First up in case you are wondering what happened to my 31 post, a picture tells a thousand words:
The day after my 31st birthday, my notice period at my previous job ended, and I became officially unemployed. Hilary (who was only a few months in to her maternity leave after the birth of our son) convinced me to take some time off with the both of them, and had some grand ideas of getting away somewhere.
While I was a little nervous about quitting my job with no plan I was inclined to agree with her: 2 weeks paternity leave (the UK’s default) is frankly bullshit, and spending “maybe a month or two” to enjoy life with our new family sounded like a pretty good idea. Little did I know that “month or two” would soon become 5, and perhaps neither of us would have suggested it if we’d realised that’s what would happen, but anyway.
I think the best way to wrap up this year is to just do a chronological run-down.
Warmup: December 2017
After spending most of January to November with my nose to the grindstone at work, and handling the (early) arrival of our son, December was a welcome respite.
Looking back at photos, it appears the main activities were cooking and parenting. (And I suspect lots of planning for our impending road trip, though that doesn’t instagram so well).
France: January 2018-March 2018
For the first couple of months of 2018, we all (including the dog!) bundled into our old Skoda Fabia and drove down to and around France.
I will treasure the memories of that trip for a very long time. We didn’t do a whole lot - no exciting activities, no great sightseeing - just visiting many corners of the country in the middle of the off season. But what we did get to do was to spend time together, which is exactly what we needed as we were adjusting to what life means with a child.
Here are a few highlights:
Revisiting where we got engaged 7 years ago on the banks of the Seine (the exact spot was underwater due to high water levels!)
Eating the biggest, most delicious souffle in Chalons-en-Champagne
Finding loads of snow in La Clusaz
Praline Buns in Lyon
Walking the wilderness somewhere in the middle of France
Wine and countryside in the Loire valley
GitHub: April 2018
After talking to a bunch of companies in Edinburgh and remotely, I eventually got the good news from GitHub that I was hired! Sadly this necessitated a short trip to sunny San-Francisco for onboarding (sorry Hilary!).
Reports suggested that I would both love and hate everything about SF, and they were not wrong.
Highlight: walking the ~10 miles from the city across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and getting the ferry back. Everyone else does this on a bike - but I really enjoyed the slog.
Albany, NY: August 2018
By this point it’s probably clear the theme of this year is “anywhere but home”. August took us to Albany to visit family, and Hilary & I took a (solo!) side-trip to DC.
Amsterdam: October 2018
By this point you’re probably thinking: “that’s probably enough change/excitement for one year”, or, “time to spend some time in Scotland buddy”. Life (aka Hilary) had other plans. The lure of a new (head of product) position was too much, and so on the 31st of September we packed up the car and the dog (again) and drove to Amsterdam to begin immigrant life (at this point Hilary is a double-immigrant).
Jasper sighting his new homeland from the ferry.
Looking back, a few things become clear.
Everytime I think “that’s good, things are settled now, time to relax for a bit”, something comes along that completely changes everything again. New house, new job, baby, new job again, new country.
Thanks to my slightly (sometimes very) anxious nature, the thought of impending change always brings with it a bundle of stress. Even booking a holiday is pretty damn stressful for me. But from the other side I can see how much richer life has been because of it.
I only really have one person to thank for all of this, and that’s Hilary. As much as those moments of anxiety stress me out, it’s clear that life would be a heck of a lot more boring without her pushing me to the edge of my comfort zone. 😍
That said, maybe 33 can take it a little easy?