Two and a half years ago I begged for redundancy, walked away with a fat bank account and a nice little cushion of shares, put all of my belongings in to storage and went travelling. My reasons for leaving were simple - I needed to change my life. My team were all based overseas. My boss and colleagues were in a different time zone. Most of the people in my building chose to work from home most days of the week. So I would turn up, have one or two conversations at the coffee machine, another couple of conversations on the phone, tick items off the ever increasing list of thankless tasks and then drive home. The journey itself was so familiar as to be totally monotonous. I lived on a modern housing estate in walking distance of a family pub and a 24 hour Tesco and little else - no boutiques to browse. I went to yoga classes in the evening but in the course of 3 years had no more than passing conversations. I went to dance classes in the town I am living in now, only to find myself pairing up with women. It wasn't a life.
But with redundancy this was all about to change. I visited my sister for the month of May, relieved but slightly terrified at my new found freedom. I then packed a rucksack and made my way to South East Asia for 3 months - Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. But despite seeing some wonderful sights it was still a very solitary venture. I didn't seem to meet anyone travelling in the same direction for any length of time.
I returned home and stayed at my Dad's house for a month and feeling kind of stifled and under pressure, I manifested this wonderful little house in Bishops Stortford. It was exactly what I was looking for. And from here I intended to get high paying contracts in London as a Project Manager and use the rest of my redundancy money and shares to buy my own house.
Except that's not how it worked out. The agencies regarded me with suspicion for being away for several months. I had very generic skills. I lost my confidence and then I lost my self esteem. In fact, it's questionable as to whether I ever really had any self esteem. I started signing on. I lost my car. I lost my sense of humour.
So with my pool of savings slowly being eaten away by renting a house that I couldn't afford, I stopped spending on myself. I continually validated that 'things would change when I got a job' but until then 'I couldn't afford it'. I was isolated, bored and lonely. I still am.
But that is all about to change. This New Year is going to be a good one, and it will start by ending the ridiculous notion that this house is a good place to live. I feel burdened by the cost of living here. I feel dragged down by my possessions. I have been taking life far too seriously for far too long. It's time to stop giving two hoots to money and start having FUN. It's time to start dating, to be wined and dined. It's time to start dancing and laughing. It's time to start living and loving.
I went to bed at 1am after searching for rental properties in the area I want to live, and my busy head started to consider my options. At 2am I was going through all of my storage cupboards and boxes in my head and working out what to sell. There were so many things that on reflection I have no attachment to whatsoever. At 3am I got up to make a cup of tea and scanned my Zohar out of pure frustration - give me some clues, I want to take action. I started to chew on the idea of living in a smaller space but spending much less time in it - all of the activities I could do during the week which would start filling my life with FUN rather than this monotonous, self induced stress. I think I fell asleep around 4am.
This morning I woke up with a headache and eye-ache and face-ache and toothache and made my way to the train station to make the bi-weekly trip to the Job Centre. At Broxbourne I took out my iPod, asked the question "so, tell me, is moving the right thing to do?" and clicked Shuffle Songs.
And felt my heart lift as the following song began to play
I think it's the words "It gets better, that's for sure... Look to God and he will bless you with more...." that were the icing on the cake.
And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to take this action - not just to improve my own life by starting to live but also by authentically living what I want to teach...