Someone asked me the other week if we followed a structure for our blogs, and if the topics were pre-determined. The short answer is no! But hopefully that is a good thing. Our INSIGHT ADDED newsletter always has a specific theme – this week’s is patience – the previous one was credibility.
Our blogs, however, are simply random musings from each of us on a fortnightly basis, informed by our latest reading, thinking, activities and emotions, set against the backdrop of the bigger picture – be that local, national or international.
COVID-19 has had a bigger impact on me than I would have liked and has caused my world to shrink somewhat. Not because of any personal experience myself, or within my wider family and friends, but because of the uncertainty and unpredictability of how the virus might affect me given my long-standing health issues.
Despite being double vaccinated I am not too keen on testing the hypothesis that I would not be adversely affected.
I have always tried to keep my health issues in balance, and push through challenges in terms of pain levels and fatigue, and I continue to do that. Spending a lot of time with an almost 3-year-old definitely keeps me physically active!
But COVID-19 has crept up on me, shrouding me with a layer of unease which keeps me from resuming “normal” things I used to enjoy like short trips out for retail therapy, or visiting good coffee shops.
I am enormously relieved to be able to get regular online grocery shopping, and my coffee comes from Rwanda, in the form of lovely roasted whole beans from Argyll Coffee Roasters in Tighnabruaich via Royal Mail.
Online shopping covers most of my other needs, and is easy and convenient. So I am still contributing to the economy and my spending levels have not shifted dramatically. But all of this is enjoyed and consumed in the safety of my home or garden.
Being able to work from home is also ideal for me, but I do realise this is not the case for many people. Zoom or Teams are now embedded in my work schedule and daily WhatsApp video calls keep me connected to my daughters and grandson.
I had a Zoom call last week with a new young staff member at a social enterprise I’m currently working with, and was reflecting with him that it must be difficult joining an organisation while most of the staff are still working from home. I was also explaining the concept of an encore career, which he loved.
Encore.org says it brings older and younger changemakers together to solve problems, bridge divides, and create a better future for all. Wikipedia defines it as work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact.
These jobs are paid positions often in public interest fields, such as education, the environment, health, the government sector, social services and other non-profits. The phrase "encore career" was made popular by Marc Freedman, in his book Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life.
Despite COVID-19 I’m glad to be able to continue with my encore career. My mix comprises my role at The Leader, helping with childcare for Fraser and enjoying a new hobby of gardening. So, a pretty classic example of an encore career.
The childcare element currently takes place at my home or in lovely Mid-Argyll, but soon his next phase at the outdoor nursery will begin.
Before COVID-19 I was able to go to a toddler session in his home village, where they had a perfect model of intergenerational volunteer support with older ladies in the community dispensing home-made pancakes and juice for the children and tea and coffee (and more pancakes) for the mums.
An elderly gentleman joined at the end of the session to help clear away the toys. Let’s hope that in the not-too-distant future activities like this can restart, as they are so important for the development of the children and the wellbeing of the adults of all ages. And…they are yet another example of an encore career.
“Boomers may just be remembered more for what they did in their 60s than for what they did in the Sixties.”
Nicholas Kristof writing in the New York Times.
Take care, lead well