Trip 6, Day 10: home

Five days late in posting. My apologies!

I’m at the Gate, waiting to board my last flight home.

The flight to Spain took just over an hour. On reflection, travel wise it has added nothing as today’s flight is still 3 hours – wait, no, it’s actually saved me the three hours train journey. I will land at my local airport and will be home within half an hour.

Just like that.

Just like that, I’m back to normal. And with that sentiment, a heavy heavy weight descends on my chest.

The Hostal was simple but sufficient. I’d spoken to him briefly in the airport but I was a little lost at that time, unable to find a cash point or taxi rank (note to self, ATMs in the airport are extortionate and most taxis offer card payments 🧐). When I arrived 20 minutes later, I called him. He was tired but checked I was OK. I searched his face for…something. If he felt anything at this time, it was hidden.

I spent the rest of the evening messaging my married friend and she consoled me, kindly. But, she also said this trip needed some analysis. I needed to get control of my own future. When the time was right, we would discuss everything. She would consult her husband surreptitiously, and gain insight from a man of Wildcard’s age and culture.

As we parted I commented: if all was good, I wouldn’t need their advice, would I?

*******

I slept relatively well. I woke in the night too hot as I had blasted the slow heating to full as the room was freezing when I had arrived. By 3am, I was roasting.

This morning, I finally woke at 8.30am – around the time Wildcard would come to me, and I felt an ache like no other. I considered that he was probably still sleeping and took the time to reflect in the calm, quiet of a morning alone in a Spanish Hotel.

Within half an hour, I was ready to message. He called within minutes.

I was still searching, of course. Still searching for signs that he felt like I do. He looked tired, yes. Asking never works, but of course, I tried. We were on the phone for some time and I asked again to ‘tell me something good’. He joked, with the melodramatic voice he gives me in these situations, that he hadn’t slept thinking about me. That he was hurting because I was not there, that he couldn’t breathe. I don’t know if any of what he said was true. I only know that was how I felt. We said goodbye and I made myself get up, wipe my tears and go out. I walked the quiet streets and eventually stopped at a popular cafe for freshly squeezed orange juice and amazing coffee. Unfortunately, there were no gluten free options but I enjoyed sipping and watching the many sparrows darting so close to me for scraps.

I walked a little more and visited a supermarket to buy Spanish sweets for my children. Eventually, I made my way back and repacked and showered. I thought some more.

As I finish this post, I have completed another one too. It contains my reflections and real heartfelt soul searching – not just about Wildcard, but more importantly about myself.

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Trip 6, Day 1 (part one)

7.45am

I’m on my first train.

Finally, finally, I’ve felt some excitement for my trip. Don’t get me wrong, there have been moments of excitement when i booked or when i spoke to Wildcard about the trip a few weeks ago. But in the close lead up, this was the first time.

As my sister was driving me to the train station, Wildcard called me. That is the moment I felt it: when I saw his face and knew that by the end of this day I would be looking into his eyes, in real life, face to face.

My whole body has come alive with excitement and love and anticipation. And I could see the excitement on his face too. ❤️

I’ve come to the conclusion that every trip will feel different. I didn’t expect that somehow but it has been the case.

I’ve felt a lot of anxiety leading up to this one which has surprised me: I’m a solo travelling pro now. However, the run up to Christmas, planning my sons’ birthdays and trying to get ready for my new job – on top of being organised for a trip. Yes, that’s probably what has done it.

I’ve had mixed reactions on missing my son’s 16th. First, he was the one who told me to take this flight. Close friends have told me to just go – I’ve planned and been there for every one of my children’s birthdays, as I should be. One of them pointed out that being there on the actual day isn’t the key thing – how many children have extended birthdays over s few days, or are in school? A few people have gasped at my going. I’ve gasped inwardly, admittedly. But, I planned a little party for him last night and spent all day cleaning and putting up birthday decorations. I cooked his favourite food and invited his close family. And you know what? He spent 95% of the time upstairs. We all understood – he’s autistic, and has never coped with large gatherings. But it has made me feel a little better. Tomorrow he has a few close friends coming over and I have shopped to buy food, snacks and drinks. I can do no more.

