The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Fall for Autumn

on September 2, 2013

On the first day of every month after March, I can guarantee you at some point in the day I will say (No, not nip, punch, first day of the month and no returns), ‘I can’t believe it’s April, May, June, July. August, September already.’

Spring is the season most associated with new beginnings but I think autumn is the season of new beginnings for me. Don’t be sad to wave Goodbye to summer because autumn brings a sense of calm after the headiness of late summer nights and before the mad whirlwind of Christmas partying descends upon us. Perhaps it stems from having an August birthday or perhaps it’s because I still think in school years. Whatever the reason, I love autumn. Autumn brings the end of sweaty journeys home on the London Underground and a reason to embrace a long sleeve and boots. I can never rock an effortless summer dress and I much prefer the safety of autumn/winter clothing. Hence living in Singapore where it is sweaty or much sweatier all year round does nothing for me and I often say, I dress much better in colder climates.

In my younger years, September brought the start of lots of new things and the beginning of each school year signified I was another year older and nearer to that magical age where ‘everything would be much better’ which I think all youths in their early teens aspire to. Then you reach that magical age and suddenly you start to regress a bit and it’s ok to openly admit to liking things formerly branded ‘uncool’ when you’re 14 to 17 and you had to be into random quirky things to be ‘cool’. Suffice to say I never was in the ‘cool’ category, especially when I had home haircuts and perms until the age of 13 and even when allowed to go to a hairdressers on my own giving exact instructions on what to do with said hair, the outcome still went awry! A few days before school started, Mr Li would ask me to go and try on my school uniform to make sure everything fitted. Of course it was going to fit! Every year, I got a brand new uniform that was HUGE so that I could ‘grow’ into it as the year went on. It never crossed anyone’s mind that perhaps I could get a new shirt halfway through the year. Considering my school uniform got the most wear out of anything I owned, I only ever got two new shirts, two skirts, a jumper and a pair of long trousers to last the whole year. The blazer was to see me through my whole school career so it was just as well I had to change Comprehensive schools midway. I see the point of making sure you get enough wear out of things now, which is why when we went back to the UK in November 2011 and #2 was 15 months old, I bought her warm fleecy trousers for a two to three year old and had to tack the hem length up to her thighs because it seemed a waste to buy clothes that actually fitted just for a few weeks wear. Thankfully she hadn’t yet commanded the use of language to complain. If we head back to the UK in cold weather next time, my new dilemma would be should #3 wear the same trousers pinned up to her thigh or should #2 wear them cropped, formerly known as half masts?

In September 2005, I started a new job with the National Deaf Children’s Society (www.ndcs.org.uk) in Major Gifts Fundraising. I had just left a really great organisation in the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (www.muscular-dystrophy.org.uk), I loved the cause and worked with some extremely passionate people both in fundraising and on the service provision side, I also made some wonderful friends there too. After three and a half years though, it was time for a new chllenge and I really wanted to move into Major Gifts Fundraising so I was very excited at the opportunity to gain some experience in this area and work for a new cause that needed wider exposure. Moving on from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to the National Deaf Children’s Society in a new role made me feel out of my comfort zone a bit and being the new kid again is quite daunting. At the age of 31, I was working alongside young graduates fresh out of University and full of confidence and exuberance. Suddenly though, I was seen as having ‘experience’ myself and expected to contribute with opinions to be considered as good ideas. It is a strange but interesting revelation to find yourself guiding others when you still have a lot to learn yourself but it felt good to be making a real contribution. It’s been a long while since I have had to think about work but now that I have, I do miss it.

I hope you have a job that you enjoy and has elements that you are passionate about and if you find colleagues who become friends then that’s an added bonus. When I started work at the National Deaf Children’s Society, I certainly wasn’t expecting to find new friendships that would be as strong as the ones I had formed already but you do. In fact, every time you start something new and you think you’re never going to find something as good as the last time, you always do. I really like this bunch of people in the photograph below which was taken in November 2011, I would have liked another friend to have been in it too but at the time she was doing good work in Ethiopia. Please note the autumn/winter clothing which contributes to the extra happy look, I’m wearing jeggings, an item of clothing I mocked the idea of before I had the need for them, they are oh so comfy but you can keep your leather ones. I stay in regular contact with two of the people in the photograph and the others can always catch up with a snapshot of what’s happening in my life by taking a Facebook tour. I like how most of these people have moved on to do important work for other organisations but will congregate for an AA (Artillery Arms) reunion every now and then. I like how this night out reminded me of so much that is great about London and of my life before I moved to Singapore. I like how it showed me that my friends will still be there when I return and that there will even be friends for #1,2 and 3.

One final note before I finish for today, I’m not sure what is the correct blogging etiquette but I wanted to say thank you for your interest in my last post about Unexpected Adventure friend. She is touched by your interest and kind words. Sometimes we can’t change what is but autumn is all about shrugging off the old and making way for New Beginnings.

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