It was always going to be strange not going back to school in January. For as long as I can remember, both as a student and then as a teacher, my years have been organised around the academic calendar.
Not this year.
This year, I have made the choice to step away from the classroom and concentrate on
(To be said in a dramatic voice) ADVENTURE!
*Cue reality check*
Now, let me get one thing straight. It certainly hasn’t and won’t be all sunshine and rainbows this year (although I have encountered both so far in 2019!). Instagram is unfortunately a fantastic tool for making it look like every second of every day is all bright and shiny and adrenaline filled, but in reality, if I tried to keep up a high-octane life 24/7 then I’d pretty soon crash and need a nap on the sofa for a least a week! In truth, things have already been a bit up and down.
(incidentally, I’m writing thing from the sofa. Self preservation at its most comfy and warm!)
The problem is, I’ve been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. A month long feeling of being limbo. I anticipated that January was going to be a period of time in which this might happen and boy did I get that spot on. Even though I have distracted myself with a daily adventure, I have been constantly waiting to hear about several different work opportunities that I’ve got in the pipeline. (I’ll talk about these more in later blogs when they have been confirmed!) One of these roles is supply teaching work for which I knew a security check always takes a while. When you have been used to attending to the needs of noisy teenagers for seven hours a day, the sudden relentlessness of silence and the feeling that nothing is moving forward is almost unbearable.
I have been anxious about no longer ‘going to work’ in the conventional sense, not because I am worried about living frugally, but instead as it makes me feel extremely lazy or selfish to have a lie in and then spend the day climbing or cycling or working on my laptop. I worry that what I am doing is meaningless and unsustinable. My close friends and family all have an incredible work ethic and, although I know things will be different in the next few weeks as work picks up pace, I mentally berate myself and think that I wont be worthy of their hard-working company. Which is ridiculous, I know, but a feeling that I struggled to shake.
Adventuring has been my January crutch as I navigate my way though the beginnings of my new life, contacting companies to book freelance work, organising supply work with schools and generally trying to piece together how my calendar is going to look (which has been the equivalent of completing a thousand piece jigsaw with my toes whilst blindfolded). I’ve just got to remind myself now and then that I can’t move at a thousand miles an hour all of the time as things are sometimes out of my hands, forcing me to slow down.
With this realisation of the need for realistic expectations for both my body and my brain coming into the new year,
#365DaysofAdventure2019 has given me a little of that sense of purpose I have been craving and a reason to get up in the morning now that I no longer have a tutor group waiting at my lab door every morning.
I’ve genuinely been blown away by the support that #365DaysofAdventure2019 has recieved so far and chuffed that lots of old friends have got in touch, keen to join me over the course of the year. The whole purpose of the challenge is to get both myself and as many people as possible outside and active; it has been wonderful that the majority of my days have been with good company rather than alone.
My time spent both in the Lake District and then walking Offa’s Dyke were particularly cathartic. Giving myself the permission to go and enjoy the mountains and physically challenge myself alongside some supportive and successful friends from the outdoor industry was exactly what I needed. It‘s hugely reassuring to know I can go to them for advice.
Most of all though, it has been wonderful to spend so much time with my family. I definitely didn’t see enough of them when I was teaching full time. Their company, support and perminant offer of somewhere to sleep and eat means the world. I think I would genuinely starve sometimes without them. I’ve been able to look back on my photos from each day over the course of the month and feel that by making the time, however short, I’ve done something meaningful each day even if nothing else has been achieved.
And, thankfully, patience has paid off. My security clearance for both teaching and another part time job that I will fill you in on soon both have been sorted and I finally feel like I’m moving forward again. Things, as they always do eventually, are looking very positive for the rest of the year. Expedition training season kicks off in February so my bank balance can breath a sigh of relief and my sense of usefulness and productivity can hopefully be quickly restored.
In the meantime, just for today, I’m going to carry on waiting. January has taught me the art of patience and this time I‘m waiting for the snow to melt so I can catch my rescheduled flight to France tomorrow. I’ll be kind to myself and embrace the limbo today with a gentle run, some toast and a box set, allowing myself to rest and look forward to the rest of what is set to be a very exciting year.