So that’s one source of my anxiety put to rest. Hopefully.

I can’t pretend either that I haven’t spent the last few nights in an anxiety spiral over whether there is any point in me going. Seems silly to say that now, in the bright light of day. A large part, although I’m only just admitting this, is because he’s working a lot in the first half of my trip. He’s worked on 5 of the 6 trips to be fair; but at this time, his work will keep him out all day and later than usual. He won’t come home in the afternoon for dinner. That’s a long time to be sat at his home, waiting for him each day. With all the arrangements I’ve had to make and the stresses of strikes here there and everywhere…well, it made me think. He admitted it in different conversation recently: he’s keeping a month of his holidays in reservation….that made more sense. Nonetheless he can’t help having to work as he is covering someone else’s planned holiday. I just have to deal with it.

The usual mental devils have reared their heads though. He doesn’t really love you. He’s not excited. You’re wasting your time. He’s never going to marry you. Blah blah blah. After two nights (and the rest) of this on repeat, I’ve had enough of these thoughts. No more.

8.34am

So, I’m now on train 3 waiting to depart for London. I’ve got a window seat – yay!- and my phone is on charge and I have a flat white coffee in front of me. Happy days.

As I turned on my phone, a photo memory popped up of ‘spotlight on Wildcard’. ❤️ Synchronicity at its best. A selection of memories from over my five trips and him in all his delicious glory. And then, as I put my music on, the very first song to play on shuffle is the song that most reminds me of Wildcard, followed by the Maroon 5 song where Adam Levine is in pilot gear…I am very, very excited now. 😊

14.25

As you can see, I’m now sat in the departure lounge. What you don’t know, is I am still early. Oops. I’ve taken a punt on the gate on the Ryanair app being correct, even though it has just changed. Trying to avoid the crowds, you know?

I’ve not spoken to Wildcard since this morning but he had told me he would have a very busy day: he sent me a voice note a few hours ago. I’m still excited. I am anxious. But mainly excited now.

And so I wait for my plane. And after a 3.5 hour flight, I will be in Wildcard’s Country.

My Christmas present

Facebook was a game back then. I’d long ago disabled my real account, bored of the drama and conversely the day to day posts of the contents of someone’s sandwich.

The name was mine but in a different form. I was trying to be a new me. Upon advice, I was using Facebook rather than it use me – talking to strangers from far off places. Trying out socialising skills which were rusty and dusty and under-used. Not that I wasn’t selective – some people I just avoided no doubt like some avoided me.

I will never forget…

Then, one day, there was your request in my inbox. I opened it up to see your face and ‘wow’ left my lips before I smiled. You were single, so no harm. I could…practise my flirting. I could…learn more about a culture I was already intrigued by. I could talk to an attractive man, even for a short time.

I accepted. You messaged. I replied.

In those early days, I was shy and you were persistent. I was hesitant and you were patient.

It was just for fun though.

Until soon it wasn’t. My feelings grew. I was conflicted and torn, suspicious but hopeful. You made me laugh like I no one had ever done. You were consistent and dependable.

And then, less than two months later, it was Christmas. My first Christmas alone.

In the previous year, when Dad had died, I was still numb. I dazzled like a Christmas light, not allowing the grief to surface, determined after six months of loss that I would make Christmas special. I’d filled my house with people and love.

But that year, I was alone. My sisters were with their extended families. My children were with their Dad. And I felt it keenly. I was alone, not with my Dad.

You told me you wouldn’t leave me alone. On a day that means little to you, you made it mean everything to me. You called me, more than before, just to keep me company from thousands of miles away. You made me feel loved and wanted and special. You gave me more than I ever expected.

