The upside of shaking your life upside down is the chance of gifts.
A little while ago my learned employer determined that my 30+ years of skills and experience in the workplace were no longer fit for (their) purpose and then seemed to relish the process of throwing me onto the great dust heap of redundant mature women littering the margins of many of this fair city’s Universities.
Around the same time another arm of the same University awarded me a rather nice PhD scholarship and then last week eagerly asked to to me teach into a new Masters unit and then asked me to teach on another. (Gift 1!)
The shift from pumping out a 9 – 5 job (aka an 8 – 10pm+ job) to going back into the student world is a jolt to the brain.
Suddenly you are travelling along with that great panopoly of learners swimming their way unsuredly around the University’s endless building works or otherwise luxuriating on green grass and grazing on wholefoods and coffee. (No more living on beer, smokes and chips in this studentverse)
To soften the drama of it all my dear colleagues chipped in and bought me a plethora of lovely treats last week.
Gift 2 was a beautiful set of Rembrandt watercolours. So excited was I that I opened all the pans like a 5 year old unwrapping a box of chocolates. I haven’t used watercolours for a while and certainly have never had such a luxury of colours on hand. So I made a test colour wheel to look at how each type of paint took to the paper and played with each other.
I was also given some beautiful paper but it’s way too soon to muddy that. (Gift 3)
Instead I had a test on some less precious paper.
I was also given a copy of Womankind magazine (Gift 4) which had the most exquisite art works by Andrey Remnev. Remnev was classically trained in the Holy Andronic Monastery of Moscow and his ethereal works seek to capture the aesthetic goals of Russian Art. I loved these fantastical works.
Gift 5 was flowers from another kind friend. These also made a perfect subject for the new paints.
Gift 6 has been a bit of breathing space and time to reassess what is important and to put some distance between myself and all the clutter and politics of work that is unimportant.
So perhaps the best gift was the ruthless prod by the employer and the chance to reassess my self worth and carry on regardless.