Life is full or irony. I’m reflecting on a number of these ironies here on my last night in Lisbon. I’m also posting this on both my blog and Facebook and Twitter for a number a number of reasons I note below.
It has been three years since I retired from active life as a university professor- though some grad student thesis projects dribble on…. One of the changes in my retired lifestyle was a marked reduction in my business related travel. I don’t really regret this as my carbon footprint was getting so large, I couldn’t even find snow shoes large enough to fit. I had a good run. I probably did more than 40 keynotes (actually lost track) and travelled to every continent more than once –except Antarctica (penguins can’t yet see the value in distance education). The most obvious irony of this (pointed out to me by MANY over the years) is travelling to preach the benefits of Not travelling and getting an education online.
My retirement plan was mostly a non plan, with my usual commitment to say yes to any opportunities that arose. Retirement is great! Throughout my life I have either had TIME or MONEY – but never both. I don’t have a lot of MONEY but more than most and certainly enough. I’ve been able to rejuvenate my garage woodworking shop, spend lots more time on music, joined a choir and managed to “huff and puff” regularly at the Y or on hikes. But with Susan still working any exytended travel – beyond our annual pilgrimage to her dad’s cottage in northern Ontario, hasn’t been extensive. But I’ve had the TIME to do things or just put them off till I feel like it.
After a two year hiatus, I was really surprised to receive two invitations on the same day to do key notes– one from South Africa and one from New York. To add to the coincidence, they were for the same couple of days in early March. I accepted the South African not because of the extended air travel, but because I think my ideas might be more useful there than in New York. I was more surprised to get a third invitation to do a keynote in Lisbon – on the way to South Africa.
This challenge and opportunity was a bit more challenging this time, as I really couldn’t pull out one of my now three year old stock speeches. So, I created a new talk on social media.
Here in Lisbon, I spent time with another keynote speaker who is also an old friend from the Open University UK. Like me, Alan Tait has been retired for a few years. He inspired this post, by telling me his wife had asked him “When are you going to quit pretending that you are expert?” Maybe this it is just a getting old enhancement to the imposter syndrome, but her comment made me think. I might have exaggerated the irony by focusing my talks on social media, though I am only a reluctant user of Facebook, and honestly have even seen an Instagram screen.
But the trip and the conversations here in Lisbon have restored my confidence. I even talked to faculty member here who are interested in working on a book in which they would translate (and have any added commentary) some of my “seminal works” and then follow each up with studies in Portugal and Brazil that had applied these idea to their own research. VERY flattering, and of course I agreed to participate, though I won’t even be able to read the book, without the aide of Google Translate.
In any case this trip and thinking about social media has made me realize the segmented life that I live. There are likely very few people who are “friends on Facebook”, subscribe to my blog, follow me on twitter and have seen the Youtube videos I have uploaded. To perhaps help integrate my social and professional life, I link here to the slideshow presentation I did in Lisbon with hopes that some of my circles of Riverdale, Edmonton, distance education, back-to-the-land hippy, sailing, music and Unitarian friends and family can see the type of things I talk about when I put my keynote hat on.
Reflecting on the diverse groups I have had the pleasure to work and celebrate with over the years, makes me realize that I have been extraordinarily lucky and blessed with diversity.
All the best to each of you! I hope are paths cross virtually or F2F in the years I have remaining (ouch!)