2004 was a really weird year. After eight years at the BBC, I came to realise that I needed a change. I needed to get out before I was institutionalised (even harder that I had a familial relationship with Aunty Beeb because it was where my parents had both worked and met in the 1960s).

I had conversations with a wonderful person, Brian Prytz, who was one of the people who ran an management training organisation that I had used as a client for a few years. Eventually we got to a point where we agreed that I would go and work for them, a complete change that would see me leaving not only the BBC, but also the world of technology (for a while).

At the end of September I handed in my notice, planning to leave at the end of the year. Within a few days my Grandfather died, and then a few days after that my wife at the time told me that she was leaving me. From the moments of excitement and future possibilities, within a week it seemed like my world had collapsed in on itself. Everything became remarkably chaotic, and the life that I had thought was going to happen suddenly took some very different directions.

Some time later my ex told me that she had timed her leaving until after I had handed in my notice, because she knew that it was the right thing for me to do, but was afraid that if she had told me earlier I would have chickened out. In hindsight I am so glad that she made that call because she was almost certainly right. She’s now happily living with her wife of many years, and so her decision to leave was completely right too. But it was all a heck of a lot to take in then and for some time afterwards.

I’d seen The Egg at the Big Chill festival a bit earlier that year at Eastnor Castle. They were majestic, and the title of the album seems cheesy enough to sum up what in retrospect I was able to do, eventually. Move Forwards.

You can see the #51for50 project to date here: https://mmitii.mattballantine.com/category/projects/51-for-50/

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