Flirting with…

“People tend to flirt only with serious things–madness, disaster, other people.”  Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips.

I am holding myself to a period of extended flirtation with my newly designed life. Herminia Ibarra calls it “committed flirtation” in her book Working Identify.  We hold ourselves to a rigorous search while withholding allegiance to any given alternative until the evidence that it will work is in.  As part of this work I am developing scenarios, which I am simultaneously, to one degree or another, exploring.  I am up to six work scenarios.  I promise to share those in a minute. 

However, one of the principal reasons I moved to New Zealand is to have a better quality of life and to be fit and healthy.  I have lost a few pounds since arriving just from walking up and down the Orakei hills.  It will take a more conscious effort to get into a lifestyle that supports being fit and healthy.  In St. Heliers there is Zumba, Pilates, and a shoreline to walk and bike (and hills for cardio).  Ideally I will find a community of people who enjoy the same activities that keep us fit so I will not create a conflict between being in relationship and my personal needs.  My friend Connie is a role model for this as she has found a community in her running group.   I have the next few months to establish this so I have it as baseline.  Then I will add work.  I have always had it the other way round and I am unfit and suffering stress symptoms. 

No more!  You have permission to flog me if after a few months here I am working in a demanding, high stress job and not any fitter!   Because I have a vision of myself as this tan, fit grandma who goes on adventures with her grandkids and is able to get down on the floor and play games with them, or play in the ocean waves with them.  And that is not the direction I was headed in California. 

I also have 15-20 years of work life left in me.  In that time I can make a contribution somewhere.  And there are many things I can do; without one that rings like a jackpot:  “ding, ding, ding, this is it!”  Again, the idea is to make enough money to live, qualify to stay in NZ, and make a difference without getting sucked into me=my job.  

Scenario 1:  Work in a law firm as legal secretary or researcher and then if I enjoy what lawyers do, go to law school for 2 years and qualify to practice law.  My interest is in maritime law or ocean policy.  I am also interested in exploring what it takes to become an administrative judge for maritime disputes. 

Scenario 2:  Use my varied work experiences to work for a consulting firm on a variety of assignments within NZ government agencies.  I would learn a lot, contribute back and make a decent living.  It builds on my current skills and there may be a consulting firm with a nonprofit focus.

Scenario 3:  Work for one nonprofit at something other than the Executive Director level.  I can make a contribution and enough to live on and learn to not identify myself with the cause/organization.

Scenario 4:  Get a job producing something tangible–a product not a service.  

Scenario 5:  Bring Bike and Build to New Zealand.

Scenario 6:  If nothing works here, then go back to the US and apply what I have learned in a new locale, such as Portland.

This, by the way, is not up for a vote.  Remember, the idea is to flirt with all of them while not tying allegiance to any one of them. 

My goal is to be open each day to exploring one of or more activities or relationships that will help make a path clear.  Today I am going to the University of Auckland law school for a lecture:  Penelope Ridings will speak on the topic of “New Zealand the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement:  A Level Playing Field?”

4 thoughts on “Flirting with…

  1. Julie…..your landscape feels open. I have this vision of you sitting on the beach at Devonport looking out at Rangitoto with a blank canvass and the coolest set of paints, pencils, an air brush gun, a sweater stick, and random art things just waiting to happen!

    Looks like this link. I can’t sort how I put a photo in my post… you know how to do this?


    • I like your friend M’s view of you! I think your vision of yourself is not broad enough in the list you have created … not enough wild flirting! It’s still rigid in orientation to some organization giving you options about how you will succeed. I like M’s idea and the scenario four idea if it’s re-worded … not get a job, but flat out “make a product … ”

      What are the NZ requirements on income in order to be granted rights to stay?

      How about something radical like working on a ranch with animals and growing things? That would get you fit!! The best way I have found to de-stress is getting connected to the land and if you want to know NZ, GET OUT OF AN OFFICE ENVIRONMENT!!!

      I love you Julie — push open your flirtation parameters more! Not many of us gets the chance to do what you’re doing. We are all watching with excitement, respect, and glee.

      Keep the posts coming!

  2. Hi Julie – your long, not so quite lost friend is finally catching up with your blog. Hard to believe it has been 1-1/2 weeks already! You will find something that you are passionate about but hopefully you will remain more passionate about YOU and being healthy. I am so glad you are focusing on you. much love – CK

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