There is no stopping time. Days become weeks. Weeks become months. Every new month is one closer to my adventure beginning in Portugal.
I’m following a road that has been travelled many times by other people. It’s not a straight road, but there are many milestones set along the way.
I was born in Bath, England, and while I don’t recall (or prefer to forget) much of my schooling, I do remember many things being compared to the Romans. From their underfloor heating systems and hot tubs to their road building and bridges. The Roman Baths were a regular school trip, I learnt to swim in The Hot Bath and my residential was to a hostel just outside Cirencester.
For me, putting milestones towards my direction of travel is a necessity. Probably subconsciously, but maybe I did learn something that I’ve put to good use.
Previous blogs have shared my approach to planning. The tactical and practical things I do. My notebook and to-do lists. All of this gives me confidence and provides a safety net. It might also be a distraction.
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been reminders that no matter how tactical I can be, I must ensure my feelings and emotions are not forgotten.
I’ve previously written about being an introvert. A recent event at work reinforced that I really don’t enjoy public speaking. I do it because it’s part of my job. But I don’t get any enjoyment out of it. I come back to my dilemma whether it is introversion or confidence.
Recently, my confidence was knocked when someone, with the best intentions, kindly advised my oral communication needs work, and my written work is poor. I probably also need to hone my listening skills to ensure I hear what is being said, not what I think is being said. Either way, it hasn’t made me feel great about my communication abilities. I know, I’m being overly sensitive, but I can’t change how I feel.
My career has taken me to international conferences including presentations in San Diego and Milan to audiences of thousands of people. However, with the first public speaking occasion since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and niggling in the back of my mind that my oral communication isn’t great, I detested it. Actually, hated it.
Fortunately, as every month passes, there will be less need for me to make presentations.
I am terrible at keeping in touch with people. Modern technology should make it easier. There are so many platforms and apps to do it. But not for me. On my phone, I turn off almost all notifications. I find it easier than turning off individual preferences.
But some notifications give the prompt to get in touch. Should I rely on prompts to get in touch with friends though? Probably not. And perhaps that doesn’t make me a particularly communicative friend.
The contacts list on my phone consists of a combination of personal and work. Few overlap. Some previous work contacts are now personal. Being a consultant meant I rarely worked closely with work colleagues. But there are a few I keep in touch with.
Importantly though, there are many people I can get in touch with. They’d probably respond with “what does he want now?”, but there is a nucleus of people I can contact, and they can call on me.
As my Portuguese adventure moves closer, and maybe the reasons for leaving employment is different, there are current colleagues with who I am more likely to keep in touch. Time will tell whether my intentions are delivered.
Moving abroad without my two daughters is going to be tough. Damn tough. Emotionally hard. We’ve spoken about my adventure and both daughters are supportive. They do think I’m crazy, but overall are understanding and reassuring. There have been a few tears and there will be more. Guaranteed.
I will write a separate blog on my feelings, emotions and, indeed, hesitations about planning to move to Portugal without my daughters. I definitely can’t do it in a couple of sentences.
My relationship with my mum and siblings is, some would say, relatively distant. Geographically we live around the UK, and we don’t live in each other’s pockets. But we’re all there for each other when needed.
The geographical distance is because we’ve all moved around the UK. At one point, we were literally at the four points of the compass. More recently, the south has moved west. So there is a vacancy become available, so why not take up the challenge? Albeit considerably further south! Nor was it quite planned in that order.
When I take a personal view looking from the inside to the outside, I know there are a couple of points that prompted me to withdraw from daily or weekly communication with those closest to me. Alcohol and my breakdown were two factors.
It was easier to deal with them myself than put pressure on others. The support would probably have helped, but we all deal with things in our own way. Indeed, rebellion (or stubbornness) is a trait I also have, so chances are the support at that time was pushed away.
Balancing tactics and emotions
The tactical planning of my Portuguese adventure is my default position. But I fully embrace, react and encourage my feelings and emotions to come to the forefront. Are they changing my ambition? No, but they are providing completeness and reassurance for me as I plan.
Many times throughout my work career I have referred to taking a holistic approach. Outside work, I’ve tended to make decisions with a more direct approach. Less holistic and more tactical.
Now I am older and wiser, I am definitely taking a more holistic approach to my move to Portugal.
As always, if you’ve got this far, thank you. I am humbled and grateful for you taking the time to read.
Obrigado por ler.
Featured image by kind permission of Alex Block
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