Ok is ok

I was talking to a nice chap last evening at a 50th birthday party, and found myself sharing some of the many horror stories from jobs I’ve had.

He was laughing and asked me what explains all the changes in role, sector and subject matter in my career? I said it was pretty simple really – in most of my jobs I’ve been like a cat walking on hot bricks looking for the first credible opportunity to jump!

The problem is it has often been from frying pan to fire!

Still, as we chuckled I did say the one advantage is I’m pretty much unshockable these days. Given the number and sheer variety of car crashes I’ve been part of in working life, it’s much harder to knock me out of equilibrium now.

And then I rather amazed myself, by saying I think I’ve finally lost my imposter syndrome… a previously constant companion throughout my working life! Having done a bit of almost everything, (and often having it go wrong on me) I realised I have achieved a greater balance between my expectations and my reality.

Of course the trick is to adjust your expectations – not to try to transform reality. That way madness lies.

In accepting who I am, what I have done and what I can do, I realised last night that a greater sense of equanimity has broken out. It’s not that I don’t care or don’t try – it’s just that I’m a bit more realistic about what I (or anyone) can do about all the things which go on around us.

I suppose I’ve accepted that I may not be amazing at everything that work throws at me; but I’m ok at most of it. And that’s all you really need to be. Ok is ok when you’re in your fifties, it mostly gets the job done.


I texted the person I’m slowly turning into late last night:

“Phew wee – a really stretching week… grievances, gross misconduct, controversial and risky things to land before Xmas and much change being imposed.”

“I suspect like you at a similar stage – I am strangely both deeply affected and also somewhat distant in my reaction to all this – it matters and it affects me; but much of it is not my doing and not in my gift to change.”

“A dawning of a more realistic sense of personal responsibility and the limits thereof?”

Maybe so.

I also have fought off the desire to compete, undermine and fight back in the face of many provocations these last weeks. And this is a lesson well learned…

As I also admitted to my pal:

“One of the bigger lessons of recent years was that firing two Exocets into an adversary’s hull damaged me below the waterline more surely than it did them.”

It has been hard; but I’ve largely managed to let go of a week of days packed without pause with relentless interpersonal aggro.

As I sit here listening to happy tunes in the school carpark (having chosen to save my eldest from a cold walk home from dancing) I have refound my equilibrium, equanimity – and the all important inner peace.

It gets the blood up; but Exocets just aren’t worth firing.