So i’m just over one week in to 3 months of unpaid leave from my day job.
First of all; eeeeeeeeeeeek! How lucky am I to:
It’s almost unheard of right? Gross generalisation coming up but as a woman of a ‘certain age’, once you’re in that corporate environment you can often face choices around ‘leaning in’ and working your way up (if so inclined) whilst also considering starting a family and juggling that (again, if so inclined). Before you know it you’re on some sort of path that you perhaps haven’t really scrutinised or approved for yourself. And you might really enjoy the path, absolutely, but perhaps rarely have time or are maybe too nervous to question it and to simply come back to your self.
How many of us can say that they accidentally ended up in the career they are currently in? I know I did. I knew I wanted to work in music hence my degree, but completely by accident earned myself a marketing title after sort of naturally ‘getting it’ in university modules and applying it in my first internship. I had and still do have a real love of communication so it just kind of happened.
Extended time off for women seems to be saved for when they are heavily pregnant and about to start a whole new chapter of their life, welcoming their babies into the world and taking on possibly the truest meaning of a full time job. But having had a topsy turvy 2016 myself, mostly in part to my endometriosis diagnosis and surgeries and subsequent doubts and fears over my future, I wondered if I could claw some time back just for me. To rediscover or completely discover passions, to reconnect with people, to meet new people, to learn and to…relax. To focus more on my life plan with my husband more than my CV and to be healthy. To go back to the day job refreshed and aware.
So when you tell people you’re taking some time off they’re all ‘oooh travelling! where you going to go?’. Ummm, England? Maybe Wales. It’s unpaid Jack so I’m not heading to Barbados anytime soon. But you know what? That’s completely ok.
Over this last year I have really started to get to the very essence of me. There was a time when I wanted to rise up the ranks in every job I was in, ‘notice me, validate me!’ and I connected fancy stuff and whopping salaries and job titles together as a show of SUCCESS. Now success for me means getting the balance right and to stop automatically saying yes to things because of expectation or trend. If something doesn’t sit right with me, like in my tummy, I now give it a no and refocus on what makes me feel alive. If you like, I’m giving my higher self some space.
When you start to refocus on what makes you tick, it can be quite an eye opening exercise. What can’t you live without? What did you love doing as a kid and are you still involved in that in someway now? Are you honestly being true to yourself?
So if I had to list out what makes me tick just now it would include investigating wellness through diet and mindfulness and having new experiences outside of my comfort zone. But just 2 days a week to top yourself up with the stuff you love or are freshly interested in just doesn’t seem enough anymore. And typically a Saturday will largely consist of doing loads of washing, popping to the vets to pickup Rupert’s meds, visiting parents, tidying, making food, catching up on boxsets. Maybe I’ve been using my time wrong – completely plausible. Perhaps if I was more organised during the working week i’d have more chance of spending my weekends topping up my passions and interests. But by and large – weekends have become a bit predictable.
Another reaction to me taking this break is one of jealousy. The amount of people who have messaged me saying how jealous they are and they wish they could just have some time has been overwhelming. I almost feel I need to make the most of these 3 months more for them now so that it’s not wasted. I don’t feel good receiving these messages though as it just goes to show that there is a real need for people to take ownership of there lives, to give themselves permission to explore and play.
So what am I going to be doing?!
Well, this week I am signing up to a Mind Body Healing course. Next week I start a Food as Medicine course as a taster before I sign up to a full course in Healing Diets. And I’ve started writing a book; 4000 jumbled words in.
I am going to be interviewing some cool people for my blog too over the coming weeks and going to some free lectures and workshops.
Mr G and I are going to spend April scoping out some places to potentially move to. The brief is to still be commutable to London, but to gain a bit more space. Detached would be the dream too. Walking distance to a shop for essentials and to some green space, preferably a wood. But the idea is to pocket some money from the sale of the house we’re in now and to be nearer nature. The move after that? The dream is to build a house in a forest. Yep! WHY NOT.
We’ll probably jump on the Eurostar one day too, likely in May when the weather improves. Oh and we might go on a forest mindfulness break where you work on forest conservation. Sure.
I’m meeting up with a dear school pal in May to see a musical in Nottingham, one that we love; Rent. And will have a girly night away with my cousin who provides all the lols.
I’m considering getting a certificate in dog walking and basic behaviour, because, well, dogs. And on that note, hope to help out Street Vet Jade as she takes to the streets of London treating homeless doggies.
Oh and I’ve been asked to consider doing some talks on Mindfulness and Wellbeing by a few people!
So over one week in, I do feel a little lost. Like I keep needing to remind myself that it’s ok to go do whatever I fancy, even if it is a Tuesday. It’s funny, when I started plotting out things to do between now and June I still stuck to making plans on weekends. When I looked at my planner I was really unsure about filling up the weekdays. Strange how we associate certain days of the week with plan making. Liberating to be free of that for a while.
Right now it’s coming up to lunchtime on a Friday. I think. Time for a dog walk!