I started this blog almost six months ago, shortly after I was downsized, and I think it’s time to assess how far I’ve come, and what I’ve learned from the experience.
1. Time is relative. I posted my first blog entry July 9, two and a half weeks after my last day of work. In retrospect, I think I got it up and running pretty quickly. At the time – when I was researching blogs, learning WordPress, and figuring out how I wanted my blog to look – it felt like it was taking forever.
2. Blogging does everything for me that I hoped it would – it keeps me writing, brings structure to my day and week, and is helping me figure out and/or evolve into what’s next in my life.
3. Cooking is therapeutic, creative and nurturing. But I knew that already.
4. Don’t underestimate the importance of fun. What started as my “fun” blog day (“Friday is food day”), in contrast to the two more “serious” days when I focus on writing and being downsized, has turned out to generate the most interest, judging by the number of views and amount of feedback.
5. I have some ideas for my blog (particularly food and chocolate days), and it will be time to start implementing them in the New Year.
6. Small, consistent efforts make a difference. So does being accountable. I’ve been working on my book much more consistently since I joined a writers’ group on LinkedIn.
7. Going through the paraphernalia I brought home from work has been a big effort, and getting it out of the dining room was a big accomplishment. Continuing to work on the house (deciding what to keep and what to get rid of) seems to propel my work-related post-downsizing “journey” too. I see them as parallel and intertwined.
8. Online groups are a great idea! I’ve joined several on LinkedIn and one on Facebook. I’ve found lots of information and support that I wasn’t expecting.
9. Since I began blogging about food, people have been asking me for cooking advice. It seems I have much to share, and not just with my kids.
10. Starting a blog was more a matter of following my instincts than following a plan. So far, my instincts haven’t led me wrong.
11. I’ve put serious job hunting on the back burner, but haven’t ruled out a conventional job. Blogging as a “pseudo-job” and working on a book have helped fine-tune my ideas about what I want and don’t want in any future job.
12. It takes time to regroup after losing a job. But regrouping doesn’t necessarily mean not moving forward.
13. Working at something you enjoy is the best! I did that for 22 years as a reporter at The Canadian Jewish News, and I’m doing that now working on my blog. But, so far, the blog isn’t remunerative.
14. Sometimes the answer – or at least the next step – is right in front of you, if you just look for it. In a concrete way, that’s how I got many of the ideas for my blog posts, especially about cooking. Speaking generally, I believe it’s important to be aware of what’s around you, and how it might be relevant to whatever else is going on in your life.
15. I’ve taken small steps outside my comfort zone in the past few months, leading to more progress on the post-downsizing path. Being downsized is a huge step outside of the comfort zone – “a kick in the pants,” as someone described it to me. But I do believe that new doors will open, and that some already have.
Happy New Year, and hoping that the right doors will open to all who need them.