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When is the right time for making life changes?


I’m going though something of a quandary at the moment, so I thought what more would my blog readers like than to hear my tales of uncertainty.

I don’t talk about work very often on A Life Less Physical and if I’m really honest, it’s because I’m a bit scared to. People at my current workplace read my blog and it stands to reason that future employers may come across it too, therefore, I have always decided to just say nothing. But I don’t want to filter my thoughts or my writing – I always said this blog would be nothing if not honest. Now I’m having a hundred thousand different thoughts about the possibilities of making changes or staying still and this blog seems like a natural place to throw my words out and see what sticks.

And so, with that in mind, I will glug my wine and begin. Ahem.

The work bit

I don’t have a vocation. I didn’t train in a particular field and over the years I have stumbled from one job to the next, always ‘climbing the ladder’ and always getting closer to my idea of a dream job. Never before I have considered my health when changing jobs – not for a moment. I have pushed on, telling my new employer after a month or so that I have “a health thing” and may need a few adjustments.

I wrote this article a while ago on the debate about whether to declare Fibromyalgia as a disability on job application forms, but now I’m starting to think about the job itself and what I want from an employer when it comes to support and wellbeing.

It’s not just in-work support though, it’s everything. The location… Central London? No chance. The average commute here is 45 minutes on public transport – something I can’t contemplate. So what happens when I find my dream job and it’s smack in the middle of zone one? Do I turn it down or do I think, “it will be okay, I can make it work.” Normally the latter.

But it’s not just the commute; it’s the travel across offices once I’m in the job. It’s the time off when I have a flare up. It’s reduced duties when I can’t lift things or drag a mobile office across London. The list goes on with flexi-time and working hours, and continues with annual leave and sick leave, and before you know it, it starts to sound like you’re just making excuses to never leave your job.

The house bit

Then there is the bigger question of “work-life balance” and broader lifestyle choices. When I lived in Newcastle, a tiny citiy in comparison to London, my commute was a ten minute drive from door to door. My house was bigger and cheaper and I had green space on my doorstep. This sounds far more sensible when weighing up my physical and mental health, but I am a city girl at heart. Or at least, I was. In my life PF (pre-Fibromyalgia) I liked the buzz of the city and the knowledge of knowing a quick trip in to town gave me everything I needed. Now I think a rural environment where I have to drive to the hairdresser or the supermarket or a retail park would actually be easier for me. The thought of open space makes me sing.

Who doesn’t love being in a country cottage surrounded by trees and fields and beams? Yes, the beams are important. The cats could play in the tall grass (which they love), R could see the stars (which he loves) and I assume I would have a better quality of life which would be something I really should love.

You see where I’m going with this. At what point do I compromise the dream for my health? I know what my advice to myself would be: stop seeing the two as opposing desires. My dream job should factor my health, my dream house should factor my health; the two are not against each other – they go hand in hand. My health is part of me and I need to accept that and jog on. (Metaphorically jog, of course.)

The family bit

And then there’s friends and family.ย Family are dotted about, as are friends. Friends are starting to get married and have babies, parents are getting older and grandparents are getting super old. Where we live will impact the amount we see our friends and the quality of those interactions. I don’t want snippets of friendships, I want regular coffee dates, post-work dinners and weekend drinks. But I guess that will all change for them as they start popping sprogs – Friday nights will start to look different from them too. I dream of our cottage in the middle of nowhere, our friends bringing their bundles of joy to our country retreat for a weekend. And If they won’t, well, we will go to them because there’s no doubt I’ll be missing the city – and them too. I will work from home one day a week – writing crap like this for hours on end – and life will be calmer. More relaxed with more time to rest. Or will it?

Will I be without a job I love because no one sets up their company’s Head Office in a field in Northumberland, and instead will I be wishing I’d stayed in the hub of our country where exciting jobs are popping up every week? Where I am calmer because I have options? And will I find peace in the quiet and rolling hills, or will I feel anxious and lonely in the silence and miss the distraction of a busy, thriving capital? Am I a town mouse or a country mouse?

And so, the overiding question is: do I make changes or do I stay still? And if I choose to stay still, can I do that without always wondering if I should make changes? And if I choose to make changes, can I do that without a part of me wishing that I had stayed still?


Happy Tuesday.


10 comments on “When is the right time for making life changes?

  1. Hi Sarah, I’m going through the same thing at the moment, just the other way around (from rural to city). In fact, you may just have inspired me to write about it! Not to add more questions to your thought process but the only thing I would suggest considering is – can you get the level of medical support you need if you move rural?

    • Goodness, I didn’t even think about that! I’ll add it to the list because, you’re right, rural medical support is very different. Good luck with your decision – it’s all so tricky!

  2. Shelley Glenn

    Hi! I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in Aug 2012 and by Feb 2013 was in so much pain that I had to stop working. At the time I lived in a large town directly outside a semi – large city. I had fabulous neighbors and a lovely house but my stress was quite high in that environment. With my family’s assistance I was able to move back out to the country quite close to where I was raised. I have lots of room for the dogs and cats to run. The air smells like grass, flowers and occasionally wood smoke. I have neighbors but they are across the field and not right next door. My family is close. My friends are 45 minutes away but they don’t mind driving a few minutes to meet me for lunch. I’m still not able to work but my stress levels have decreased and my pain is more manageable. Moving back out to the country was the best decision for me. Best of luck to you and hugs!

    • Thank you Shelley! And I’m really glad your move back to the country has done you some good. Hope you’re pain continues to be more manageable ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah! Miss you and miss our chats… For different reasons my mind is also currently full of career/life balance quandaries! So easy to talk yourself around in circles, settle on a solution then start thinking it all over again the next day.

    I wonder am I just taking the lazy option by not making any changes… but at the same time it’s the hardest option. When you find a solution let me know, you may inspire me!

    Move back North and we’ll start our own HQ! I don’t know what for yet haha x

    • Ah Jordan! Miss our chats too! I know, I too am going round in circles and wondering what it will take for me to finally make a decision. Good luck with your thoughts too – I can imagine how different things must seem for you now. And yes, I like the thought of our own HQ! Will let you know when I’m north-bound! xx

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