By Jay Ledesma
WITH much reluctance, I got my computer and wrote my first column for the local weekly newspaper, Mindanao Journal. This was one year ago and the title of my column was “Second Wave”. That was just a few months after I retired from my job for 27 years and thought of writing about how one can reinvent oneself and find their second wind. My maiden article talked about my personal observations of how other people managed to find their second wave, especially in light of the pandemic outbreak.
A year after, I now share my personal account on how I have reinvented myself and enjoying my newfound second wave.
Overcome your limits. If given the chance, I would rather speak than write. Even when I was a student, I was not fond of essay writings. But I would participate in declamation, debate, and even spelling contests. I was not the typical girl who keeps journals or diaries. Writing was not just my cup of tea, I just felt I was not good at it. So when my husband, who is a gifted and prolific writer, asked me to write for his newspaper, I refused a thousand times. Then one day, I just told myself, "why not give it a try?’ I wrote my first article as mentioned above and continued writing one article after the other. Until I started loving it. This is now my 53rd article.
And something happened, in between, that I never expected. I now write for two national news outlets: The Philippine News Agency, which is the official news agency of the Philippine government, and The Manila Times, the oldest existing English-language newspaper in the Philippines. Now that I am retired and with the pandemic still very much around, I don’t have much opportunity to speak. But my writing gave me another avenue to impart, educate, inform and make a difference in the lives of other people. What I considered then my weakness and limitation is now proving to be a blessing and an asset.
Explore and stretch your imagination. Because I was so busy with my work demands before, I never had the chance to imagine what I can do better other than work. Then I chanced upon the number painting on FB. I bought two kits to while away my time. Then a few more. When I got more comfortable with the brush strokes, I tried to do my own. With the help and guidance from my husband, I started doing my own paintwork. I started with the simple objects around me then from our travel photos. To help in the awareness campaign on the importance of wearing masks, I did one covid-related paintwork showing different nationalities wearing the face mask. It received much appreciation and recognition from a number of our friends. I never thought that one piece would turn into a covid paintwork series that we eventually turned into a calendar. Yes, we did 13 covid-related paint works that were featured in the 2021 calendar that we produced. We are now planning to do Part 2. You can be amazed at what you can do when you allow your imagination to work.
Create the opportunity. I have always believed in the saying that "life does not always present you with opportunities. Most of the time you have to look for or create them.” A big part of my second wave is the podcast “ Leaders In Action” that I and my former boss, Mr. Aibee Cantos created and launched last May 2021. As part of our advocacy, this weekly program aired via FB and YouTube aims to support the agency leaders in the life insurance industry. We saw a strong need but there’s no available platform. So we created the opportunity where insurance leaders can listen, share and learn from each other. We are just in our first 3 months and already we have reached out to as many leaders out there. Who would have thought that I will still be a social media personality in my late 50s? But opportunities are limitless for those who seek and create. I am so excited about how we can still grow and expand the program in the future.
Continue what you do best and be relevant. There are tons of ideas that we can work on when deciding on our second wave. But it’s always wise to choose something where you can continue doing what you do best and stay relevant. With my solid experience in leadership and management, I know that this is the area where I can influence the most. My newspaper columns usually have this as my subject matter. Our podcast is all about agency leadership. It’s also important that I stay relevant. When I decide on what article to write, I always ask myself “Can my readers identify or relate to what I will be sharing? Will they take home something after they read my article?’ It’s only then that I believe my column is able to serve its purpose. When we produced our 2021 calendar, we were doing it only for my Davao-based colleagues. But it generated so much interest that we were distributing it across the country. My friend in the US even bought 25 pieces. What made our calendar differently? It was very relevant as it featured the different scenarios during the pandemic. It’s something that they can keep as memorabilia of the covid-19 pandemic. We followed the same when we decided to come up with the podcast “Leaders in Action”. With the expansion thrust of the insurance industry, there is a strong need for qualified agency leaders. Our program is designed to support this objective. Observe. Be attuned with what’s happening around you. That’s how I stay relevant.
Prepare way ahead for your second wave. The need for the so-called second wave usually happens when you plateaued on your current job/position or when you retired. But whenever or however it happens, we must always be prepared for it. My second wave was borne out of my voluntary early retirement. Based on my experience, the second wave always involves change, a paradigm shift, and discomfort during the transition phase. How little or big the discomfort depends on how well you have prepared for it. First, you have to be physically fit for it. A number of those who are still finding their second wave got sick because they stopped being physically active. Either you continue the physical activity that you are used to doing or making time to do the right amount of physical activities. Avoid having a sedentary life. Second, you have to condition your mind for a new routine and schedule of activities. Sudden change in routine or inactivity can cause mental stress. Doing something new and out of your comfort zone can cause fear and anxiety. Find something productive to do so you keep your mind busy and preoccupied. An idle mind is the seat of everything bad and sad. And lastly, you have to be financially prepared. Whether your second wave is meant to generate income or to pursue advocacy, financial preparation is needed. Not everything works out as you have planned. A big factor why I was able to find and smoothly transition to my second wave was because I did not have to worry about the financial aspect of what am doing. I do what I do now because I want to and not because I need to.
I am so thankful and feel blessed that I have found my second wave. It has given me a new purpose and a different appreciation of myself. It has given me a different kind of freedom and a sense of satisfaction. One year done… and looking forward to where my second wave will take me farther down the road.
Are you ready for your second wave?!
About the Columnist
Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.