So, having been terrible at posting to my website (my previous entry even pre-dates Covid-19), I’m sitting here about to write a fairly hefty update to share some recent big life decisions. I intend to accompany this with a video journal on my YouTube channel (check it out here) at some point soon, but inevitably it won’t be as detailed (or coherent) so consider this post the definitive version!
Start with the Why
Before delving into what decisions I’ve made, here’s a bit of background on why, which may provide some insight into what’s coming next. For those who don’t know, in 2016 I separated from my now ex-wife and began what I’m calling the ‘current’ chapter of my life: I moved into a rental flat in the centre of Norwich, swapped my perfectly good Audi A3 for a bigger, better, and totally unnecessary BMW X3 and started getting used to living a single life again. It was good, quite strange at first, but liberating.
During the three years that followed, I went on lots of amazing holidays – some golfing trips with my friend Richard; some walking holidays in Greece with Ed; plenty of solo expeditions; and a few romantic getaways as well 😛 . I enjoyed my contract developer role at Aviva (especially the generous day rate) and even managed to save a good chunk of money despite living very well. I joined a local masters swimming club, made new friends and got into the best physical shape of my life.
In 2018, with a desire to get back on the property ladder and the prospect of my contract coming to a close, I switched to a permanent role at Aviva with a very respectable position as Software Architect. At the start of 2019, I completed a flat purchase in the city centre – not far at all from where I’d been living up to that point. Even though I bought it to live in, there was always an intention that I could use it as an investment in the future as a rental property.
2019 came and went without further drama. At the start of 2020, I planned an extended holiday to New Zealand – 6 weeks away from work, travelling around a country I’ve always dreamed of visiting. As the April departure date got closer, Covid-19 reared its ugly head, and all travel plans went out the window. In hindsight, I was lucky it wasn’t closer to the travel date – or even during the trip. I managed to get a refund on my flights (eventually), and the only real loss was the experience itself – still, a bitter pill to swallow.
Working from home during lockdown initially seemed like a luxury, but soon became the norm and though I adapted well (us developers are loners by nature I think), life gradually felt much smaller and with this reality, a new perspective dawned. Not being able to travel freely had a profound impact on me and I was determined never to take such things for granted again. I was extremely fortunate to still manage a couple of very good trips that year: once to Greece in September and then to Dubai in October/November. I’m not sure what I would have done without them to be honest…gone mad, probably.
So, 2021 finally arrives, with lockdown still in effect for the first few months. I’ve become jaded with work – not due to Covid-19 or being at home all day, I must stress. Partly, there was a downturn in the working environment at Aviva, but mostly I just don’t have the same enthusiasm for software development that I used to. 17 years since graduating seems to have gone very fast.
Around the same time these feelings were emerging, I knew my expensive and woefully under-used BMW would have to be handed back in September and the cogs in my brain started turning…was now the time to make some big decisions? Start the Next Chapter, perhaps?
Now the What
Well, if you’re any good at reading between the lines (or just reading), it shouldn’t take much guesswork to figure out what’s next…
In April 2021, after only a modest amount of agonising over the decision, I gave my three-month notice at Aviva, intending to finish early July. Not such a big decision, you might say, if I planned to get another job elsewhere…but I’m not. In 5 days time – Wednesday 30th June – I will officially become unemployed for the first time since finishing University in 2004!
So, what am I going to do?
Long term, who knows?!
Right now, I’m busy boxing up my belongings to go into storage and have tenants moving into my flat on the 5th July. My car is being sold back to BMW next week (for a profit, I was pleasantly surprised to discover) and on the 7th July I’ll be jetting off to…you guessed it…Greece! Return flight: 2nd October!!
I won’t go into too much detail on my travel plans here: check out my other website (Greece Travel Guide) and subscribe to the YouTube Channel (please 😉 ) if you want to find out more, but suffice it to say I’m planning on doing lots of travelling, eating, swimming, sunbathing and – most importantly – NOT working!
I suppose you could call it a sabbatical, except I’m really not sure what I’m coming back to — or for. I’m hoping I’ll figure that out while I’m away.
Headspace is the key.
Time to kick back, relax and figure out what’s to come.