It’s been two weeks since I was last in work. Normally after about two weeks on leave I would be building myself up to going back into work on Monday, thinking of where my work shoes are? Have I washed and ironed my trousers? Where is my beret?
But not this time. I am on leave until I leave the RAF now. No more work, no more office, no more RAF. In one week I move out of this service house and into my own place far, far away from the RAF. I don’t have any work shoes. My trousers have all been handed back in, and my beret is hanging forlornly on a hook in the hall as a keep-sake of a job, of a career, of a life that is over and slinking away.
But here’s the rub. I don’t actually miss going back into work. I actually thought that with still living on base, and having my daughter in the nursery school just over the road from my office that I would be in there a lot. Popping up for a chat and a cup of tea. But no. In the time I’ve been off so far, I’ve been into work three times. And one of those times was to pick up some of the stuff I had under my desk as a result of clearing my locker and drawers out. I have been back to check my JPA (the admin computer system from hell) and put in assorted claims to do with my resettlement and relocation.
But I haven’t missed work.
I thought it would be a massive wrench. I thought that finishing would rip a part of me out. But no. And the fact that it hasn’t has proved to me that I think that applying for, and being selected for, redundancy was the right move. It’s been a stressful time, this last 4 months, but the fact that I don’t actually miss work has been a revelation to me.
I miss the conversation and the craic already. Just the chatting to other people with the same outlook as you and having the same sense of humour as you is the one thing that I will miss. The perks, the life…yes…but the work? No. I don’t and I won’t.
It is quite simply time to move on. I have settled on an idea of what I want to do next, and I am slowly getting my head around how to go about it, and of course it has NOTHING to do with the resettlement courses I have done, but hey ho. The resettlement courses are all about my fall back plan anyway. If I can’t make it doing what I want to do (basically, THIS, as a freelance/ghost blog and web copywriter) then I have the fall back of doing a real job that I am, I have to say, quite decent at…It’s sort of like your dad saying, “ok, you can give it a go as a professional footballer, but make sure you have a trade in case it doesn’t work out.” It’s me being wise.
But the thing is I don’t really want to work full-time. I am completely drained from 25 years in the RAF. And I feel like a weight is being lifted from me. I have enjoyed every day of the life…but I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have spoken about it in the past – the cost-benefit analysis of it all means I do not get out of the life enough to allow me to put up with the job. The job isn’t bad. It’s just different, and it was just hard for me to go on with it all. So it was time to move on. And as I have done my 22 years, I am entitled to a full service pension, which whilst not huge, is (along with my wife’s full service pension) enough to mean that we won’t starve. We will get by out there, and jobs that we do will be for us, and to top our pensions up. I am not a greedy man, and I want to enjoy my life post-RAF. I don’t want to keep working at the same pace. I don’t need to. I don’t have to. I’m not going to.
And anyway this moving on is not just the mental moving on to do with leaving the job. It’s the physical one of moving house. Of leaving this house and moving north to set up a home. It’s odd ‘cos of all the many. many places I have lived in (certainly over the past 5 years since my divorce) none of them have really been a home. They’ve been houses. They’ve been places to stay and live with in, either on my own, or with my family, but they’ve not felt like homes.
But the next one will be. We are renting a place that was also for sale. And we want to buy the place after we have had a chance to settle. We have decided to make sure that we are happy with the area we have chosen to live in and the house we are moving to before we put down a massive amount of money and actually buy it. I think we are 75% there already, it just seems so bloody, idyllic… but we need to make sure before we take the massive plunge into the house with our cash, gratuities and savings.
But the move to that house starts next week. Exactly a week today we will be out of this house. As I type now, at 11:09 pm, a week today we will be in my brother’s house just a few miles from our new place, awaiting the arrival of the removal van the next day. We will literally be moving on.
And I can’t wait for it. I will miss the life. I will miss being here, being on base, in the warm little womb of the military. But it’s a real fact that everyone has to leave the Armed Forces at some stage. And I am happy that I have chosen when I am going to do it and that I have had some control over it. And I can’t wait for the next stage of my life to start next Friday morning when we move into our new house.
Moving on? Bring it on…