THE GIFT OF AN EARLY AND UNWANTED REDUNDANCY

Sometimes the things that we dread become the turning points in opening up a new life adventure. Life never ceases to surprise us. #midlifesymphony

INTRO

Today I have the next guest in my MIDLIFE SYMPHONY series where I've asked others to share what they're doing to make the second half of life the best half of life. Deb (from Deb's Worldlives on the other side of Australia to me and yet we have a great online friendship and one day I intend to have a coffee with her in her lovely glass sunroom. Today Deb's sharing how an unexpected and unwanted redundancy from her job has shaped the second half of her life in a way that was much better than she could ever have anticipated.


Many thanks to Leanne for inviting me to contribute to her series and for making our blogging community the wonderful place it is. It was fun writing a guest post but I was also wracked with doubt, would it relate, was it of interest to others and was it good enough for Leanne’s high quality blog! We are all going through similar things and hearing from others, learning from others and being accepted is a wonderful way to be. I love blogging for the connections like this!


DEB’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION

While I was in England over Christmas and the New Year, and then again with the coronavirus when I was back home in April,  I watched the Queen’s Address To The Nation, which I rarely do, being from the colonies with the time difference and all.

Today I decided to produce my own message and offer the following:

Greetings to all who inhabit my World… 


Unlike the Queen, with the numerous resources at her disposal, I was unable to secure a film crew to record my message to you, which is probably just as well, when I come to think about it. I also don’t have anything too meaningful to tell you apart from the fact that we are about to enter a new decade with a whole lot of new experiences.

SMALL STEPS

As I approach this new decade, I am definitely feeling wiser, more in control and more relaxed most of the time - just don’t ask my husband (the Mathematician)’s opinion! I still haven’t got all the answers right, especially as to how many pairs of gloves I needed to pack for a Northern hemisphere Winter - current count 4, with a mix of fingerless and full gloves - but that’s another story for another day!

I agree with Her Majesty - as she said in her Christmas address - everything we do must start with small steps. The big news for 2020 is that I turn 60 later in the year - which is a lot of mini-steps – and I have a Joy List of 12 things to do before I turn 60! I've also come to see that the redundancy that led to my early retirement has turned out to be far better than I ever expected.

Sometimes the things that we dread become the turning points in opening up a new life adventure. Life never ceases to surprise us. #midlifesymphony

REDUNDANCY CAN BE A GOOD THING

I never liked the age-old adage, which was said to me when I was made redundant – "every cloud has a silver lining", but in hindsight it has proven to be quite true. In May 2016 we were informed that our jobs would be gone by end of the year and on the same day, our town’s council was merged with a neighbouring town, despite our submissions to the contrary. I fought both issues for the remainder of the year.

I am here to assure you that being made redundant in December 2016, at the age of 56, after a 22-year career of teaching inmates in a men’s correctional centre, wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to me, as I thought at the time. The things that have happened to me, and my family, in the years since finishing work would have made going to work every day very difficult. I now realise that and am happy with how things have turned out.

REDUNDANCY AND FAMILY

At the time of my redundancy, my father was unwell, with Parkinson’s Disease, and soon after I helped Mum move him into care, and I was able to support Mum during this difficult stage. In January 2018 my father passed away and I was again able to be there to support Mum.

Then, from May-July 2018 the Mathematician and I travelled overseas for a three-month Odyssey, spending time with our daughter in England and visiting friends and family across Europe. It was a magical trip, right up until the second last day, when my daughter at home rang with the news that my father-in-law had passed away suddenly and totally unexpectedly.


Sometimes the things that we dread become the turning points in opening up a new life adventure. Life never ceases to surprise us. #midlifesymphony

REDUNDANCY AND GRANDBABIES

In September 2018 my first granddaughter was born by an emergency caesarean and I was able to help out afterwards. In January 2019 my sister had breast cancer surgery and I was able to help out.

In August 2019 Dottie, our second granddaughter, was born at 25 weeks gestation in England, and I was able to drop everything and go over to help my daughter for a month. From November 2019 – January 2020, the Mathematician and I were in England helping out with Dottie, who came home from hospital after 98 days in NICU.

While we were in England, bushfires ravaged our hometown and we watched with horror from afar. We were lucky to have our house spared but others in our town weren’t so fortunate.

