Count down to D day




D for departure. Four more weeks of work to go. I have been in London this week with long days, early morning starts, a roller coaster of commitments and meetings. While I am actually in a meeting or on the phone to someone I can hold on to the sense of doing the job, but when I sit by myself in front of a computer screen I can feel the world of work beginning to fade from me, becoming less distinct, muted, a corridor on the other side of a glass screen where you can see people move but cannot hear their conversations, don't know where they are going.



I arrived home last night tired to my bones, not feeling entirely well and just uncomfortable enough as a result of that not to be able easily to fall into the sleep for which I was longing. I am not good without sleep and I had spent the previous night wrestling with a work problem. I lay looking up into the darkness. Although the curtains were open it was still very dark with that black, thick darkness of the countryside. I a deep sleeper normally. I realised that most of the time that I have lain staring into the darkness over this last year or so I have spent thinking about leaving my job. I have played this over and over in my head here in my own bed in the deep country darkness and on bright full moon nights when I have got up and watched the silver grass for badgers, and in my bed in London in the orange sodium light of the street lamp outside the window. At least I am finished with that now. As I move through these days since I put my notice in I find I am happy, calm, decided, sure about following my course into wherever it takes me. I still get the odd panicked moment, mainly in relation to money. My husband and I have always kept separate accounts, although we have always treated our money as belonging to both of us. How much will I need? Will I have to ask him for money? The phrase "dwindled into a wife" comes from nowhere. God forbid. I push my sudden agitation firmly back into its box. We will sort it out. We always have done. Let it go. Wait and see.



So today I am home. My friend has been for lunch. She has just gone back to work teaching part time after eight years or so of being at home. We chat about her new job as we eat spicy carrot soup and the soda bread which I made this morning. She is loving the engagement with the wider world, being herself again, not a wife or a mother but the lady who teaches Chinese. Again my stomach flips and I have to remind myself that I can be here as much or as little as I want. I am not withdrawing from the world, just from my London life. I am blessed with the luxury of choice. She disappears to pick her children up from school. Suddenly I wish mine were still at school. That mothering part of life is so all consuming when you are living it and when it has gone it has gone so completely. The fire burns, drawing softly, crackling, a log turning into the flame. I am here, now, not ten years ago, not in the unseen future.
And how exciting, not to know what comes next.


A blogging friend of mine, Cait, is in the habit of counting her blessings. Here are mine for today:


I am here. I heard at work this week that a friend who was diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Eve died at the weekend and that another colleague who has been free from throat cancer for three years has been told he has secondaries in his lungs and his spine. I mourn one of them. I am overwhelmed for the other. There is no rhyme or reason to my good fortune but I am here, still.


I have the astonishing luxury of choice. After a lifetime of working because there was no other way to raise my children I have a husband who is prepared to say "If you want to do this, do it. We'll be ok." That is another extraordinary good fortune.


I have him. I have our children and my parents and wider family.


I live in a place of extraordinary beauty.

There are snowdrops.

And how exciting, not to know what comes next.

Comments

  1. You are going to be fine. It's going to be a new adventure. A new chapter in life and you are such a good writer.

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  2. It's a time of great change, and I'm glad you're feeling calm about it - the choice is yours now. You can be the lady who gardens, the lady who cooks, the lady who reads. Or the lady who goes out and gives something back to the world for this extrordinary gift of life she has been given.
    You will never be 'dwindled into a wife' because I can't imagine for a moment either you dwindling, or Ian allowing you to be dwindled. The amount you do and give, you can never be beholden.
    xxxx

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  3. Love your bulbs. Sign of Spring and new things.

    I think sometimes you just have to take one day at a time otherwise you would panic! I remind myself of this over and over. I tis true.
    Something else will open up. it will be different and new.

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  4. Loved Kitty's comment, I can't really think of anything better to add. Of course you will have moments of anxiety, sailing into a new chapter of life is always slightly scary, but how great to be able to look back on your life and think I did this, and this, and this - because I listened to my instincts.

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  5. Loved Kitty's comment, I can't really think of anything better to add. Of course you will have moments of anxiety, sailing into a new chapter of life is always slightly scary, but how great to be able to look back on your life and think I did this, and this, and this - because I listened to my instincts.

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  6. I want to write 'It's the business of the future to be dangerous.' I check its provenance and find it's nothing more profound than the title of an album by Hawkwind who borrowed it from mathematician Alfred North Whitehead. I'm not sure why he said it but for me it does have an element of truth when faced with life's uncertainties.

    Yes, the future will be different but it will be your own to do with as you please and at your own pace. Tell me in 6 months time how you ever found time to work.

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  7. Great comments, Kitty's is full of wisdomosity - and Mountainear is correct that you will wonder how you had time to work. Of course, you're going to be apprehensive but you have heard your inner voice so you will be fine.

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  8. Dear ElizabethM, I absolutely loved your blog and am fully in tune with what and how you feel. Time is precious and taking the freedom to live your dreams is priceless.
    Today is future's beginning.

