Write on

So it’s the last week in January already, and the first week of my 50th year.  Not sure how that happened – less than one year until the big five-oh.  If you’d asked me at 16 – or even 21 – what I would have accomplished or be doing by the time I hit my half century I doubt it would bear much resemblance to the life I’m living.

I suspect I would have predicted husband, kids, career (perhaps in writing), a decent-sized house and a foreign holiday or two each year.  In other words, I would have been the stereotypical, suburban, middle-aged woman – a “stepford wife” if you like.  Nothing wrong with that, however that’s not what’s happened.  Not yet anyway.

I’m a single lady (even that’s debatable some days…), no kids (but I have acquired 9 godchildren along the way), just given up my career to start afresh (never did write that novel), and trying to limit myself to just five festivals a year.  Spending time in British fields listening to music, come rain or shine, rather than lazing on far-flung beaches.  I do have a little house of my own and a grumpy cat for company though.  Not to mention a fantastic network of amazing friends who I appreciate more with each passing year.

The support I’ve received while setting up my new business has been humbling.  People are genuinely interested, and want to talk to me about it, even if they do secretly think I’ve lost my senses!  Two of my friends have signed up with me to lose weight, which is brilliant and they are both doing well.  I’m so proud of them!

Prior to becoming self-employed I worked primarily in the public sector after graduating from university, which was my preference at the time.  However after being made redundant in 2009 I spent a couple of years working in the private sector for a premium skin care company, which I really enjoyed.  Getting discounted products was a perk not to be sniffed at too!  However financial pressures dictated I needed to earn a little more and so I returned to the public sector again.

A week or so ago I met up with one of my former skincare colleagues, and posted on social media about how I missed working there, along with a picture of some samples I’d been gifted – I’m a sucker for a freebie!  A uni friend who runs a beauty industry magazine contacted me after seeing that post and offered me a freelance job writing a weekly column.  This would be flexible enough to fit around my diet plan clients and keep me out of mischief while I established my business.

So, reader, of course I said yes.  Another new chapter has opened.  I’m finally writing for a living (well, expenses and free products) – my 16 year-old self would be proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Times they are a-changing

It’s been a while. I’m aware I start far too many of these posts with that. Thanks to those who stick with me regardless.

They say every cloud has a silver lining and that’s definitely true for me. I had a bereavement before Christmas which was, and still is, difficult. However I came into an inheritance as a direct result and that has certainly made life a little easier.

Financially I’m secure for a while, and have been able to buy another VW campervan, which is amazing. I previously had a classic 1978 one, but had to sell him in 2011 after being made redundant. I’d vowed to get another and I finally have. Hurrah!

Additionally I’ve got together with someone I’ve liked for ages. Turns out he felt the same, we were just too rubbish at telling the other. That good old social lubricant, the work leaving do, helped us on our way.

So, all in all, life’s not too bad!

Celebrate good times

Today is my birthday; another year ticked past in the blink of an eye.  I’m happier and healthier than last year.  I’m clearer on what I want.  Still single, but I’d rather be single and happy than with the wrong person and constrained.

I spent the weekend with some of my most favourite people and was really spoilt.  I’m so lucky!  One of my fabulous friends (the previously mentioned social media guru) bought me my own web domain.  I am now a dot com.  Get me.  The observant among you may have spotted that already.

So much is lined up for the next nine months that I can’t wait to get on with it.  A couple of jewellery making workshops; a handful of comedy gigs; a music festival in Paris; camping in Devon; two weeks in the Outer Hebrides/Western Isles; a music festival in Dorset and then a week in Nashville.   All with different groups of amazing people.  I’m not sure how i shall find the time to go to work.   Sadly I have to though to fund my extravagant year.

Maybe, in the course of doing all that, I’ll stumble over Mr Right – or at least Mr Right for Now.  Keep your fingers crossed for me blogverse.  Have a great day – and eat a cake to celebrate my special day with me, if you feel so inclined.

