Thursday, 28 March 2013

From the safe harbour.

From the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

I came across this quote on Twitter and it really resonated with me. It seemed to encapsulate the 'journey' I've been on for the past 3 years.  Prior to this time I'd become the epitome of the 'couch potato'. A combination of circumstances had conspired to sap me of my confidence in myself or my ability to be a useful member of society. I hid away in my 'safe harbour', telling myself that I was happy and content with my life.  So what changed?

One of my favourite daytime TV shows at the time was Loose Women, a lunchtime chat show, where 4 female celebrities discuss various topics in a light hearted way. I never missed an episode and would record it if for any reason I couldn't watch it in real time. One day as I was watching I thought to myself how brilliant it would be if they ran a competition where the prize was the opportunity to appear on the show and be a 'Loose Woman'.

Well how excited was I when not long after they announced that they were going to run a competition where the prize was exactly that! I convinced myself that it was fate and that all I had to do was enter and of course I'd win. Needless to say not only did I not win, I didn't even make the shortlist. To say that I was disappointed is definitely an understatement, in fact I was devastated. My reaction was completely out of proportion.

Once I got over the disappointment I began to realise that perhaps I wasn't as happy as I thought and this made me realise that I needed to do something about it.

"To change your life, you have to change yourself. To change yourself, you have to change your mindset." (unknown)

Once I got over the initial disappointment, I actually went through a phase of being angry at Loose Women, totally bizarre I know. But this anger spurred me on to make the changes necessary to change my life.

The rest, as they say, is history. I started volunteering at Cogges Manor Farm Museum where over a plate of Chilli in the Manor House kitchen I heard about Woapa, the adult singing group. I joined the singing group and one evening at choir practice, Lisa Cherry stood up and announced that she was about to publish her first book. My reaction to this was one of jealousy. Writing was something I'd dreamed of doing myself once and listening to Lisa made me realise that it was still smouldering away inside me. I started to follow Lisa on facebook and found out that she was running a Beginner's Writer's Workshop. I went to this workshop and when Lisa's second book, Brightness of the Stars', was launched recently it contained a short story, 'The Fluffy Dandelion', I'd written as a result of a writing prompt by Lisa. It was also Lisa who encouraged me to start writing this blog.

"20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away"

Natalie Lowe

I've definitely left my 'safe harbour', 'thrown off the bow lines' and I'm enjoying the exhilaration of the voyage of discovery I'm on. This past year has been amazing, so many new and exciting things happened; taking part in a flashmob and making a CD, not to mention having my first piece of fiction published. I even appeared on a TV programme with Lynda Bellingham, one of the Loose Women panelists, (hence photo above, I'm the one in the floral blouse)! It has been scary at times but I've never been tempted to return to the safety of my old life.

I'm a 'lady of a certain age' and as we all know life is uncertain whatever age we are. I love the imagery of being like a sail boat catching the Trade winds.There's an element of uncertainty about the direction it'll take you and at times you may end up becalmed, but as we all need times when we need to rest and recharge our batteries, that's no bad thing. I know that it won't all necessarily be 'plain sailing', but that's one of the elements that make for an interesting journey; a voyage of Discovery.
Loose Women inadvertently changed my life! Ironically I don't have time to watch it nowadays, I'm too busy. Who knows; perhaps one day I'll be invited on the show as a guest-well a girl can dream, can't she?

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