said-“The organism that adapts will survive...the organism that doesn’t will become extinct...” Fifteen years in Banking and watching the ‘old dinosaur’ Bank Managers disappear taught me that was true.

It was a hard to feel like a 'quitter' again and be reminded of my fragility, but I’m over it now and just make the personalised PE Kit and Teacher Resources Bags in my spare time and sell through a shop on E-bay called Despina Bags-of-Fun. The bags would get out of control again if I let it-I have orders on the board for 41 bags at present. I think I must be filling a gap in the market somewhere-pity I’m not well enough to exploit it! Instead I’ve told my customers that there is a 2-4 week waiting period which allows me to take my time and work designing and making bags around my other priorities.

Because the great thing about re-inventing yourself is that you get the chance to become the person you always wanted to be, and do the things that bring you joy-it’s a chance to discover your passion, (which may change constantly as circumstances in our lives change) and then live the life.

Of course no one will ever be “picture-perfect” in this life. But “fulfilled and satisfied” is the name of the game for me and I’ve got this far with very few regrets or missed opportunities so it’s got to be pursued. Which brings me to my current passion..WRITING...."Why writing?" I hear you cry.

Well, I've been telling my friends and family for over ten years that this is what I'd like to do. I have so many ideas for stories and bits of writing after ten years of thinking and daydreaming about it that it is ridiculous. My notebooks of scribbling are weighing down the loft. I have made enough excuses-been busy doing other things/nervous/putting it off/not sure where to start for too long.
I have a filofax now and a copy of Jane Wenham-Jones's book, "wannabe a writer?" about getting into print. And I want it, (to write and be published, that is.)

I’ve done enough pontificating, prevaricating and procrastinating. It's time to just get on with it. And I am getting on with it, even though there are many of you bloggers that do it better-You are funnier, more descriptive, more accomplished, maybe already a published author. I just can’t miss the chance to re-invent myself and try and live a dream once more. And it is only thanks to the bloggers on this site that I have been able to free up my mind in the last year or so and see clearly that it’s time to have a go at achieving my next ambition, and with any luck, my health shouldn’t be too much of a barrier for this one.

I’ll tell you more about where I’m up to another day, (and catch up on my homework, I promise Headmistress.)

Until then

Bye for now

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...
Ahhhhh - weird - we are both at the same point in life. Good for you. And remember as writers no one of us is better than the other - if you love to write then you write and your love of your gift and your creativity will shine through and they will touch the people they are meant to touch.

Friday, April 18, 2008

ChrisH said...
Good to have you back and best wishes for your new career.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Frances said...
Hello to you, fellow adapter!

Every time that I have been able to choose to make a change, or have been able to make an un-sought change, it has made my life much more interesting. Stretch, stretch, stretch.

Every switcheroo turn has introduced me to unknown personal aspects, but also has opened me up to meeting all sorts of new people, and learning new skills.

From reading your blogs, I know that you are indeed a writer. It is going to be fun to see where giving your writing more priority will lead.

All best wishes to you! xo

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pipany said...
Hurray, you're back! Love to hear of you reinventing yourself (while remaining the same lovely you of course); it always excites me to read of new beginnings and to follow how they go - keeps life fresh and full of possibilites, so I shall be following this closely (though not like a stalker obviously!) xx

Friday, April 18, 2008

Milla said...
good for you, CCA, keep on keeping on.

Friday, April 18, 2008

toady said...
Yippeee you're back. So sorry that your health problems are encroaching but that positive outlook is fantastic.[send some this way!]
Now don't disappear again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Crystal Jigsaw said...
So lovely to see you blogging again. Another blog to look forward to reading. I shall read the first 2 chapters in your other blog later on when I have a little more time to sit down and concentrate. Writing is such a wonderful way to be at peace with yourself. There is no doubt you will do well and one day be a published author.

Love Crystal xx

Friday, April 18, 2008

bodran... said...
GReat to have you back and reinventions good i call it evolving and i'm always at it!
I maybe in your area next week i'mm doing a delivery to Ludlow and i've set myself a challenge to do it on the scooter, so if you want me to pop in pm me your number. if not i'll see you on the 1st xxx

Friday, April 18, 2008

elizabethm said...
welcome back and great to have you blogging again. Very best of luck with the writing.
see you soon!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Elizabethd said...
Lovely to see you again, and with such exciting news. Good luck with your new 'career', and with your sewing too. But how sensible to hold back a bit and ask people to give you time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

mountainear said...
Glad you're back - I've always enjoyed reading your blogs.

Re-invention/evolution is a terrific thing - something I think I managed when we moved here.

See you on the 1st - more news then I hope.

Best wishes, F

Saturday, April 19, 2008

CAMILLA said...
Best of luck with the writing CCA, and all the best for your new career.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Working mum said...
Just to let you know, I have starred this post in Google Reader to come back and read the start of 'Passport to Happiness' when I've got the time.

Good luck with the writing.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Exmoorjane said...
Now then, you ARE a writer - it said so in the paper so it MUST be true! You go girl!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008