I’ve been thinking about this blog as a way to move forward after being downsized, but I’ve also been hoping – and actually feeling, in some instinctive way – that the blog itself would serve as a vehicle to move me forward. Writing clarifies my thoughts, and helps me figure out what I want and need to do next. Also, blogging provides structure to my week, keeps me writing, and keeps me focused on moving forward, writing and journalism (the subjects of my blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
But recently, my blog moved me forward in an unexpected way.
After reading an entry I wrote in late August, the ritual director at my synagogue invited me to speak at a Rosh Hashana service he was leading. He thought the subject of my post – the 80/20 rule, as it applies to time management – would be appropriate for the Jewish New Year.
I accepted his invitation, and he suggested that I talk for seven to ten minutes. I expanded on what I’d written, noting in my talk that this is a time of year for reflection and reassessment, and perhaps for making some decisions about how we want to spend our time in the year ahead. I also asked for input from congregants on some of their priorities for the coming year, and ideas for strategies that might help turn intentions into reality.
I finished by sharing some priorities and strategies of my own.
Aside from the content, a couple of other things were significant to me, on a personal level, about the talk.
1. Although I’d spoken publicly at my congregation and elsewhere (not often, but enough times that I didn’t hesitate to go ahead), this was the first time I’d be speaking as “just me,” not as a staff reporter for The Canadian Jewish News.
I like to think I retained my sense of self during my 22 years at the paper, but leaving a long-time job isn’t just a transition in life, it’s a transition in identity. Often, when I showed up to cover an event, someone would refer to me as “The CJN,” as in, “The CJN is here.” Even now, sometimes I find myself saying “we” when I’m referring to the paper – talking about it as if I’m still part of it.
2. A couple of friends have suggested that I might want to teach adult writing classes, now that I’m moving in a different direction. At first, I dismissed the suggestion, finding the idea daunting. I started to consider it more seriously after my daughter said there might be workshops or classes I could take first, to learn how to teach adults.
As I was writing my Rosh Hashana talk, I began to think that if it went well – speaking in public and sparking a bit of discussion, albeit on a small scale – maybe I should be more open-minded about the possibility of teaching.
I think it went reasonably well… another step on my post-downsizing path.