I love you loyalty and your patience, your integrity and your faith. I love your humour and your teasing, your dependability and your mind. I love your face and your body and your spirit and your soul.

That was the moment I fell in love with you. The time I felt the most alone, the most vulnerable, the most insignificant. That’s when I really knew that I loved you.

I love you.

Rain

Why don’t we do the things we want to do?

I ponder this question frequently. Or rather, I want to ponder it, but my Fort Knox brain shutters come down as it knows this is something triggering. I try to ponder it.

There are many things I want to do and I don’t do them.

If we have an idea of what would make us happy though, why don’t we do it?

I’ve dabbled in enough self help and personal development mini sessions to know a lot of this is to do with fear, failure and our brains protecting us. It also has a lot to do with confidence, self esteem and self preservation.

I know I’m not happy. I’ve not been truly happy for a long time. I also know that knowing I am unhappy makes me more unhappy with myself.

From everything I’ve learnt this past few years, I know that taking action has a big part to play in the journey to getting out of this.

And I have been. (Cue self celebration). I have been taking small actions recently. I’ve not given up or given in. This is real progress when you consider how I coped 18 months ago, and four years ago. My road to recovery this time has been shorter. I’m still on it of course, but I’ve started on the road quicker.

Take today, for instance. Yesterday I was moody and unsettled. This morning I’ve been in my head, so much so that I have a headache. But I’ve done two things today. One, I completed a Mind Valley Life Book questionnaire (which links to a course I can’t afford, but the report is very helpful) and I am currently sat in my garden, in the rain, periodically throwing a ball to my dog.

And why is this progress, I hear you ask? Because by completing the questionnaire, I’m trying. I’m fighting. I’m taking action. I’m refusing to dwell in the bog of my unhappiness. I’m trying to uncover all behind my brain’s Fort Knox so I can get the hell out of there.

And, by taking my dog out in the rain, I feel better. Yes, I’m wet and cold. But….I felt bad about not taking him out and now I have. And I proved that a little discomfort actually isn’t so bad when it is for the greater good. My dog is perfectly happy:

My issue, of course, is that I’m not sure where I’m heading. I’m still lost. Floundering, floating, directionless. I’ve an idea where I want to go. But I’m not sure. Scared. Terrified.

I have a lot to be happy and grateful about. I am blessed in many, many ways. This also makes me unhappy because I feel bad for feeling unhappy when I shouldn’t be.

I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know if it is a midlife crisis. My Dad dying. Unhappiness in my marriage that I stuck at for far, far too long. Covid. A Long Distance Relationship that exhilarates and frustrates me. Inherent mental health issues. Burn out. Potential neurodivergence. The collapse of the UK’s education systems and society. War. All of the above. Just me. I don’t know.

I guess it doesn’t matter but its in my nature to search for answers and source to the problem so I can solve the problem.

I love my life and hate my life.

I want someone to help me find answers but I also want to find them myself.

I want structure and I want flexibility.

I want to be a good mother and I want time to be me.

I want to lead but I want to be a team.

I want time alone but don’t want to be on my own.

I want to fill my time doing what I love but I want to learn new things.

I want to fill my time doing what I love but still be productive and efficient.

I want to fill my time doing things I love but don’t actually do any of them.

Why don’t I do the things I love, if I love them so much..?

Goosebumps

My breath caught in my chest and the air around me seemed electric, as my eyes zoomed in on the words. In those milli-seconds, the world stood still for me.

They were the same words.

Earlier

I’ve procrastinated again this weekend. Yesterday, in attempt to calm the tsunami of my mind, I decided to write down every thought that was plaguing me over the course of a couple of hours. Because I can’t just wash the dishes. Oh no. My mind races. I lose track of what I’m doing…I engage in repetitive behaviours. So, instead, I wrote it down. It didn’t take long to fill two sides of A4 – a long, long list of to-dos, should-dos, could-dos and what ifs.