We have a new grandchild due in March 2020 – at one stage it was a baby girl but after a later scan it was determined he was a grandson and he’s currently stuck in the breech position! We are scheduled to visit them in Brisbane to welcome him into our world and help out.


Sometimes the things that we dread become the turning points in opening up a new life adventure. Life never ceases to surprise us. #midlifesymphony

REDUNDANCY, RETIREMENT AND ROYALTY

So, as you can see, since being made redundant, life has been busier than ever, and I haven’t even mentioned my other activities, volunteering, or blogging! Redundancy has been a blessing in disguise for me and for my family in the second half of life.

The Queen and I have a love of our respective families in common but that’s probably where the likeness starts and stops. I’m retired and she’s not!

Over and out!


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you experienced a forced redundancy or retirement? What sort of impact would that have on the second half of your life? Sometimes I think that the things we dread are often the things that push us into new and better direction. What do you think?

RELATED POSTS


Meet Debbie
Debbie is an award winning Australian midlife, travel, adventure and lifestyle blogger who has a smile named after her – the ‘Debbie Smile’. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career of managing educational programs for inmates in a men’s correctional centre, she thought she’d have loads more time for reading, cycling, blogging and travelling, but she’s discovering that life is busier than ever! Whether it’s book club, movie club, volunteering with Rotary or simply catching up with friends, life is never dull when Debbie is around!
https://www.debs-world.com



Sometimes the things that we dread become the turning points in opening up a new life adventure. Life never ceases to surprise us. #midlifesymphony
Sometimes the things that we dread become the turning points in opening up a new life adventure. Life never ceases to surprise us. #midlifesymphony

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37 comments

  1. What fabulous fun it was to write this for you Leanne (a few weeks ago) and so timely given the Queen's recent inspiring words to the Commonwealth! Thanks so much for including me in your series. I really had completely forgotten what I had written for you! I am happy to say that my grandson arrived by C-section in late February and is 6 weeks old today! Will share :)

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    1. Hi Deb - it's a pleasure to have you (and Her Majesty) joining me on the blog today. And this is such a great reminder that the unexpected, and the unlovely things that happen to us can be turned around into something positive and enriching if we allow ourselves to embrace change rather than fighting it x

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  2. Thank you Leanne, for featuring Deb as your guest. I have been following Deb for the past year and I really enjoy her positive spin on life, despite the curve balls.

    Deb, you said it very well on the feeling of acceptance in the kind, blogging community. Using the Queen’s address to the nation to summarize your thoughts is a very creative framework.

    It is interesting how life plays out, especially in hindsight. You made me smile (as always) with your comment about the Queen “I’m retired and she’s not!”

    It is nice to learn more about you, Deb. I look forward to staying connected. Take care and stay safe.

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    1. Hi Erica, it’s been great getting to know you through following your blog and your lovely comments on various posts.

      I really value the blogging world around me and at times like this it is the connections we have with others around the world that make me happy.

      I am fortunate to be in the position I am and never take it for granted. Life throws us curveballs from time to time and being made redundant showed me that it wasn’t the worst thing to happen. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

      The Queen might not remember but she gave me a Bravery Award many years ago and I like to think we have a ‘connection’! Thanks again for your lovely comment and friendship.

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    2. A Bravery Award? There must be a story here, Deb. 🙂

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    3. Hi Erica - it was a pleasure to have Deb as one of my guests. What I love about blogging is that we all encourage each other and share the love around. Deb's been a great bloggy friend for a few years now and one day I'm planning on having a cuppa with her in the lovely glass sunroom she has out the back of her place - then we might go for a ride on her new bike trail.

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  3. It's funny how these things turn out, isn't it? I thought the same when my husband was bullied out of a 37 year career and into an early retirement - coincidentally at the same age as you - yet look how that's turned out. x

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    1. Hi Jo, yes it is funny how these things turn out! It took me a while to admit it was a good thing to happen but now I wouldn't have it any other way. Hoping your husband's experiences have been similar.

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    2. I think it's really interesting how so many of us have similar stories Jo - there seems to be an element within the workforce who are threatened by committed and loyal employees. They either want to change things, squash things, or just feel no loyalty. I love how we've all turned the experience around and are thriving despite the bullies.

