Life Things


The time seems to have elapsed again, and we are now in the last hours of June. That means that half of 2013 has already disappeared; gone; poof! I often think about the passing of time, and that’s been especially true for me this last year, but I wonder if that’s perhaps because my life seems to have been marked by so many colossal events over that time. When I cast my mind back to what I was doing this time last year, I almost don’t recognize myself. At the time, I was deeply unhappy in my professional life. While I loved the essence of what I did – working with people, helping them to achieve, and helping them to rebuild their lives – I was disenchanted by the lack of job security, seeing dear colleagues forced into redundancy, retirement, and redeployment situations, and the general disarray of the probation service. Of course, I had never intended to follow a career in probation work: it was never my ‘calling’, but it wasn’t even that. Very gradually, I felt as though my spirit had been ground down, until there was little of me left. Some mornings I woke up feeling sick, dreading the fact that I had targets to meet and professionals to schmooze, and I would fill my calendar with an array of weird and wonderful activities so that I would always have something to look forward to; ‘If I can just make it to the weekend, it will all be okay,’ I would often think to myself. And when I found out that I had been offered a scholarship on a PhD programme, it was as if all my prayers had been answered. But once I knew, I was just itching to start, and began to resent my job more and more.

Yes, the me of one year ago is bizarrely different to the me of now. These days, I struggle to factor in extra-curricular fun time, and when I do, I feel burnt out, as I have to summon up the energy to dive into my research with fresh eyes and a clear mind on a Monday morning. I struggle to make time to see my family – the people that are most dear to me – and this has been an especially hard readjustment given that I often saw them, if not once, sometimes twice a week last year. I only hope they realize that it’s not because I don’t love them very much. Of course I’m well aware that a work-life balance is important, and I have been struggling to negotiate with this very conundrum over the past few months, but I also know that we can sometimes overload ourselves, and it often takes time to realize that.

Just over a year ago, I had started going to a lindy hop class on a Tuesday evening. I met some wonderful, happy-go-lucky people, and meeting with them filled me with such joy. I would rush home from work to make a quick dinner before driving out through the country to the Five Wents memorial hall in Hextable, and after the class, I would arrive home again and show Julian all the new steps I had learnt. I have been thinking a lot about lindy hop lately. It’s been nearly nine months since I went to a class, and I really miss it. But it’s no longer the thing that I need to get me through the week. I want to start lindy hopping again (and, preferably, with Julian) but the time will come for that. In the meantime, I have a whole host of interesting things to keep me occupied.

Weekends should be sacred, used purely for rest and ‘decompression’, although they rarely ever are. This weekend, however, I think I have managed my time pretty well. Yesterday, I got up, worked a little, ran, and then spent the afternoon with family, and the evening with friends. This evening I have played 12-bar blues, and I have blogged. Finally, I watched the sun set on my balcony. New challenges await tomorrow, and I will take them as they come.


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