I've just had a mad cap day at work getting things done and now have two weeks off. Two weeks to relax, think about things and walk from one coast of England to the other (more on this walk I'm starting this weekend in a post scheduled for Sunday, day 1 of our walk).
Work has been hectic this week which is always the way pre-holiday. It's also still a new role and completely unlike things I've done before. Whilst it plays to some strengths, it doesn't play to all. The upside is that it does play to things I *wish* were strengths. This is my time to dig deep and get some new skills. It feels like it has been a long time since that was the case. I've pretty much floated in my career in this country. This role requires some more effort.
The trip though, I'm excited about. I will have a lot of thinking time I imagine. A lot of time to really think about England, London, Australia, Melbourne, Singapore and all the places in between. Whilst there is a lot in my life I am excited about and looking forward to, I would say for the most part I'm not as happy this year as I have been in years past (in the last 29 years past even?). Time for me in this country might just be up. Kind of what I thought at the beginning of the year, but very much not what I thought a month ago.
I guess I'll walk it out, think about career, loves, family, friends* and the like and come to a decisions in time.
And on that, friends. A big asterisk there. The nature of London is it's a mostly transient city. Not many people I know here are from here (not many I know here are even from England). A combination of the economy, the change in immigration & visa policy (i.e. highly skilled visas are no longer issued) and the passing of time (my friends are mostly >30 so no longer eligible for tier 5 working holiday) mean a lot more people have left than are coming. Very few new friends in the last year or so. A lot, whilst remaining friends, are spread all over the world. More are follwing them. Too few will remain in London.
I have friends that are sometimes good value, that are sometimes up for things. I don't have the quality of friend here though that are up for just about anything (be it something crazy and new or a cup of tea on the couch) that doesn't need to be scheduled months in advance. I don't have the friends I really feel like I can rely on or trust implicitly. Not in this city, not any more.
So, whilst I walk, I shall think these things over. Do I want to stay here, focus on work and put a lot more effort into the social life (I'll admit I haven't at all this year... I do think in part that what I get back from my friends is a reflection of what I put out there). Or do I make my way home via the wide wide world and set up shop in Melbourne. Forever.
It's always felt like when I move home, that will be it. Not that I won't travel and have a lot of fun in the future, but that it will be the next part of my life, the rest of my life. Do I want that yet?
I don't know.
And that is what I will think about as I walk from one side of this country to the other.