Paul was keen to get away from work as Wednesday night was band practice, and he needed to be there by seven. It was going to be difficult because August was always a manic month.
He enjoyed his work and was comfortable being defined by his role role, as a Partner of one of the world’s largest accounting firms, however he was thoroughly enjoying getting back into his music, something he had not really done since his high school days in Southampton. That was such a long time ago, pre Julie, the children, and his arrival in Australia.
A child of the sixties he felt a rich musical heritage, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and so many others; all had fuelled his love for music, but it was not until his grandfather gave him his first guitar that he started to play. That was early in high school, before Oxford and what he still regarded as the greatest day of his life – Southampton 1 – Manchester United 0 in the 1976 FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Whilst work was important to him, with the children off his hands, he had more time to do what he wanted. He was no longer obligated to take them to sport, attend parent teacher interviews or feel guilty if he did not get there; something which had been an all to often occurrence across their school years. Instead, when the pressures of work allowed, he now had his own time which could be spent with Julie or pursuing his own passions. They could go out for dinner, travel and attend concerts; Springsteen earlier in the year had been a highlight. He also had time to ride his bike, play his guitar and even read books.
He was comfortably off which allowed him to make a decision about his future without the stress of a mortgage or school fees. He had always said hitting the confirm button for the last school fee was a true “Bollinger Moment”! He often wondered how his staff would cope. Would they be able to have the opportunities to travel, buy a nice house in one of the leafy suburbs and have children as he had?
Being in his fifties did not mean he was at the end of his working life at all. Whilst he did not subscribe to the clichéd view that fifty was the new forty, he was fitter than ever and thinking about what might come next: company boards, teaching maybe even writing? He was not looking for a change because he had not enjoyed his professional career; quite the opposite, his career had brought significant financial and personal reward, it was just that he felt it was time for something new. A less pressured role with more time away from the office.
That was all in the future, for now it was his guitar and band practice that was the release from day-to-day pressures of his work.
As he switched his computer off, he reflected on how his staff and colleagues saw him: conservative, well dressed, member of The Club, accountant? He doubted that any of them could see past the idea of him as the one who always wore a sports coat to a casual dinner, regular dined at his men only club, and could be relied upon to deal with the most complex accounting matter.
What a laugh it would be if one of his staff turned up for a drink and saw him playing. Even more amusing, what if one of his fellow Club members turned up at a bar and saw him playing? He doubted they would believe their eyes.
About this Post
This piece was initially a draft for a Creative Writing Subject I took last year. I have updated it for the WordPress – Weekly Writing Challenge and is quite a departure from my normal posts.
It’s not autobiographical eventhough I am an accountant in his fifties. I can’t deny I love Springsteen, but I certainly can’t play guitar!
Photo: glasgowcityaccountants, Flickr Creative Commons