Why is it so hard to leave?

For years I’ve wanted to be able to work at home full time as a writer, editor and publisher.  It was increasingly hard to do that in the evenings and at weekends. What was lost was my own writing, confined to holidays and then cut short every time I went back to work.

I was making a decent salary and my day job was a good one: freedom to develop new projects; a team of talented and committed people to lead; supportive bosses; opportunities to work on key strategies; kudos at Scottish Government level when things went well; some travel and lots of useful contacts.

Leaving, I was overwhelmed by the kindness of colleagues who reflected back to me a person I didn’t altogether realise I was.  Sometimes we look stronger from the outside than we feel inside.  That proved true of my working life. Perhaps that was why it was so  hard to leave it all behind, and to come to terms being no longer involved with work I still cared about and had been instrumental in setting up.

Anyway, I did leave.  I’m on Week 1 of the new life. I make my own timetable. I walk Jenny the next door Labrador for an hour in the woods in the afternoon instead of a rushed round-the-block at seven o’clock when I’m shattered after a day’s work.  I wear my jeans all day changing only from wearinginthehouse jeans to goingoutinpublic jeans to muddyatthebottomdogwalking jeans.  I don’t put on tights and skirt and smart top and jacket stuff.  I don’t wind my watch because I don’t need to wear one.   I make good coffee at 11.00am; I have home-made soup and left over bits of Christmas cake for lunch.  I don’t have to queue in the bakery for indifferent soup or trudge past crossly searching out an alternative on non-veggie soup days.

These are trivial changes.  The momentous change is the quiet.  I hadn’t realised how noisy office life is, and how quiet life at home.  A tractor goes up the road, the postie chucks the letters onto the mat in the front porch and there are children’s voices at school going home time.  None of that interferes with concentration, and there is no-one now putting their head round the door to say ‘Have you got a minute?’ or ‘Can I just ask you…’  or heart-sinkingly,  ‘We’ve got a bit of a problem’.  When I’ve finished marvelling at this, I start to worry that I might get lonely.

Not so far.  But it is only Week 1.  I’m having my first lady-who-lunches outing today, which feels like a skive.  I might even wear a watch.

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