Worst Day, Best Day.
In Australian Aboriginal society, a “walkabout” is a rite of passage during which male adolescents undergo life in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. The journey marks the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood. Nowadays, Australians have co-opted the word to describe their journeys around the globe.
We’ve been fortunate to have many Modern Elder Aussies do a walkabout to Baja. Most recently, it was Paul Gordon (www.spenditude.com) who came for a couple of days just to learn more about MEA (as it was when we didn’t have a workshop), while he was mixing wisdom and wanderlust on multiple continents. On our ramble down the beach, I learned a few things from him, including the fact that your worst day at work could end up being your best day. Maybe even a golden opportunity.
In his mid-40’s, Paul was “retrenched” (aka, made redundant) in corporate Australia. At the time, a wise offboarding expert posed a surprising exercise for him. Rather than suggest he make a list of ideal next career paths, she asked him to make a list of what he didn’t want to do again. In other words, she asked him to create a career editing filter to tap into his accumulated wisdom.
Academics call this “environmental mastery,” the ability to know where to “repot” oneself in the right habitat, a quality we get better at with age. Today, Paul says his worst day is now an endless series of best days because he took that advice and avoided the things that no longer served him.
How could you become a better midlife editor—turning your worst days into your best days?