This week I was inspired by a very dear friend of mine to write about a particular subject. We hadn’t caught up over the summer, and I called her because she had changed jobs and had recently started a new school. She is one of those friends with whom you just pick up wherever you left off and fill each other in along the way. In the course of conversation she asked this question,
“Do you ever get the feeling that this is a game-changer?”

It really struck me, and excited me as a concept. Have you ever encountered that game-change moment?

Inevitably it’s a beginning of some description. Often that beginning is also an end to something else, which doesn’t necessarily make it easy. The nature of the game changer is to move your life in a different direction, possibly even adjust your thinking.

Game-changers are full of exciting anticipation.

As the start date of my new job approaches fast, I have loved having an extra 2 weeks added onto my long summer holiday. But this is definitely a game changing moment.

No longer will I have deliciously long summer holidays and regular breaks that I can forecast years in advance. The envy of my teacher friends now, I will be inevitably green-eyed come the end of October…not to mention Christmas, Easter and next July… No more leisurely catching up during the day for 5 weeks, plentiful coffees and playing in the pool at my friends’ house all day…No more bringing home 50 books to have marked by the following day or spending Sunday afternoons staring at a computer screen and planning…

Nervously I am joining the ranks of those who must book their holiday, but who can also choose when they’d like said time off. And crucially, my hope and anticipation is that I will not be quite so desperate for that critical break. Teachers get a bad press for the holidays, but I can honestly say I’m looking forward to less holiday in order to have weekends and evenings to live life, and just to a more well rounded life over the whole year, rather than for only the weeks I’m off. (Feel free to remind me of this in half term.) The game changer will be the fact I don’t have those scheduled breaks. After 24 years in the school system, it’s going to be a bit of a shock.

A second game changer will be the commute. I won’t be 10 minutes away from home, able to get back quickly if I’m ill. Instead I’ll be a good hour and a half away at least. Conversely, I’ll have two hours a day to myself, albeit packed into a train with a lot of other people, but 2 hours to read, write, listen to music, or simply stare into space with a good conscience that I can’t and needn’t do anything else. In my idyllic and unknowing state, I’m envisioning it as similar to being given the gift of time – for those of you who commute, don’t disillusion me too harshly! Months would pass in teaching when I wouldn’t have the time or motivation to read a book, entirely at odds with my personality. Being able to ‘just read’ feels like an enormous treat.

But the real game changer is the infinite number of possibilities that await me. I can see the direction I’m headed in, but have no idea of the road ahead. What do the next two years hold? Who will I meet? What might I do? Where will I be in two years time?

Already I have half made plans of theatre trips, weekends catching the train straight from work to visit friends, potential New Year’s Eve on the side of the Thames, the Christmas light switch on – plans to experience all London has to offer. In some ways my idea of life to come is completely idyllic and possibly entirely unrealistic, but I definitely want to stay positive about this adventure into the unknown.

It’s thrilling and terrifying. The game changer: that pivotal moment where your life goes in a totally new direction. All sorts of new doors, friendships and opportunities open up and you don’t quite know what’s going to happen; all you know is it is definitely a game-changer. I can’t wait!

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