I felt better after. A little scared, but better.

And since, I’ve been semi-productive. I’ve crossed some things off the list. I’ve prepared my teaching for tomorrow. That’s it. I’ve not moved forward on my business. I haven’t uploaded the documents for my supply agency interview tomorrow.

This evening, after my adoration filled video call with Wildcard, I decided to watch a film. I logged on the Netflix and searched through the romantic comedies. Yesterday, I’d really fancied watching ‘Sweethome Alabama’ but it wasn’t on Netflix. Instead, I got drawn to ‘How do you know?’, a Reece Witherspoon film from 10 years ago I somehow have missed. It’s about a man and woman whose lives fall apart but end up meeting. I enjoyed it. There was a particularly poignant moment about the creation of playdough and the idea that one single decision can change someone’s world.

Well, tonight I searched for a film and saw ‘The Secret”. I recognised the actor but wasn’t sure from where. I read the blurb and it wasn’t dissimilar to last night’s film and was kind of on my wavelength so I watched it. It had Katie Holmes in this time: singles mother of 3 down on her luck… it turns out, after a mid film Google search, that the male actor is the same one out of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’…

I again watched, enjoyed, and loved the message of positivity…search for the good in the world manifest it and you will find it. As someone who’s been living in negativity for a while, it again was a poignant message. (In fact only this morning I was wondering why bother getting up).

The film ended and, motivated, I searched for some courses again. The last one I found which started on November 1st, I could not afford. I found some leads and shut down the computer.

I quickly checked my phone, having a quick look at WordPress. And there it was.

I always look at my notifications, grateful for anyone who likes my writing or signs up for more. And if it’s not one of my latest posts, I always read the post to remind myself of it. I can’t tell you how many times that has been therapy itself. The sheer coincidence of a post I’ve forgotten about, ending up being exactly what I needed to read and remind myself: I’ve nearly written a post on this a number of times.

So, when I looked at the notifications tonight and saw ‘Dare to Dream’, my heart missed a beat. Because that was the subtitle to tonight’s film. “The Secret: Dare to Dream.”

I’ve never seen that film before and I wrote that post a few months back. Tired of being too scared to actually think about what I want, I made myself meditate and just let the Dream roll. One of the key lines from the film is, “if you don’t know what you want, how will you know how to ask for it?”

My post was about Wildcard, my family and my health. I admitted how I want him to be a part of my life and family. This morning, when I went back to sleep, I wondered what he even saw in me. He’s proved his love for me again and again today.

Now, I need to let my worries and stresses, my should-dos, could-dos and can-dos go and just allow myself to actually decide what it is I want and go for it. Dare to Dream.

What’s really scary

I’ve got a tikka masala simmering and pilau rice steaming in the last of the stock and spices. It’s all in defiance, of course.

I had a heated discussion this morning with my 18 year old daughter. I commented that, whilst I am happy for her to cook when she wanted, could she please 1)clean up after and 2) stop wasting food. Probably 2/3 of what she makes is thrown out. As I’m gluten free, I can’t eat it. She doesn’t like eating previous frozen leftovers, apparently. She doesn’t appear to like eating leftovers full stop to be honest. She commented that I only cook what the boys want (true, when they’re here) and that I have a freezer full of leftovers that I don’t eat.

In defiance, I’ve pulled out two tubs of leftover curry from the freezer. And that’s tea. It is true I have a freezer full of leftovers. I do eat some of them. Some, I have no idea what they are because I tell myself that I will remember but I rarely do. A few others are soups I made which were …OK… Good enough to keep but not good enough to tempt me to eat them. I’m being a hypocrite.

My relationship with my daughter is…complex, challenging, fragile, tricky. All of those words and none of them.

She is my princess. I’m very proud of her and yet terrified of her at the same time. She’s nothing like me. She’s not who I thought she would be – and for that reason, I’m proud and terrified. But mainly confused.

