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The last 5 years. - Ed's journal
The last 5 years.
5 years pass, in so little time.

The thought occurred to me the other day, that it's pretty much 5 years since I finished university.
5 years is such a long time. Except in so many ways, it isn't.

So I thought I'd reflect a little, on the last 5 years.

5 years ago, I'd just finished my degree. I'd ended up with a 3rd, which meant I wasn't doing the 4 year course as I'd intended. Rather abruptly, I had to find 'something' to do. I'd already been working 1-2 days per week at Byzantium. Hindsight leads me to the thought that this really didn't help me in getting a decent degree result. Of course the other thing was probably that I just didn't do enough work in my third year, but that's just how it goes.

Thankfully I'd already arranged to work at Byzantium over the summer, and from there it was fairly easy to just move into full time work.
I moved into a flat in Leamington, in Charlotte Street. It was 'my place', the first time I've 'properly' lived alone. It was 10 minutes from work, and cost the princely sum of £520 per month.
And it was glorious for a time. A 'flat rate' internet deal, and a bathtub that was mine and mine alone was a delight.

Byzantium I was 'general sysadmin'. Support of Unix servers, and a Windows/laptop environment was the order of battle. And ... well pretty much anything else that had 'wires' seemed to fall under my remit.

The flat was quiet, the takeaways close, and the pubs in town very acceptable indeed.
Byzantium and Leamington lasted a year or so.

Byzantium alas, was doomed, and so, in June 2001, I was to leave there, and seek for new employment. I got a job offer at Alstom, which as I recall was a marginal pay cut. However, it was also in Rugby, which mandated me getting a car. I also had reached the end of my lease on the flat, and decided to move back to Coventry, into a house with lostdreamer666.

My first few months at Alstom were somewhat chaotic, as I picked up 'how it worked' from the last in a chain of consultants. To gloss over a little, I've been there since. Doing Unix, Storage, and anything else that takes my fancy.

On a few occasions I looked for other jobs, here and there. Brief swirls of turbulent discontent, amidst what has, overall, been fairly good. One I got an offer for, but turned them down. That clarified my thinking somewhat as to what I was really looking for. (Besides, they had 'motivator' posters on the walls). I also learned enough that whilst enterprise IT in 'the City' was stupid money, it also involved stupid amounts of work. Work I can deal with, but 60 hour week + another 20 hours of 'out of hours' + being on call was just too much for my linking. OK, so nearly a double salary, but also nearly a doubled amount of aggravation. (And then there's living in London, which is it's own special kind of torment)

The car I bought to commute to Alstom, was a Red Ford Fiesta Sapphire, 1.8 Diesel. N674 PVC. It was a good first car, a small, and cheap runabout, that could, if absolutely pushed, hit 95 miles an hour. That died in May 03. A lose bit in the cylinder head had drilled nicely through the engine block. The cost of repair was notably more than I'd paid for the car 2 years previously.

My next car was a Black Ford Focus Ghia. 1.8 16v petrol engine. A W Reg, and with air conditioning. That was and still is, a pleasure.

I moved to Allesley Old Road in June/July last year, with the wonderful sebbo and his girlfriend. (WINOLJ). A few months after, I realised that my credit card bill was slowly racking up, to the point where it was starting to become something of a problem, so I started to consolidate. Balance transfers to 0% cards, and pouring cash into savings accounts. At the time of writing, I'm 'very nearly there' the outstanding 3500 card bill, and 2500 overdraft are now close enough to 0 that when the 0% finishes in 2 months, I will be able to settle them. Or as near as makes no mind.

Over the last 5 years, my sister also finished university, bummed about a bit, and then has found steady employment working as a scenes of crimes officer. She is also engaged to be married, to a person who I was at university with.

My parents moved out of the 5 bedroom house where I grew up. The house was really too large for a couple, as they were once more, after 20-ish years of children. Never the less, that house was where I grew up, and spent the first 18 years of my life (well, technically more, but after that point I was partially at university). It was something of a sadness to mark the transition.

From June 02 to July 03 was the season of 'Sleepy Hollow'. A frenzied mess of large amounts of D&D playing. Where at least 2 games, and often many more would happen each week. The pace stepped up notably towards the end, but with all such things there's a finite life span, and it just burned out.

In about July 03 I also started getting involved with running plot for SINergy. A week long training course in germany had me bored, so I started writing a story arc which involved the mayor and elections. The plot itself kind of fizzled, but a few of the spinoff stories have continued to echo in the game. I gradually got more involved, until in April 04 I found myself trying to arrange a new venue. Which ended up being in Leicester. Continued running through the summer, in retrospect, wasn't a stunningly good move. It was just too hot, and too many clashes with other things meant turnout was low.

Not to mention meaning that SINergy seems to have a very high toll on the ref team, and having a holiday ... well, is just a good plan.

