the search for lost things

I’ve lost my job.

I’ve looked in all the usual places … gone through my trouser pockets, scanned the mantelpiece, looked under the car seat, been through the ‘man drawer’, checked the bedside table, looked on the kitchen shelf where the important stuff resides.  I’ve methodically been through my jackets, looked down the back of the sofa, searched behind the fridge where things have a habit of falling. I’ve shaken some boxes at the back of the garage. I’ve asked my wife to go through her handbag, I’ve re-traced my steps around the house, drive and garden, I’ve looked on the table in the hall and felt the lining of my coat.

No joy.

Strange we say we’ve ‘lost a job’. Like we’ve lost a pen, or our car keys or our favourite sunglasses.

Actually I haven’t lost my job at all. It wasn’t ever mine really.  Not mine to lose.

The reality is that my employer decided to reorganise the work which constituted the role I was paid to do.  Some work was stopped, some new work added and the way in which my former employer set out to carry out that work no longer included a package of work previously called ‘my job’.  I haven’t lost it, the organisation has removed it.

Time to find another path, another ‘thing’ to occupy my time, feed my interests and my family.

So where do I look? Not under the car seat seemingly. Not in my coat lining. More a case of looking inside? Under my skin, in my gut or in my heart perhaps?  Searching there is not as straightforward though as looking behind the fridge or in the loft.

A search more rewarding perhaps?

So, it turns out, the removal of my job isn’t a loss, it’s a gift. An opportunity. A chance to reconnect with what matters to me. A chance to get closer to myself. A chance to be more me.

Maybe having a job all this time has been masking the true loss – the (temporary) loss of my connection to self? A temporary blindness to what drives me and why I am here.

Well I’ve found that again now, so all is good.

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I own what I have lost

Listening to a conversation the other day I heard someone use the phrase “my ex”. They were referring of course to someone they were once married to.

The concept of applying a possessive label, a word used to describe belonging alongside something you describe as being previous, being lost, being ‘ex’, struck me as odd.

I no longer have this, it is ‘ex’, but it belongs to me, it is mine.

I no longer have a spouse and so the replacement label for that loss is what I will own instead. It’s as if we wear the label of having lost it with pride.

Yoonjin “Zoonzin” Lee, who took the photo on this post, gives a voice to small found objects with his blog – What small objects think when you forget them on the street. What a fab idea.

losing things

losing things

Do you lose things?

I do.  Keys are a favourite. Today I lost my phone – only for half an hour.

Sometimes I lose things that aren’t actually things.  Like losing my way, or losing interest. I seem to lose time too.  I look up and realise I seem to have lost several hours.

How do you lose something that doesn’t physically exist?

Ultimately though, these are all recoverable, or when push comes to shove, they don’t really matter. They can be replaced, recovered or simply forgotten about.  We move on.

Don’t ever lose your curiosity though. Or your sense of fun. Or your compassion for yourself. Or your sense of who you are. Or your sense of belonging. Or your sense of value, or place in this world. Or your humanity. Don’t lose yourself.

These are harder to recover from. Hold them close. Guard them devotedly.

mourning the loss of an unused love

mourning the loss

As a child I loved Woolworths.

I confess to wandering around and around the pick and mix island scouring the wooden parquet floor for fallen booty, which I would quickly and joyfully snaffle up as I threaded my small frame between adult legs. I loved equally the thrill of legitimately choosing a bag of your own sweets. The power, choice, influence and sheer excitement was palpable. I had a number of toys from Woolworths, including a favourite teddy bear, called Button Nose; I recall he cost sixpence (old money).

Once I became a teenager and adult I never shopped there. Their stores became more modern, but somehow drab, soulless sheds with a random array of merchandise, hard to locate and often cheap and tacky. Woolworths closed subsequently.

The news today that BHS is closing reminded me of the loss of Woolworths.

It reminds me too of mourning the loss of a capability, a passion, a dream.

In a coaching session today, my client said several times ‘in my youth I used to do that…’, ‘when I was younger I would have…’.  I noticed how they were reflecting on a loss of a way of being. A freedom and spirit once enjoyed had been lost to the drudgery of work and earning an income. Mourning the loss of an unused love, perhaps?

Where was the excitement of a pick and mix visit?
Where is the love of a childhood teddy bear?