What does Redefining Work Mean to Me in April 2017?

The Author

E. Alana James

E. Alana James

Dr E Alana James is reinventing herself again! Coming full circle to the first love of her life - art - and bringing back to her images all the lessons of her life as author, researcher, academic and wife. Concerned mostly with the idea of images as vehicles for expression of the truth of our inner and outer life experience.

Such a question! 

I am fortunate to have brothers and sisters between 11 and 18 years older than I am.  All through my life visiting them has given me a glimpse into the next stage of life and because of that, I have been able to chart a course that has gone differently than the norm.  I’ll write elsewhere about the tertiary issues that work along with how I am redefining work for myself: 1) 60 as the new 40, 2) keeping up the holism of work/life/mental/physical/spiritual balance, 3) bringing the mantra of doing no harm into the center of my life along with love and compassion for others.


So setting those things aside, What does it mean to be a 64-year-old woman, entrepreneur, whose business is just taking off?  At 5 am, when I am up writing this because that is the time of day I am always writing, it means Discipline, Vision, and Letting the Universe Guide the Path. 


I follow Anthony Iannarino at the moment.  He writes about sales, but also about life and making the most of it.  He says that while goals are good, they don’t get us to where we want to go – they end when we complete them – and then what?  Disciplines are what we do every day – for the rest of our lives.  Disciplines get us to our visions of ourselves.  My niece Cindy might say rituals, and she uses the rituals involved with yoga to stay healthy and happy.  The differ

My niece Cindy might say rituals, and she uses the rituals involved with yoga to stay healthy and happy.  The difference as I see it is where we hold our daily practices in our heads.  As a teacher, we have “practice” as the word we use to discuss our work, but perhaps that word doesn’t have the every day attached to it that discipline or ritual would hold it too.

I think I’ll stick with discipline – and I think that redefining work after 60 means deciding the disciplines I need that will underpin who I want to be in my 80s,  At this birthday the two disciplines that define my work life are writing and selling, with building new options for students always in the picture as well.  These will, I believe, carry me for another 10 years.

These will, I believe, carry me for another 10 years.


 Fortunately, I have two friends here in Kinsale in their 90s and so I have good models for life that is vibrant and people who are focused more on life that builds on itself rather than just maintaining itself.  When I look ahead past the next decade I think the work of life will transition with the sale of the business I am building, to the work of expanding into what it means to be completely alive.

I am currently reading the Dalai Lama’s discussions on joy with Archbishop Tutu.  I want to be 80 like those men are 80, but in my own way of course.  That is how I see redefining work as becoming the most I can personally be as human. When I think about it I have always defined work as an evolutionary pathway to being the most I can be, to making the most of life that I can create, for being the vehicle through which life molded me as much as I molded myself.

Letting the Universe Guide the Path

One of my mentors, Deepak Chopra, asked once what kind of a present we would want? The first would be just the thing we had picked out for ourselves, and then told someone about so they could buy it for us.  The second would be something completely unexpected, something maybe that we weren’t even sure we wanted or needed but that turned out to be just the riht thing over time?  

I want to live life – and have redefined my work because of that desire – to have huge elements of the second kind of gift.  Because I set out on work paths not sure where exactly I am going, work has taken me to some very unexpected places.  My mother said “I always:land on my feet” which is good since many of those places have been risky, dangerous and at times actually put my life on the line.

I don’t foresee going to those edges again, but I will continue to let the universe guide the path.  Many have said that the more you know the more you know you don’t know – thank heavens then we don’t always have to feel like we are in charge.  

In other posts I will go into the next question – If I am not in charge, who is?  Rather who is the I that is in charge as I see it?