A Fortnight at Forty: What I discovered on a 2-week break

What did I get up to?

Perhaps it is poor form to start off with so much detail, and in such an unchronological order. But then, detail is the easiest thing to write about. And time is anything but linear, once we start jumping between memories. So take this part as pure documentary — there is no particular aim, analysis or intent at this point. To reflect, first we must let things be, so we can see them as they really are.

How can you get the most out of some time off?

A quick word on my approach. Perhaps this is of interest to some, or of use to me one day in the future, maybe in another 10 years?

  1. The Past: Tidying, clearing out the old and no-longer-needed.
  2. The Present: Reflection, taking stock of where and who one actually is.
  3. The Future: Exploration, the chance to find alternatives and potential.
  • Get a small notebook, just for jotting down thoughts and exploring ideas. Settling into a rhythm can take several days, multiple sleeps, and it can be helpful to keep notes that can be joined up as you go.
  • Brainstorm a bunch of stuff you’re interested in before you start — topics, questions, ideas, etc. You don’t need to explore all of them, but it helps to open up and then clear the brain.
  • Block out full days and/or half days for particular things. Even if you don’t have a clear aim in mind, treating time itself like a mini-project can get you into a more focused frame of mind, and help you to know when to move on.

So, what did I learn?

The more personal section, huh? And in theory this part is really only of interest to me. Maybe I won’t even publish this, but print it out on Vellum, burn it, and store the sacred ashes under my pillow to absorb them as pure dream matter. Maybe.

And … So what?

So, I am freshly 40 and allegedly having a mid-life crisis ;-) The last few years have been hectic and transformative. It doesn’t get much “easier” from here on, but I think I have a way forward now.



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Lead tech at OCSI, making data friendly for social good. Likes words. Doesn't really own a bowler hat.