Saturday, 22 August 2015

So - the reality of the 'Great Escape'...

So far, so good.... 

I am spending more quality time with my parents.  I've completely lost the 'inner stressy voice' that was constantly auditing the hours of my day and the unrealistic amount of work that I still had to complete.  I've given up clock-watching.

Mark is amazed to find that, even though he's still working long hours in his very stressful job, he's more relaxed because he doesn't have to listen to my 'work woes'.  He's also gained time on his commute because he doesn't have to drop me at work first, then fight his way through Solihull rush hour traffic in the evening to collect me.  He's also gained time because I'm doing all the 'background house jobs' during the week.  As a result, he's got more physical and emotional energy, and has even started to work on his projects in the garage again.

We are financially secure, providing that I continue to be 'quietly frugal' on a day to day basis.  To be honest, we don't have a mortgage or children, so we could easily live off Mark's salary.  However, I saved almost 80% of my salary in the last 12 months to create a 'financial cushion' (in addition to other savings) and I've got a small number of private pupils starting in the Autumn.  At this stage, it feels good to still be earning SOME money....and I'm definitely looking forward to teaching without the politics of a large institution.

Most importantly, I'm giving time to my own emotional and physical fitness.  I practice my harp every day for an hour or so after breakfast.  When my back starts to complain, I pop on my shoes and do a brisk four mile walk round the north side of Worcester.  The rest of day is divided up between family and friends, crafting, house jobs, the occasional lesson and more practice (if a performance is looming).  I thought, by this stage in the holidays, that I might miss the 'ramp up' to the new term.   Absolutely not!  I WILL miss a small group of pupils who were important to me but I've lost any inclination towards classroom teaching whatsoever.

I'm making steady progress through a small bucket list of 'Things I couldn't do while I was a teacher'.  Mark and I are going to South West France in September.  We have built a three-centre holiday around a classic motor-racing event that we have always wanted to attend.  It's very exciting.  I have also learnt the basics of machine patchwork and now my imagination is full of little crafting projects.  I've wanted to learn this skill for years and I'm so proud of my first few efforts!   We are also going away for a four-day break on my birthday weekend at the end of November.  (Every year I asked if we could go away, even for one night, and Mark always vetoed it on the grounds of concerts, parents evenings and report-writing exhaustion.) 

We've also booked Le Mans Classic in July 2016.  (We went in 2008 but I had to take two days of un-paid leave.)  After 26 years of being tied to school holidays, we are still exploring the best way to spread Mark's annual leave from Land Rover across the rest of 2016.

So, on balance, things are going well.  I'm sure that grey clouds will sometimes cover my current blue skies - but nothing would induce me to go back to a Head of Department job in any school at the moment.  I'm off now to finish another patchwork cushion.  Expect a 'crafty' post with lots of pictures next.
Jx

14 comments:

  1. Being married to a teacher, I completely understand your feelings about not going back! It sounds like you're carving the days out nicely, the harp playing and walking sound such a lovely way to start a day xx

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  2. Hi Jan. I’m interested in your saying it still feel good to be earning some money.

    I retired from being a vicar at 58 (ill health) and apart from the first year when I was caring for my terminally ill sister, I’ve earned money throughout my retirement and that has been very important to me. I earn a little each Sunday taking church services and a little doing on-line surveys and together these two sources yield around £200 a month. This is enough to make a significant difference. However, it’s not the actual money which is important but the continuing ability to earn a little. Voluntary work is great but there is something very special about still earning a little and I would go so far as to say it has an effect on my psychological health.

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  3. Jan, The side effects to Mrk are wonderful. Stress in one family member leeks to the others and you planned so well for both of you.

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  4. I'm so pleased to hear that you are getting on so well with the great escape, plans look good - enjoy your freedom

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  5. I really hoped you would experience this! The fact that Mark is benefitting too is great, now you can thoroughly enjoy your getaways without the stress of work looming in the back ground. I'm so happy everything is falling into place for you..xx

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  6. Wonderful news and great to hear you can now do things without the restraints of term time, looking forward to seeing your patchwork :-)

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  7. Sounds to me that you are coping well, both in yourself, relationship and financially, so the plan is going great. I was made redundant at 50 and although I thought I coped, I did feel pretty worthless. Enjoy your patchwork and look forward to seeing that in your posts and any other crafts you do. Take care.

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  8. I'm really glad you are so positive about it! Hurrah for the harp practice!! Do you do orchestral gigs at all? I bet you'll be in demand.
    I'm dreading going back despite liking my job. Ofsted are still due, Sigh. We just came hone from a bon voyage party for an old peri colleague of CBC's who is sailing around the world for a year!x

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  9. I'll also look forward to your participation in TARDIS Tuesdays when it gets started again!x

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  10. Great news. I really pleased that it's all been worth while. Quality of life is worth so much more than money. You are both reaping the benefits from your retirement. With your skill you can run your business of teaching privately. You will be in charge and can say yes or no to anything that comes your way.

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  11. wow, its sounds great so glad its all working well, what joy not to have to have holidays dictated by school terms, I cant wait till my youngest is out of full time ed,.

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  12. It all sounds to be working out so well so far. The thing which stressed me out the most when I gave up work was not earning and contributing financially to the household. I don't know how I had time to work though now, there's never enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want to.

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  13. You go girl! I love the idea of the Things You Couldn't do While Teaching list... September holidays would be my top one there!

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  14. It sounds wonderful! I think the thing I like the most about being retired is that my time is my own. I think I'm almost busier now, but doing the things I like to do. Enjoy!

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