Man meets hospital. Survives.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Beach Peace

Life has a way of throwing you curveballs.

And by “curveballs”, I mean a visit to hospital via paramedics and an ambulance. While I’m all for new experiences, this was not one I found particularly thrilling, especially the moments spent laying on gurney, wondering if the brief goodbye I’d said to my wife and daughter that morning would be the last time I ever saw them.

Thankfully, the whole situation turned out to be waaaaaaay less serious than that, as the intersection of a couple of different problems, neither too serious on their own, created something that looked a bit too much like a serious heart attack or stroke for anyone’s comfort. Certainly it looked enough like it that I spent a while strapped to various machines, being monitored very closely indeed.

God bless the NHS…

Doctor’s orders

Still, the existence of the two lesser things that created this issue was flagged up to me as a warning sign that I need to make some life changes in the near future. The last 30 months or so have been an absolute roller-coaster ride, through pregnancy, house-buying, redundancy, moving, building freelance career, parenthood, adjusting to part-time freelance working, juggling multiple projects using different skillsets and ways of working, bereavement, removing clients who didn’t respect my time or experience, gently trading up to better paid work, and that sort of thing.

For over two years, I have worked like I have never, ever worked before – and built a good income. My ability to support my own family is directly linked to my own effort, and that makes it really, really hard to switch off.

I’m my own boss, and I’m pretty much the worst boss I’ve ever had – I’m terrible at giving myself time off, and I give myself worse performance appraisals than any editor or manager ever has done. And, as a doctor with a tired expression and a nice line in wit made it very clear, my boss needs to shape up and do so pretty sharpish, unless I fancy being a return customer. And A&E doctors are one of the few professions that don’t like repeat customers.

So, what now?

Plans? Some downtime in June – I’m not accepting any more work for this month, bar that I’m already committed to, and I’m going to be quite selective about what I take on for the rest of the summer. There’s a couple of projects I really want to be involved with, so I need to clear the space to do that. There’s a business partnership I want to build, that I’ll be talking more about later this month.

But most of all, I need to find a way of doing good work – and working hard – while still finding time to relax and enjoy the life it brings me.

Wish me luck.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.