First Day of the Rest of My Life


Dear gentle readers,

Thank you for your patience while I was on my “life hiatus” and welcome to my new blog location.

A lot has happened since the Lone Grey Squirrel went off the internet “airwaves” about a month ago.  That period could be called my period of metamorphosis.  Following that analogy, hopefully the clumsy caterpillar has been transformed in the pupae state and what now emerges is a new and different entity.  In many senses, today is the start of the rest of my life.

Today was my last day at work for the conservation organisation that has been very much my life focus for the last 15 years.  Tomorrow I begin the romantic life of a bum.  When someone has been invested in one thing for so long, it may be hard to let go of the familiar and risk the unknown.  I do feel that at one level but mostly, I am looking forward for the freedom that sudden unemployment brings.  Freedom to wake up late; freedom to watch the World Cup soccer at ridiculous times even if one is not much of a soccer fan; freedom to try new things; freedom to get in touch with one’s creative side; freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it and finally freedom to starve to death when your savings run out.

Well, I guess I am fortunate as I can rely on immorally living off my wife’s hard earned income for the time being and so while I hope to slim down a size or two, I should not starve to death anytime soon.

What prompted this life re-construction? Well, it’s like it is half time and I wanted to take a break and look at options before deciding what I wanted to do for the second half of my life.  My work over the last 15 years has been a lot of fun and there has been a strong sense of accomplishment and having contributed to something meaningful and lasting.  On the other hand, the last 4 years has been less of the fun of field work and the intrigue of research and more of the mundane chores of management, administration and meetings with an unappetising seasoning of politics and personalities.  However, I have not burned the proverbial bridges and I get to come back as a consultant and do more of the fun stuff  and still earn some moulah to feed my “bum” lifestyle.

What am I going to do with this new found freedom? Well, I want to use this freedom to focus on four things.

  1. First of all, I’d like to concentrate on getting healthy.  I have to reverse years of accumulated health problems brought about by stress and bad eating habits.  So, priority one is to hit the gym regularly, plan for healthier eating and de-stress.
  2. Next, I want to get creative.  I want to think less like a scientist and more as an artist.  To do this, I have a number of projects in mind.  One, I plan to help develop a bird-watching website (and I actually get paid for this); two, I plan to try out a career in writing by penning a novel and a children’s book (some of you have been encouraging be to try this, so it is probably your fault that I end up as an impoverished author keeping warm by burning all the rejection slips); three, I plan to blog more frequently.
  3. I want to do some greater good project but one in which we get to see results more quickly than in nature conservation (it takes us an average of 10 years to see a project succeed).
  4. Family.  I intend to spend more time on family.

So I hope that you will follow me on my exciting “starving author bum” journey and please leave some nuts out for me.

26 thoughts on “First Day of the Rest of My Life”

  1. Wow ! Wow ! and Wow again !

    That’s almost all I can say… sounds like you are doing some very good things for all the right reasons… so, yeah, go for it !

    Just out of curiosity, why the change to WordPress ??? Are there advantages some of us uninitiated blogspot users may not know about ??? Will have to see if Blogger lets me keep your new address in my list of blogs to follow…

    Happy unemployment then !

  2. well, looky who came up for a blog. 🙂 and quite the change in your life. and because I’m so unoriginal…I mimic owen above “go for it!” 🙂

  3. Welcome back, It’s strange whilst you been away I have seen none of my squirrel friends in the garden yet today lo and be hold I have seen two is it co-incicdence?
    Love your new blog best of luck with it.

  4. I have a plate of unsalted nuts on my balcony just for you.
    Enjoy this time of ‘freedom’ while it lasts. I suspect a rest is well deserved.

  5. Hi Owen,
    Thanks for the encouragement. Since I was making so many changes, I thought that I would also go over to WordPress. I think there are pros and cons with both Blogger and WordPress. I like the fairly customizable nature of WordPress templates and it seems more bug free than Blogger. However, blogger seems to have more widget options which allows more customization. I think WordPress templates are less cluttered which mirrors what I am trying to do with my life.

    Thanks for the cheer section. Much appreciated.

  6. Yvonne,
    Thanks. It is good to have some change. If one is too static, they may think that one has given up the ghost.

    Violet Sky,
    You are so considerate; down to the fact that the nuts are “unsalted”. Thanks.

  7. Well good for you! I’m very interested in all of your upcoming endeavors…including your bird watching site. We have 3 budgies at home and I love to watch them. They are hilarious. =]

    I am also writing a novel for young adults. It sure is a lot of work…which I have to fit in the cracks of my life, but so far very enjoyable.

    I look forward to visiting you to see your progress.

    Good luck~
    Sweet Cheeks

  8. CARAMBA! That’s what I call news.
    You are a brave man, LGS. I hope you can do what you really want and that it will satisfy you. And stay healthy – over forty one is not healthy anymore, but only badly diagnosed 🙂 I wish you all luck.
    I think I can understand what you say about more clarity.
    And I am sure it will be fun to read you now more often!

