Week 7 – actually on holiday

Week 7 – actually on holiday

This week was all about the family holiday – largely a break from developing my massage and doula work so not really relevant to the subject of these blogs. But it was good to use my massage skills to help my increasingly heavily pregnant daughter relax. It was also  a revelation to find out how good it is to start a holiday already relaxed, rested and happy after so many years of taking the first four or five days away to put work out of my mind.

The one thing I did do whilst on holiday was to book myself on another course. On hot stones massage. I have become slightly addicted to learning new things and a bit sad that my massage course is nearly over – which I admit is part of the reason. But I’ve also noticed a gap in the local market for this form of massage which as a client is a personal favourite of mine.

Week 6 – exam time

Week 6 – exam time

It was my Anatomy and Physiology exam on Friday. After neglecting revision all last week I went into overdrive this week and revised for a long time each day up to the exam. It is actually a really interesting subject. In the end the exam was not too bad – though doing a hand written test after years of computer use was challenging and I do wonder if the examiner will be able to read my answers. But relieved to have no more revision hanging over me.

For about half of a day when revising at home on my own I had my first feelings of doubt about whether I had made the right decision to retire from Acas. After the excitement of the last week the  lack of contact with other people made me feel a bit stressed and down for a short time. This did not last  – helpfully I headed off to a wedding and on a family holiday at the end of the week. Having more time an energy for my family has been one of the many benefits of my new life style. Generally I’ve been disgustingly cheerful ever since I retired. But this short dark mood, felt like a bit of a warning.

Week 5 – the election

Week 5 – the election

This whole week has been dominated by the election – fair to say development of my “business” has been on hold. I leafleted  on several days. I watched and read compulsively, posts, blogs, TV and radio programmes about the likely result. On election day in Bermondsey and Old Southwark I spent all day knocking on doors to encourage people to vote.

I started the week feeling optimistic about the election result (i.e not expecting a huge labour defeat!), but by election day was feeling pretty pessimistic – especially after election day pollsters predicted a 70+ tory majority. It was lovely working with lots of different people and the diversity and size of the campaigning group on Thursday was great and heartening. Long standing local activists seemed quietly confident of Labour retaining BOS , but the general mood was not to expect too much.

Me and Allen (my husband) went home at 19.45, exhausted. I decided that I would wait for exit poll and then go to bed rather that do the normal agonising thing of staying up hoping the picture will be better than I’d feared. Then  the EP result came in with a prediction of hung parliament which was very close to the actual result. Amazing. Felt like a victory for hope and optimism and definitely an end to what appeared to be May’s attempt to squash effective opposition by having a snap election . Goodness knows what future will bring. Would be great if we can now have a united party seriously challenging the Tories and supporting the leader whatever his limitations – Corbyn came over during the election as a genuine and honest man very comfortable in his own skin with a true vision. It may only be a fantasy that we could end up with a PM like that. Or that if he is successful, which now does feel like it may be possible over the next year, he manages to resist the realities of day to day politics and keep that integrity – but its a hope I am going to hold onto for now.

Week 4 – financial reality hits home

Week 4 – financial reality hits home

Terror very close to home this week. My whole family regularly goes out around London Bridge; my daughter works within minutes of Borough market. The location and nature of the attacks were so chilling and frightening. London is subdued and quiet. As well as feeling horror at the event and loss of life I am also anxious about what this will mean for the election. Fear usually plays well for the Tories.

I have focussed on revising for my anatomy and physiology exam- defaulting to the approach I took to my A levels 40 years ago. So I’ve brought a large stock of index cards and spent hours pacing the living room  rehearsing facts; or sitting past papers. This  will be the first written exam I’ve done since I was 21 and I’m VERY nervous.

Last week I felt really good about my massage skills – this week has been much less positive. I did two massages which, for different reasons, I did not feel went well. Feeling a bit low abut this.  But better about my progress to becoming  a doula. My profile is now live on the Doula UK site so in principle I may start hearing from potential clients at any time. We will see . . .

I have received my first pension statement. It’s reassuring to get this but all that money will be going into towards  domestic expenses. In recent years, since my children finished university, I have felt pretty well-off. It is a strange feeling that I currently have no cash going into my own bank account. I have savings  but these are diminishing. Welcome to the uncertain world of self-employment I suppose. For the first time I feel anxious about how it will be if I don’t start to earn some money. I have given myself the target of having my business up and running by 1 September – by which I mean I will have a website and will have started to do some paid work. Fingers crossed.