Twenty Months Later

The last post I wrote here was called ‘hiatus‘… and that was a long time ago. I think the twenty months without the promised return to blogging can themselves testify to just how intense this period has been.

I wrote that blog while in France waiting for the children who were with their dad for a visit. I was about to start my new job, which I considered a dream role and hopefully my home for the long term, employment wise. And yes a year and a half later, it’s certainly been an amazing experience.

My work has been absorbing and exciting. In April, I took a secondment as a full time ‘onboarder’, training and supporting new hires and developing the training programme. Then, in August 2021, I became a team lead, and I’m now also responsible for leading internal training for my division as well as becoming co-lead of the neurodiversity resource group at the company.

Will it be my home for the rest of my working life? I’m not sure, but it is providing an enormously fascinating ongoing discovery process about not only what I want to do with my career but also the type of person I want to be. So, watch this space for the conclusion of that thought process which may still be months or years down the line.

My main thoughts at the moment are centred around: what am I passionate about? What do I care most about accomplishing in this world? Who am I best positioned to help and what is the most use I can be? What type of role is the best fit for me, my skills and my strengths? What will make me happy and fulfilled as well as allowing me to support my family? I’m still working on the answers to these questions.

I promised in that post that I’d blog about my list of ‘things Victoria likes to do’, to try to emerge and become a person again, a person with interests and a life; and that I’d make myself one day per week of alone time. I’d arrange vocal music and write about my interests.

Why haven’t I been writing? Well, I have, a bit. Here and there, at work, I’ve written a longform piece or reflection. I think probably, the main thing has been that I felt in August 2020 that we were over the pandemic and I could clearly see a fresh start ahead. The fact that the pandemic didn’t end, further lockdowns happened and life did not resume, meant that we’ve still just been ‘functioning’ rather than living, and that feeling of hiatus that was so strong in the early months of 2020, when everything was on ‘pause’, never really lifted.

But mostly, the job itself has been intense and difficult to rest from.

While I did make Friday/Saturday my weekend (I work a Sunday to Thursday week), the extended pandemic and further lockdowns during this period meant that I’ve had oddly few Fridays to myself. I’ve never started the solo adventuring I was planning – where I’d take the train to the coast on my own, go for walks, visit places and people. The promised work travel (a perk of my new job) hasn’t yet resumed. The children only just saw their father in person again a few weeks ago. Our trip to Norway in the summer of 2021was cancelled, though the four of us had a wonderful last minute driving tour through Scotland.

I have taken up hobbies, though. I’ve still been learning Norwegian (starting weekly, then, when our trip to Norway was postponed again, fortnightly ‘live’ lessons with a native speaker, and daily Duolingo). And, since restrictions started to lift this last few months, I’ve been playing the viola every Monday at a community orchestra, and volunteering with my children’s school (just this week, I played violin with the pit orchestra at the school show “Wizard of Oz”.) I’ve been continuing to enjoy the smaller things like playing video games with my children every Saturday morning, and walking into town with my husband for a coffee. My favourite thing is the company of these three weird and wonderful people that I’m closest to.

Oh yes, and I got married in December 2020. Although we had a very restricted wedding compared with what we’d planned (mid lockdown, we were only allowed the bare minimum of legal ceremony) it was the right thing to do.

I’ve had increasing problems with my back, despite regular physiotherapy. Decades of being effectively sedentary and neglecting a slight spine curvature I’ve known about for twenty years and done nothing about, added to suddenly working 40+ hours per week at a screen, means that now I have poor core strength combined with dodgy discs, and I’m now able to do very little without injuring myself, and this will not improve unless I get serious about exercise. While I’ve joined two gyms in the last year, a routine has not yet stuck.

So here goes, another reset. 2021 is nearing its end and I’ve been laboriously struggling all year towards some sort of conclusion and clarity about what’s next for me and what I am going to do with my forties. I’m absolutely sure that if I can fit reflective writing into my routine, that will help strengthen and clarify my mind and thoughts just as regular movement and exercise will help strengthen and mobilise my body. Still some way to go on both counts, but setting intentions is the first step.

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