Luxury of time

Luxury of time

I’m thinking about what luxury is.  The immediate images that spring to mind are things like 5 star hotels, holidays in the Seychelles, movie star lifestyles… things that most of us can only dream about.  Extreme luxury.

To some luxury might just be a chocolate bar.  A bed to sleep on.  A trip to the seaside.  Things that we might take for granted.

It depends where you’re coming from as to what luxury is.  Sometimes maybe it’s better being near the bottom of the heap because any slight perk seems like a luxury, you can be much more appreciative.  But to struggle is not the goal, not for anyone.  And no matter where you are in life, gratitude is always important.

I have time on my hands.  Some would say this is  luxury.  It can be both a blessing and a curse.  Feels like time has slowed down, as I watch the clock waiting for midday when I can leave the office and go waste an hour somewhere else.  Doing nothing makes the brain tick though, even if the clock doesn’t seem to be.  No distractions, just thoughts bubbling away.  Is this it?  Why am I doing this?  What else can I do?  Is it better than before?  And can I do this for x number of years, until my time is up… is it just time wasted??  WHAT CAN I DO???  What should I be doing…

When you’ve got lots to do, doing nothing is a joy.  When you’ve got nothing to do, doing nothing is tiresome.  I thought when you grew up these sorts of dilemmas went away, that you knew what your aims were and that’s it, you get on.  I still feel lost.  And in reality, time is slipping away.

 

Making the unstoppable stoppable.

It’s Friday.  Good feelings are therefore emanating through my body.  2 glorious days ahead away from the desk, but this weekend is a special one because the time has come for my 10k race.  My first, quite possibly my last!  I’m not a natural runner.  I’ve spent the last 4 months trying to train though, and although I’m probably not as fit as I could be I’m a hell of a lot better than when I first started.  I know I’m not going to be fast, I know I probably won’t be able to go the whole way without the odd bit of walking to catch my breath- but I WILL do it and I am doing it because my friend is ill, currently undergoing treatment, and these funds I’m raising will go towards helping her and millions of others suffering from insatiable cancer.  Maybe the research will help make the seemingly unstoppable stoppable.

It’s difficult when you feel helpless, there’s nothing you can do to make it ok for your friends and loved ones.  So this was something I could do, albeit small.  It’s something.  And thanks to my amazing supporters I will have raised over £500 which is fantastic, way more than I expected.

On Sunday I hope I am feeling unstoppable.  I love my friend very much, running 6.2 miles won’t make her better, but if it helps fund medicine that can then it’s worth it.

Crisis- it’s personal.

It’s been about 8 months since I left teaching behind and started my new ‘career’.  Once again I’m thinking about change, or how to change…to do… something.  I don’t want to go back to teaching.  I want to move forwards, but at the moment I feel a bit stuck.  My job is fine, it’s just not really full time.  I mean, it technically is, but really I could be here just a few days a week and get everything done.  The rest of the time I’m surfing the net, trying to look busy (which is harder than you’d think) and clock watching.  There have been days which have flown by in busy periods, where I’ve even left at the end of the day with a list of tasks still to be completed.  It’s merely that it doesn’t happen often.  Sounds like a dream, right?  But actually I was reading about boredom at work and how it can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.  I can believe it.  It’s almost as though I’ve gone back to my post-Uni temp days- but not quite as terrible (as I pretty much had stapling for a job… just stapling)!  Where are the inbetween jobs- ones that aren’t so stressful they have you nearing nervous breakdown, but also aren’t so mind numbingly dull and simple?  To be fair, I do have challenges at work and I have learnt a lot.  I do like where I am, I like the people.  Yet still feel a little underwhelmed and invisible.

On a tangent- I’m not good at making friends; too shy, too introverted, too busy thinking people won’t be interested in what I have to say…  Other newbies have started at work and they all go out for lunch together.  I go on my own.  I just don’t know how to ingratiate myself.  Sometimes I like being on my own.  I need to be on my own.  But I’d like if people sometimes came to talk to me, like they do the others.  Before you say ‘why don’t you go to them?’, I do.  It’s rarely reciprocated, they have people in their office to talk to, I don’t as I’m sat on my own.  Pros and cons though, pros and cons.

