January – Life Right Now

A January snapshot of the London skyline

January can seem a long month- everything on social media reflects how the month can drag. January 2020 in my world has flown, admittedly it feels like it’s been two months- distinct from each other.

I entered January unemployed. My first period of unemployment ever. Even before I received my NI number at 15 I worked, and since 18 I’ve been in full-time employment. Unemployment, despite knowing it’s temporary is an odd feeling. My need for structure seeing me through.

January starts with birthdays and typically I’ve taken time off to celebrate both Mr J’s and the boys’ birthdays so January wasn’t odd initially. Tom and Seb turning nine gave the opportunity for a weekend of celebrations. Coincidentally my brother was home from Thailand so as well as a party we were able to have a family meal out with both of their uncles- I think probably a first.

A perk of being unemployed was being home all the time and being able to do the school runs and being around for homework and activities was such a bonus. Fortunately, I return to work for a very understanding boss and I’m managing to maintain a lot of this.

There is a real benefit of hindsight emerging, especially as friends go through similar redundancy situations. The impact on health and wellbeing is immense. The reality of what my family went through in the run up to Christmas now becomes clear. As my work didn’t quieten down and yet I still needed to look for a new job it’s obvious I wasn’t as present. Throw in the associated stress I felt and how that seeped into the home. Well, needless to say health and behaviours went downhill.

Being home in January has meant both Mr J and I can see the improvements. Everyone is happier. Even my mum commented on how much the children’s behaviour has improved. And they’re back to thriving at school as well. And I’m so grateful. Like most things, it’s only after the event you realise how much events impact on everything.

Being home, being made redundant, has also allowed us to put a lot of plans into play. I coincided “redundancy pay day” with a visit to our mortgage adviser. It seems paying off a chunk of your mortgage and putting in place a new arrangement is minimal effort- my employment status not being an issue. When it was explained it was a no-brainer, fortunately. We’re also sorting a holiday for our ten-year wedding anniversary – and I do feel the need to escape and immerse myself in time with family. And then there’s the home improvements…

We’ve lived here for eight years and have only made cosmetic changes to our home- it was one of the reasons we bought the house after the shock of three under-2’s. But now, we’re ready to make changes which suit our family. I am so excited to sort a new kitchen/ diner which has been on my list since we didn’t need space downstairs for toys. But first we’re sorting the bain of my life and getting some new flooring downstairs- muddy paws at this time of the year are a constant battle.

Sunset on the end of a chapter

And admittedly that feels like enough for one month. But then I woke up on January 20th and once again entered meaningful employment.

Oh wow! Another rollercoaster. I had a completely immersive first week. And after a month off it completely exhausted me. Fortunately friends had the foresight to organise a Bottomless Brunch for the weekend so a therapy session helped to get things in perspective.

I end my second week having written my strategic plan and deliverables for the year. Whilst it’s a huge learning curve it’s so interesting. And I feel I’m making steps in the right direction.

I’ve also learned about ‘courageous networking’ which I thought was someone’s humour to my email asking for their time. It turns out the organisation has a commitment to new recruits or those seeking career development that if someone pops a ‘courageous networking’ session in your diary when you’re free you have a commitment to honour it. Just wow!

And as another weekend approaches, I’m tired and so ready for it. I get to take the boys to their first (of many!!) Six Nations match and they play their first rugby match (fingers crossed!). I won’t get to see them play as I’m on mum duty at Seren’s football match. I’m not quite sure when we became a sports family… but we have… Maybe for a little more balance in February. But I did mention the Six Nations… so maybe April?

I hope January wasn’t too long for you? Here’s to a fantastic February!

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