The mist is clearing
A picture paints… no forget it, you’re getting the 1000 words anyway.
A month after quitting my job, I find myself almost hysterically happy at not doing some of it. Or, if I’m striving for honesty, most of it. In fact apart from the bits with friends in pubs putting the world to rights, let’s remove the fence from our arse and declare “all of it“.
Four weeks in which riding of bicycles, seeing of family, London not going to, and affirming of what’s important has put me in a very happy place. Exhibit A was last night’s ride where a much-missed pal re-joined the nocturnal pack after a knee injury had him sidelined for six months. A little wet had fallen from the sky, leaves were plastered heavily over now slippy trails and the air was full of impending winter.
Absolutely the best ingredients for an organic exploration of the hills. Ride a bit, check Martin’s knee for potential explosion, ride a bit more, get chilly chilling out, modify routes, point out flaws in everyone elses, grumble on extra climbs, then head out into territory so cheeky it should get it’s bum smacked. Ride stupid loose, steep stuff and join grown men giggling at bullshit to the power of shared experience.
Rides like that tend to ramble on. I can feel a certain empathy there But 10pm had been and gone which generally alarms the misery gland with London not many hours away. Get home, sort bike and gear, assemble corporate stuff for the so-near morning call, shower, set alarm don’t sleep much. Today I woke refreshed three hours past that 4:50am start and God it felt good. Lazy but good.
Having mused on this during long dog walks and some strategic looking out of the window, clearly the only issue with this life-choice is simply that no-one will pay for you being a slacker. Which is how I have always viewed my approach to life. Honestly, where others saw hard work and dedication, I was internalising slights of hand, a stupidly good memory and the belief that everyone else was just a bit more shit. Really, my finest work would have been a treatise on “the importance of being idle” had not Oasis got there first.
It seems this may not be the case. Feelings of guilt shocked me into tense mutterings about what next. Suddenly every expense becomes an agony, best get the car serviced*, can’t let the kids watch TV all half term, really need a new front door – it has been pointed out to me that this is the way most people operate without a vastly inflated salary. And while we’re not exactly fiscally destitute, any environment reigning in bike spending for a whole month probably has some merit.
So it was back to the evil marketing shed for ideas around legal larceny. Riding bikes and writing nonsense seemed attractive until my old Pal Dave Barter explained that while taking a year off to complete a cycling route guide had been challenging, fulfilling and a fantastic life experience, it hadn’t actually made him very much money. And he’s far better at it than I am. So examining the few skills built up over *christ how much* 22 years of paid employment, it became clear the rut most travelled probably held the best prospect of paying the mortgage.
Half of those 22 years, I have worked for other people. Frankly, it’s not been an experience either of us has enjoyed. Jumping back into that was on the testicle slamming side of entirely delusional in terms of how it might be different. So I crossed that straight off. Not true actually, I never wrote it down in the first place.
So with Hobson and his uni-choice in the chair, working for myself appeared to be the only realistic option. Done it before, quite enjoyed it, rarely were security called to escort me from client site, people seemed on the satisfied side of invoice paying. And I have a certain passion for work which might sound pretty damn stupid when it’s just IT, but let me ask you this… if you spend 3/4 of your natural life spending every day doing something you don’t care about, how dumb is that?
If nothing else, my MacBook and iPhone become legitimate expenses. I have enough contacts and – apparently – credibility to ensure days will not be spent waiting for the phone to ring. And while London looms large in at least some of my working life, it’ll be on my dollar and for someone who’ll probably notice whether I’m there or not.
It’s not much of a plan, but it’s a start. And having just re-read my unpublished vitriol written the day I left, it’s not just a start but a step in the right direction.
Wish me luck, I’m going in.
* £250 only to be discover than “nothing to worry about” means “yeah it needs a new condenser and the brake pads are knackered, shall we just keep your credit card?“