…some sort of marketing executive, a little bit in charge of campaigns or sponsorships or other extremely important projects, in order to sell more of this or the other.
That was me. My job defined me. It gave me a lot of self worth (in the early days anyway, pre kids) and it was fun. It took me to far flung places (being sent to some National Sales Office in the middle of nowhere in India and then Mexico stand out on the adventure scale). I felt important. I had a purpose. I had an employee ID card that would literally open doors. I dealt with celebrities (no reminders here please of my gaffe with a certain Roger F, asking him what he did for a living. FACE PALM!) and managed events for the rich and beautiful amongst us. I had an absolute ball.
Today, I went to the British Motor Museum with my kids and husband. A spontaneous idea as we wanted something indoors (#britishsummer) and literally took an unplanned left turn as we saw the sign for the museum. So I went in somewhat unprepared. Unprepared for the emotions that came flooding in.
Already when we got out of the car in the car park I felt wobbly. By the time we were in the lift to take us up to the first floor I felt like I needed to sob uncontrollably. Although this wasn’t my regular place of work, I had spent many hours in meetings and conferences here. Last time I was there I was being picked up by my former boss to go down to Wimbledon to look around a building site and be important (she was/ is important to be fair!). I remember waiting for her in the car park, on my laptop, writing emails and answering a couple of work calls. That was my life Pre stroke. Totally normal, right? But I cannot for the life of me remember how I did all of this. How I coped. How I was being that professional person, and although a tiny cog in the wheels of a global player, I adored my job and always gave it my all.
But this seems so far away now, almost like it’s not been me who’s lived that life but a former version of myself. I suddenly felt very odd and very detached remembering all these things.
I saw a few former colleagues, some of whom acknowledged me. Let’s put it that way I had to put my sunglasses on for the rest of the museum visit.
I’m not sure what exactly it was that set me off. I’m very happy with my new life and job and quite frankly couldn’t imagine anything worse than having to sit in a massive office talking sales performance or marketing strategy. I honestly have no idea how I ever did it. But – a decade of being part of something, something really great, something I was always immensely proud of being a part of, all of that came kind of crushing down on me.
I am no longer part of this. I have no company ID any more. It’s business as usual but without me. I cannot deny that today I missed being part of something.
Now that I’m self employed, all I have is my own little business to worry about and that’s wonderful. But I’m very much on my own out here with no large corporate to catch me when I fall. And oh boy did they catch me when I fell a couple of times.
I guess today was saying goodbye to my old life. Part of the old me. It’s all part of accepting the stroke, I know. That I have a new life now. A good one, a great one, which I wouldn’t want to change back. But I will cry a few more tears this evening and send another heartfelt thank you and goodbye to a wonderful former life.