I didn’t know how I’d react to feeling like an outsider until it happened. It hasn’t been at all the way I would have imagined it. I would have expected that if I had changed my place of work and career in my fifties that I would have felt like an outsider, perhaps, for a few days, maybe a few weeks at most. But by then I would have made a few friends, or at least some possible friend-types, and encountered lots of colleague/acquaintances with which I had polite and friendly chats while making coffee or rinsing my cup… That’s how it’s gone in years gone by.
I would never have expected it to go on and on for week after week after week, and for it to feel the way it sometimes does – isolating, sometimes even lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed or upset – just trying to take a semi-objective (or possibly totally subjective!) approach to a subject I now know a lot more about than I did a few years ago.
I spent several hours this morning thinking about the concept of being an outsider. I had wanted to get back to my desk and type up a few quick notes while they were still fresh, that could form into the bones of a post but I had been busy involved in various tasks that didn’t give me that opportunity.
When I finally got back to my desk I was invited to join a group of 5 other staff taking a few minutes out of their busy days to play a quick impromptu game of scattergories while most of the team, in fact most of my colleagues on this floor were away from their desks at an event.
Given that I hadn’t played before, and that my head was in a particularly “Dory” type of space and capable of very little productive thought (“Just keep swimming”) – my answers were hardly creative or inspired – but I gave it a go. We played for no longer than ten to fifteen minutes, but we also laughed at out answers. This interaction resulted in my feeling a little less like a total outsider, the subject I had been about to write about!
I think there’s a lesson here for me. As I make observations about myself, my feelings and my world, I’m aware that both my feelings and observations are quite fluid and prone to change. It’s a good reminder to hold those feelings lightly, don’t give them too much attention, keep them in perspective, then see if they change and/or wander off, as feelings are want to do (a little like cats really!)