• Charles Pennefather

Change is the only constant

Updated: May 7, 2020

Charles Pennefather
Charles Pennefather

I quit my full-time job on Feb 28, 2019. It wasn’t the first time I’d done that in my life; in fact, in my career, I’ve done that more times than is good for me. However, for the first time, I wasn’t driven by the need to find full-time, ‘gainful’ employment immediately, like I was my entire life before that point.

A little background here: I had life-altering things happen to me in 2017 and 2018, both mentally and physically. Everything I’d learned up to that point had to be examined, and I had to make a conscious decision whether to keep those habits of a lifetime, or make a concerted effort to discard them. It was going to be difficult either way – should I keep doing what I was doing for over a decade, even though ultimately it didn’t work for me?

I decided that one things I would do was take some time out and relax. This was something I wasn’t afforded even while studying; I took up part-time jobs two years before I graduated, while studying full time. While this isn’t unusual for most of the world, it certainly was for my part of the world, and for the course that I was studying. When it was time for me to graduate, I hadn’t cleared a paper from my second year of graduate studies, so I wasn’t technically a graduate. However, my mother was retiring the year after I graduated, so the pressure was on for me to find a job. The next thing I knew, I was writing automotive content full time without a second thought to giving that Chemistry exam and getting my degree.

I have made less money in the past year than I used to in three months in my job preceding that. I have given up basketball, after playing it for over two decades. I have become a recluse, and I take the train into the city once every few months. I have gone six weeks without wearing long pants. I have spent many hours and even more days questioning if I’ll ever make something of myself. I have felt guilty about not being able to run the house for the first time in my life. I have grieved for loved ones who have left, whether by choice or not. I have sold my dream car, a mere six months after clearing the loan on it. I know I haven’t driven it half as much as I would have liked to.

Then again…

I have discovered all of Steven Wilson’s bands. I have learned to use and love my analog guitar effects pedalboard after being bamboozled by it for many years. I have played all my guitars almost to my satisfaction – yes, even the 7 string. I have learned to let go of them, and have sold one of them (shocking, I know). I have made progress on the path of learning to solo, after only a decade and a half of trying. I have learned to be comfortable playing music for the satisfaction of self improvement, rather than simply to feel the high of performing. I have learned to make a website, to have patience with people, to forgive, to let new people in and not hold on too tight to those who want to leave. I have learned to enjoy the little moments. I have improved my offroad motorcycle riding skills. I have ridden my bicycle consistently for the first time in a decade. I have reconnected with my mother after a lifetime of not being on the same page as her.

I won’t have to pay tax for this financial year, and I sorely miss the people who used to be a part of my life. But I’m happy.

I’d rather be free.

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