Hmmm Harbour Master or Fort Manager? – I’m going to be an Explorer!

Well, my first full week of being not-at-work has passed.  It was strange still, even after practicing 3 days a week in January, I am not used to it.  The concept that I can do what I want is rather alien!    Of course, that’s do what I want without really spending any money, but the best things in life are free so they say.   So far, since the beginning of February, I have spent £1.95 on a cup of coffee (and very nice it was too) and £2.45 on a valentines card for my husband.     So I am pretty pleased with that and at this rate, I’ll be saving.   (I should say that I also pay into our joint account to cover all household expenses – if I am careful I should be able to live for a year on my redundancy money).

Speaking of which, it took my old firm 10 days to actually cough up the redundancy cheque but it arrived on Saturday and is safely in my bank – I felt better once I had it cashed!

I discovered our local library on Friday – what a wonderful place,   I have already signed up as a volunteer to help out there.  I came home  with lots of books (mainly about leaving the rat race and down sizing!) – the last few years I have been a keen Amazon customer – I buy a lot of books – but I have vowed to visit the library instead whilst I am on my hiatus.

Getting creative

So, I am trying to get all those jobs done that build up  and never get finished – sorting out, clearing out, etc.  I have made a website for a friend who is getting married and I am doing lots of photography.   The picture above is of the trees at the top of the road, just on the harbour, it’s a beautiful spot.    My mindful photography course is going well and I am really learning from it, my style has changed already – I am becoming more thoughtful and exploratory.   On Saturday I spent time doing an assignment and when I came home and looked at them, I became very emotional, I am not ashamed to say that I cried when I saw what I had taken.   All my life I have loved art, especially photography – my Dad is a photographer, my husband is a photographer, but it took until I was 51 before I bought a decent camera and tried for myself.   The results astound me, and move me.  That I could be making art that I love is an incredible thing – who knows what is round the corner!!

Job hunting

I have not been job hunting yet, I need to recharge my batteries first and work out what I want to do, but I have been keeping an eye on job adverts just so I know what’s out there.  So far, the only jobs that have really made my heart sing are “Harbour Master” and “Fort Manager” (on the South coast of the UK here we have old forts out at sea that are now converted into Hotels)… Neither job am I remotely qualified for, and they are a world away from business analysis which is what I was doing, but I think it shows that I am feeling more playful and am ready for new things.

So for the meantime,  I am listing my job as “Explorer” – because that’s exactly what I am doing!

Endings and beginnings

Tomorrow is my last day at work – I’ve worked there for ten years and I loved it.   I will be leaving some good friends – obviously I will stay in touch with some of them, but others will turn out to be “work friends” and I probably won’t see them again.

I am very sad about this and I will be glad when tomorrow is over.

On the plus side, I started my mindful photography course at the weekend and am loving it.   No matter how good you are at a hobby (and I am fairly new at photography) it is always good discipline to be taken out of your comfort zone and to complete assignments where someone else has set the parameters.  I might never take pictures like some of these again, but I have learnt something from everyone.   And getting feedback from a group, and seeing their work is always rewarding.   It’s very exciting.

I can feel myself unwinding and relaxing.  It’s good.

Working on the creativity muscle

Still feeling weird about being at home – I am out of sorts.   HOWEVER I start a six week photography course today which I am really excited about – I even got up early!    I hope having the input and support of other photographers and different challenges each week, will really exercise my creativity muscle and move things on to a new level.

I will keep you posted!

Earlier in the week I went to a local science center which opens in the evenings for adults only – you get to play on all the exhibits without any annoying kids getting in your way – it was great fun and a fabulous way to start being more creative.

As Picasso said:

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

I also came across this today…..

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star. Nietzsche

I feel like I have a bit of chaos in my soul at the moment so let’s see what happens!

The picture above was taken in my garden yesterday when we had a particularly heavy frost – it was beautiful.

Nobody said this would be plain sailing!

I realise my first few posts have been really chipper and positive – and I am trying to think like that but there is another side.

I am feeling very odd at the moment.   My daily structure has gone, my social life has largely gone (we had a lot of fun at work and I have a lot of friends there) and a source of my self esteem has gone (I was good at my job).

Most of my life has been rushing around with never enough time to catch up with chores / hobbies etc.   Suddenly I have the time.    I am going slowly and being kind to myself but I am already noticing feeling lonely – yesterday I didn’t speak to anyone after saying goodbye to my husband at 7am until he came home at 5…..  I had a good day, did lots of interesting stuff but that’s no good.    And this morning was the first one where I couldn’t see the point in getting up (and actually I am still in bed typing this at 8.30…).

