It was a series of events      a combination      a culmination    that broke my camel’s back        there’s no need really to label what happened as breakdown or burn-out  or whatever     it was what it was     I’d reached the end of my particular tether    I fell off my particular cliff   no shame in that I guess   it happens to many   yet nonetheless      it feels pretty damned scary when it happens to you

it felt/it feels    as if      it’s the end of PART II of my life (if PART I was childhood)     the PART II that had involved a tickbox towards career    college/qualification/employment/promotion/further qualifications/success     the joys of marriage & children    all the boxes ticked

and then

at 53yrs.

the profession&career element of that PART II fell in around my ears or more accurately between my ears

it’s become clear now that I can no longer do the job I’ve spent thirty years doing     can no longer effectively perform the extravert  public-facing role it demands    can no longer juggle it all

it’s becoming clear I need to let go and turn away      draw breath    settle the panic    calm the noise   rid myself of the profession/career security blanket that was suffocating the life out of me

it’s time to look anew at what life might/could be

PART III has now been under way close to 60 days

each day I write a journal   and for the first time in what seems like years I’m allowing myself guilt-free time to think about what’s actually important   also time to grieve   to undertake the practicalities of divorcing myself from that previous role  time too to reflect and be honest

I’m coming to see that often PART II was lonely, deeply unhappy, physically, emotionally & psychologically damaging   it hurt me

I’m lucky    I’m seemingly coming through without a heart attack or worse   and with my marbles pretty much intact

I have a wonderful opportunity now to explore  play  discover   to define what this unexpected & novel middle-period could potentially be


rich in experience  involving


and most importantly providing me with a precious opportunity through healing myself to find renewed energy for my family      to look forward to a future with them that is a future rather than a continuation of an successful (in financial terms) yet damaging past

my reading over the past year – Chris Packham’s ‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar’,  Rob Cowen’s ‘Common Ground’ and Dexter Petley’s ‘Love Madness Fishing’ have provided hints at a direction and have inspired me to get on with what will – with a little luck – be one excellent journey.

I hope you’ll tag along…

  1. Graham Findlay

    It sounds like you have had a rough time; I had been wondering where you had got to when your posts virtually dried up. I think we all go through a period when we have to stand back and look at hard at life. We can be trite, call it a mid-life crisis and buy a Harley or face it and adjust. Good luck with your adjustment. Please keep the occasional post going and spend more time on the boat.

    Good luck,


    1. Nick Holt

      Graham, thanks so much for your kind words and sound advice. I’m hoping with all the changes that are needed the boat won’t be one of the things that we have to let go. Fingers crossed we can keep the old girl.
      best wishes

  2. In search of my subject PART II 

    […] Circumstances change, the changes are often unplanned. Doors open. Doors close. This post and the previous one are both attempts to pick myself up after a derailment that stemmed from huge changes in my personal circumstances (more HERE). […]

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