On this day 5 years ago I woke up much as I would on any other day, much as I had pretty much every day for the previous 91/2years, same time, same place, except this time something was different – I didn’t have a job to go to. After a career in housing building my way up from a part-time Project Worker, to a Senior Management role I was made redundant due to funding cuts at the time when many Local Authorities were carrying out huge budget slashing exercises to many housing services. I had been supporting my teams through the consultation and redundancy process too, knowing that I didn’t have a job at the end of the proceedings, it was a hugely stressful time.
I decided to take a little time out to relax and re-focus before throwing myself back in to the job market, Housing seemed like a poor choice given the financial difficulties at the time so a change of direction was what I was looking for. I was doing a few jobs for family and friends at the time, a little gardening and landscaping and I quite fancied working outside, with trees. So I booked on a basic Chainsaw course and learned to fell trees, at the end of the course I was told about a web forum for arborists, I posted a message and 2 days later I started with a Tree Surgeons business. I’m still with the same company now, although I have moved away from the manual work and in to the office/management side.
Having 9 months out of work placed a lot of pressure on my personal life and relationships and unfortunately, they reached breaking point. During that period I separated from my partner of 12 years, with whom I had 2 wonderful children. This again was a hugely emotional and difficult time which I won’t go into further detail about. We manage to maintain a mostly amicable relationship although there have been difficulties along the way and I love spending time with my kids and get to see them regularly.
Also during this period I have re-discovered my love for adventure and the outdoors. Now don’t get me wrong I am still an innately lazy person and the battle to drag myself away from the TV and Sofa is a daily struggle. However I have been much more active than the preceding many years, I have progressed as a whitewater kayaker, got back in to mountain biking and rock climbing, I have vastly improved my swimming prowess, walked and biked up and down mountains, gone skiing and tried a few new sports too. I have travelled to the French Alps on 5 occasions and fallen in love with the area, 3 times for a kayaking holiday and twice skiing. I will be heading out again at the end of June for another 2 weeks of climbing, kayaking, biking and general fun and merriment in the sun with a great bunch of friends, however this time there is one BIG difference.
I have recently met a new partner in crime (Laura) and while our relationship is still fairly new we seem to have enough in common to give us things to do and enough differences to keep life interesting and give us something to talk about. So with all the fun of a new relationship anyway we also have the added attraction of heading to the Alps together on our first holiday (all be it with about a dozen other people!) Laura is pretty active anyway and we first met during our time with Scouts as activity instructors, many years ago. Laura is mad about horses, to the point where she ditched the 9-5 to make them her life and livelihood, as a Coach she is developing her business and living life on her own terms (you can see her exploits here: Laura’s Blog ) However she has now resigned herself to the fact that she needs to get back in a kayak and get some boat time in before the Alps and is making great progress in such a short amount of time.
As you may have read in my previous Post, I have also been looking into new ways to survive with online businesses…. It is a learning process that I’m finding fascinating and exciting, with the hopeful anticipation that it will one day make some money… I don’t expect to be rolling around in fifty pound notes, but substituting my income with little bonuses will be a very welcome start.
I was reminded today by Facebook of my redundancy and that’s what prompted this blog, it got me thinking about the journey I have been on over the last 5 years, it has been a roller-coaster emotionally, financially and physically and this from a person who is absolutely terrified of roller-coasters! (ask Laura). But here I sit at the ripe old age of 41 (just) and feel like a teenager starting out in the world afresh (albeit on old and creaky bones…..)
The path ahead is uncertain but exciting and filled with possibilities, the luggage (not baggage) I carry with me has made me the person I am and has equipped me for my journey, the past is something to be cherished and remembered for all the lessons it has provided…..
It’s a funny old life….!