I feel very very strange but I can’t put my finger on it,  it’s just hovering under the surface.

Still, no-body said this is going to be easy!

I did the picture of sails above using an app called Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Samsung tablet.   It’s fun experimenting.

Stop the world I want to get off!

I think we’ve all had that thought!  We rush through life, with never enough time to get it all done.  How I have wished to be given that time over the last few years.

Well now I have…. it’s still a very odd feeling – but this morning I got up when I woke up (7am) instead of when the alarm went off (5.55am) and have spent the morning sorting through the household paperwork that has built up over the last six months or so.  It feels good.

I spent an hour before lunch walking along the coast – the picture above is of Portsmouth Harbour, it was incredibly peaceful.

Just how I am feeling right now!

Project Me

I’m a project manager by trade, and I realised tonight that I am embarking on a big new exciting project – project me.   My kids have left home and don’t rely on me as they once did, I have a husband for support, after ten years of a good job, I am lucky enough to have some money in the bank.

I do not have to rush into anything.    I am still getting my head around this concept!

On Friday, it was my third day at home.  The first two I deliberately did not plan anything (which was weird but very enjoyable) but on Friday, we had friends coming round and so I couldn’t spend the day relaxing.   My first plan was to rush around all day.  I made a list:

  1. Do the cleaning
  2. Go to the supermarket
  3. On the way there, go to the dump with the rubbish
  4. On the way back, go to the garden centre for that stuff I need
  5. On the way back from there, pop into the timber merchant for that bit of wood…

I suddenly realised that this was the old me.  The rushing around like a headless chicken me.  I could easily have accomplished all that in a couple of hours (plus cleaning time) but why?  Why when I have the weekend and next week?

So I cut the list, just the cleaning and the supermarket.

And I had such a lovely day!   To take time to do the cleaning was a joy – I don’t think I have ever enjoyed cleaning like that.   And I shopped and then cooked in a mindful and relaxed way – by the time my husband came home from work I was in the bath, reading and totally relaxed.

We had such a lovely evening with our friends, I hadn’t had the usual stress, coming in after a days work, having to shop and cook before 7…..

I am beginning to enjoy “Project Me”!

Studland Beach, Dorset. This represents my new exciting life, with so many possibilities – a blank canvas! What a joy!

Stepping through a rift in time……

In the last twenty years, I have brought up two kids on my own, worked part time initially to keep a roof over our heads and latterly, full time to maintain it.  I have taken up painting and renewed my love of photography.  I have had a couple of relationships and done a fair bit of online dating (see my other blog for details! ).   In the last 18 months I have had 3 operations (now thankfully fully recovered), met and married the man of my dreams, moved house and my youngest has not only left home but gone to live and work in a central American country (which I have to say I am not too comfortable with!).   Phew!   So it’s safe to say, I have been busy the last couple of decades.   I am a busy person.  I love my job but I also have lots of hobbies and have even sold a couple of pieces of my art…..

And now I have been made redundant.   I love this job and I am so incredibly sad about it ending, but I am also very excited about what might be round the corner.

I am lucky enough that I can live (carefully) for a while on the redundancy payment so I am not going to jump into anything too soon, I need time, time to re-balance myself.  I have been squished and squeezed and rushed for so long, I need to find my space to breathe.

Tuesday was my first day at home, it was rather unexpected (my boss allowed me to only come into the office when I need to from now on), so I found myself at home.   At first I thought I would start on that long list – the list most of us have of things we would do if we only had the time.  Mine has 15 things on it so far – things like photography, art, gardening, web design, blogging…..  I will never have enough time to do it all!   Part of me is panicking about that already!

I had to drop something in town, so I walked… I took an hour to cover the 2 miles that would normally have whizzed past in the car, rushing to somewhere else.    I had my camera with me, and took some shots.  I really looked…..  I saw.  I felt.  I took time, such a rare thing to do.

And I had the weirdest feeling.  I didn’t need to be anywhere, nothing was calling on my time – for the first time in living memory.  It was as if there was a rift in time and I had climbed through to another universe.  A calmer, unrushed place where I could just be.  There was no “time”.

Even after one walk into town, I feel more connected and grounded with my hometown than I did before.  It was quite surreal.

I loved it!

Fine art and photography

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