Goodbye to all that

Sun 23 – Sun 30 Aug 2020

Last week was all about saying goodbye to a major period of my life and a lifestyle in itself. Thus, rather cheekily, I have plagiarised the title of this blog from Robert Graves’ autobiography written in 1929. I’ve not read it yet but it is supposed to be very good. He is a wonderful poet and novel writer having written classics like ‘I, Claudius’ and ‘Count Belisarius’.

My goodbye was to nearly 11 years working at Comic Relief. I wrote in last week’s blog (read it here) about how I have taken voluntary redundancy. This was because my old job disappeared in a restructure and there was nothing I wanted in the new structure.

Last week was my final week in employment. Probably for a while as I having nothing new to go onto. I’ve never worked anywhere so long. It’s genuinely going to be a new phase in my life as I’ve also never been unemployed before. Apart from 2 weeks after I left school nearly 40 years ago.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

A little dying

The whole process of leaving a job after so long and a week spent saying goodbye in many different ways is definitely a ‘little dying’ experience. It was surprisingly busy at work but ultimately simply about letting go. There was still stuff to finish when I left (a vacancy not filled) but it’s that things about accepting it’s over. Everything goes on without us and we just have to go with that.

Apart from the usual remote working time spent on zoom, there was also goodbye time taken up with physically going in to the office. To empty my locker on Tues (all masked up). Then on Thurs back again to return my laptop, charger and security pass. One thing I definitely won’t miss are the miserable building security people to be dealt with. πŸ™

Deleting your online presence

A large part of last week was taken up with going online to delete files and empty my email accounts and folders. You really realise it is goodbye when you look at an empty inbox and personal folder. All those very important files and messages kept ‘just in case’ and now consigned to digital oblivion. Real proof that everything is transient and none of us are irreplaceable.

Quotation by Camus

Friends and Family

My wonderful friends reaching out

One of the highlights of this week is the number of friends who have contacted me to wish commiserations. The messages have come from all angles including social media, emails, and comments on the website. I have been immensely touched by so many reaching out. Including some surprise messages and some reconciliations that I am pleased have happened. There certainly wasn’t any point in it being a bad goodbye.

And me reaching out to them

And I have been reaching out to other people who are leaving alongside me. I sent messages to my wonderful team who are either going or internally transferring. And to the wider department and the other union members. We all fought so hard to get a slightly better redundancy package. πŸ™‚ Plus a farewell message to my line manager and my wonderful job-share colleague – they are both also going.

The team zoom goodbye

Be happy about nice things

Finally, it was great to have a big farewell zoom meet with my team on Wed afternoon. I was late as I was still dealing with work stuff which meant I was quite wound up when I arrived. But my bone wasn’t with my team and it was wonderful to be together one last time.

‘What next?’

This is the question people keep asking. Often because they want to see if they can be of assistance. My honest answer is ‘I don’t know’. After 11 years I feel I need a break to think about what do next. Particularly important as I am going to face ageism in trying to get a new job, it’s inevitable.

It’s got to be special

But whatever comes next, I want it to be something I really want to do. I’m lucky – I don’t need a new job straight away. I can afford to live off the redundancy money for a while. I am sure I will be drawing on my friends to help me in thinking what comes next – their advice and links will be very useful. And I hope I can be as much use to those who need my support.

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit

Mum

Last week really was about sorting out and finishing work stuff. But I also spent some time with mum who is OK. I thought my brother would be around more but he was defeated by his van having a flat tyre and the spare being knackered. πŸ™

One of the particular things I am trying to sort out for mum is an ongoing problem with the water company. It’s been running for 6 months now. It’s really annoying and upsetting her. A real example of a simple small thing that could be easily sorted. But when you are dealing with a byzantine bureaucracy it is never easy. πŸ™

Personal Development

Now it’s goodbye Comic Relief, this really has got to the be the time I focus on new skills and experiences I want to explore and develop. Unfortunately, getting everything sorted at work meant I didn’t have time to think about this much or do anything significantly new. That is still to come.

Language learning continues

But I did carry on ploughing on with my language learning. I’m still using the Duolingo app daily and I am up to a 28 day continuous stretch. πŸ™‚ One thing I should do is try to catch up with more foreign language films as I like cinema and that, inevitably, must assist my language skills.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Albert Einstein

Books and Reading

‘The Black Friar’ by S G MacLean

The fact I was busy finishing off stuff at work (as much as I possibly could anyway before admitting defeat and letting go) meant I only got through one reading book πŸ™ But it was a good one πŸ™‚ The second installment of the adventures of Damian Seeker, Captain of Oliver Cromwell’s guard. Effectively a top agent of Cromwell’s Stasi. I don’t think Cromwell was an evil dictator but life under the puritan Lord Protector probably wasn’t a bundle of laughs either.

