In just a few shorts week my life had been shaken up so much. I thought I knew my mind pretty well, I was better at lying to myself than I am at lying to anyone else. I put on such a good act at times of being sure of myself that I even believed it myself. The people closest to me could see it was all pretend and knew that I was in danger of making rash decisions, I just didn’t see it.
So as the days began to tick by and I desperately longed for home I had convinced myself that was where I needed to be. I would make that happen by any means necessary. All I could focus my attention on was that feeling of wanting to be at home, I didn’t know what motivated me at the time, I just wanted to be with people that cared about me. London just wasn’t that for me, perhaps if the break up had happened a few months down the line after I’d established a life for myself there things would have been different I might have had a support network I could rely on.
Dark as those times were for me I just couldn’t bare to face them alone so I took the only option that made sense to me and started applying for jobs back home. It wasn’t long before I landed an interview at a company my friend Michael worked for and the timing fit perfectly with a few days off I had booked.
I remember the trip home was quite a full one for me, I made plans with as many people as I could. I met up with an old school friend Amy, made dinner plans one day with Megan, went drinking with Laura and Lotte and then of course there was the interview. The interview came first and it was quite informal, and it must have gone well. I’d arranged to meet up with Amy straight after and go for something to eat or catch a movie in Bristol. Less than an hour after the interview I had a voicemail offering me the position.
I called back right away and accepted. I had convinced myself by this point that this was what I needed. I needed to be with my friends and family, I was stupid to move to London in the first place. It didn’t matter to me that I was taking a job in such a small company that it would be impossible to really progress my career like I wanted to. I had become quite single-minded.
The rest of the weekend I kept myself so busy that I practically ran myself into the ground. I attempted to ignore my problems completely choosing to drink, to listen to other peoples troubles, to keep moving on even if I might have been moving down the wrong path. It wasn’t long before I was worry about the decision I’d made. That after just a couple months in a new role at a company I’d been with for over 6 years I’d be handing in my notice. It was a big change.
The weekend signalled the end of my time off and that depressed me. I didn’t get in my car to head home until late that night and I felt awful by the time I got back to London. I still wasn’t listening to music at the time, this was the first time that the silence of the drive wasn’t a sanctuary. Instead it was endless torture, affording me with far too much time to think things over.
Yet by the time I had gotten back to my room in Hounslow I hadn’t managed to sort through any of my thoughts. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to hand in my notice the next day, find out how to get out of my rental agreement and begin making arrangements to go home. I felt like I’d already started down this path with so much momentum that there was nothing left to do but follow it through to the end.
The next day I felt so awful that I didn’t actually go to work, I’d called in sick. Even though I’d travelled back from Somerset the night before with no other motivation than making it to work that day I just couldn’t face it. I spent the whole day shut in my bedroom trying to catch up on my sleep. I’d been suffering with something a lot like insomnia in recent weeks. Maybe it was the house, it seemed to make noises, I was paranoid about it being infested with rats and found it impossible to just live in, more likely the endless stream of thoughts I just couldn’t shake.
The next morning I dragged my butt to work. During the day I researched how to write a letter of notice. I wanted it to be thoughtful and show that I appreciated the opportunities they’d given me and clearly state that my motivations for leaving were personal and not professional. I don’t think it really mattered in the end what I wrote, I just never wanted to leave the company on bad terms, I would certainly be leaving on a high. With all the things in London that depressed me, my job was actually really enjoyable. I could cope with life when I was at work.
Next I tackled my Landlord, he was a decent guy and clearly felt for me and the situation I was in. I managed to relate a very edited account of why I was leaving London to move home and it seemed to be effective. I’d be due to start the new job mid February and I’d be moving back home the weekend before. The housemates started advertising my room again and all that was left for me to do now was to work my notice.
I’d let my new friend Sophie who’d just moved to Bath know that I would be back in the area soon, she seemed happy to have a friend in the area to explore her new surroundings. I looked forward to reconnecting with my old college friends and spending more time with them. I’d be able to catch up with some of my old colleagues more regularly who had become friends over the years. I could continue playing rugby, whether I chose to stay with the same team or not would be another question. The only thing I was dubious about was the job I’d accepted, it felt like a big step backwards… I told myself that was Ok, I could work my way up again.
There were a lot of people that would be happy to see me come home to Somerset. They all thought that was what I wanted and my parents couldn’t really hide the relief. They knew I was still struggling even when I was trying to put a brave face on things, if I was nearer they perhaps wouldn’t worry so much. Yet if you scratched the surface I think my parents were worried, about me making the wrong decisions in the long-term. They had seen me go to pieces just a couple years before about me not making the most out of my life and we’d all acknowledged that this was a step back.
I think I put a status up on Facebook saying that I’d gotten a new job after I’d handed my notice in and that I’d be heading back home. It didn’t surprise too many people, except maybe Dana. We’d always planned on getting together for a drink since I moved to London yet it had never happened, since the break up she checked in with me every couple days to see how I was doing yet when I dropped this news on her she was shocked. We decided to meet up for a drink before I would be heading back home. I didn’t think anything could make me change my mind about leaving London, I was too far into the process of moving back. In less than a month I wouldn’t have anywhere to live in London and I’d have to start the new job in Bath. Dana was clever enough to stage an intervention, an intervention I don’t think she’d even planned.