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.