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My two-year life changing theory.

Basically, life has taught me that any major life-changing event takes AT LEAST two years to process fully (though understandably many will never get past bereavement of a loved one).

In effect, what I’m saying is, in my experience when major life events happen that affect our very core being (a complete career change as one example), there are no short cuts, it takes real time to adjust.

Also, in my experience, this theory stands whether or not the event is either planned or comes as a total surprise/shock. Obviously, being able to plan for such change should make things easier, but good old ‘real life’ just doesn’t work that way and there will always be ‘unintended consequences’.

Maybe the ‘two year’ theory applies because during the first year after such a change in circumstances we then experience it through key times – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, Christmas (what will my first birthday or Christmas be like without certain friends, or colleagues etc. those key events that happen annually) and then in the second year we are dealing with the then ‘known’ differences to our lives through the same annual processes.

My most recent experience confirms the theory for me. It’s certainly taken me two full years to get local and party politics right out of my system.

In the year 2000 I decided to get involved in local politics. Success led to twelve years as a district councillor, which also included four years as a county councillor, two and a half years as leader of the opposition and two and a half years as council leader. Just for good measure, a five-year stint as a school chair of governors overlapped all of those roles.

In short, increasingly over that fifteen-year period, there was less and less spare or personal time. Indeed, towards the end, every day was full and I was very lucky indeed to be at home more than one evening in a week. The whole experience was a real honour and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but the same public duty was also a rollercoaster picking up speed and going faster and faster as time went on.

Only this year, two full years since I stood down from the council, have I completely come to terms with having most evenings and weekends to myself. I still do my bit for my local community and I still try to use personal skills and knowledge so gratefully gleamed through public service for the wider public good, but fortunately I now do it all in a far healthier manner.

Indeed, my wife and I recently enjoyed a kind of ‘second honeymoon’ to celebrate twenty years of marriage and I ‘switched off completely’ for the first time this millennium – I didn’t wear (or even pack) a watch!


Clive Hart
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