I was looking today at houses for sale in a completely different area to my current home town.  Maybe next year I will move away and start again.  Again.  I’ll have 2 years experience in a different field, that should count for something.  There’s the whole moving further afield from friends and family, but honestly my friends are all living in different areas anyway, they all have children keeping them busy (I have a dog, that’s all I want), so I don’t exactly see them often anyway.  I don’t know what’s stopping me from taking the plunge.  Perhaps the fear of feeling even more isolated, further away from loved ones.  I will be married though, by then.  See- I’m not that bad, someone wants to marry me!  I won’t be on my own.  It could be great for us, you don’t know unless you try right?  I have a while to consider anyway, nothing will happen until after the wedding and my contract here is finished.  Until then these personal crises will go round and round in my head until I figure out what it is I need to do.

For now, I will try to be content with all the lovely things I do have, spend time with people I love and go for long strolls with my pup in some beautiful places!

The in/significance.

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Lately I’ve been contemplating things as they stand.  You know sometimes you just have those days where you question everything, things that you thought you’d resolved or come to terms with creep back into your mind and the carousel spins on.  The doubts about what you’re doing, or where you’re going… if anywhere.

Yesterday was the anniversary of a death of a close friend, inevitably there were posts on facebook remembering him (he himself would never have gone on facebook!)  He was very much loved and an inspirational character.  Someone wondered if he would be proud of them and what they’re doing, which got me thinking about my own situation.  And comparing it to everyone else.  Social benchmarking- never a good idea.  I’ve been told I’m not good at just being content; by more than one person, at completely different times in my life.  They’ve said I always want something else, used grass is greener analogies and commented that not everyone is in professions they love… that in fact most people aren’t.  I tend to feel like I’m a failure intermittently (regardless of whether I am or not), yesterday was one of those days.  I left a profession which is sometimes deemed as worthwhile, virtuous perhaps, to sit in an office and sometimes do very little indeed.  Same sector, completely different job.  So there I was thinking what am I doing?  Is this it?  I’m not wildly successful, not following my dreams (I’m not entirely sure what they are at the moment), not highly paid, not anything…  But then I was reminded- I have a job.  I get paid.  I have my flat.  I have a wonderful fiancé and a soppy dog who I love crazy amounts.  I have achieved things, travelled, taught for 10 years and had the courage to leave because it wasn’t for me.  Who’s to say this is failing?  Could I do more?  Perhaps.  I’m training for a 10k run.  I visit friends and family, I like to think I’m there for them when they need me.  If I could change something, more than wanting a fantastic job, it’s that I wish I saw more of my friends.  I’ve come to realise that personal happiness is more important to me than having an amazing career.  For some people the two might be linked.  But I spent years working every hour God sends and feeling that however much I did it was never enough, it just wasn’t enjoyable.  I feel like now I have more balance and that has to be a good thing.

You often read articles about how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.  It’s true.  It’s not to say our lives don’t matter, they do to us and to our loved ones, but we’re a speck on the horizon shortly to be out of sight and gone forever.  Perhaps we should stop giving ourselves such a hard time, stop comparing our lives to those around us- what is great for one person is dastardly for another.  Time to appreciate what I have, while I have it and be grateful for it all.

Ringing the changes.

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It’s been a while since I last wrote.  I said nothing stays the same, but not much has changed in the last few months, not for me.  My job hasn’t got much busier and now it is the Easter holidays things are even quieter.  I really like the regular pay, knowing how much I will get, being able to afford to pay all the bills and sometimes even going out for dinner.  It’s nice.  I haven’t had that for the last 4 years or so what with being on temporary contracts.  But I spent the last ten years having not a spare second in my working day, now I have hours.  Sometimes.  My friend told me this is what office work is like, sometimes you are literally just waiting to go home.  Others look busy, but they’re not.  They’re just more well versed at hiding their lack of things to do.  I think that’s almost an art in itself, looking industrious even when actual tasks are few and far between.  Anyway, I’m not going to complain, just mention that I’m not sure if this is sustainable for a prolonged period of time.  It isn’t always like this anyway.  And when it gets crazy busy, will probably be unsure about that too!

 

Pondering the changes.

Last year was pretty good, by all accounts.  As the new year approached it’s not often I’d say that, it’s usually ‘hurrah, let’s sack off that year and bring on the next!’  But last year I had a great job for 7 months in a lovely school, went on a fantastic trip to Australia, I got a dog who is the best thing since sliced bread, I managed to change career finally and I got engaged!