She belongs to a time that I don’t understand – social media and non- relationship relationships. She’s fiercely independent and confident as well as being clingy and anxious.

She has told me to stay out of her life when making life decisions such as college etc and then I’ve watched her struggle, knowing she’d made the wrong one. Just to spite me, apparently.

It’s hard to see her lost and yet know she’s not willing for me to help her.

And yet, she’s happy for me to chauffeur her round, give her money, tidy her room and make her food on demand – particularly when she’s spent all day in bed.

I’m frustrated that she’s been ill for what seems like months but does little to care for herself and is angry when I comment on/advise her how to care for herself.

Truth is, she’s transforming from a child to an adult and there is no manual to tell you which parts will change in what order. Sometimes she acts like an adult, sometimes like a child. So, I live in permanent confusion, frustration and terror.

Stepping back makes me feel like a bad parent. Nagging, apparently, makes me a bad parent.

She can hug me and call me ‘mummy’ one moment, then remind me she is an adult and do what she wants the next. Scary stuff.

I worry that my mistakes and issues will cause her psychological hangups in the future. I’m scared I haven’t been the role model for her that I should have been.

She’s been a daddy’s girl for as long as I remember but she’s chosen to live with me permanently. Sometimes, it’s like living with a lodger. Sometimes like having my little girl back.

Today, I read a Facebook post from Amy’s mum. Amy had been 22 years old when she died. Only four years older than my daughter.

I need to try harder. And by harder, I mean differently.

Glamorous

I’ve unfortunately hit the brakes today. It’s midday and I just don’t feel like doing anything.

I haven’t been entirely slovenly though. I woke up early today, using Mel Robbins’ ‘wake up challenge’ as inspiration. Nighttime is often a trigger for me: I know when I turn off that light my mind will race. I’d taken to scrolling just to block thoughts until I’m too exhausted to do anything but sleep. Unfortunately, that way I can hit 1am or later before actually dropping off. Recently I’ve switched back to reading and whilst I’m still passing midnight awake, it’s got to be better than scrolling. Naturally, I’m sleeping in later which is unhelpful.

Well, today the alarm was set for 6.45 and up I got. I took my boys to school, only to discover that on his first day back, my eldest had forgotten to take his ADHD medication.

I returned home, showered and beautified a little and then braved visiting the school with his meds.

As I’ve mentioned previously, this is the school I worked at for over 10 years and the subject of the end of my leadership career 18 months ago. I’ve not stepped foot in it since then, even though my son goes there. Today, I had no choice. Today, I had to do this for him.

Those were my thoughts as I pulled up to the school. I took a deep breath or three, firmly planted my brave face on, and walked in.

I was met with the receptionist, someone I knew from my time there. She looked happy to see me and commented on how well I looked, saying I looked glamorous! I was wearing a slightly bobbly pink jumper and black jeans, so hardly glamorous, but I took the compliment. She whispered about how bad the school was and how unhappy she was there…seems to be a running theme in schools at the moment. I said hello to a couple of other colleagues, gave my son his meds and walked out with my head held high. Whilst I’m not going to happily walk in there again unless necessary, I achieved something today.

I came home, picked up the carpet cleaner and returned it to the store, picking up a few groceries on the way. Since coming home and eating, I don’t feel like doing anything. Not in a depressive way – I actually feel good – but in a lazy way.

It’s now the evening. My writing was interrupted by a message from my cousin’s wife – she’s been a bit low so I went out to meet her and bought her a cute little pot rose. We chatted briefly and I told her about my dream business – despite all the struggles she is having, she encouraged me to do it. I’m tempted just to book the training and go for it. I returned home to clean and completed all the new agency paperwork I was avoiding.

I’m getting there. I’m doing it. I didn’t go back to bed, I didn’t just sit there.

I can do this.

