03 September 2008

Chimes of Freedom

Summer never properly arrived this year, but today it seemed to be having one last attempt. Having finally replaced the inner tube on the rear wheel of my bike, and also having missed three days running (arriving too late, and in the middle of a thunderstorm, for a club run yesterday), I resolved to make the most of being mobile again and rode to the station.
I didn't make it in time to get the 0730 (not a very ambitious target anyway) but I enjoyed a beautiful early autumn morning. So did several others, and I passed two runners (one actually proceeding at little more than a walk, but he did look like a very senior runner) heading north and three or four cyclists heading south. I arrived at the station feeling very mellow, and even found myself singing "Tonight" from Nick Lowe's first album, Jesus of Cool - which I haven't heard for, what, at least 25 years.
I realised sometime in the last twelve hours - perhaps it came to me when I was asleep, or perhaps just dozing - what has changed in my working life. Although I can still interrupt myself and get sidetracked, and my priorities are turned upside down from time to time when a new job or new client appears, I find myself in command of my own time. It's self-determination, an expression that formed a central part of political debates in the seventies (before Nick Lowe recorded that first solo album). I don't have to fit in my work round meetings, usually meetings that achieve very little (like a scene from John Cleese's great training film, Meetings Bloody Meetings), nor am I on an externally dictated programme of anti money-laundering checks, client verification and preparation of detailed, backside-covering engagement letters. Although I can't ignore these requirements, I can deal with them in my time and in my own way.
Now that I am liberated, I just need to be careful that I use that liberty responsibly ...

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