It’s been 2 months since I started my new job.  I like being able to help people and sorting problems out, I like that it is quiet and I have my own office.  I like having a lunch break.  Little things.  There are still a lot of things I can’t do (not allowed yet) or don’t know how to do.  But I’ll learn.  Sometimes there’s not enough to do, which sounds good but actually seems to make time slow down, even though that’s impossible.  Sometimes it is lonely.  I’ve never been great at making small talk and fitting right in with people.  I try and talk but end up spouting nonsense that is boring or too personal or a conversation stopper.

We are 2 weeks into the new year.  There has been a death in the family.  It was expected, but still sad.  Always is.  Someone that has always been a part of my life, gone.  Really she went some time ago, age can take a person and leave the shell intact- more or less.  She will be at peace now with Grandpa.

2 days after this I got a stomach bug and my insides fell out.  Not pleasant.  I didn’t know we could store so much within.  I wondered when it would end.  Luckily it was only for a day, I’m just left feeling tired.  This also appeared to be my birthday present.  It’s not been a great time.  I hope this is not setting the tone for the rest of the year to come.  There is also a lot to look forward to, so I will focus on the positive and keep striving for happy times.

New horizons

What is life after before?  Well, it’s all about changes.  Whether they are personal, social, work related… like it or not, our lives change all the time.  Sometimes it is because of our own choices or decisions that things change, sometimes it is beyond our control and we have to adjust to the hand that fate (or our friends/family!) deals us.

Recently I have undergone several big changes in my life.  The most significant of all is that I left my profession.  I was a teacher.  Just two weeks ago, I was a teacher.  I suppose part of me always will be, and should I want to I could always go back.  But after a decade in the profession and several years of trying to get out, I finally did it.

I’d read countless articles and forum feeds where teachers asked the question, ‘what can I do after teaching?’, because I wanted to know myself- what jobs could you go into?  I found these threads generally had no answers, just teacher upon teacher wanting to know the same thing; deprecating the profession, declaring burnout, that they couldn’t do it anymore, that they had no love for the job anymore, that various bureaucracies, constant observations, limitless workloads and unreasonable expectations had pushed them over the edge.  It was everything I felt, but provided little solace as it seemed there was no escape.  Yet in the news I was always reading about the high rate of teachers quitting the profession, that retention levels were falling, so somehow, somewhere, there were thousands of teachers leaving and finding other jobs.  Perhaps many of those that left did so because they had children to care for and so didn’t actually find other jobs, perhaps some were lucky enough to not need to work and had a partner well paid enough to support them.  But in all those numbers leaving, some of them MUST have switched professions.  The answer was still elusive though.  I could read about all the transferable skills teachers have, I knew I had many abilities that could be utilised elsewhere.  Finding someone to take a leap of faith, to trust you were capable of doing something else seemed to be another hurdle to overcome though.  After going to several agencies to try and get ‘a foot in the door’ I was left thoroughly disheartened.  They told me that although I was probably more than capable of doing many of the jobs, my lack of experience in anything other than teaching meant that employers wouldn’t give me a second look.  I went home and got into bed.  It seemed there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  I couldn’t afford to undertake voluntary work to gain experience, not with a mortgage and bills to pay.  Teaching doesn’t leave much free time (despite the fact that many people seem to think you finish at 3pm and are on holiday for half the year).  I couldn’t see a way out.

For a while I resigned myself that this was it, I was stuck doing something I didn’t enjoy, that sapped every ounce of energy I had, that took a toll on my mental wellbeing and my relationships.  Every now and then, though, I would find a job and think, ‘I could do that!’ and I’d apply for it.  The arduous 4 hour long process of filling in online forms detailing qualifications, career history, gaps in employment and a personal statement was not something I relished, but that’s the way it was.  It seems a CV is redundant in the internet age, despite containing all the relevant information.  Then, about a month ago, I was flabbergasted to get a couple of emails inviting me to interviews.  Two in one day!  After years of literally nothing but rejection.  I accepted both interviews and was offered one of the jobs.  With a little trepidation, this was a huge change- I’d spent 10 years teaching- I accepted.  It is an administrative role- something that teachers are well versed in.  It doesn’t pay as much, but it’s enough.  The hours are good.  I have an actual lunch break.  I don’t have to raise my voice or have 5-11 year olds make me feel like crap.  I sit by myself, I can have the radio on quietly.  I’m not as busy and I find this a little difficult, but I’m sure it will get better the more I learn how things are done.  So there IS life after teaching.  I don’t currently miss it, I’m glad I found an out.  It may not be the dream job, but I already feel happier.