Sunday, 15 September 2013

One year later

Oh, offline life does keep me busy and when I'm not busy with a list of to do tasks I'm relishing in taking a step back and looking after myself. This has included, over several months (close to one year now), taking up jogging. I hesitated for a long time to call my pace 'jogging' or anything close to 'running' when it felt like such a slow slog. But after sticking with it since around last October/November and later getting excited about my discovery of things like the Map My Run internet site which allows me to find out my mileage and pace without using an app, I've learned that I'm a bit faster than an old shuffler and I feel better for it too. Not long after my fiftieth birthday I started some singing lessons and made a point to get out and listen to more live music with my husband (he gave me the lessons as a birthday present) and this has been great. My summer has been very busy. I spent an extended time from the end of July back in the US where my parents live in my attempt to catch up with my mother who has been ill - this was combined with my giving in to my daughter's wishes to have a longer holiday time this year. All in all it was four weeks, which for me is far too long to be trying to find things to do to keep a 13 year old content. Too many details to go into here. (My husband and son left after 2 weeks - smart move, yes.) It was useful in many ways though, I guess. I did spend needed time with my mother and caught up with a dear old school friend who took me and my daughter in for week. It was a great opportunity to reconnect with her and at the same time it all felt so easy, like we'd never been apart. We even organised an evening with two other high-school friends who were still the sweetest of people and I felt all warm and cosy for along time after.

So at the end of August I had a couple of days to recover and the next week was back in work with an onslaught on too many things to sort out, it felt like. It's a busy time with university term time at our place starting a week earlier this year and lots of prep to do. I've also had a meeting about my work one year into the job. We've had some restructuring of sorts going on and just before leaving for vacation I was consulted about my manager's ideas of the direction he wanted to take our department in. He was keen to work with me in a way that would enable me to use more of the skills I had developed from my PhD training and experience and asked if I was interested in developing my role with this in mind and so on. I won't go into too much detail because I don't want to reveal my role but it's just the kind of thing I would have been interested in applying for a year ago. It's a lateral move, so to speak, not a pay increase, but certainly looks better on paper if I decide to move on at some point. I wouldn't anticipate doing that for a while if all stays well (the idea of having to apply for work and all of the stress that goes with it is too much to consider!), but you never know.

This all meant that he was very positive about the way the past year has gone, happy to have me on board still and looking forward to working more closely with me on new ideas. It's all good for me. I can see that this kind of role means that ideas and projects take a while to grow and the benefits are often not noticed for some time. That felt frustrating to me at the start and being part-time means that I take even longer to get through things sometimes, but I've got better at accepting this and won't allow myself to work over my contracted hours. It's all looking good for the future at the moment. I have no regrets in taking this job. It's not perfect and some things can grate on my nerves, but this can be the case in any work context. More and more of the time, I appreciate what I have in life and like to look at the whole of things. I am happy to be in good health at the moment (two years ago I wouldn't have imagined I could have continually jogged for a 3 and 1/2 mile stretch in one go and then done it again for 3 times a week over the course of almost a year. I've surprised myself when I've made it up to almost 5 miles, so can see that I am capable of more than I have given myself credit for. I'm happy to be doing this at 50 and hope with time that all things, work, home and more, will continue to fall in place.

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