Dark Corners collection

Another contemporary horror story specially written for Amazon – details on the collection here.

  • There’s a giant trapdoor spider under your bed’ by Edgar Cantero Very contemporary being a horror story based on Harry Potter. OK but slightly underwhelming.

My current reading books

Author of 'Goodbye to all that'

I decided to start reading Robert Graves’ ‘Goodbye to all that’. Indeed, it felt like I should when I used it for the title of this blog and found I had already downloaded it to my kindle. Cannot remember when I did that – must have been on special offer at some point. All in all, it feels like the universe is telling me that this is a book I should read.

I am also reading ‘Swimming in the Dark’ by Tomasz Jedrowski. This is the book for the Velvet Page book club meeting on Thurs.

The Notting Hill exchanges

book exchange

Friday I went up to the Book Exchange in Notting Hill to exchange some books and get vouchers to buy new stuff. I love the chaos of the different exchanges (website here), you just don’t know what you will find. So it was fun to check out the different shops including the one for clothes.

The importance of generosity

When I was there I gave one of my Β£5 vouchers to a young man to buy a t-shirt. We had a chat and he told me he liked it but could not afford it. I think he might have been homeless – that’s what his clothes and general demeanour suggested. But even if he wasn’t then it was still no hardship to me and it made him very happy. πŸ™‚

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run and walks

Keen eyed readers may have noticed that I have changed the usual end date of my blog to Sunday. This means I can report on the jog-run of the previous Sunday as well as the most recent one on the morning of the day I am publishing my blog. πŸ™‚

Previous Sunday

A decent jog-run on the previous Sun morning. Exactly 32 mins 30 seconds – almost a perfect 6 and a half minutes for each km stretch. So nice to get evenness on my run. I think the fact that my head was starting to move to a post-work place meant I could just focus on the exercise and not be distracted too much by thoughts about work.

This morning

a form of exercise

Even better than the previous week! Just under 32 mins. πŸ™‚ Last week was bloody busy trying to get all the loose ends tied up and saying goodbye. But the lessened weight of work concerns that influenced the previous week’s good jog-run were even stronger today. There’s a definite potential improvement trend happening as can be seen here.

And don’t forget I’ve started to make little post jog-run videos again which can be viewed here.

And lots of lovely walks

I am making sure I get some walking done every day even if just to the local park. But there have also been purposeful walks. On Tues and Thurs, had to walk to and from Vauxhall to empty my locker then return my pooter. Plus walking backwards and forwards between Dave’s and mum’s as well as my Friday walk to the exchanges in Notting Hill.

Art and Culture

TV Gold

Are you being served

No cultural visits last week, but some brilliant TV. Saw a wonderful Top of the Pops special covering 1964-1975 (a very creative period). And a review of ‘Are You Being Served?’. Comedy from the 70s is always awful and hilarious with bits so saucy they wouldn’t be done nowadays i.e. Mr Humphries and jokes about Mrs Slocombe’s pussy.

The Week Ahead

You should see my diary, the pages are all blank!

  • As I have said goodbye to work for a while, me and Dave are up to Scunthorpe to see his mother Tues – Fri (he’s worried what might happen in a second wave…)
  • Various visits are planned – garden centre, hospital, big shops, charity shops, local museum, and possibly even the seaside
  • Hopefully lots of walking whilst I’m away (though Dave’s mum isn’t very mobile πŸ™ ). Will definitely do my Sun morning jog-run. πŸ™‚
  • The only thing in my diary is the Velvet Page book club on Thurs night. And, unfortunately, I’ll probably have to miss it as we’ll likely be taking Dave’s mum out for dinner
  • Will continue to read ‘Goodbye to all that’, ‘Swimming in the Dark’, and more Darkest Corners stories.
  • Definitely time to start planning my personal development and exercise plan now it’s post-redundancy
  • Might try and watch some culture. Perhaps a nice foreign language film. πŸ™‚

And Finally…

2 thoughts on “Goodbye to all that

  1. Hi Billy – just seen your blog (for the first time) and just wanted to say Congratulations’ for making the big decision and taking the leap and then of course also wanted to say enjoy the well earned break and best of luck with your new road. Can’t quite believe you won’t be at CR tho!! BW Sarah (Brennan) (I was at YoungMinds).

    1. Hi Sarah. Great to hear from you. How are you these days? Be nice to catch up. Thank you very much for reaching out. Best wishes, Billy

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