Rambles: Decompressing

At the place where I used to work until a week ago – a school – I was told just before Easter that I would be made redundant by the end of September.

I wasn’t the only one: It was supposed to be a surgical operation to remove a few members of staff from the school so the rest could survive…but someone hit an artery, and the bleeding hadn’t stopped when I left last week. It wasn’t a pleasant place to work for those last few months.

For me, the time since Easter has been a long and stressful slog, a hard jungle journey with no certainty of a successful end. A few weeks ago, I cut my way through the last thicket and came out on the other side. And last Friday, I left the place I called “work” for the past fourteen years without looking back.

For complicated reasons, I’m not able to start work at my new school for a month. So I have a month off, a month to “rest and regale myself after the long journey.” (To quote Robinson Crusoe)

Working in a school, I have a week off every six weeks (tough life, huh?), but this is the first time I know I’m not going back to the same problems and same faces. When I go back, it will be to somewhere new.

I can’t tell you how liberating it is to know I never have to set foot in that school again unless I want to. All week, I’ve been dropping my wife off at the school (she still works there) and the whole day is mine to do with as I please.

Let me say that again: A day to do with as I please. I could drive to Wales and back, or go to the beach and chill for a few hours. Go see a movie. Do some laundry. Any damn thing I want.

And it feels amazing. The months of tension, of not knowing if I’ll have a home by Christmas, or where that home would be, have gone. The tedium and stress of going somewhere where I’ve been told I’m not needed is gone. The past fourteen years of the same routines have gone. No more lunchtime at the same time every day. No same walls, same ceiling, same people. I didn’t realise how oppressive and depressive it all was until I left.

Since today is the first day I haven’t had any chores (and it’s not been raining), I went for an hour long walk this morning. Normally, I would have been sitting at my desk, staring at the day and wishing I was out in the sun.

Today, I was.

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