Looking Back Into The Future.
The Times They Are A’Changing
On the face of it, I was at the top of the tree. Except what I came to realise that it was the wrong tree. I wasn’t just on the wrong branch, in fact, I was in completely the wrong fecking forest. Surrounded by flashing screens of data, twats with beards and skinny jeans and it was making me ill.
Turn the clock back to this time last year. There I was working for an international media agency, running campaigns for some of their biggest clients with budgets that could settle what felt like the debts of several third-world countries.
I was so caught up in the system; I’d forgotten what was important. I was a preoccupied stranger in my family home during the week. My son only got to see me at weekends when I was shattered and yet so propelled with guilt that I should have more ‘Quality Time’. I tried to pack far too much in on a Saturday, or ‘our day’ as it was. A few short hours from which to help shape, teach and learn from one of the most amazingly imaginative humans I have ever met.
My priorities were all bent out of shape. I was focusing on spreadsheets, endless emails and meetings with people whose egos far outweighed their talent. Not the people that made me happy, the people that inspired me, supported me, wanted me for me not what they could get from me.
When I quit my job last year, I didn’t have a plan b, in fact, I didn’t have a plan a. I just knew I had to go. What I did have was a tonne of ideas, schemes, dreams of what I wanted to do. I wanted to put a dent in the universe, my universe. But that’s a different story.
In the recent ‘Future of Gender Equality Report’, commissioned by Yell, futurologist James Wallman explains that over the next 100 years, men and women will be living more 50/50 lives.
“In the future, we’ll create norms that are much better. We’ll be living 50/50 lives, we’ll be sharing the responsibility, we’ll be part-time caregivers and part-time entrepreneurial breadwinners”.
Well sod waiting for a hundred years, some of us are doing that already, and you know what? It doesn’t just work; it works bloody well, and it’s all about the opportunities it brings.
A lot of people think I’ve ‘got it made’ they assume that I sit around all day eating Pringles and watching daytime TV. The truth couldn’t be further away. I am probably working harder than I have ever done. But because I have a purpose it doesn’t feel like that.
As a free range human, I work from wherever I want to. There is no commute so that means every morning I get to walk my son to school and every night I get to eat dinner with family.
I get to set my agenda so I can invest a lot more time in creating adventures, experiences and opportunities. Something that not only benefits this amazing four-year-old but has given me the inspiration to produce some of best work of my career.
By making these changes, I’ve also been able to take the pressure of off my wife, whom for many years sacrificed her career aspirations to support mine. By doing this, I have been able to help and support her in some quite unexpected ways.
Had I been in my old life, I wouldn’t have been in that coffee shop on a nondescript weekday morning. I wouldn’t have spotted the man with the friendly face, in the corner and that was looking a little lonely. I wouldn’t have sat down and talked to him and heard his story about being working in the front-line of children’s services in the inner cities. I wouldn’t have heard his dream of wanting to cut away the red tape and offer child-centric services so that kids caught in the system can find loving homes. And most importantly I wouldn’t have told him that he really should meet my wife.
Now, a few months later, due to that twist of fate, my wife has quit her job. She has got rid of her commute and is going start working alongside him in a brand new role that she was born to do. This, ultimately, will help make the mixed up worlds of some looked-after kids from within my community a much better place. That is something worth celebrating.
The universe has a strange way of turning up the volume on great opportunities, once you have cut out the crap and are brave enough to make the change.