Off to a profound start. This was one of many questions that were swimming in my mind in the years leading up to this supposedly-life changing break. What break?, you ask. Fair, I jumped in with no preamble.
After much deliberation, I decided to get off the treadmill that was my life as I knew it, for a few months, in the hope to rest, re-energise, change my worn-out shoes for a new pair, hydrate and get back on. For those of you not as keen on metaphors – I mean I decided to leave my job and uproot my life to take a long-ish break and change some things. Why? Because, I realised that somewhere along the way, my job and my life had taken a direction that didn’t sit right with me. I felt like I had fallen out of sync with my life, had more big questions than big answers in my mind, and felt exhausted on so many levels that I wasn’t really living. I had to change that if I didn’t want to live half a life anymore. And I did not.
I noodled on that thought for six months, and finally actually made the decision on February 10, 2020, per noodling. Gave notice at work as a Valentine’s Day present to myself, and left work a month later. Wait, isn’t that exactly when coronavirus put the world on pause?
Ah yes, you noticed. Yes, I thought I was working perfectly to a plan – but turns out I missed syncing schedules with the Universe’s plan. Rookie mistake. Turns out my Big Career Break coincided almost too perfectly with the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe and the UK. And basically everywhere. Lovely.
(I promise I’m not trying to make the pandemic about me, but it is relevant with regards to this blog’s existence. So bear with me, please.)
My goals for this time off were:
- Re-energise and recover creative energy
- Learn, have new experiences and broaden perspective
- Improve physical, mental, spiritual health
- Enjoy and really feel alive
- Make progress on uncovering answers to life’s biggest questions
(Can you tell there is a somewhat morbid backstory? Yes there is, but that’s for another time.)
I had a wishlist of things I wanted to do during this time. Without going into details, they involved some travel, some new experiences, some family time, lots of time in museums and exhibitions, yoga courses and spiritual workshops. Almost all of which had to be struck off the list because of The Pandemic (yes, it deserves capitalisation). And the lockdown that followed. And so it felt like this journey was called off before the train even left the station. (I like metaphors okay, you’ll get used to it)
But I decided not to call it off. It only changed shape and form. I decided to keep going – the stars had aligned, my intuition told me it was the right thing to do even if I had no clarity on the immediate future even, there was never going to be a better time even if this timing was shit. I had kicked something off with a lot of resolve, and I had to see it through, no matter how it ended.
As crazy as it seems, that was over four months ago.
And so – four months on, I’ve finally decided to stop giving in to all the nagging, whining emotions in my head (parent: fear) and instead make way for my slightly brighter compulsion to share (parent: curiosity). I’ve been feeling an itch to write and share, to provide solidarity to those in a similar boat, and feed the curiosity of those who aren’t. This is a story with a beginning, a long middle, an out-of-order prologue, and a yet-to-be-known end. At best, it’ll be funny and inspiring. At worst, it’ll be uncomfortable. Realistically, it’ll probably elicit a few chuckles and maybe a surprised “ah” and some contemplative “hmm”s.
Follow along for those chuckles, “ah”s and “hmm”s. It’ll be fun. Maybe.
(Next Up – S1E01: “What Have You Been Doing Now That You Can’t Do Anything?”)