My Last Week....
So here it is. This week will be my last at work, and it's been a long time coming.
And this is me, a fully grown adult with a career I don't ever really remember looking for. Drawn into that 'traditional model of success', like that lucky magpie that comes across a nice shiney Kit-Kat wrapper. Yes, I'm financially stable, I have a wonderful partner, a home, I've secured a good job making more money than I could have ever dreamed of making. I've been able to catch up to that carrot at the end of the stick and I have taken a big old bite. The problem is that the carrot at the end of the stick didn't fill me up the way I had assumed it would, the way I assumed it filled everyone up. The truth is what I'd hoped for, what I'd worked towards just wasn't enough.
I can pin-point that moment I knew I wanted to travel back to my University days, when I started getting itchy feet. So admittedly it turned out to be a rather virulent strain of athlete's foot, contracted from the less than desirable Hall's of Residence communal showering facilities and questionable hygiene standards…..however, the sign was still there.
On one particularly mind numbingly tedious day I asked myself the question…what would the 'me' of ten years ago say if she met me now? The one that spent her days sitting in the kitchen, drinking wine (with the taste and alcohol content more accustomed to the shelves of B and Q as opposed to One-Stop) full of dreams and potential, her legs dangling over the edge of all the possibilities that the world could offer. I can't help but think that she would be pretty disappointed with this life wanting more, accompanied by a few choice words, a kick up the jacksie and a bad ass Chinese burn.
I'm not going to sit here and say that I know what 'More' is. What I do know is there's a big wide world out there. 'More' for me involves exploring that, experiencing that, living that. It has something to do with expanding the orbit that my life rotates within.
Of course this means leaving behind my wonderful friends and my loving family and all their support and kindness. There is no doubt in my mind there will be times when i get homesick and question if I've made the right decision. So for these times, when I'm feeling down, I've written a few little reminders of the things that I'm not so sorry to see the back of.....
1) The daily grind I've come to know as my commute. National Rail, I would like to offer you a special thank you. From the bite off that rabid child, to the infested upholstery, to the man with the angry looking boils and phlegm who sat next to me every day for a week, to the slobber from the woman drunk on white lightening who decided my shoulder was the most appropriate place to bed down for the night, for every ailment, infection and virus I have contracted through your toxic network of sardine cans. I can hand on heart say that by paying the small mortgage you laughably refer to as a season ticket, that I have at least saved myself the need for any vaccinations, as I am now a proud card carrying member of every infectious disease ever to have graced mankind.
2) My job, the insurmountable list of unread emails, the incessant summons to pointless, dry, action less meetings after meetings, with over-stressed people being forced to complete checklists just to confirm they've done things which don't really matter. I'd love to say that I handed in my notice with a Jerry McGuire like finesse and punched the air whilst simultaneously flipping the bird to all that have gotten in between me and my coffee in the converted cupboard otherwise known as the staff kitchen. Unfortunately the sense of good old British propriety prevailed, and my career crescendo amounted to a crumpled letter, a sweaty palmed handshake, followed by stale cakes for the team from Gregg's cast off bin.
3) The Great British weather, oh how we love it. The hordes of families sitting in their Volvo estates, sporting skin so white it burns my retinas, using buckets and spades as lethal weapons to obtain a prime parking space on Clacton seafront. And then the next day we contend with apocalyptic skies, the downpours causing drivers temporary inability to function behind the wheel, the ever increasing risk to optical health from wayward umbrellas, the deep sinking regret at deciding today was going to be a 'white shirt day', and then spending the rest of the day drenched looking like a cross between Edward Munch's 'The Scream' and an extra out of MTV's Spring Break Party.
4) A Lack of Time. There are hundreds of things that I've always enjoyed doing, or wanted to do, but never had the time to even consider. The 45 hours a week that I am contractually obliged to stay in the office has often expanded to fill any and all available time, and the thing that suffered was always my personal life. Why is time always a commodity, something we trade so freely, we give and take without any thought? Well, here's to time, the time to go ostrich racing, to trek through the jungles, to climb with the monkeys, to do whatever the damn hell I want for as long as I want. I'm leaving my watch behind - that incessant tick tocking stabbing my conscience, reminding me of where I should be and what I should doing without offering me the time to appreciate where I actually am. So goodbye my faithful friend - I shan't be needing you where I'm going…
So here we are. In a few days I'm swapping my laptop for a backpack, my commute for the jet plane, leaving behind a well-paid, stable career, to enter a life of no income, and no fixed abode - in short, a life without a plan but a life full of potential.
So let us raise a mug of cheap plonk to you - the 'me' of yesteryear - this is for us, this is our story…..