I started going to Maelstrom in 04 as well - my 25th birthday was at a campsite in the middle of nowhere, finding out what all this national event larping was all about.

And of course, in December 03 I discovered livejournal, and have spammed a total of 856 journal entries since.

And then a few months back, I started on EVE Online which is shaping up to be quite a fine diversion.

I also broke my leg in March 05, which had me off work for 6 weeks. Now, in July, it's still not 100%. It was something of a drastic shock to my life. It's funny, but your perceptions and understanding change a great deal with that kind of thing happens. You get to understand relative importance of things, that are so easy to lose sight of.

Over the last 5 years, I think I've changed quite a lot. I don't think I'd recognise, or maybe even like the person I was then. Maybe that's just growing up, but I can't say I'm unhappy about the change.

All in all, I'm happy with how the last 5 years have gone. I've got a career I enjoy, my finances are shaping up (nearly paid off my student loan), and I've kept in touch with a number of good friends in and around Coventry.

I have an active social life, that basically involves doing 'stuff' most weekends, and a couple of weekday evenings.

And I have some good and dear friends, who I've benefited greatly by knowing.

Regrets, well, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. (sorry).

Oh, there's a few things that I'd maybe have changed, but then again, I really have no complaints about how things have ended up.

My one real regret is lost opportunities, or words left unsaid for fear of their reaction. Oh, I've tried to notice when I do that, but ... well I still do.

My regular gym going paid off nicely when I was bouncing around on crutches. I've not actually been since, and I need to get back into the habit. (It really is so easy to write it off as being too hot, too late, or too busy. Especially when it is too hot, too late or you're too busy).

I also decided to start losing weight in January. I'm down by 13Kg (2 and a bit stone). Which is sort of frustrating, because I can't seem to tell. Probably because I started off very overweight, and now am a bit less overweight. However, this is progress of a sort.

It's been a good 5 years.

Now, it's time for some prophecies as to my future. (ooooommmmm).

Over the next 5 years, I'll be aiming to stay in IT, but focus and develop a more senior role. I've found I like, and have a knack for storage management, but I still like Unix. VMWare too is something that I've a good grasp of the paradigm. I think this may well still be at Alstom. It's fairly good here, and provided it stays that way, and keeps being interesting, I'll stay.

I still blither about my cunning plan of entering politics. Over the time span to the next general election, I'll start investigating that too.

I intend to buy myself a house. That'll be next year at the very earliest, due to the fact that I've just signed another 12 month rent contract on the house we're in, but I think it's about time I started on that. Realistically, it may actually be nearer 2-3 years.

And I aim to settle my debts, for car, student loan and credit cards. That's part of the 'buy a house' plan, as the lower the monthly outgoings, the easier it is to finance a mortgage.

I also predict a flurry of people I know from Uni getting married. Some already have, or have announced intentions to do so. Others, well, I can see that their 'life paths' are converging, and sooner or later they'll be struck by the inevitable.

Me? I think I'll be staying single. At least for the next 5 years :). I've got outstanding bets with two people to win.
10 comments or Leave a comment
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: June 23rd, 2005 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
If it is any help your weigh loss is noticable. From recent experience though I can say you never truely notice yourself until you go shopping for clothes and find you can get into trousers two or three sizes smaller than you used to be.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: June 23rd, 2005 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh yeah and a good way to break the "its to hot" thing.. swimming.. to late well not much i can do there and well too busy.. if the too busy is earnign your keep then its a valid excuse:)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: June 23rd, 2005 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
My problem isn't so much the actual exercise, it's the fact that I can't cool down afterwards. A hot shower, leaving you warm and soapy, is great, but only if you don't stay that way for the rest of the day.
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: June 23rd, 2005 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting retrospective, Ed, you're a pretty good writer you know.

It's funny, everyone goes on when you're a kid about how school days are the best days of your life - are they, bollocks. Life in your twenties is a pretty steady uphill journey as you find your place in life.

Oh, and, dude, lj-cut on epic monologues please?
jorune From: jorune Date: June 23rd, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's beautiful that you can express your feelings.
From: sebbo Date: June 23rd, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
i would agree that it is indeed noticable that you have lost weight. What I think is worrying is that you managed this despite being on a 50% stake diet + lots of pizza, some subway and cans of tuna mayo cans....

From: sebbo Date: June 23rd, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
and lets not forget the beer either ;)
the_wood_gnome From: the_wood_gnome Date: June 23rd, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
hmm, maybe that's a diet to market...
sobrique From: sobrique Date: June 24th, 2005 09:18 am (UTC) (Link)
The 'Ed' diet. High protein, high beer. Might not actually work, but far more fun than rabbit food.
the_wood_gnome From: the_wood_gnome Date: June 24th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Put me down for a copy :)
10 comments or Leave a comment