New beginnings

It’s that wonderful time of year when all the trees flower into beautiful blossom, plants are shooting and new life is springing up everywhere. My favourite tree in our garden, the magnolia, has once again given us a display of the most glorious flowers and transformed the look of our garden. The spring season really is a time of change, of optimism and of new beginnings.

Since my earlier posts I feel that I’ve really turned a corner from those sad, depressing, teary days I’d experienced after completing my treatment. I feel positive, happy and feel more ‘alive’ with much more energy and motivation again.

I’ve started to see friends and family more and have had some fab times already this year with my loved ones. Life certainly feels more normal again and I have enjoyed some amazing trips away and have holidays to look forward to.

I’ve also had some challenges with work and last month I found out that my role was being made redundant. Whilst there was another similar role in the business I could have applied for, after a lot of rather stressful deliberation, I eventually figured out that this situation is actually providing me with the opportunity for a change.

I’d spend nearly a decade of my life working at that company. It has been rewarding and challenging and I’ve certainly learnt a lot and grown tremendously over that period. I’m also very lucky to have met some brilliant people who are now life-long friends. But it was also insanely stressful at times and I worked very long hours often late into the evening and at weekends and sacrificed seeing my friends and family and my personal life on too many occasions. 

I can’t help but feel that if we don’t make changes in our lives for ourselves that sometimes we’re given a push by other means. They say everything happens for a reason, I’m not entirely sure I believe that as that takes away your free will, but whatever it is, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a great big neon light flashing at me and urging me to move on.

“I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realise that in life, you grow. You get better.”  – Steve Southerland

What I do know is that now I see it as a very positive thing. Granted, if I was told at the beginning of last year that I’d be dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment and would then be made redundant I really wouldn’t have believed it. Quite rightly I would have been absolutely scared stiff about what the future had in store for me. 

But now I’m out of the other side of the experience and looking forward rather than backwards. It’s quite surprising the things us humans can cope with on a daily basis and in the longer term. What seems completely insurmountable at one point then blends in with all the other challenging obstacles that are thrown in your path, and, with a lot of support from some very good people, you somehow find the strength and courage to get through it all.

I guess the events of last year have changed my perspective on many things. Shay Sharpe describes this perfectly in one of her Instagram posts:

“Cancer changes people. Our lives are different now. Our bodies look and feel different. We value life more. We see life through different eyes. The grass is greener and the sky is more blue. The old normal is gone. Evolve and find adventure in your new normal.” 

Sometimes you have to take risks in life, and whilst it’s not my go-to place to be a big risk taker anymore, sometimes you have to be brave and just go for it. When considering my next steps I just kept thinking to myself that whatever happens next can’t be worse than being diagnosed with cancer. It can’t be worse than going through treatment, than losing your hair, your fertility, your female hormones or the constant thoughts about how long you might have left to live before it may come back again.

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I’m an optimist by nature, the glass is always half full to me (and excuse me who drank the rest of my drink?!). I see this situation as an opportunity to move on, to learn, to grow, to transform, to hopefully be able to help others at the same time and also to bring a bit more balance to my life.

I’m very pleased to have received a lot of interest in me from a job hunting perspective which is really encouraging and gives me great confidence. However, I now question whether it was the right thing for me to have blogged about my experience of having cancer so openly (and now publicly visible on the internet and social media) now that I’m back on the market looking for a new opportunity. 

My blog has been, and still is, a great channel to express my feelings and to connect with others. It has been so beneficial to me over the last year that I sincerely hope it doesn’t go against me. 

Whilst it’s obviously illegal to discriminate against someone in the recruitment process with regards to disability, I would hope that by being a cancer survivor, my future employer will be able to overlook the fact that I have been ill and see that I have incredible strength of character, clarity and a determination to succeed as well as the ability to deal with all manner of stressful situations. I’m sure I’ll soon be able to report on what the next new exciting chapter has in store for me.

As it’s a period of new beginnings and change, the big 40 that has been teetering around on the horizon for a while now is also finally in sight. I had thought I might feel a bit odd about turning 40, after all it’s a major milestone in one’s life. With everything that’s been going on, it’s kind of paled into insignificance really. 

When my hubby asked me what I’d like to do to celebrate my birthday a few months ago, I said I didn’t want a big fuss or a party because, given how I felt at the beginning of the year, I just had no idea how I’d be feeling at this stage. Instead, I’ve opted to spend quality time with people in smaller groups and to celebrate it in my own way. I know my fab hubby has been diligently organising some sort of surprise for me which he’s absolutely bursting with excitement about – I can’t wait to find out what he has in store. So onwards and upwards folks – here’s to a new chapter and to a totally awesome 40th year!

Have you been in a similar situation where you have had to look for a new job following cancer treatment? Similarly have you been blogging about your experience and feared how this might be viewed negatively by prospective employers? I’d love to hear your thoughts or any advice you might have.

 

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9 thoughts on “New beginnings

  1. Allie if anyone was to discriminate against you for this blog then you should think of it as this is not an employer I would want to work for. Your blog reflects the journey you’ve been on over the last year and shows your strength and determination. I can’t believe your role was made redundant but as you say it’s a fresh start for you, good luck in your job hunt!!! You will find a new job in no time I have no doubt xxx

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    1. Thanks Sian, really appreciate your encouraging words. Life really does throw you lemons at times but my thinking is that it’s not the actual obstacles themselves but rather the way in which we deal with them that will hopefully be the measure of success and fulfilment. I hope you’re doing ok, you must have had (or still having!) major blues after coming back from your amazing trip around the world. Take care and hope to see you soon xx

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  2. I love this. It makes me smile to see that you are looking forward and enjoying time with family and friends again. Your blog is an inspiration & a comfort and could only serve to promote your personality to future employers. I wish you well with your fresh start and I am proud to be able to call you a friend, Dee x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Dee, again for your kind words and support. Time is a great healer and I’ve loved having the freedom and energy to go out and enjoy life once more : ) Likewise, I too am honoured to have you as a friend – a testament to our joint love of blogging xx

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  3. Allie, this is a very important topic you’re addressing here. I’ve often thought about my identity and exposing my cancer experience on a blog. I have to be honest, at times I’ve felt like hiding. Then I realize that helping others is very rewarding for me, and in a way, it’s my way of giving back. Illnesses happen and we can’t control them. If an employer doesn’t want to hire you because of your illness, that’s too sad. I know I won’t be at my current job forever, but I would hope someone would appreciate my experiences as both a professional and a human being. My name is out there with photos and I couldn’t be more proud of what I’ve accomplished to help others, the same way others helped me. I’d like to chat with you about this more. Send me a PM when you can.

    Glad you’re feeling better and moving forward with your life. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you too in terms of helping others and I hope my blog has helped others who have walked or are walking a similar path.

      I do believe that we have been through also gives us experiences, courage, determination and life skills that are also valuable in a work environment.

      Lovely to hear from you, I’ll send a direct message.

      Xx

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