Wednesday 2 May 2012


Monday morning dawned with limpid sunshine after many days of rain and with many more days of rain forecast. So, inspired by these lovely photos of my local woods and by Parmanu's exquisite shots of woods elsewhere in Europe, and feeling as guilty as a small, truanting schoolgirl, I walked in the woods - on Monday morning!

Leaving my job: wow, it nearly killed me, I think. I say this not to be self-dramatising, but in the spirit in which many thinkers I consider wise tell us the way a lot of us live, in privileged as well as poorer countries, is killing us - emotionally, physically, individually, collectively, ecologically. So near the brink I was there, so exhausted and conflicted, this little, flickering consciousness could have flickered out. It happens all the time: the heart attacks and strokes and distracted souls under buses. It didn't happen to me, and coming so near the brink doesn't make me unusual. So now, emerging from a few weeks of much needed physical recuperation (and, oh god, I wish I could take six months off, but I know I'm very lucky to have had six weeks), it's time to think about how to live a bit better in future, about ways to live and work, both attitudinal and tangible, that better reflect my own concerns, beliefs and priorities.

This is not retirement. I kind of wish it was. Not that I'd want to stop working, but it would be nice of course to have a basic income and not have to work to survive. But the days of 'early retirement' - quite widespread for British folk in their fifties during much of my life - are over. So, how to make a living, whether to leave London: these are the big challenges. How to begin climbing out of a long downward spiral? Slowly. Realistically. And starting deep inside myself, while not residing there all the time. Well, Spring is a good time for this.

First up will be some choices re upgrading the home office, deciding on computer, printer, internet, broadband, phone and energy suppliers that I hope (whilst all too well aware that there are no virtuous options here) may be less supportive than some of the most egregiously unethical industries, less wasteful than some of my own and the planet's resources. I have some websites to check out, and all information and suggestions will be very gratefully received.


Lucy said...

Obviously I'm not in any position to advise, but I do wish you well in every way; I'm sure it will be possible for you to find a better way. Much love and bon courage.

Dale said...

It was so obvious, within weeks, to me, that my job in the cubicles was killing me -- quite literally, just as you say. Oh, maybe I had ten years, maybe even twenty: but something was going to give eventually. And that's without even thinking about the fact that life outside is a hell of a lot more worth living than life inside was.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Glad you're back and sounding revitalised, Jean. Lovely photos too!

I would recommend a Mac if you don't already have one, and if your area can have cable, get a cable broadband connection from Virgin. There are other options of course, but thos work for me.


Loren said...

No advice, but here's hoping that you can attain the right balance in your life.

I didn't realize how much work was putting on me until I did retire.

Anonymous said...

So happy for you--and so glad you got out.