When you're part of the rat race, you don't realise or even acknowledge that you are. And when working long hours and constantly communicating via Blackberry is the norm, you barely notice that perhaps the rest of the world isn't like that.
It struck me in my last week before redundancy (which I now refer to as BR).
When you no longer care about being at your desk first or what your boss thinks of you, some distance forms between you and the pushing, shoving, sweating masses that heave through Bank station each morning. Observed from afar, it becomes apparent how ridiculous and infantile that behaviour is - the tutting, the head shaking - all because someone in just as much of a rush dares to cross your path. You realise that it makes little difference to how quickly you get there; it only serves to wind you up. I am happy to no longer care or to be a part of it.
One of the most common comments I get these days (in my Post Redundancy phase), is how relaxed and chilled I seem. And that it suits me to be like that. I suppose that means that BR, I was the opposite. Stressed, wound up, constantly on the Blackberry or phone. And while I'd read all the right books about how to de-stress and not let work be the focus of your life, it's a pretty hard sell. When you're used to working non-stop and you're enjoying the lifestyle and income that comes with it, trying to stop of your own accord isn't easy.
When I venture into the City these days, mostly for a seemingly endless round of farewell drinks events, I feel like I'm walking half the speed of everyone surrounding me. And I'm sure that someone walking through the City with a smile on their face is a rare sight these days.
I am willing to admit that the first few days after surrendering my Blackberry were a bit traumatic. The thought of not being in immediate contact with the known world was frightening. The constant inflow of work emails provided a sense of being needed, important; all the big decisions were waiting on me. And with the instant connectivity to the internet, I never needed to wonder what's going on in the world.
There is a certain sense of adventure that comes from not knowing exactly what's going on, minute by minute. From wondering who's winning the football or calling a friend for a status update that's not on Facebook. And I've realised that it's OK. To not have everything at my fingertips, to not be constantly connected to the world. To just be.
So in short, I'm enjoying this moment. Being between jobs. At least, I think it's between jobs. The frightening thing about having stepped off the treadmill is not particularly wanting to get back on.
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