Time Out

Five days of not working weekdays have now passed. It's a very unfamiliar situation for me, as I have been lucky enough to have been continuously employed for over thirty years (in the same field - even more unusual nowadays, I'm told). However, this change was very much my decision; after a tough few years, including a breakdown earlier this year, I desperately needed some significant time and space to heal. Counselling has been a huge help and has given me a lot of tools to help with my anxiety and I believe I am no longer officially depressed, which is great. Just the anxiety then… Something had to give and the only thing it was easy/practical to remove was the day job, so I did. My employer was great and worked with me to expedite my departure. I have promised myself at least six months of not even thinking about working - and yes, I'm fully aware that I'm very lucky to be able to do that, as not many people are. I suppose I could have taken more sick leave, but underlying that is always the worry of going back to work, as well as that of feeling a bit like a fraud - I'm old enough to have the view that being off sick should mean in bed, unable to function completely, otherwise one struggles on.

Anyway, the decision was made and here I am at the end of the first week. Already I am more relaxed, although I know that my instinct is always to look for something to worry about, so I am making a conscious effort to be aware of that; I don't intend to replace work worries with fretting about when I go to the supermarket (yes, I do that - I did it last night, until I gave myself a mental slap). I have spent a couple of days being ridiculously tired, but then I have been surviving on an average of 5.5 hours sleep per night for the last five years.

I have set some goals for myself - only loose ones, no pressure.

I want to develop some of my artistic/crafty skills, which essentially gives me permission to draw, knit, crochet, paint, make cards, carve wood and anything else that takes my fancy. Ideally I'd stick at one thing and become very skilled at it, but I've always been a bit of a butterfly mind - good at most things I turn my hand to, but not brilliant at any one thing.

I want to increase the amount of piano/organ time I have - already I have made myself more available for Sunday services at the local parish church, so that's in progress. Add to that I'd quite like to improve my guitar/mandolin/ukulele playing, too.

I want to get fitter (and, hopefully, slimmer as a result). I'm walking more, because I'm not finishing work at the last minute before I go out, and because I have the time in the day to do so. I prefer to take specific walks, not least so that I can take my camera(s) and I have resolved to get out in the misty Autumn mornings, to see what I can photograph. How long the walking lasts when the winter chill arrives remains to be seen. Although, I won't have to fit my walks into weekends, or early morning/evening.

I want to learn something new (-ish), whether that be picking up some more Esperanto, or refreshing my last-century programming skills. At the moment I haven't decided what the new thing will be.

All very introspective and probably quite dull to the outside world, but I thought if I published this to my blog it might act as a kind of contract with myself and it also serves as a starting-line against which I can measure my progress.