As my sister approached 50 she wanted a wee trip, a girly trip. When I started to plan flights and hotels I was working full-time, and wondered where I would get the time to fit it all in. Fortunately for me, when March 2011 came around I was redundant – so instead of being something I was fitting into my bus schedule, it became the focus of my March.
Five of us went away – for some it was the first girly weekend ever, for me the seasoned professional mini-breaker, it was my second trip.
Girly weekends – can we still call them that as we straddle 50? Should they not be middle-aged weekends? Well, let’s be optimistic! The main ingredient in such a weekend, is the ability to laugh, share and drink wine.
Well, I am semi-professional on all scores! I was the team leader and had the itinerary planned, down to the first sunday in every month all museums in Paris are free. I had been to the Latin Quarter a few times, so knew the best value restaurants, where to grab a lunch on the go, and where to hop on the Baton Mouche that would take us up and down the Seine.
I left Dublin, feeling sorry for myself, but as I listened to shared stories of health scares and sick children, of recession and loss, I began to see that being made redundant and feeling ‘down’ was selfish on my part.
Too often we live in cities and towns where work means everything to us. We have lost that community where people you grew up with get cancer and die, where children are terminally ill. We look at redundancy and see it as some big hurdle, some big disappointment and huge failing.
You know what Paris with the over 50’s taught me – redundancy, divorce, illness they are all part of life, part of living. It’s not what happens to us, that defines us – its how we cope, deal, survive that defines us.
So I could have chosen, to wallow, to complain and be introspective. But I chose to see it as it is, a blip in my life. Something that creates time and space in my life. Yes it takes away money, but is there a person in Ireland today who is earning the same money they were in 2007? 2008?
So we all have to adjust, adapt, change. I have taken the positive decision to take this scenario that has been foisted on me, in an uplifting way. Keep it in a perspective. I have lost a job, life goes on, make changes and grow. I think it is a lesson, that as a country we should remember.