July 11th has arrived - the first day of the rest of our lives and particularly important because this is the first day that my wife, Pauline, enters the new phase of our working lives.
Semi-Retirement Opportunity Seized
No more school teaching, no more 1 and a half hours driving each day, no more 'stolen weekends' with marking books and no more stress in trying to get some disinterested children through their GCSE's. She retired from full-time teaching as of yesterday July 10th.
Sure there is still work to do with the B&B but it is so different, both in nature and intensity. Apart from the work running a B&B really is much more sociable meeting so many different people, each with their own 'life stories'.
Other working environments have their benefits too with work colleagues often becoming friends. However, if you work with the same people over a period of years they are like an extended family and the natural process is that you will like and loathe others in various proportions.
However, meeting many people for short periods of time is much easier and gives you a fresh perspective on similarities and the differences in your own 'life stories'.
Part of our 'life story' was to discuss, agree and set some new goals and objectives for our lives, as we get older. Pauline and I talked this through in a Tapas Bar in Spain, whilst staying with some friends, in April 2014. I was working from home, as a Consultant to Food projects, having set up two food manufacturing operations over 30 years employing hundreds of people over that time and wanting to wind down but not retire. From Pauline's perspective, she was working many hours being a full-time teacher of English and Drama and wanted an opportunity to retire.
We lived in a lovely village outside Durham in a substantial house that had become an 'empty nest' after the five children left home. Why not turn it into a B&B with a luxury feel and environment and work of the bedrooms being very comfortable with lots on facilities and the breakfasts that had as much 'local and homemade ingredients' as we could.
Well that was 15 months ago and our key objective has been achieved. I think we both feel a sense of achievement when everything comes together to meet that objective.
So this Phase is complete - bring on the next one.