Year 2, Month 12 – Julia

Well, little blog. You’ve been a good friend, and helped me through some sticky decisions before… You’ve also helped me reframe my mindset when necessary, so I’m reaching out to you one more time. Two weeks ago I finally started a job I’d been really excited to get. It’s way below my payscale, but it’s working for two valuable organisations simultaneously and it’s a chance to learn a lot about how cancer is dealt with in our national health service.  But perhaps I should start at the beginning. In January, I was finding lots of good jobs far away from where I live, and absolutely nothing anywhere within commuting distance.  Since A is not going to move any time soon (or ever, realistically), this was pretty frustrating. Finally, I snapped, threw a tantrum, went outside and said, “Ok, Universe. Give me the right job the right distance from Swansea immediately, or I’m leaving.”  And the universe provided me with not one, but two jobs.   This was working well even though I am a little sleep-deprived, but now I have to make a decision. On Thursday I came home from a really great day at job A, buzzing about the organisation I work for. I said, “thank you, universe, for giving me this job.” And then, 20 seconds later, I got a phone call offering me the chance to buy the clinic I’m working in for job B. Profitable clinics with fantastic patient bases are hard to come by, and it’s an opportunity I would be insane to turn down. So now I need to make a big decision. Financial security (but financial limitation), less stress and more frustration, or utter independence a year sooner than I wanted to even consider it?

In my “therapy assistant” role, I get a little frustrated that my knowledge base isn’t needed or respected. And it’s nice not really having to take responsibility for anything directly. Hard decisions are being made but I don’t have to contribute to them.

In my qualified healthcare provider role, I battle perfectionism but really enjoy the autonomy and the respect.  However I struggle with the isolation and the uncertainty around being fairly new in practice and unsure of my clinical judgement sometimes. I have a good support network down a phone line, but it’s down a phone line. And I work better with others than solo, I know. Do I want to own a business that’s an hour and 10 minutes away? And which is absolutely lovely and wonderful and exactly what I hope to build for myself?

So, thank you, universe, for good options.  I will wait and see


Year 2, Month 12 – Julia

Sorted out a long-standing problem with my rowing stroke. Well, by sorted out I mean finally identified- it’s going to be another year before I consistently stop doing it… But it’s been driving me nuts for months, so I am really grateful that my friend JP spent a little time providing much-needed feedback.

In other news, I am now doing 6 things on a fairly daily basis…maternity cover, private practice, coaching, rowing, beekeeping and working part-time in the rehab team for a cancer charity.  Oh, and gardening like an addict. I love all of these activities, but I am grateful for the people who keep pointing out that this way madness lies.  gonna simplify things as much as I can.

Year 2, Month 12 – Julia

Managed not to die of boredom in the longest training day ever. By jove, are there a lot of individual health and safety executive mandates.

Had a really good – if very long and difficult – first day in my new job.  Got to go to a networking afternoon which involved 9/10 people mentioning how much they love their jobs. I’m pretty sure that despite working in a partly palliative role I’m going to really like most of this job. Since I already do something I love part-time, I feel pretty grateful about this.

Got into the garden in time to save some unwatered plants. Whew.


Year 2, Month 11 – Julia

In exactly a month, we will have kept this little blog percolating for exactly two years.  I am proud that we were zealous about the first year, and prouder still that four over-achievers have managed to forgive themselves for not necessarily posting every day this year.  Whether or not we post we are hopefully happier, definitely closer as friends, and I think more mindful of our blessings too.  I periodically annoy myself by applying the blog principle to bad days.

And on an unrelated note, my overly complicated building plan, wherein each step is predicated on at least 2 others, now looks like a flow chart. And one that’s actually flowing. Here it is. I’ve gotten to step 3 in each plan.

Demolish random wheelchair ramp in garden –>Excavate pit for retaining wall –> move wheelchair ramp rubble pile into retaining wall pit –> Use new rubble-free space to take down overgrown privet hedge on top of 10′ wall –> rubble and privet-free space means I can finally get bees for the beautiful hive what I built.

Put piles of rubble from elsewhere in garden into pit–>this makes space for bricks from kitchen “fireplace.” (big ugly alcove with badly laid bricks in it).  –> Use rubble to backfill outline of 4′ of steps from old garden to new garden. Use bricks themselves to build steps.  This makes good access for bee care and future building projects.  –>  Use any remaining waste to level off pit and lay foundations  –> Lay new concrete base for current compost heaps and future schmancy summer house.  Have well-earned nap.

Year 2, Month 11 – Julia

This week I am really grateful that we had a long and sunny weekend; not only could I make progress on a major building project*, but I had help! Actual help!  A and M have discovered that I get Pit Fever quite quickly, but they perservered with my ridiculous sorting processes, tolerated my urban archaeology tendencies, and helped me move two tonnes of rubble and soil and lay 20 square feet of retaining wall. The wall can go up quickly now, and sanity (or whatever passes as sanity in the garden) can hopefully resume.**

(*For reasons unknown, I am building 50 square feet of retaining wall, with a 3-5′ excavation through an old dumping ground. I started it before Thanksgiving, but then we had the rainiest winter on record (and yes, that’s saying something).

(** It’s especially good that we got this wall built, because the builder who was coming to rejig our kitchen in November is coming tomorrow. And when we take out the huge fake fireplace in the kitchen we’ll need a place to store all the bricks and hide all the rubble.  Good job we’ve just made space for a tonne of rubble. Literally.) 

Year 2, Month 11 – Julia

Made progress on a project I was stuck on.

Had a really good coaching session.

Tried to go running outside and ended up wobbling again. Had sort of forgotten that this still happens, so was very perplexed when I couldn’t walk in a straight line. What a relief, to just occasionally zig-zag. And what a shame that my least favourite outdoor activity is something I can’t do.  Good job I still hate running.

Had tasty curry for tea.

Am currently sitting in bed, before 10pm, watching a program[me] about soil structure and gardening. Being middle-aged isn’t really all that bad. Who knew?


Year 2, Month 11 – Julia

My maternity cover employer and I are both on the same page about what I’m doing well and what I need support with. Whew. 

I am overcomplicating fewer things, both at work and at home. This feels good.

I accidentally locked the neighbour’s cat in the shed last night. She was entirely unphased by this, which has allayed my guilt significantly.  Rather than running for company and/or food, she tried to catch our goldfish again.

Today I managed to get 24 13-18yo’s out rowing, and do a wee bit of actual coaching to boot.  Proud of myself and of my more experienced juniors for keeping everyone safe and productive despite the flood tide and the brains-on-easter-break difficulties.  And grateful that I’m rarely on my own for a session.




Year 2, Month 11 – Julia

Had a good walk in the sun with a good friend and a good wife today.

Had ice cream.

Planted parsnips and shallots, and thinned tomatoes and tomatillos and chilli peppers.

Sat in the sun for a bit in the garden.

Have a full day of patients tomorrow, if all goes to plan.  What a luxury, to love my job.