Yes, a strange and heady mixture of emotions.
I worked out why this has started happening again. When I first stopped working, waaaay back in late May last year - yes, I have been Not Working for almost a twelvemonth now- I had a few weeks where it just felt like I was on leave. Then a month or so of gloating about having the summer off work, helped by the fact that the weather was rather nice, and then a few weeks of panic. It was probably around that panic-time that Mr WithaY decided that he too was going to give up his job, and follow his long-time ambition to become a bushcraft specialist.
So. Two of us went from being long-term career Civil Servants in comparatively senior (and fairly well-paid) posts, to being two non-working middle-aged people intending to start up their own new businesses.
Mr WithaY is doing well. He's now halfway through a year-long training course, at the end of which he will be a fully-qualified instructor, and has got himself onto a local apprenticeship scheme which will give him loads of useful and relevant experience. Unfortunately, he is not getting paid for any of this. Yet.
On the plus side, he is happier than he has been for a very long time, and is discovering he has a real skill in wood carving, making some fabulous pieces which I hope he will be able to sell in due course.
I'm feeling less positive - this week, at least - as my long-term business plan is grinding forward slowly and painfully.
I have tried to improve my mood by doing everything I can to facilitate progress:
- I took (and passed, yay me) an online food hygiene training course.
- I drafted up a best-guess costs and liabilities account, trying to work out what we will need to do to turn a profit, when we finally go ahead with things.
- I spent a while researching the grants available to small businesses, trying to establish what - if anything - we would be able to apply for.
- I read several helpful blogs about setting up (and sometimes closing down) small retail businesses.
- I now have a better understanding of some of the many and varied pitfalls, and have been able to start pulling together contingency plans.
Fingers crossed, eh.
Anyhoo, I worked out why the blind panic has gripped me this week. It's because as long as I am planning and preparing to start a business, I am effectively taking myself off the job market. I have had a few minor forays into getting a job, none successful, but by setting up this business I am removing the possibility of going and working in a local supermarket to pay the bills. It's that whole "make a decision and stick to it" thing, which kills off the comforting "Ah, anything might happen" state of semi-denial.
It's getting real.
In other news, I have been making stuff like a madwoman to sell at a charity cake and craft sale at the end of next month. We're all making cakes so people can come and buy a cup of tea and a cupcake or whatever, in aid of Sport Relief, but a few of us are also setting up little craft tables. I have decided to bite the bullet, take the plunge, grasp the nettle and many other clichés, and see if anyone is interested in buying stuff I've made.
I'm also making some Medieval kit for Mr WithaY - he plans to do sword fighting demonstrations with a couple of other friends at events over the summer, and needs some hardwearing clothing to wear while he does it. I've almost finished the pourpoint - a short sleeveless jacket, with lace holes around the waist to hold the hose (leggings) up.
Next on the "to make" list, a jacket with long sleeves, to wear over the top of the pourpoint and hose. I'm not making hose. Too bloody difficult, matey.
And for those evening where the thought of sewing anything fills me with choking fury, I am knitting a scarf from a pattern pinched from Mrs Jones' blog. If it works, I shall post a photo; if it doesn't, I shall unravel it and make something else with the wool. It's looking rather pretty so far.
Oh, and I have reactivated my Twitter persona, but this time it's more about keeping tabs on local business and related stuff than broadcasting my own brand of trivia to the InterWeb.