What’s in a name?

A couple of the six to eight people who read my blog have asked me about the titles I give my posts as they sometimes don’t appear to relate to the subject.

When I first started this they were pretty pun heavy. I love language and word play and so puns amuse me. They’ve then moved really into quotations from books, films and plays or song titles and lyrics.

Although these on occasion will be related, it’s more often that the song or film etc is in my head when I’m writing. My last title was “This is ourselves” which is from the Queen and David Bowie song Under Pressure. It had been playing in the car that afternoon and was firmly in my ear. It’s a powerful lyric. Hope that answers the question 😊

Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don’t work
Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn
Why, why, why?
Love
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure

It’s my party

So this week has been “interesting” as they say, with some highs and real lows both personally and professionally. However it’s now Saturday and I’ve been looking forward to tonight for weeks. Off to the Woo to spend time celebrating me with some of my closest friends. I can’t wait to be with people who genuinely care about me.

True, lasting friendship is one of life’s real joys. As soon as you work out those who are just around out of habit, only there for their own benefit, or while times are good, you can really start to identify the folk who are always there when you need them; tenacious supporters (& piss-takers at times) who always have your back and are in your corner. Clearly they must do yoga in their spare time to be that limber…

Anyway I’m seeing a lot of them tonight and so, for today at least, all is good. Love you guys.

Moving on

To give the boy his due, we did actually meet up and have a conversation about his “Dear John” text.  His suggestion.  I wasn’t entirely sure how things would go, but we met up in town and had a few drinks.  The conversation wasn’t too awkward, and it turns out it was him and not me.  Ha!  I’ve referred to him as a fuckwit and as going through some kind of midlife crisis and I’m not taking that back, but we left our evening amicably and as friends still, I think.

On the way home I booked tickets for a music festival in Paris as commiseration, and am also in the process of booking two weeks away in the Outer Hebrides, so there is good stuff happening.  Also had a few sneaky doughnuts (oops) but as I’ve just bought the Tom Kerridge healthy eating cookbooks, those are off the menu again now.  I refuse to wallow!

So back being single again.  Oh well.  Onwards and upwards – and I’m looking around all the corners.

Reserving judgments and infinite hope

They say you should never meet your heroes.  That should probably also extend to cover dating  your crushes.   I’ve recently had a few dates with someone I first met two decades ago and who has carried a little torch for me ever since.

I am sure that with every interaction the image he’s built up of me over the last twenty years is slowly but surely being eroded, and the pedestal I was unwittingly on is being chipped away.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing; from my perspective anyway.

I’m a fiercely independent, healthily quizzical (some might say cynical…) realist with an established sense of self.  I am also not the same person I was in my late 20s when we originally met and I suspect this may be something of a revelation.  Who could live up to the pressure of an idealised version of themselves though?  Indeed, to quote F Scott Fitzgerald, There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.

But perhaps I’m being unfair.  I’m not used to being the object of someone’s affection in this way; never before been someone’s muse and I think this makes me extra sensitive to reactions and responses; not the best combination with my already over-analytical brain.  I know that usually I am a bit of an acquired taste, and am well aware of my own feet of clay, so I struggle with someone just liking me regardless.

Within my friendship group there are some very healthy relationships with couples finding the path to bring out the best in each other – the whole definitely being more than the sum of the parts.  That’s the synergy I hope to find for myself in my next serious relationship.   Perhaps I am also guilty of pedestalling  (I’d hesitate to label it as self-sabotaging) and comparing each of my relationships to an ideal that no-one will be able to match.

I’m not one for making New Year resolutions, but I probably need to be a bit more open minded this year in my romantic escapades to prevent repeating previous mistakes or unfair judgments.  While thinking about this piece I have had the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby buzzing around my head so will finish with that.   With Jay Gatsby’s long-nurtured, obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan being pivotal to the plot, it’s not entirely unrelated. 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning —–

And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby