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My new normal

I am writing this sitting in our small but perfectly formed campervan. It is one of those overcast days where the clouds feel a few inches from your head and we are parked up by a long, empty stretch of beach. It is beautiful in a desolate sort of way.

It has been over seven months since we hastily returned from India during Covid’s initial rampage, around 12 weeks into would have been almost a year of travel. We had agreed that I would not return to clinical work after the trip, commit to getting BYS off the ground and start carving out my as yet very undefined next career step.

That moment arrived much sooner than anticipated. It turned out that although being completely in charge of my own time seemed wonderful on paper, the reality was pretty daunting.

It wasn’t so much the need to work from home. That was very much ‘on trend’ due to the raging global pandemic. It was the fact that my schedule included setting up BYS from scratch and entering a whole new world of marketing, networking and proving that our ideas had value.

I stalled for weeks before even posting about BYS in a couple of Facebook forums to try and drum up some interest. I worried about what people would think. That no-one would be interested. That others in the careers development space but focussing on different approaches would view us as competition rather than potential collaborators.

The point when Paul told me it was probably time to wean off my afternoon procrastination nap, I realised it was time for a shift in approach. I put on my big-girl pants and posted in forums, started cold-calling (well, emailing) potential contributors and finally joined Twitter. I also signed up to a master’s in health leadership which I had been pondering for some time.

Within weeks my days were filled with essay writing interspersed with case-study interviews. These conversations have been invaluable for both creating great content but also bringing a sense of camaraderie and community back into my daily life – the thing I miss most about the hospital. Closely followed by cute old people.

With a renewed sense of drive, we have been working hard but our current challenge is establishing a sense of self-accountability. We are both perfectionists in our own way and definitely need to accept that 'good enough' is often, well, enough. Essentially we need to be better at setting deadlines for ourselves to make sure we actually get s**t done and move things along. It is also far easier for life to become an excuse when you dictate your own schedule. We fully intended to maintain our fortnightly email schedule while on the road in our van this past month but it simply hasn't happened - the call of our hiking boots was too tempting! However, the thing that does pull us back is the fact we know people are looking forward to what's next. So, thank you to those of you who have reached out, given feedback or are just following along. It gives us the kick up the butt we often need!!

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