I’m currently witnessing, with others, a pattern that happened to me.
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I was made very ill by jobs, workplaces and managers but, after being in a tunnel, for four years, I’m not only out of it but blinking in the sunlight.
Yesterday, when walking Cassie, I was beeped at and subsequently texted by a friend who’d seen me power-pacing with headphones on, hood up and dog dragging me along.
She said “Rather you than me – but were you skipping?”
I admitted I was.
You see, yesterday and for the last few weeks and months, I’ve become child-like again.
Those days in the early 70s when you had breakfast, came back for dinner and tea (Toby Young would call me a “stain” with those childhood, working class meal labels, but presumably nod approvingly at the My Waitrose card in my wallet now) and “played out” all day. Games like British bulldog, tig, skipping and hopscotch with friends were great times, even when I chose to watch on from the sidelines.
I skipped out to play yesterday and previous weeks, as I’ve had a spring in my step on walks.
Richard in his “Fuck it” piece said that no job is worth making you ill – and he’s right.
I clung to teaching like Jack to Rose and it almost sank me, until I thought “fuck it” I’ll find something else to do, which I’ll enjoy more.
You could follow the same path.
It’s not without risks and anxieties, stresses and worries and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a second income from my wife’s job to sustain us until my various freelance enterprises took off.
Last week, too, in between skipping, I had a phone call from a Head of English in the south east asking if they could pay me to mark mock exams for their students in February. I said yes. He asked then about my teaching experience and said he’d love to have me teach English there and for a split second, I felt tempted.
But then I remembered – the heavy drinking, the depression, the counselling, the various ideations of suicide I had from my last two teaching posts (both Norfolk) and compared it with writing, dog walking, skipping and politely swerved the offer.
No teacher I know skips to lessons and the only joy I had was escaping its toxic stranglehold on me.
And that took two years to recover from.
If you’re in a job, whether that’s teaching or any other work, and it makes you miserable, fuck it.
And do something that will make you skip again, like I did between 3 and 9, and now again at last at 52.