What next? First, a pause

Devon

“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.

 

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4 thoughts on “What next? First, a pause”

  1. It is great that you took a photo! I was in a very senior meeting when I had my light bulb moment so couldn’t take a picture but have it etched on my brain never the less. The speaker was saying “we all come to work because we enjoy it” and I realised that I not only didn’t enjoy it but I hated the effect it was having on my life. Unbelievably that was 9 years ago.

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    1. It’s incredible, isn’t it, that a moment can have such clarity and stay with us for so long. And how wonderful to hear it, and act on it! Thank you so much for sharing your ‘moment’ Emma. It’s great to see that, 9 years on, you made that change work so well. Really motivating.

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