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  9. Elizabeth, your decision is such a good one. These last days back and forth between city and country will continue to tell you how wise you are being.

    It is an interesting experience to be in the last days of a job, when it has been your decision to leave. I know what you mean about sort of being there and not being there.

    I can well imagine the deep, deep sleeps that you will soon be having, and the joy that being able to witness the arrival of spring will bring.

    Your new adventure is just about to begin. xo

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  10. I read this late last night Elizabeth, but could not comment as Lucy was fast asleep behind me and I didn't want to wake her with my tapping! Reading it again this morning it strikes me how much you have shifted in what you write about leaving work. The hesitancy has gone and is replaced with an excitment which shines through the words. I am excited for you! Let's hope your 4 weeks just fly by (and perfect timing for the gardening too! We are not as far on as it may sound, but Cornwall is very mild and I am very enthusiastic!) xx

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  11. Yes, Kitty and Mountainear have knocked the nail on the head. You will wonder how you fitted a job in soon, you'll be busy in a "new you" sort of way. You'll be sleeping through the night. You'll be living your life, not dwindling into a wife.

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  12. Elizabeth, it takes a bit of getting used to, giving up a career, but I found that other opportunities often arise, and often they are things you'd never thought of before. As for finance, lots of things I spent my money on were work related. I have a wardrobe of scarey jackets and smart blouses that need to be sold on ebay one of these days when I find the time.It's a male thing to be defined only by the job you do, you are a multiskilled person. You won't dwindle, you'll grow.

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  13. I wish you all the best in the world, Elizabeth! You will be fine, and soon find a niche you never even thought of, and then begin wondering how you ever found time for work!!

    Don't try and second-guess the future - we can't. Thank goodness!

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  14. I promise you - you will not regret it at all and you will not miss the money. I have been there, done that and got the peace of mind and sheer joy of living to prove it. I do wish you great happiness.
    Love the snowy hills - surely it is not still like that. Love the iris reticulata in the pot too - now that is a sign of Spring and those sturdy little things should give you much hope for your future.

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  15. It is a rich and lovely life--not to depend on money and accomplishment. Just wait for the spirit to move you to do all the lovely things you did not have time for. You will love it.

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  16. practicing gratitude for what we have in our lives grounds us in today - living in the 'now' rather than the future gives us our true joy! Enjoy today

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  17. I salute you for your decision to make a break and for your absolute honesty to tell us how you feel.
    Kitty is right, you will not dwindle but I accept that most of us have bouts of doubt, such is human nature especially in a well rounded person.
    Your last weeks will fly by and then you will wonder how you did it...
    Life is a journey and I think we have to keep active, and learning and trying new ways to live and things to do. There is I am sure always comfort in the familiar, but for me stagnation is not an option..
    Please keep us posted on your garden, we feel finally spring is on its way after a long winter and the garden begins to beckon.. now I must sow my tomatoes but appear to have put the seed packet in a very safe place!!

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  18. Listening to you as you filter and process the hugeness of your decision, the newness of the now and the unknown anything-is-possible future, is a little like hearing those thoughts of Robert’s after he learnt his application for voluntary redundancy had been accepted. Though I believe he was much more apprehensive and unsure on all levels than you. But he’s settled – wonderfully! For him time and no immediate panic or hurry was his way of coping with the change (and of course a massive, physical biome project!). Consultancy jobs – that he wants – are beginning to come in and we have plans for a joint venture.
    He would never go back, even on those shaky days. How did I ever manage time to go to work, is his most common phrase. Come and visit soon!

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  19. Best of luck! And keep counting your blessings. I am so glad I left the world of formal work all those years ago. I may work much harder now then I ever did then, but at least it's my choice. All will work out for you. It always does. When I gave up the Civil Service I realised that so much of what I felt about myself was tied up in that role. It was hard to adjust. But I sense you've come to terms with that a long time ago.

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  20. You must be so excited and a little nervous. Staying home has been the best thing I've ever done for my family and myself. I hope that's so for you as well.

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  21. Hello Elizabeth, I just know you are going to be so, so happy with your choice. I am excited for you! The thing that jumped out at me in your post was your observation on how quiet it is when our children are grown... we are no longer required to fill that providing, nurturing role. For me this is a double edged sword as I found the days of little children almost unbearably difficult and longed for peace and a sense of being 'one' rather than three - but I also relished that connectedness and little world of loveliness. I miss it now very much indeed, and yet of course cherish my alone time to be me and create, uninterrupted. Life is full of movement like this, I find. Enjoy where it takes you :-)

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  22. Elizabeth, always remember YOU are what defines you, not your job, or even your kids. I know I have got fed up many a time with feeling I seem to be just 'N's wife' and 'E, G and L's mother'. I have gone through many personal battles to find the strength to understand that although that current role seems to define me, underneath it all I am ME. When you are young, still living at home, it is that which you live by. It is only later on that one seems to lose one's identity behind a job description. Just go back to the undefined person you were many years ago and be confident in that. I know you are really, anyway. It's just those fleeting moments of panic as you give up the thing that APPEARS to give you structure. You have all the structure you need without it: so many talents, and a wonderful spirit, and wisdom which comes with years of experience.

