a year on…..

So today is a year since I took a leap into the great unknown and left my secure, nicely paid position at the university. I didn’t let myself think too much about the future at the time. It really was time to leave. I was lucky to be able to do so on my own terms with some financial security into the bargain. Not everyone who leaves a job is that fortunate I realise.

So the vague plan for the last 12 months went something like this:

1. Finish Masters

2. Take care of self

3. Do things for myself – eg. sew, music, exercise, eat healthy food most of the time, read, take care of my house, etc etc you get the idea

4. Find some kind of gainful employment after 12-18 months.

So a year later it’s probably time to revisit that vague list and see how things are progressing.

The Masters: I haven’t finished it completely. At the start of the year I decided to take some extra subjects and graduate with an advanced Masters. This is still my last term. It will be finished this year. I am about to start my last 20 hours of work placement next week. The next month is going to be pretty full on but then it will be done, finished, finito, ended, concluded. Good job me. Thanks everyone awesome who shared this excellent learning journey with me.

Take care of self: This has gone pretty well. I took up swimming and made it through until May. I have been more physically active on a regular basis than I have been for a number of years. I have eaten mostly healthy food (except for when I haven’t). I have gotten enough sleep. I have taken some naps. It’s been good.

Do things for myself: I surprised myself by taking up the violin seriously after decades of leaving it to wither in the corner. I freaking love it. I prepared and sat for two violin exams. I joined a great chamber orchestra in town. I played with them in a concert. I have read more books this year than I have in possibly the last five years. I have caught up on lots of film, television, movies and music that I missed during the lost years of the PhD and university work. I have become involved in volunteering on committees locally and elsewhere. I bought myself a grand piano (lifetime goal unlocked). I also play it. I have been social where I would never have made time for this before.

Gainful employment: This was the one that concerned me the most, but I put it out of my mind for the first six months or so. I was very happy not working. I was teaching the piano at home which was fine but that’s not sustainable in the long term. I needed to find either a rich husband/patron, win the lotto (unlikely as I’m not sure how to actually buy a lotto ticket…it seems very confusing at the newsagent), or find a job. And then suddenly, there were piano students coming out of the woodwork looking for a teacher. I went from 11 to 20 in the space of about 6 weeks. But I was starting hear little worrying voices (not literally just to be clear). What if I never got another job? What if I was unemployable, overqualified, or something else that would mean I never worked again. What if I had to go crawling back to the uni? I didn’t want to do that particularly. But then, just when I somewhat melodramatically decided all hope was lost, I successfully applied for a part-time job with the art gallery which I start the week after next. I shall be working in Childers, birthplace of my Grandpa and my Mum. It’s a lovely town on the Bruce Highway, half an hour from Bundaberg. It has nice trees in the main street. I am very excited to be starting a new job in an area that I was hoping to work in.

So, you know what? A year on from my momentous decision things are ticking along pretty well for Wendy. I am a lucky girl.

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