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two hilarious chapters from my new book..

Life Begins At Fifty - The Book
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A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the film, ‘You Before Me’, about a guy who is mown down by a motorbike and ends up in a wheelchair which obviously impacts his life on every level.  I spouted forth about the fact that we never really know what is round the corner, so we should embrace life and really live, rather than putting things off for a rainy day that never comes.  That film really did make me think, in the same way that funerals do; it makes me realise that I am not going to be around for ever, and shakes me up a bit in the nicest possible way.  In short, it makes me ask myself what the heck I am doing with my life and what do I really want to do with it, instead of just bumbling gaily along and going with the flow.

Also, my children, both in their twenties, had recently left home within months of each other, and, after 22 years of being a single mum, the silence in my house was distinctly deafening.  I missed the constant babble, the laughter, the rolling eyes as I said something embarrassing, the banter and the camaraderie between the three of us.  I even missed the wet towels on the bathroom floor, the blue, orange, purple, black and pink bras (why the heck can’t they just buy white?), the odd socks, the mismatching pyjama tops and bottoms (why can’t they wear ones that go together?).

I even missed the fact that they always take the wellies out of the under stairs cupboard and leave them by the front door, as if the fairies will arrive sometime soon and put them back, and the way they always seem to put things on top of the dishwasher instead of in it and never set it off ‘because I don’t know if they are clean or dirty’.    And all of a sudden, my home was a tidy home…which was a tad boring, really, at the end of the day.  Hmm.  As I cranked up the volume on Capital radio to get some energy back into my home, I was left thinking, ‘Crikey!  This is it!  What now?’

One of my friends, Angie, who emigrated to Australia many moons ago commented on my blog post.  ‘So when are you coming to Oz, then?’  Strangely enough, she said the same thing to me a few years back when she was visiting England, and my reply then was similar to the one I sent back this time.  ‘Hmm, stranger things have happened.’   Rachel and I ended up going to stay with Angie and her husband, Simon,  for a week when we were on our world trip and had an absolute ball – camping, four-wheel driving over sand dunes, barbequeing, visiting local markets, chilling out on the beach, visiting Australia Zoo – you name it, we did it.   It was magical!

So I got my thinking cap on.  Last year I made a bit of profit from a property investment and it would have been so easy to just plough that profit into another project and carry on regardless.  And then suddenly another year would have flown by. But life isn’t really about that is it?  It’s about new experiences, creating memories, having fun, happiness, chilling with friends, meeting new people and really embracing life.  Sooo, I started planning… Angie and I started tentatively chatting on Skype about me going over to stay with her, and, hopefully, doing a workshop together whilst there.  And, looking back, once I’d made the decision to get out there and have a bit of adventure (understatement of the year) the Universe, as always, just seems to make it happen and everything starts to fall into place.

I was just about to Skype Angie one Thursday morning when my friend, Vanessa, rang.  Ping!  I had a lightbulb moment!  I asked her if she fancied meeting up on the last leg of my trip to visit Asia.  She was game on.  I knew she would be.  The thing I love about Vanessa is that she’s as mad as me…and she just goes for it.  I got to know her a few years ago when I went skiing with her.  We never stopped laughing all week – we ended up singing karaoke in the hotel bar, going down the Olympic bob sleigh run (like a bullet out of a gun), and if she’d had her way we’d have been night time toboganning too (but thankfully it clashed with the bob sleighing).   Maaad!

‘Let’s strike whilst the iron’s hot,’ she giggled.

That afternoon, we went to a great travel agency in Newcastle, received lots of advice, picked up some brochures and got an idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do.   Yay!  The week after, we went ahead and booked our respective trips.  The result of me giving my head a shake and doing something about it is this: I’m shortly setting off on a really exciting trip!  In fact, just the thought of it makes my spine tingle.   It makes me feel alive! I’m taking in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Vietnam and Abu Dhabi and meeting lots of friends along the way, some from England, some from Oz and some I met when travelling around the world.  I seriously can’t wait!

But here’s the thing…how often do we think about doing something amazing and then just dismiss it as too much trouble, too much hassle, too expensive and start talking ourselves out of it?   Can’t, won’t, mustn’t!   Sometimes we’re just stuck in a rut, can’t get off our bums to make the effort and are just too lazy to turn our dreams into reality, which, when you think about it is a crying shame, really.  After all, what is the purpose of life if all we ever do is work, sleep, repeat?

Now, you’re probably thinking ‘Oooh, but when she gets home, the silence will be doubly deafening after all that excitement’.  Well, no, actually.  Nicola has now sold her flat for a canny profit (no flies on her) and is coming home to look after the house whilst I’m away.  Wahay!  So when I get back from my travels, she will, no doubt, welcome me with a glass of wine and some home-made pasta.   Hmm, well, I can but dream, tee hee!  No, the reality is, she’ll probably say, ‘Oh, Mum, I haven’t quite got the hang of how to load the washing machine so there’s piles of washing to do, and the boilers packed in so it’s freeeeezing, and I couldn’t remember  what day the bins go out, so the rubbish is kind of piling up.  Lovely to have you back, though!’  Kids!  Don’t you just love them 🙂

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