During the process leading up to making this move, there was quite a lot of soul searching. No more pretending that everything was fine, and looking at our lives with the rose tinted glasses not just off, but thrown in the bin.
My life in a nutshell could be described thus:
A fantastic childhood. Parents who made my sister and I the most important thing in their lives, and it always felt like everything they did was for us.
Marriage number one – the most terrible mistake of my life, although the one positive from those nine long awful years is my son Matthew.
Marriage number two – Roger, my soulmate, still putting up with me after 26 years. There have been great years, difficult years, years where we didn’t have a pot to piss in, and years where we enjoyed lovely holidays and no money worries. Three children between us and five grandchildren, which next February will become six!
And at age 50 the greatest adventure so far … chucking life up in the air, and proving to myself that anything is possible.
Over the years I’ve had lots of different jobs – I’ve been at the bottom of the ladder, and at the top, and everywhere in between!
So knowing what I know now, what advice would I give my younger self?
Be happy – if you make a mistake, do something about it; don’t put up and shut up. Life is too short.
Be kind – to people, animals and the planet. I do believe that what you send out comes back to you threefold.
Don’t ever feel like you need to prove anything to anyone.
Accept who and what you are – always try to be the best you can be, and be happy with that.
Like stuff and love people, not the other way around. Stuff may make you happy but I promise you it will be short lived.
If a situation frightens you, ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Will the world stop turning? Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Accept that friends come and go in life, and don’t be sad when you or they feel it’s time to move on. We all change as we grow older, and sometimes you won’t ‘fit’ with friends anymore. Be grateful for the friendship you had.
Money isn’t everything. Having a tiny house with no mortgage has made me much happier than a big house with the corresponding big mortgage (takes me back to point number 2, don’t feel that you need to prove anything to anyone!).
If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
If something hurts (job, relationship etc), then change it – you are not a tree, you can move and change your situation. Taking a step backwards is sometimes the biggest step forwards you can take.
Look after your health – it’s easier to stay healthy than to regain your health after it’s gone – and it will go one day! Look after your mental health as well as your physical health – they are both your responsibility.
And if you are able to, have a dog (or two!). Surrounding yourself with people and animals who love you unconditionally is the most wonderful feeling.
I could go on all day, but I think this is a good basis for a happy and healthy life. After all, as the Dalai Lama once said ‘the purpose of our lives is to be happy’ – get that one right and everything will fall into place!
I’d love to hear what advice you would give your younger selves!