  9. Wow! Good for you…! You have the courage to do what I have been considering doing for about a year. You may just have inspired me to finally make the leap.

    Here we go gathering nuts in May,
    Nuts in May, nuts in May,
    Here we go gathering nuts in May,
    On a cold and frosty morning.

    Well, except that it’s June, but who’s looking… 🙂

  10. Good for you! As for being helpful do you have programs there like Meals on Wheels? Any sort of feeding people is instant gratification and you don’t have to wait 10 years for results.
    I’m looking forward to reading the posts of a well-rested, less-stressed Lone Grey Squirrel.

  11. LGS-
    Good for you! There is always a time to make changes and you seem to have found yours! You seem to have a good plan and as been said before-Go For It and God’s Blessings on your new endeavor.

  12. Sweet Cheeks,
    I have toyed with the idea of a novel for many years. I hope I will make more of a progress this time. How far along are you on your novel?

    My friend, I have always considered you to be the brave one. Hope things are well with you.

  13. Jo,
    Well, isn’t your comment just intriguing. Will you be elaborating about it?

    We don’t have Meals on Wheels here but you have exactly the right idea. I would like to do something like that. I am thinking of helping in a food bank or to help a family dealing with cancer in practical ways. I have done the latter before. There is a charity called Hospice which recruits volunteers for this sort of work.

  14. Joyce,
    Thanks for your encouraging words. I very much value God’s guidance as I embark on this period of my life.

    Thanks. Appreciate the encouragement.

  15. Pleased to have you back, LGS. And your life changes inspire some of us (this blogger included) to re-evaluate too after a 33+ year in publishing may well come to a crashing halt. I have just published a children’s book myself, something I never expected to do, only a month ago. It just sort of happened out of a true-life, nationally newsworthy, squirrel-related adventure from 7 years ago. (OK, not a squirrel but a prairie dog.)
    Anyway I wish you well and hope to draw inspiration from you as I puzzle over what I’ll be doing until retirement age. Perhaps your example will shine light on some answers for me.

  16. Squirrelmama,
    I would love to know more (perhaps read/purchase) this children’s book that you speak of (even if it IS about a prairie dog). I am sure I will learn a lot from it. Best wishes with your own life musings.

  17. LGS, I believe that may also carry “Philomena’s Homecoming.” It is a fairly slim volume, written in simple language and….well, don’t expect great literature or poetry in that regard. But the story is, for the most part, true. The prairie dog was an unlikely pet that someone had dumped, she did survive some 18 months in the freezing cold by herself on a deserted beach and yes, she was rescued by a team of volunteers (I was on that team and so……the rest you can figure out). My friend Kathy, who handled all the heavy duty parts of the rescue, since she is the prairie dog pro who came in from Colorado, urged me to write a book about it because, I guess, she figured that any professional writer with 30+ years in the biz ought to have a book. I never felt any compelling need to write a book, much less a children’s book, but I wrote it to make her happy….and then I put it into storage for about 6 years. Until now. I realized that with the newspaper industry tanking, and my career possibly doing the same at an age I can ill afford the lack of solvency, I should probably haul out the little manuscript and see what happens. It’s been slow going so far since its publication 3 weeks ago but…..we’re in that odd time between the end of the academic year and the start of summer camp.
    If I can help you in any way, even to be a cheering section, let me know. It’s my first book, maybe my last, but I have gained some perspective on the process. Besides, a squirrelmama’s role in life is to help ALL squirrels, no?

  18. Squirrelmama,
    I do agree with your friend Kathy that someone like you with all that experience in publishing ought to have a book. Three weeks is not at all a long time for a new book. I have a friend Glenda that is now making a comfortable living from writing but it took her 10 years and about 7 books to get there. A lot depends on the publisher or someone pushing and marketing the book. So do hang in there.

    I shall of course see if I can add my self to the sales statistics. Philomena’s homecoming? Sounds very interesting. 🙂

  19. LGS, your words are very encouraging, as is Glenda’s example. I will keep all of that in mind when I see brick walls being built around me. Perhaps the answer is not to climb over the brick walls but to walk around them. 🙂

    Let me know if you have trouble finding the book, I do know that amazon’s Canadian site and its UK site both carry it……I would imagine international delivery is not impossible. I hope the book is something you find you can enjoy. It really is a tribute to a very courageous animal, and all the people who cared about her enough to save her life on one August morning 7 years ago. Out of that seemingly impossible task, a prairie dog was reunited with members of her own species – so vital to the quality of their lives – and marvelous new alliances were forged, as a team of rescuers changed from strangers into friends. (That part of the story – about the humans – is not in the book, however. No way would I upstage a prairie dog, or even dream of doing so, LOL!)

  20. Thanks LGS. Just a beginner finding my way – a long way to go to match the squirrel in terms of eloquence and volume!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s