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  4. Deb, This happened to me at my job last November at age 59. I have enjoyed being home and hoping to make it permanent, depending on how fast the economy snaps back, I think! Thanks for this!

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    1. Hi Rita - there's a lot of Midlifers out there who were left reeling when their jobs imploded through no fault of their own. This blogging community has been a godsend for me as I navigated my way back to happiness after mine. I'm hoping you'll find the same support and encouragement as you figure out what's next in your life. x

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    2. Hi Rita, I'm sorry to hear this happened to you too and I hope you can continue to stay at home. It's a good feeling when you finally accept it and I agree with Leanne the blogging community has provided a great support network during these times. Take care and best wishes.

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  5. So great to see you here, Deb. Even though I never miss your posts, I continue to learn more and more about.
    You are incredibly inspiring!

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    1. I loved that Deb gave us a little insight into the way we learn to process tough times and turn them into positives Donna. It's something that the blogging community is so good at and I love how inspired I am by it all.

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    2. Many thanks Donna, I am blushing over here! I've learnt over the years, as Leanne says, to turn these negatives into positives as much as I can. They still worry me and I get anxious and overwhelmed like everyone else but it helps to write about these times and share my thoughts with others. I love blogging :)

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  6. Hi Deb, redundancy is hard, isn't it? I experienced it in my 20s, so it was a little different to your experience, but I know it hurts a lot to be told that you're no longer needed/wanted (after 22 years!!!). Lovely reading all about your family here, it seems like drama's never far away in your wide-spread family. It's so nice that you're able to drop everything and help out when needed. That's what family's all about. Take care and all the best for this coming decade! :-)

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    1. Hi Cheryl - I don't think there's ever a time when we want to have the rug pulled out from under us is there? We all want to make the choices ourselves and not have to adjust to unwanted situations that we're thrust into. Being able to move forward and turn it into a positive is the sign of maturity and grace - and Deb's got both of those sorted!

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    2. Hi Cheryl, I can't imagine being made redundant at that early age! How awful it must have been for you. I'm afraid drama is never far away and I'm learning not to take anything for granted anymore. I find I am getting more anxious about things as I get older, maybe because I have some maturity now and experiences, but I'll always try to be with my family, no matter how I'm feeling about things. It's what family is all about as you say. Thanks for your comment and thoughts :)

      Leanne it's lovely of you to say 'being able to move forward and turn it into a positive is the sign of maturity and grace - and Deb's got both of those sorted' - that means a lot to me! We are all learning from each other in this world and nowhere is that highlighted more than in our midlife blogging tribe :)

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    3. Hi Leanne, you're right, there's never a good time. Plus if you're someone that doesn't do well with forced change it's even harder. I do think that some people just 'go with the flow', so to speak, which is pretty much how I am these days. But back then when I was made redundant I wasn't so 'flowing'! Yes, sounds like Deb's got everything under control! :-)

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    4. Hi Deb, well, to make matters worse, at the time I was a single mum to an 11 year old! Hard times indeed. Just after I was made redundant, my car got stolen. Then the week after that someone (a friend!) accidentally ran over my motorbike which was parked outside my old work (I'd been visiting them just to say hi)! It was a nightmare time, but I'm still alive so I guess that's the main thing. It's also a good lesson (to me, anyway), that most of the time life goes on and we all get over most things and move on to better things!

      Unlike you, I think I'm less anxious these days than when I was younger. I've realised that almost everything is out of my control (including how other people behave/what they do), so I just let happen what happens and do my thing as best I can. Have a lovely weekend! :-) x

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  7. Hi Leeanne. What a fabulous post by Deb who I’ve been following for a few years now and had the pleasure of meeting back in 2017. Life has a funny way of working out doesn’t it. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason. Hope you both have a safe and happy Easter. xx

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    1. Many thanks for your kind words and visit Miriam. Life certainly does have a funny way of working out, and we never know what's around the next corner do we? Enjoy your easter at home.xx

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    2. Hi Miriam - thanks for stopping by - and yes, life often works in ways we don't expect that turn out to be better than if we'd continued on in the direction we were originally heading. When we let go and go with the flow we open ourselves up to the next chapter - Deb is certainly proof of that!

