A few days ago, I made the decision to retire from my present job.
It is something I have been brooding over for some while, and having a little time and space to think while I walked on Dartmoor last week enabled me to finally accept a decision I had really come to some time before.
For a long time I have instructed groups in an outdoor environment, in activities such as climbing, canoeing, navigation and team building. As I have got older, though, I have naturally found these activities both physically and mentally more demanding. After all, when you are responsible for people’s safety as well as teaching them skills, there is an added pressure on everything you do.
A number of other stresses in my life over the last year or so have not helped, especially as they are still ongoing.
So as well as a sense of regret, there is certainly a great feeling of relief. Regret, because I have had a huge amount of both pleasure and satisfaction from this work, which has carried me through those times when I felt it was becoming all too much, but relief that now it is time to call it a day, as I have reached the point where I know I cannot carry on for much longer.
I love being in an outdoor environment. It is why I choose to go to hills and woods and mountains rather than towns and cities, and this was instrumental in my deciding to teach these activities in the first place. But the obverse of that coin is that so often I am unable to really enjoy being there, since I am entirely focused on my group and the activities – which is how it should be, of course.
One thing I shall look forward to, then, is being able to enjoy that environment every time I am there, without constantly having to check everyone is safe, or ensuring the activities are taking place as they should be.
While I intend to bring a greater focus to my writing, and also to my painting, I will also have to find something to bring in a little money for the next couple of years until I reach the state retirement age. I’ve no idea what that will be, yet.
Essentially, I just feel burnt out. It is a very intensive job, in the way that care work, for example, can be, and I know it is the right time to go. Otherwise, there is the risk I will begin to run sessions that no one will want to take part in.
And that’s not the way I want it to finish. Far better that people should ask why I am going, than they should ask why I have not gone before now.