This week started with the inevitable reflection, it was my birthday- another year under my belt. It’s odd how much birthdays themselves change, or not- I had a party with 4 and 6 year olds, party games and food. And it does seem birthdays do get better the more of them you have- because now I have three little people who strenuously believe that birthdays are ‘your day’ and you do get to celebrate them with the best of the best.
Tuesday saw me sit in a car for nearly six hours as I made the trip to our office as part of my new job. And Wednesday saw me get home in a slightly quicker time.
There was a lot of time for thought, years ago I used to do over 40,000 miles a year, now I probably get to 3,000 as travelling by train has become the norm. I now get frustrated travelling by car, nowhere near as productive as being on a train and being able to read, write, sleep, eat… most things really.
And I used the time to ponder how much has changed.
I used to leave home at 5am on a Monday to get to the office for 9 (we lived in Yorkshire and Norfolk was a bit nearer) and leave at 5pm on Wednesday. I remember knowing I was ‘proper pregnant’ with CM when I had to incorporate a pit stop on the way to work for a snooze. I remember being stranded at a restaurant I was eating at with a friend, heavily pregnant with snow falling, the owner took pity and put us up in the hotel for the night rather than letting us drive the couple of miles back to the office (our office is an ex-RAF base which also provides our accommodation).
I used to know which service stations on the M6, M5, M1, A1 and a host of other roads had which fast food outlet and time my breaks to coincide with my favourite, after children that changed to coffee shops, and now I keep a track of which supermarkets have popped up.
With 14 years working for the same organisation, which has changed beyond recognition in that time, there are things which I miss. I miss being able to drive hands-free and catch up with colleagues, who became friends; I miss the stationery, now everyone is comparing handheld devices and the weight of laptops; I miss not seeing people as regularly as everything is done over wifi, so you don’t get to see colleagues who happen to be in the office you’re visiting.
Those fourteen years have seen me call six places home, I’m starting my sixth job, I think I’m on my 11th line manager. I’ve been supported through different qualifications, which included an MBA dissertation deadline and a due date of March 13th 2009. The first pregnancy offered few lessons for the second, as two pregnancies resulted in three children with a 22 month age gap. And between those pregnancies saw a marriage, and a perfect wedding day. And it’s approaching four years since we traded the Pennines for the coastline of South Wales. And next week I will be able to say I have three children in school.
It’s amazing what changes when you visualise a timeline. On the surface the familiar roads create a sense of repetitiveness, a length of service can create a sense of comfort.
Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself of what’s been achieved.