Autumn of Life

Autumn of my life.

No time for redundancy.

How will I find work?

Sadly, this is the experience of too many people, especially in the current economic climate. But when it comes in later life, the question goes through your mind, “Is my working life over?”

You don’t have to be all that old to have this experience, either. And, worst of all, it can come along totally unexpectedly. And you have no control over it.

However, at this age, one thing you have is experience and determination. So, rise up and meet the challenge head on. Don’t assume that you are of no value, just because someone terminated your employment. It may be difficult to be positive, faced with rejection after rejection. But remember, the more positive you are when being interviewed, the more likely you are to get the job.

Some years ago, I read, or heard, a great tip on interview technique:

Remember, the interviewer has more to lose than you have. You don’t have a job to lose. If he or she chooses the wrong candidate, they could find themselves out of work.

It’s great advice. And it works.


Be Yourself – Or Change

Actors in the ancient Greek theatres would use masks to portray different characters. Even today, the international symbol for theatres is a pair of masks, one happy, one sad. The ancient Greek word for actor was hypokrites. It came to refer to one playing false, or putting on a pretense. It’s where we get the English word hypocrite.

The problem with trying to be something or someone else is that we are never going to be comfortable with the role. The best way to get comfortable is simply to be yourself; no pretense; no masks, no hypocrisy. Just be yourself. It is the most natural thing for us.

Of course, it’s always possible that we don’t like the person that we have become. Notice: The person that we have become. This is deliberate. We may have experienced a traumatic upbringing. Maybe our parents were always arguing. Or maybe we were surrounded by people with characteristics that we cannot respect. Maybe our learned behaviour leaves a lot to be desired.

If we learned that behaviour, we can learn new behaviour. We can change. If we have become that person, we can become someone else. But we have to be genuine in this. No masks. No pretense. No hypocrisy.

“But,” you may ask, “Where do I begin?”

A good place to start is your bed. Yes. Your bed. Before getting out of bed each morning, spend a few minutes calming your breathing. Then meditate (think deeply) about a time when you were not happy with your interaction with a close friend; it might even be your partner, parents, children, or siblings. Now. In what way could you have acted differently, or what could you have said differently, that would allow you to look back on that interaction with pleasure? How can you change to make you happier with yourself?

Notice that these changes are in the way that you behave. You cannot change other people. If there are to be changes, it’s up to you to make them.

The problem with this, of course, is that if we were raised to believe that the best way to solve issues was through confrontation, we may not even realise that we have a problem. We may feel uncomfortable in our interactions, but not know why.

If you have this feeling, have the courage to ask for help. Seek out the experience of someone else; preferably a trusted friend who has been through the process of change. Learn from their experience. If they are genuine, they will be more than happy to support you as you change.

This brings us to another way to change. It involves our interest in others. But that’s a discussion in its own right.