What does 2023 you, look like?
Three years since The Pandemic is a good time to take a personal audit
During The Pandemic, at least in the first year, I walked between my flat in Islington and my office in Pimlico. The return journey took about three hours and I loved it. 2020 is the year I discovered podcasts and I was kept entertained on my walks by Katherine Ryan, Chris and Rosie Ramsey and Joel Osteen. My playlists were a mix of what I like to call, Wild and Worship, and I became the fittest I’d been in a long time (from the walking, not the in-my-head rapping I was doing).
2020 is also the year my first book came out. Still Standing – 100 Lessons From An ‘Unsuccessful’ Life was a loooong labour of love. Brought about from my own experiences of loss, relationship breakdown, grief and disappointment. My question during these experiences was: Where was God in all of this? I mixed the questioning with a deep dive of the Bible to see what God says about lack, sadness and disappointment. And I gave readers insight into my often chaotic life by sharing anecdotes that make me laugh in hindsight. Anecdotes like how I once met a beautiful tattooed artist at a Christian media event, stalked him online and asked him out, only to discover that he was the only person at that event who wasn’t a Christian; and to add insult to injury, he had no interest in dating someone who was. Lol. Humility rears its pretty head in some interesting ways.
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All traditional promotional plans were off, since no one knew what on earth was going on and all face-to-face activities were banned (except of course for Government official in which case parties were absolutely entertained). So I jumped onto the Instagram Live bandwagon and started delivering weekly interviews on the themes featured in my book. We talked about work, success, faith, babyloss, marriage, singleness and I watched my numbers go up as it started to grow an audience interested in what I had to say.
Then, I moved out of London and was diagnosed with cancer almost immediately. I spent the next year in and out of hospitals and had an operation and chemotherapy that I thought would kill me. Last year, I finally settled back in my new home in the Cotswolds and instantly started building a community. I sought out work and partnership opportunities and joined a new church. I was doing, doing, doing. I met someone and we spent the year working out a new relationship. I went up and down the country, ate amazing food and met more amazing people. People said I had really bounced back. My physical health was improving and I felt stronger.
We’re now in February and it’s almost three years since my book was released. Two years from that first diagnosis. A year since I moved to my current home.
A marketing director told me that a brand should be audited every three years.
Is it still doing what it set out to do?
Is there still a market for it?
Is it thriving?
Living in a world where individuals are also, “brands” I’ve taken time to audit myself. I realise that I lost myself in The Pandemic and that working from home has freed me to live where I want, but has taken away my immediate network. I have to work harder to connect with my colleagues and lean into my extrovert otherwise there will be days when I never pick up the phone or speak with anyone.
I talk about this a lot, but if you’ve ever watched a baby being born or had any kind of difficulty getting pregnant, you’ll know that life, our existence, is an actual miracle. So with that very basic thinking, you have a very real purpose if you’re reading this today, even if you don’t know yet what that is, and regardless of how young you are. You may need to take a bit of an “audit” and ask yourself some challenging questions about your person - like I did when I recalled my less-than-holy behaviour when I was turned away at the door of an exclusive member’s club I was not a part of (story for another time!) – but you will come to a place where there’s a new version of you to step into. Newness always feels more exciting doesn’t it? And looking up at the bright sky this morning, I’m reminded that soon it will be spring and a new season…
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Still Standing is a reader-supported publication. To receive regular posts and support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber for just £1 per week.
What a blessing it is to grow and change. As for the club, I am reminded of the words of Groucho Marx 'I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member' ;)