I have been doing that ‘feeling bad’ thing when I realise I haven’t written a more thought provoking piece for my blog. Sometimes I think running a website on any particular subject matter can make you feel a pressure to be profound and revolutionary. Then, in the cold light of day, I realise how ridiculously busy I have been and that actually my blog is all about living everyday life anyway. Sure, if I am swept away with an amazing idea I will share, but I sometimes overlook the value in just talking about ‘living’.
I then realised I hadn’t written a post on where my life actually is right now. So, true to form, I want to share my progress, fears and dreams with you.
You all know I have my independent living elements cracked. As per the Disability Diamond Theory; I drive my car, know how to utilise public transport with a wheelchair, have my care budget and team setup, love my London flat, I work (now for myself), have good friends, family and a lovely girlfriend (yep, a new update for ya there!) and manage leisure and travel when budgets allow.
The past months I have, for one reason and another, shaken my world upside down. In leaving my safe employed job, I have taken a huge risk in my pursuit of a vision I am passionate about. You may remember my last blog similar to this one here? Essentially this was all about my working through business plans and getting used to self employment.
Well, since then I have run 15 webinars through my blog, Scope and Hackney council and worked for the BBC as a tv presenter. My blog is also reaching more people than ever. Disability Horizons has grown, with scores of amazing contributors, insightful articles, increase of our readership and whispers of future world domination 🙂 This is so cool coming from the concept Srin and I developed this time last year in California and launched only a few months back. I think you’ll agree the redesign kicks ass too!
Despite all of my thoughts and energies going into getting my social enterprise off the ground, my world has been tipped upside down in other ways more recently. I have been making changes and improvements to all of my ‘foundations’ and some unexpected things have happened too. Nearly all of this is through my own choice and for positive action, but is all very scary and sometimes stressful.
Transport – my adapted car has been faulty of late and so I have at last arranged for it to be taken today and be checked over. I really hate not having the car as it’s my embodiment of true independence.
My flat – All is well flat wise, but as I plan to travel a lot more next year I am looking into letting it out if I am away. A letting agency are coming to value it any minute now. I am also helping them to provide accessible accommodation for disabled people at the Olympics and Paralympics next year.
My care team – I realised since going self employed that my care rota doesn’t work for me anymore. My guys change over every Monday and Friday. This means a constant feeling of checking where I am location wise, and chopping and changing. With my plans to travel more while I work remotely, it clearly would be better with a rota of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. This unfortunately means 2 of my 3 PA’s will be leaving in January. I pondered this decision for ages as they are amazing carers and people. However my care has to support my life in the best way, and therefore the changes are necessary.
So I am now recruiting for a new PA. The advert is up on gumtree. If you or anyone you know is interested please use the link. This means I will need to read the 50 or so applicants, short list those I think (according to my criteria) are suitable and then interview them. Following my decision on who is best for my needs, I will need to do criminal checks, reference checks and then train them up. Once someone knows my needs its cool, but it takes a while to get used to someone seeing you naked and doing everything for you.
Work – Things are still going according to plan. The webinars kept me in my flat, rather than blogging outside, lol. I am planning to apply the learnings of the webinars and roll out more in 2012. I am now busy doing financial planning, looking into social enterprise support schemes (such as the nexters, which I am now officially part of) and creating my e-learning courses.
My first e-course will be on employment and disability. I have the technology partner in AJ and Melissa Leon at Misfit-Inc, the personal experience and the networks to create a course that will inspire and inform many disabled people on the tricks of getting into work. It clearly cannot support those unable to work, or the general economic problems, but it can have a bloody good attempt. I am ever the optimist.
My nearest and dearest – even when I’m busy I always ensure I keep a close contact with my girlfriend, family and friends. I have decided to not say loads about the change in relationship status. However, her name is Claire, I knew her at uni years ago, she lives near Edinburgh and it was during my visit there that sparks flew 🙂 I can’t wait to see her next weekend when she visits. Skype is cool, but you can’t beat face to face interaction. I do my best to see everyone face to face, but if not I use skype, phone calls or at the very least a text. I remain in contact with friends back to childhood, and all the way up to my London crew today. I would never let work, stress or life stop this!
Leisure – I am looking forward to the meetup this weekend for Disability Horizons. My great mate Rich from uni is visiting the weekend after Claire does. So the next 3 weekends are chocca. Then I’m afraid Christmas is fast approaching. I need to get the present list sorted soon really.
Travel – I have been eying up my winter sunshine break in Tenerife in January, but am going to see how my health goes (we all know how difficult winters usually are for me) and how work goes the next month or so. However, I can say there is something hotting up around next spring which will be amazing. More to come as the plans firm up! 🙂
I have to say I haven’t felt so happy and healthy in years. I feel so much more confident in maintaining my basic foundations (work, car, house and care), in my future plans. I am working more than ever, feel mentally tired each night, but I know it is all so worthwhile, even despite the challenging months ahead.
If you haven’t read the Diamond Theory, I would recommend it as a framework to life, what you want from it and how to progress without going too quick!
I am still brewing a more philosophical post, but it needs a little longer to cook 😉
Until next time, I hope you are all well and make sure you get in touch with any thoughts or questions you may have.