The A Word: A tale of two halves

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. It’s a tale of two halves, the past and the future.  I was intrigued to know the number of times I’d been asked the question I’m going to answer in this blog so I counted and can officially confirm it’s 74. Over the last 6 months 74 people have written to ask if we’ve retired. I’m not surprised as I’m sure it’s apparent that I swan around a lot.  I haven’t responded until now as I was unsure of what to say but yes, its official, at the ripe old age of 60 Jamie and I have retired (well sort of!)

We’ve got loads of plans so watch this space. Our biggest desire is to travel and we’ve a long list of places we want to see and countries we want to visit.  We want to spend time travelling around Europe and specifically taking on some challenging walks in the Alps and Pyrenees. I’ve started to write and whether I’ll make it to being a published author, who knows, but I want to try. Jamie and I will also continue to take on consulting assignments, both in the charity and private sectors in an advisory and coaching capacity but only on a part time basis. We’ve also got 3 grandchildren so life will continue to be very busy.  Getting old doesn’t seem too bad and certainly has its advantages (unless, of course, you’re  a banana).

I started working weekends at 14 and full time at 17. Apart from a brief time out when I had my beautiful daughter, I’ve worked full time all my life. I was lucky enough and worked hard enough to enjoy a successful career and since the late 1990’s my jobs have been stressful, working long hours, but also incredibly rewarding. I’ve contributed to a private pension since my younger days, as has Jamie; we’ve sacrificed fast cars, expensive jewellery and material stuff in favour of putting money away for our future and our plan was always to retire while we’re still fit enough to take on the challenges we’ve always talked about.

So, what was the most important thing I learned during my career that I’m going to share with you?  Well, it’s quite simple really – “just because someone’s opinion is different to yours it doesn’t make them wrong”. Is that it I hear you say! Well let me share why that’s so important and why it can help you in all aspects of life, not just work but family and relationships too.

I was born into a working-class family and brought up in one of the staunchest labour constituencies in the country. Socialism bordering on communism ruled.  You could not mention Maggie Thatcher (and still can’t) without being lynched and that’s no exaggeration. In my late 20’s I moved to London and started working in the city, learning about capitalism, the complete opposite to what I was familiar with. I saw both sides of the argument.

I realised very quickly that to be successful you have to appreciate that it’s OK for people to have different opinions.  It’s also OK for you to accept that because otherwise it does make you seem like your intolerant of anyone’s else’s beliefs.

Making an extremist statement about something someone else likes doesn’t make you right. Instead, it makes you seem controlling and not willing to listen to anyone else and that’s not a good look.

One of the biggest reasons a company fails is down to a leader who is intolerant of other people’s views and opinions. A CEO who surrounds himself with yes-people will ruin their own career as well as damaging the company. “Yes” people will always tell them what they want to hear and not what they should know. During my years in the city, I ran a large sales team. We were responsible for $100 million dollars of business each year, selling software into financial services organisations. We were successful because we worked as a team. We all had different views and opinions, but collectively we would come to the right conclusion, often having to compromise on our own beliefs to secure the best outcome.

It’s even more important to be tolerant of other people’s opinions in our ever-changing world. Brexit and Covid have been incredibly divisive, fuelled by social media.  I know families and friends who’ve fallen out; how ridiculous. Remember, respecting others’ opinions doesn’t mean being untrue to our own. It simply requires us to recognise that others are entitled to look at the world differently and that when they share their views with us, they can expect a fair hearing. Tolerance is not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of strength.

This tolerance stood me in good stead and I’ve left my working life behind with no enemies (well, maybe one 😊).

Finally, as I write my blog to raise awareness of autoimmune disease I wanted to let you all know how pleased I am to see the back of winter. I suffer more pain in the cold, damp months and my Raynaud’s has been far worse this winter. My nose, fingers and toes are affected and I’m always so bloody cold. I don’t know about you, but our gas has gone up by about 30% and now that we’re retired, we’re more watchful of our pennies so its more thermals and jumpers for me next year. On the plus side, at least there’s no mosquitoes, pesky things.

I’d like to end with a quote that rings true with the weather we’ve had recently. I love spring and these few words from Charles Dickins summed it up.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”

Until next time.. xxxx


Published by meadandrea

Blogger, writer, author, love to travel, photographer

2 thoughts on “The A Word: A tale of two halves

  1. So many comments relate to me growing up in the Midlands. My home town was staunch Labour and when the Tories won there the old people shuddered. Like you I wanted to earn money and left Grammar School to work at 17 however unlike you, talking about opposing views, I seemed to be on a mission to earn as much money as I could and spend it, particularly on the children who despite that never asked for money. One regret is that I thought I was the only person who could do it right even though my wife kept on reminding me others did it right just not the way I wanted it done. Still we’re not perfect! My daughter has moved to Australia as she also suffers from the cold and Raynaud’s so we’re sad about that but you are an inspiration to everyone and please keep on showing us everything is possible despite everything X


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