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  8. What a horrible sounding word redundant is...and no matter what is said at the time, it IS hard not to take it personally. I was in a position of having to nominate a staff member to take a transfer to another school unless one of the staff did so voluntarily and when I raised it, "I" became the butt of the frustration of how the school's numbers had dropped...meaning we lost a position. Sadly, this and more affected ME so much, I left. Anyway Leanne and Deb, it is always good to read another's perspective on life's challenges. Deb you are managing marvellously! Denyse #lovinlife

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    1. Thanks Denyse for your encouragement. It's hard sometimes when stuff gets thrown at you and you start wondering what have I done to deserve all this? You must understand this more than most with all you've been through. I know the heartache that goes into a forced transfer and feel your pain. It is hard not to take it personally at the time and I kept trying to justify our roles and I must admit I still carry some bitterness around but it's decreasing with each year that passes. Enjoy your time at home over easter :)

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    2. Denyse I know exactly what it's like to leave a job because the situation becomes untenable and someone has to "step up and be the hero" as Dr Phil would say. At the time it feels like such a betrayal, but when the dust settles and we look back, being the bigger person often means that we moved forward with our head held high - and that's a big deal in my humble opinion!

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    3. Thanks Deb and Leanne...back again from Life This Week. Your words are very comforting. I appreciate them.
      Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is 16/51 I Heard 20.4.2020 ...hope to see you there too. Denyse.

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  9. I don't think I'll ever get used to the word "redundancy" instead of being laid off. It just seems so wrong to use that word to describe a person. Items, maybe; words, yes... but not people. Anyway, obviously, being laid off freed you up to not only enjoy life more but it gave you the opportunity to be present for people you love. How great is that? I didn't hear the Queen's address, but I'm sure yours was just as good :)

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    1. I know what you mean Janis, the 'word' and its connotations really upset me at the time. I'm not sure what the best alternative is though. I have managed to take the opportunities this time has given me, and I'll always be thankful for that. I appreciate your comment Janis, the Queen has a certain gravitas that I will never achieve, no matter how old I get :)

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    2. I think the word "redundancy" is used as a euphamism when they want to say "I killed your position and I'm going to kill your heart" - there's no nice way to say that and it always hurts. I'm so impressed with those bright sparks who take the hit and move forward to better things - Deb certainly has.

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  10. I took a voluntary redundancy when my Dad was battling Parkinson's Disease also. Unfortunately I was unable to transition into retirement but needed to return into paid work after he passed away. Returning to paid work has been difficult after being in the one professional job for 20 years. Last week I was able to start in a casual position. Fingers crossed I get to keep this position for the duration of this damn virus and beyond.

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    1. Oh I certainly hope you manage to keep the position and that the virus gets banished soon! I feel your pain about having to return to work after such a hard time. Wishing you well and thanks for your comment and sharing your story.

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    2. You've done well to find a casual position - work has been very thin on the ground over the last year or so - and a lot of competition for the jobs that are available. I really do hope you keep it when life goes back to normal - it will be a light at the end of your tunnel.

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  11. I was made redundant in my early-mid 40s and though I was initially debt-free I wasn't financially secure enough not to have to keep working in some way.

    It was also one of the best things to happen to me as it got me to completely rethink the life I was living. I'm still not where I'd like to be but - despite the highs and lows - closer than when I was working really long days and feeling as if there was no room at all for me and I was looking down a very long and narrow tunnel.

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    1. Hi Deb - sometimes we need to take a hit to make us stop in our tracks and rethink what we want to do with our lives. Being independently wealthy would be a nice bonus, but with some good stewardship of our money and a bit of lateral thinking, life can become a lot more pleasant after we move on from an old job and into a new future.

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  12. I love the idea of creating a list of things you want to do before you turn 60. I will check it out.

    Redundancy sounds horrible, but if you are like me, you are loving retirement. It sounds like you are. With a new grandbaby on the way, you are lucky to be able to have more time to spend there.

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    1. Redundancy comes with the bonus of a payout - I wish I could have had that when I needed to leave my awful job last year Laurie - I didn't even get the last of my leave paid out (and was too exhausted to be bothered fighting for it). I think Deb and I can both attest to the delightfulness of the freedom of retirement (once you get your head around the whole "not working" thing).

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