Life has been pretty great over the last 12 – 18 months. Long time readers will know, when I first started writing this blog life was very, very different to how it is now. I was newly engaged, happy in my job and loving my little rented house in Moseley – the place everyone supposedly wants to live in Birmingham. Starting a blog was a long held dream of mine, but at this point in time it felt like the right place to start – I thought it would be somewhere to talk about the struggles of planning a Wedding, coo over Bridesmaids dresses and document the start of my family. I thought my life was all set. And then I applied for a new job, a promotion of sorts. And to cut a long story short, that life I thought was so concrete went on a downward spiral!
The job was the catalyst, but not the cause, of the world I’d created for myself being completely obliterated and having to start from scratch. That sounds dramatic – but honestly, when I look back on it, it was. Right now, it is still a little raw to talk about, but one day I will delight you all with the regale of all that came to pass (if you delve into the depths of my 2015 and 2016 archives you will find pieces of the story for sure, but never the full picture, because how many of us really tell the full truth online, right? Especially when we are trying to convince ourselves that we are TOTALLY FINE, OK!) But for today that isn’t the point of the story, merely the background. Today isn’t about how difficult that time was, it’s about now, and now is pretty damn good.
After the accepting of the dreaded job – which I call dreaded, but could never actually regret, because I do genuinely believe all choices lead you somewhere and where it led me in the end is a very happy place – my work went from your average 9 – 5 to all consuming. That isn’t to say that this is what was expected of me – it wasn’t. In fact, I endured far more than most people expected me to in circumstances that couldn’t have been predicted, so this is in no way a dig at my employers – in fact quite the opposite. But we, as a team, went through a completely unprecedented amount of pain over a period of a year or two, and it definitely left most of us scarred. The thing is, I come from tough stock. I spent most of my early working years in the hospitality trade and, along with the firm work ethic I inherited from my family, I have become the kind of person that gives it their all – I just can’t quit if I think people are relying on me and I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, which means, at times, I let that break me. And at times the job came very close to breaking me. But I persevered, and I’m happy to say that while my relationship didn’t survive the course, I did, and a new one flourished, and my life right now today as I write this is so much happier than I could have imagined it would be.
And now the point of the post – because I have managed to ramble on for an age as always! Life is not like that anymore. My personal life got worse, then better, then worse than I could have imagine, then better than I could have imagined. And work? It has basically gone from strength to strength. Things got easier, I got more confident, and slowly but surely I managed to build a team around me that I knew I could rely on, and something strange happened – I got my life back. I’ve spent a long time feeling fearful that something will go wrong if I’m not there, guilty in case my absence poses a problem, paranoid that people will be disappointed in me if I took more of a back seat. But the fact is – all that was in my head. It’s kind of terrifying to admit, but my team don’t actually need me there every day anymore. They are smart, and capable and supportive of me and one another, and it means that for the first time in a very, very long time – I don’t have to be there.
I am never going to be the kind of person that spends most of their time away from the office. I much prefer to speak face to face to people – phone calls and email frankly bring me out in a rash. And I don’t think I could do what I do and maintain the relationship I have with my team if I wasn’t there most of the time. But recently I have been able to start taking Mondays as a work from home day, and it has made the world of difference. It means I have a far less stressful start to the week. It means I get some breathing space to think about my own development, my own needs and what is coming over the horizon rather than just what is happening right now. And it means I get to spend a little more precious time in my own home with Bonnie – because while I’m learning to drive I’m having to spend a few nights a week away in the city still. It’s a really small gift that my job can give me, and I like to think of it as a reward for all the tough times we’ve been through, but it makes such a difference to my life and my happiness.
The guilt never quite goes away – today it’s been 28 degrees of glorious sunshine, but for some reason it just felt wrong for me to enjoy it while my colleagues were working, so I impatiently worked away until 5 before I ventured outside to make the most if it! But the fact is, I feel so fortunate to have the job I do, and have the support of the people I do, to make this small thing a possibility. This job was a factor in me losing the life I thought I wanted, but it has also given me the life I truly dreamed of, and I genuinely could not be more grateful.
(I’m done, you can pass the sick bucket now…)