This post is a mixture of latest news and latest reflections. In life there are times we plan, times we do, and times we evaluate. I have managed all 3 of these ten times over in the past weeks! Whoever you are, I hope after reading this you will be entertained, question how much is possible in life, understand me a bit more, understand disability a little bit more, and have some tools to make a change for yourself or for disability issues (however small).
Everyday I go through a checklist in my head: Family members, best friends, my wheelchair, my car, my flat, my PAs, my work, my leisure time, my adventure plans and my health. In contemplating all of these for a few minutes a day; I ensure I touch base with my loved ones, maintain all of my vital support functions, make sure I am still challenging myself, having fun and living by my ideal life values.
Having caught up with loved ones in June, I have also been securing the funding (via the NHS voucher scheme and Access to Work scheme) for a new wheelchair. This has involved paperwork, assessments, selecting the chair, being fitted for it and various other procedural tasks. I am to receive my new Storm wheelchair on Thursday! I then need to have a clamp fixed on the new chair so that I can drive my car from it. Having secured financial assistance for this work too, I am spending Friday in the lovely company of Andy Kent from Andy’s Kars. My car also had its MOT and service yesterday. So, that ensures my mobility is sorted for a while longer, and in style.
After a few months out of my London flat whilst travelling, I have also enjoyed being back home again. I was glad to see the place in good condition! Having organised my PAs and their rota until September; I asked them to help me have a spring clean. Now I feel at home, with my flat in order and fully supported to live independently in the capital once again. Since my arrival I have met up with many old faces, visited my favourite parts of London and really appreciated how grateful you are for something after missing it. Don’t get me wrong, my time away was well spent, but its always great to return back to your comfort zone sometimes!
With loved ones seen and support mechanisms in order (as well as some good social times too) here’s the work part! The thing is, having spent one year working for myself; work, leisure, travel and adventure are very inter woven. This has happened on purpose and I am so proud to see the vision, hard work and determination start to come together. Things are still tough with many tasks to do, only one me, and a mortgage to pay. However I am relishing the challenge and riding the danger as best as I can.
With 3 years of blogging, a year of running Disability Horizons with Srin, individually progressing the disability webinars, ecourses and the imminent econference; there has been lots to plan, do and evaluate. Having had difficulty getting my elearning products fully funded, I am going to continue running them voluntarily, but have found a different model to stay afloat financially. With lived experience of being disabled, vast social media and new media knowledge and a vast network of disabled people online, contacts in councils, charities and disability companies; I am beginning to work in partnerships with these great people. With the same vision of supporting disabled people, but different roles; I am excited about how this is all going to come together!
Therefore I have been talking to Scope, Leonard Cheshire, Disability Rights UK, The JTSMA and Muscular Dystrophy Campaign about webinar collaborations. I ran a workshop for HertsPASS around careers, and spoke to students at my old school Impington Village College. I met the CEO of Choice Support and discussed some partnership work. I am being introduced to Lonely Planet and some banks about elearning projects. I am planning how to support Lero in Tenerife as their online marketing person in the UK for the next 12 months. I met with Louise from Fittleworth and floated some ideas of how they can promote their services to more disabled people like myself. Srin and I went to the House of Lords for the Employers Forum on Disability reception. Media wise I have also represented radio 4 ‘ You and Yours’ on an open day at Gatwick Airport, before being interviewed live on the show. I was subsequently asked some air travel questions on ‘Reduced Mobility’. Then today I was interviewed by the awesome Shirley Ayers on her fortnightly podcast ‘Disruptive Social Care’ (out on Friday).
Beyond ‘work’ and weekly leisure I have been plotting my biggest challenge yet. Please take a look at the video. The update is that I am close to securing the caravan, this may delay the start date and essentially I think I have pulled it off! Initial feedback was asking if I was crazy, whether I could plan it so quickly, how the logistics would work and so forth. I will refrain from anything too bold, but even if this falls short it does show the value of dreaming big. I know this will happen one day, and its probably going to happen this September.
To summarise my life and how it is shaping up in July 2012, I am:
- A blogger
- Disability advocate and spokesperson
- Magazine Editor
- Social drinker
- Social media expert
- New media and elearning consultant
- Travel writer
- Bad karaoke singer
- Family and friend
- Logistics expert (maintaining support functions)
- Crazy idiot
I realise with reflection that my vision, beliefs and passion are not traditional. I will always question the status quo and in Shirleys words be a disruptor. I therefore run my work projects to disrupt and change the world around disability. However I run my life generally as though its my last. I am not asking or even suggesting you replicate this. I just ask you to live life the right way for you. If you’re disabled believe in your dreams, and if you’re not disabled please support people like myself in being included. Most of all please share this post with anyone who will appreciate it!
Thanks for your support. I now have 2000 followers on Twitter, more blog hits than ever and real motion of progress. With the right vision, collaboration and disruption I truly believe disability won’t be a ‘thing’ in years to come!
Twitter – @martynsibley
Website – www.martynsibley.com
Online magazine – www.disabilityhorizons.com
Skype Name – sibbers1314
Mobile – 07824 535720
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org