May of last year saw me move to Sheffield for 3 months. An offer of a temporary contract ending my jobless state, last Thursday I said goodbye to a group of people I've come to regards as good friends and came home.
It's fair to say that when I arrived I was considered as a wide eyed southerner. I quickly adapted, the sharp suit went to be replaced by a Northerners vocabularly.
Living as a family man Friday to Sunday and then as a Singleton Monday to Thursday took some getting used to, luckily I had a bike and plenty of work to keep myself busy. A few lads I made contact with from Singletrack offered to show me their local trails which was fantastic, I extend the same to them should they see themselves in the Forest Of Dean at any time.
I have fond memories of warm summer evenings spent turning pedals over long road rides, setting out with the intention of getting lost in order to find new and seemingly endless beauty in the Peak District roads. Each ride different from the last but always similar in the feeling it left me with.. contentment from tired legs.
In recent months however I have not moved far from my laptop and books, an exam and then a dissertation has stopped the potential for riding and a house move at home has piled pressure on. This has meant that I arrived home on Thursday night feeling close to burn out and probably as unfit as I have been in a long while. The gym membership stopped long ago to be replaced by a daily commute to work. 10 miles a day doesnt' really cut it. I admit though, in the last few weeks I've relished the lack of fitness knowing that I will soon be carving out new fitness ahead of next year.
Kate has suffered phone calls in the evenings where a dark mood has surfaced from deep in me, loneliness seemed at times to be my only companion and I struggled to acknowledge the longterm benefit the job was doing. Whilst I was occasionally unable to see light at the end of a tunnel she managed to calmly talk me through, putting perspective on things and giving me a boost until my weekend. Weekends have been a chance to recharge, not from work like most people, but to recharge on family, enough hopefully to last me until the following weekend.
Now, though, now I'm home, back, amongst loved ones and friends. It is said that you don't know what you've got til it's gone and I know how true it is. I want to remember the darkness, remember the loneliness to ensure I don't take friends or family for granted again.
My time in Sheffield has given me more than I realised at the time. I've found a new desire for self improvement and the knowledge I've got the mental strength to follow change through. I've made new friends and most of all, I've learnt to appreciate the people at home.
So thankyou Sheffield and for now, at least goodbye