Sun 22 November 2020
Short a quick trip to Zurich in January 2020, the trip I was on was the last time I travelled outside Ireland, until now. I also don't plan on going anywhere until mid-2021 or thereabouts.
Much as all that's been written about how this year has been, one of the largest lessons I take away from it is that it called me and many folks in probably a similar position on some assumptions.
What would happen if you didn't have to go to work every day? Either because you were a remote worker, or just because. You'd have more 'time in the day', fewer excuses about getting exercise and eating healthy, and so on. Notwithstanding that COVID has been a terrible experience for pretty much everyone, after a certain point you have to get to something like normalcy, and see if it's what you expected.
In my case, I put on a load of weight, didn't really leave the house for a few months, and went back on SSRIs. I found a good therapist and I've mostly got the extra few kilos back off again, with more to come. It took a while but I think I am adjusting.
I had always had in my mind that I'd take some time off before I retire. By 'some', I mean maybe a year or two. It always seemed strange to me that people would work until they're in their late 60s, after they've lost the ability, freedom and inclination to do the things they can't do because of work.
I had an imaginary expectation that if I suddeny didn't have to go to work any more, that fulfilment and relaxation would fill the gaps -- in reality, I really hadn't thought about it all that much. If I stopped working tomorrow, I would enjoy the situation for...maybe a month? Two months? I'd then have to do something. My platonic ideal had been having nothing to do, and now I know that just makes me anxious :-)
This past 9 months has been a microcosm of that. My last almost 20 years has been me being on the road every month or two, and that's all gone now. Do I miss it? Honestly, no. I enjoyed some parts of travel, there were good experiences; but I'm really not crazy to get back on the road again. I could take or leave business travel, honestly. I often said before that the amount of business travel I do kinds ruins holidays for me - the minute I go near the airport I'm in work mode. I'm trying to manage the situation, and getting stressed about everything going smoothly, and waiting for the trip to be over so I can go home. So in some ways I am kinda looking forward to travel for travel's sake again. But, I can wait.
I could write more words about the future of work than will fit here -- I think this year has been an accelerant to that progress, but we are heading toward a brick wall where we have to deal with the social nature of humans and how we can't substitute that with technology.
Anyway. Same time next year?