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.
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…..)