“So, what are you going to next?”, “Where are you going?”, “What’s your new job?”
As soon as I announced I was leaving these questions came thick and fast. Of course I knew they would but I was woefully unprepared to answer them. “Um, I’m not sure yet.”, “I’m going to take some time to work it out”, “….” followed by an apologetic shrug. I can’t tell you the discomfort and plain horror I was faced with in response to these feeble mutterings. The woman who is a professional organiser, known for getting things done, doesn’t have a plan? It seemed to really unsettle some people. They almost took offence. How could I be so fool-hardy? Others assumed my personal circumstances meant I didn’t need or want to work. Assumed I was taking time to be a mum. *Newsflash* I’m always a mum! Being at work doesn’t get me off the hook!
It was hard not to feel unsettled myself by these strong reactions. Was I being foolish? Would employers look at a break in my career negatively? Should I be applying for jobs? It took another break a few weeks later in stunning Devon to get my head clear. I can vividly remember the moment of clarity as it came to me. Luke and the girls were off rock-pooling and I had fallen asleep in a deckchair on Saunton Sands beach*. I woke up looking out over perfect, sun-kissed, unbroken sands and calm blue sea and knew I wanted to be free. I needed to listen to my personal green cross code: stop, look around and listen to my gut. I didn’t want to apply for another job. I didn’t want to be an employee. When Luke came back with the girls I beamed up at him: “I’m going to set up my own business”. “Doing what?”. “I don’t know yet”. “Wicked!” Have I told you how amazing my husband is?
I was honestly ready to hear a list of reasons why this wasn’t a good idea but Luke couldn’t have been more supportive. He could see the spark had lit up in me again. And that support made me feel like I could do anything. I went back to my final few weeks at work totally relaxed in the face of the questions about my future. I told people I was going to go it alone but first I was going to take some much needed time off. This seemed to satisfy most. I even started to see a hint of envy play around the corners of those smiles as I told them my loose plan.
My break away from work was well timed; three weeks before the school summer holidays. Just enough time for a proper rest before a long stretch of family time. I promised myself I would not try to figure out my professional life during this time but, because I find it impossible to live without one, I did have a to-do list. This was it:
· Get back to the gym
· Read – for pleasure, for inspiration, for me
· Plan the summer to end all summers filled with glorious family fun
· Eat, drink and be merry with my wonderful friends.
All the elements of my life that I felt I had neglected for too long. All the things I needed in my life to make me feel whole, balanced and happy. And, for the first time in my adult life, I allowed myself to not think beyond that. To remain in the present. And to love it.
*This is a photo of the actual moment. I knew it was something I had to capture and remember and never lose sight of.