Friday 28 June 2019

fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way....

"Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing." (Albert Einstein)

I've been experiencing just how relative time is since my redundancy.

On the first Monday, I felt a sense of elation that I was free from the grind; that I didn't have to get up at 06:00 and I wouldn't be at my desk by 07:15; that I wouldn't spend ten or eleven hours sitting in pointless meetings or sending emails no one would ever read. By Tuesday, I was already starting to feel the weight of that sudden freedom pressing down on me. I was struggling to fill the day, even with a Cricket World Cup on to distract me with some of the games being played 5 minutes from my front door. Surely I should be doing something useful with all this time? Even though I was about to receive a pretty substantial redundancy payment, I started to worry about where the money was going to come from. I knew that I didn't want to jump straight back into another corporate job, but that afternoon I found myself tentatively looking online at what jobs might be available in the local area. I don't think I seriously wanted to apply for anything, and actually it really just confirmed my thinking that this wasn't at all what I wanted to do, but without any focus in my day I was already starting to feel itchy.

Time passed and I started to relax and find other ways to fill my day. It wasn't really until the end of the second week that I began to find a bit of purpose and direction in what I was doing.  I definitely didn't want another corporate job, so I stopped the idle, anxious looks at the job sites. I realised that I did want to find something to help fill my days constructively, but now understood that I suddenly had the freedom to do something that didn't necessarily need me to earn any money. I started looking for volunteering opportunities.

As a result, I've spent this week, the third since my redundancy, sorting out a volunteering role with Guide Dogs and lining up some other opportunities with Shift.MS. I'm going to start taking my initial steps as a My Guide volunteer next week.  I imagine that it's distinctly possible that I'll be wondering where all the time goes by the end of week 4.

As Albert Einstein also apparently said,  “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

One of the things I thought I might do with all this time is to look at an MA in creative writing.  What I've decided is that I won't rush into this and won't be applying for the academic year starting this September.  Although I've done a reasonable amount of writing over the years, here and elsewhere, I haven't really done all that much creative writing proper and have a lot to learn.  I've decided instead to spend some of my time getting some actual writing practice done.  As you might expect, there's piles of advice and exercises to be found on the internet. As a starting point, I've been watching some YouTube videos of a series of lectures Brandon Sanderson gave for a writing course at BYU in Utah (they start here). Each lecture deals with a different subject like characterisation, plot, world building and the writer's toolbox. It's giving me bags of ideas and I hope will start to make me a better writer and provide some focus to my output.  Writing is something that I really enjoy, so I'm looking forward to finding out if it's something I think I can make a go of now that I have the time.

Watch this space, I suppose.  Probably literally.

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