The last two weeks have been highly emotional.
I began my first bit of lone work, co-working on a sexual abuse case, gave my professional opinion on whether a child should remain on a Child Protection plan and had to report a possible disclosure of domestic abuse to a social work manager.
But with pancakes, valentine’s day and talk of the upcoming spring and summer, work has been an enjoyable time. The topic of holidays and weekend activities is a large part of the morning discussions; and I realised I’ve got very little planned for this year. No holiday, no gigs and no festivals.
After noticing that some of my friends are building up a “Hawaii fund” or “Antarctica trip of a lifetime fund” I found myself wanting to plan for some nice events.
Since moving to Sussex, I’ve got back into my Druid practise, arranged to meet up with two friends and committed to attending the Brighton pub moots again.
However, that’s one event in six weeks. As a natural hermit who is now almost afraid of my own company, I want to set up some special one-off “holidays”.
A Bit of History
But thinking about what people generally do when they take time off work, my mind drew a blank. I had to think back to the reasons my parents took time off and the things I used to do in the school holidays.
One of the things my mum and I used to do was attend classical concerts run by the Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra, which her mother originally led in 1965. Especially with my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s, I’ve found myself missing that connection to my grandmother. He used to attend, and my mum and I would meet him there.
Then my mum’s eyesight deteriorated, my grandfather stopped attending, and I don’t remember the last time we went. I might have been about ten.
But the concerts are still going, and today I decided that now I drive, I could take the Monday morning off work and drive up there so mum and I could see them perform again. And if mum doesn’t want to go, maybe I’ll still do it anyway; taking myself to spend two hours with some connection to the grandmother I never knew.
What better way to connect with my heritage?
The Quest for Knowledge
In 2011, I decided to do all the things I’d never had the self-confidence to do before. I went to work in a café at a Buddhist festival, began Anger Management, got a summer job, attended lectures on Paganism at Witchfest International and began teaching Shivanata.
This year, I’m planning to go back to Witchfest and stay for the whole thing (or at least a good part of the evening). Now I’m not at university, and having been in education for 18 years, I want to keep some aspect of learning in my life.
This desire to keep learning also got me thinking about Buddhafield Festival. I worked at the café in the morning, and attended workshops in the afternoon/evenings. In one way, this was good as I had structure and got to make friends on my shift. It also meant I didn’t have huge amounts of time without anything to do. And of course, attending the festival was free in return for working.
However, I missed a lot of workshops because the shift was set, and I think I would be willing to pay if I had that freedom to just wander the stalls, wander round the fields and spend more time in the meditation dome.
But I don’t have a tent, and wouldn’t feel safe sleeping there on my own. Also the last day of Buddhafield sparked the ending of a friendship, and part of me still feels the risk of that overrides the good that I got out of it.
This afternoon I was told about World Fantasy Convention 2013, being held just a few miles away in Brighton. As a fantasy writer, the idea of four days meeting other writers and publishers and attending talks on writing, strikes me as a pretty good time.
I’ve two completed manuscripts in the midst of editing, and by November, I may even have finished another draft piece.
I would need to check with work, and I’m going to email a query before committing, but it’s another way to connect with writing; a practise that sustains me. And that’s what this year is all about – finding ways to aim for the stars while staying balanced.
Balancing the Hermit
All this planning is wonderful, and I’m excited to begin taking charge of my own life without being dictated by school holidays or plans my parents have made without consulting me.
However, I’m an only child who needs her space. I know that I can turn into too much of a hermit, and so I’m trying to compensate; while making sure I don’t overwhelm myself.
So I have my eight druid festivals, the eleven pub moots, two possible nights of KPO and a festival, convention or pagan event of some form.
I’d say I can fit in another 2 major events without overwhelming my life; particularly in april, may and july.
But for now, I’m keeping the calendar open and trusting that my path will reveal itself.
– Rose –