One step

I’m sat in my car. It’s a sunny but blustery autumnal day.

Yesterday, the day after I hit rock bottom, I felt a bizarre but kind of muted euphoria. In the depths of my internal crisis, when I had felt like giving up on everything, I hadn’t. I’d sought help. I’d continued to fight.

Today, I’m numb and tired. I’m not sleeping well still. And putting on my brave face is exhausting.

I feel like I am in a little cocoon, sat in this car. The sunlight is reaching me and I can hear the wind through the trees, but I feel protected I guess. Going back in the house means action or bed. I’m not in the mood to make that decision.

Last night I started to listen to Mel Robbins’ latest podcast on anxiety. Unfortunately, I was too tired to concentrate and listen to it all. What I did hear, as she interviewed a medical specialist in the subject, was again the idea that our anxiety comes from within – a built in alarm system, hardwired by our own internal experiences and – in my words – lens. To conquer anxiety, you have to reprogramme and rewire what is causing it – not the external stimulation.

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I believe strongly in the power of coincidences. They’re messages, learning.

Still. I’m not sure what to do with this information at present. I probably should go back to the doctors and reconsider medication. I don’t want to though, because the medication isn’t dealing with what is constantly causing these depressive episodes.

I’m still in the midst of trying to support my son and am waiting for school to contact me to make steps to support him.

I’ve contacted my union to discuss next steps for my resignation, now I have received my letter. I also now need to contact the agencies again to get the ball rolling, ready for November.

I’m trying my positive lens whenever Wildcard calls, and he is still calling. He’s still wearing his ring. And last night he mentioned my visit in December with me and his parents. No plan to end our relationship yet, then. 🥴 He was quiet this morning, but my positive lens shut down any over thinking on that front.

And so, here I am, again. Fighting on, one little step at a time.

Learning

I got the job! I felt a lot of things, relief being the main one. No more stressing about my future, money or job applications. I have a job.

I would not exchange this past year though. It’s been really hard but it’s been a real learning journey. I watched a Facebook video that summed it up perfectly:

When you’re surrounded by darkness, don’t assume you’ve been buried. Think that instead, you’ve been planted.

I’ve been in the dark. I’ve felt the weight of the soil. I’ve fought drought and floods, heat and cold. Now I’ve pushed through. The journey is just beginning though: I’m just a little seedling. But I’m strong, I know that.

This weekend is a big one. My daughter’s 18th, her party, and I am going to see Wildcard for two weeks.

I’m feeling many, many feelings and emotions about both events. But I’m not letting them overwhelm me. It’s a battle sometimes, but I’m winning the war overall.

Although I should be doing a number of things on my prep list, I’m sat relaxing with an ice pack on my shin. Sunday’s gardening for the party resulted in a horsefly bite which is now infected. It’s trebled in size since Sunday and is red, hot and firm to the touch. I have been given antibiotics but I’m terrified – my mum suffers from lymphadaema and cellulitis and has never seemed to be completely clear of it for some years. I’ve long been scared that I will get this. My leg is elevated and I’m taking my medicine so I just hope that I start seeing some improvement overnight or I will have to be seen again.

It’s hard not to attribute this to my weight, although horseflies aren’t prejudiced. Mum is severely overweight. She wasn’t always though. And then of course was my Aunty’s comment that I had been ‘really skinny’ the first time I’d visited Wildcard – a stone and half lighter to be fair – which hasn’t helped.

But, to ensure the self-hatred knife gets truly embedded in my newly reformed confidence, I ran in to an old friend this afternoon as I was shopping.

Not to speak to of course. I saw her before she saw me and then something I’d bought triggered the door alarm and I returned to the till. So she definitely saw me.

We haven’t spoken for about six months. Before that, probably another six months. This was the friend that I used to go out with a couple of times a week – shopping walking, coffee. Our friendship deteriorated rapidly when I started my relationship with Wildcard. She was prejudiced, jealous and disagreed wholeheartedly with my relationship. Some of her words still haunt me – she was someone whose advice and support I once highly valued.

