Tuesday, 24 March 2009

What do you do when…

…you find yourself on the scrap heap at 50+?

Write about stuff, I suppose.

Recession, credit crunch, blah, blah, cash flow problems, bye-bye.

I get home and the overwhelming feeling I have is—surprisingly—relief. Later, the “oh, bugger, no income” kicks in, but still the feeling of relief remains. Relief that, after thirty years as a software developer, I don’t have to do it any more. The realisation that I really don’t want to do it any more. It’s lost its allure; I now hate the 9-to-5 grind, driving the same old route to work every day, in the same old traffic jams; I hate the way life gets crushed into the gaps between the demands of work, so that just sitting down for a while leaves you feeling guilty that you’re not living.

Can anyone say “mid-life crisis”?

Career change. Those are the magic words. I have pretentions at being a photographer, so—go pro? Risky. Hard to get into and I could spend a long while scraping around building a portfolio. Better to just try to sell a few pictures as and when, rather than see it as a primary source of income. Teaching of some form sounds appealing. I’ve been told by those who’ve been subjected to me talking at them that I do it reasonably well. But not kids, though—if I’m going to teach, it’ll be people who want to learn, not a bunch of spotty herberts who are only there because they have to be.

First things first, though. Take time off without even considering the future. I reckon I deserve a bit of a sabbatical. Second surprise—I quite enjoy the whole “house husband” thing: doing the dishes, cooking, tidying up, actually having the time to organise and process all those photos… So, something else to add to the mix—whatever I do, I still want time to be domestic; time to do things on impulse, to phone a friend and say “fancy a coffee?”

So the next stage is to seek professional advice on the sort of things that I can feasibly do and that fit in with my aspirations. I don’t want a jet-set career; I just want enough to pay the bills and to fund the odd trip to France or Ireland to watch Sale Sharks and get bladdered.

That’s not much to ask, is it?