    Those lovely pics of snow drops - new life, new beginnings. A wonderful metaphor for you. And the other thing to remember is that unless you close a door, another one cannot open :).

    I feel for your sadness with your friends and I'm so sorry. Fortune and misfortune is one of the hardest things to fathom in life.

    I was out taking pics of snowdrops against dry stone walls just yesterday :). As you say, we are so lucky to live in such beautiful places. It is something to really cherish.

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  23. Hello Elizabeth,
    I enjoy reading your blog. I too just stopped working (5 weeks and counting.) When I first considered doing this I was scared to death. I have worked since I was 12 years old - and now - well lets just say I have been working for over 40+ years. I saw a quote one day that gave me the courage to quit. "If we are ever in doubt about what to do,it is a good rule to ask ourselves WHAT WE SHALL WISH ON THE MORROW THAT WE HAD DONE TODAY," I gave my two week resignation that day & haven't looked back since. As a lot of people are saying - I don't know how I had time to work... I feel so relaxed and free. I do what I want when I want and it is awesome. I have tons more energy, I accomplish ten times more in a day. My creativity has gone through the roof. I look forward to each and every day. I am so glad that you made the choice you did.

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  24. Good luck to you Elizabeth M, change can be so daunting, but usually so worth embarking on.

    You are here. Such an achievement, My Mum and so many others aren't, go forth and enjoy your beautiful surroundings!!!

    Pigx

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  25. Exciting. You are absolutely right. And if you're finding it exciting there's no way you're going to 'dwindle away into a wife', because that excitement will allow you to see a whole new world of opportunities. It's like being a child in a sweetshop again and it's brilliant!

    As for money, I found it surprising how much money was needed just to keep myself at work.

    I'm so looking forward to hearing about how you get on in your new adventure :)

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  26. Oh wow! What a wonderful wave of comments! When or if I have the occasional wobble I will come back and read all these to set me up again.
    It is also amazing to see others further down the same road and feeling so utterly positive. Clearly it can be done!

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  27. I imagine you'll feel a kind of giddy excitement when you awaken in 4 weeks time, knowing that you don't have to catch that early train to London. You can lie in your bed amid your glorious surroundings with a cup of tea wondering what the long day before you will bring. Enjoy!

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  28. I popped into your blog for the first time in a few weeks to find that fab pot of iris that look exactly like my pots beside my patio door! Not only that, but your situation - giving up work - was mine too about 2 years ago.
    As much as I loved my job, I really don't miss it or the money.
    I have time for friends, family and to indulge my creativity. I never had enough time for any of them when I worked. So now I enjoy the freedom to do just as I please and every day is different. I have always thought that somehow my life was plotted for me. I take advantage of opportunities that come my way and it seems to work.
    Best of luck. Enjoy!

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  29. Thanks for visiting my blog! I love those snowdrops on your header.

    You will be fine, just take the change slowly and enjoy things.

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  30. Hi Elizabeth, I do identify with your dilemma and worries about your decision, as I prepare to take a leap in the dark too. I hope life will be lovely for you - in fact, I know it will be just fine and you will love the time you have carved out for yourself.

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  31. An exciting time, Elizabeth! Very soon you will wonder how you found the time to go to work! Truly. I know I do.

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  32. i love your post and also all of the great comments your blog world has given to you. You can tell how much we get out of a blog by how much we put into our comments and you are a non-dwindler.

    Enjoy the change, just like the seasons and take things and give things.

    Just keep this blog going!!!!!

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  33. Belatedly catching up. Such a beautifully written post. I hope that it helped your piece of mind by writing things down and out of your head. You have wonderful support from all over the world. Be happy.
    CKx

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  34. Have been catching up on blog reading and am so relieved you have DONE IT! You will be just fine and like others have said already give it 6 months and you will wonder why you didn't do it before. You won't wobble - you haven't got a wobble in you - enjoy and hope to see you soon.

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  35. Good for you! With your obvious intelligence and appreciation for life I can't imagine you "dwindling" into anything. Rather, you'll be one who will continue to grow and expand into new horizons in this new phase.

    Enjoy it! I have a home studio/office and LOVE it! I can be as creative here as anywhere... only I can work in my pajamas with my coffee mug close by! LOL!

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  36. I can so relate to this - even were we in a position for me to stop working, i think I'd feel the same as you....we define ourselves so much by our work. But something wonderful will come, I just know it. You are not the kind of person who just gently stagnates, no siree.
    Your blessings brought a lump to my throat - so sorry for the bad news (there seems so much of it lately).... Janexx

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  37. I came across from Much Ado about Something adn found myself reading your story.
    What a time you have had in what you have gone through. It brought tears to my eyes even though I do notknow you.
    It was the Welsh connection tht originally caught my eye. Used to cycle regularly to Denbigh from Liverpool as a teenager. My last visit there was a couple of years ago when attending a nephew's wedding in Port Sunlight on the Wirral.

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