#1 – Coming up with ridiculous job titles
Challenge Consultant, Freelance Adventurer, Founder of the Next Challenge. They’ve all gone through my head or, worse still, on forms or come out in verbal form to those unfortunate enough to ask what my profession is.
#2 – Eating a lot of junk
Cheese sandwiches at midnight, entire packets of biscuits scoffed between meetings and a lot of toast. With money and time both dwindling, something had to suffer but I’m looking forward to re-addressing the balance on this one. (I wonder if it will affect my body fat?)
#3 – Finding myself in some utterly surreal meetings
A Paralympic Gold Medallist, a Polar Explorer and the CEO of a major British charity walk into Costa Coffee (this isn’t a joke) and say, “So, Tim, do you want to start us off?”.
The Managing Director of a consultancy firm asks me if Jamie is my business partner (“Er, no, he’s just my mate. And, actually, I don’t even have a business!”). A BBC Editor wonders whether I have any ideas for the London 2012 Torch Relay (!).
Through each instance I’ve maintained my poker face and managed to leave the room before indulging in some exuberant dancing and energetic fist pumping.
#4 – Cycling everywhere
I’ve been biking for a few years but since leaving employment, the train to London is now considered weakness and when I got the Tube last week (on someone else’s account), I realised it was my first time since July. Cycling is cheap, it is exercise, it is a wonderful way to see the world and, above all, cycling is fun.
#5 – Handing out business cards to anyone and everyone
I felt a bit silly getting them printed and still feel daft giving them out but I’m sure glad I did and do. I always have them to hand and they’ve been useful when meeting some interesting people.
#6 – Struggling to focus
If I were at Meredith Belbin’s for a dinner party my name badge would read ‘Resource Investigator’ and he would be desperately trying to introduce me to ‘Mr Completer Finisher’.
I don’t struggle for ideas or enthusiasm but I do sometimes lose track of the woods for the trees. It risks getting me into tricky situations and I occasionally need a slap round the chops to remind me what it is I’m trying to do with my life.
#7 – Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and networking
Words either silly or with negative connotations, anathema to many and novel to me. I’m embracing them each with arms spread wide and enjoying them thoroughly.
#8 – Wondering how I ever had time for a job
I work before breakfast, after dinner, on weekends, on the train, at home and at friends’ houses. No need for the violins, plenty of people work a whole lot harder than me. It’s just that I’m amazed at how quickly I’ve filled the void left where previously stood a 40 hour work week. (And no, day time TV is not the explanation!)
#9 – Thinking a lot
The beauty of maintaining this blog is that it is continually making me stop and think. Having to write my ideas down in an almost coherent format helps keep me on my toes and makes me think a lot; makes me question what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. And I reckon that’s something we could all do a little more of.
#10 – Finding beauty in the everyday
This may be coincidence or it may not, but I am increasingly finding that the world stupefies me with its beauty on a daily basis.
The mid-morning haze over Holme Park as I peer across from the saddle of my bike, an orange sky illuminating the Houses of Parliament and turning to a brooding blue with a bright crescent emblem, or the thick frosting of snow over landscapes seen from the car window. Wind so fierce it cuts through my trouser legs and leaves the skin stinging painfully. Cold morning’s with the bite of lemon juice in the eye, cold showers invigorating more than caffeine ever could and cold lakes coursing my body with adrenalin. The smile of a stranger you bump into as the train pulls away, two school kids laughing at the roadside… I could go on but I’d never do the world justice.
These things must have been there before but for some reason I’m beginning to notice them more and am enjoying life all the more for it.