We drifted apart. She re-befriended her long time best friend that she had fought with when she became closer to me. She didn’t contact me when she contracted Covid and became seriously ill – instead, allowing her best friend to contact a work colleague she didn’t actually trust. But then, I didn’t contact her either.

We met briefly last year. She was due to return to work after long covid and I was about to sign my termination agreement.

Last week I actually messaged her – I’d been thinking about her and had discovered one of her favourite artists was visiting our local city. Her reply was dismissive. She didn’t take the olive branch and our two message conversation ended there.

When I spotted her, I was struck by three things. 1 – I didn’t want to speak to her. I was embarrassed and knew there was nothing to say that meant anything anymore. 2 – I was happy to see she was with her daughter and two grandchildren (small babies) and that the 5 year feud was over. 3 – she had lost a lot of weight. As in, barely recognisable.

I’m slightly shamed to say, that’s what I am now obsessing about. She had lost a lot of weight when we first became good friends and then plateaued. She then put a little back on. At that point, I lost my 3.5 stone. I’ve now put some back on and she’s lost even more.

I’m really, really pleased for her. Her life appears to be back in order now. I wish she hadn’t seen me still in the struggles of mine but that is entirely pride.

We meet people for a reason. At a particular time. We support them, they support us. And when that need is no longer there, we drift apart. We fight for those we can’t live without. We fight the grief of when we lose them because they can’t or won’t be with us anymore.

I’m hoping when I next see her, my pride will diminish and I will have the confidence to say hello. I had a feeling that this would have been unwelcome though- by the time I left the shop she was walking away. She could have waited if she wanted to speak to me – clearly she didn’t either.

As the days pass by, I know I can’t live without Wildcard. But I also know that something has shifted there, too. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there. A few weeks ago I was really anxious about it. I also started putting the pressure on for this trip – setting a benchmark of expectations that will only cause stress and arguments when I get there .

But…there will come a time soon when I may need to make decisions. That is – if he doesn’t make any.

I’m finding it hard to picture our future now . I don’t know how this will all work out. It scares me. I want to fight for him. But maybe, like my once-was friend , he won’t want that.

My plan? Enjoy and see. Let my little life-seedling bask in the warmth and see what happens.

Talking to myself

I’m at crisis point decision-wise. It’s now or never.

I have a number of paths ahead of me.

The first is to jump back into my career, at a stage not far from where I left it. Responsibility, good pay and my career would be back on track with barely an issue from my year’s absence. I have a very good chance of getting this job.

But…I don’t know if I want it. Thinking positively, I may love it again. A new school, new ethos, new situation. Or, I maybe I will feel frustrated at the symmetry of two academy chains and hate what it has made me become.

The second is to stay with the company I am with. My boss wants me to stay and has offered me an improved package to keep me. Up until recently, I’ve been happy there. But it is a much lower salary than I am capable, albeit for less stress. I’m also unhappy with the way he has gone about trying to keep me – some very large red flags are waving at the moment. I don’t like being manipulated and that’s what he did. I recognise that he needs me to stay on and he is thinking about his business. I also acknowledge that he has been great other than that. But….I’m not happy with him and I can’t let it lie. It’s a nasty irritation that I can’t ignore.

Then there’s the job I have an interview for. I want this job. I have no idea on the salary but I don’t care if I can make it up with tutoring. It excites me and will challenge me and will look good on my CV. It will develop new skills and experiences and I think it will give me job satisfaction.

I think I’ve just answered my question.

However… this job is not guaranteed. If I go for it, I am going to have to pass on the other two opportunities. If I don’t get it, I will have to find a new job. I don’t trust my boss-with those-big-red-flags will treat me well again.

Am I being injust and unfair?

Should I go for money? Or time? Or potential job satisfaction?