Sunday, 11 November 2012

I'm back! Has my life changed?

I was horrified to see that the last time I contributed to this blog was in June, when I, at least, thought it was July. But then it was that type of summer and early autumn.

I have missed the weekly musings and there has been so much to write about. Not a week has passed, when I haven't thought, "I could write a blog on that." I'm sure that some of the events of the last five months will surface on the blog over the next few months.

There have been a variety of reasons for my time being taken up elsewhere, but the main ones were, The Olympics and Paralympics. "But that was ages ago," I hear you say. True, but even in the last seven days, the uniform has been worn twice, as I have fulfilled the role of a Games Maker again.

For readers who are not aware, I was a volunteer (Games Maker) at The Olympics and Paralympics.  I also sold a house in the middle of the events, that had been in the family for 96 years. Three grandsons came to stay and I had the family all meeting up in London. The last few weeks I have spent catching-up with matters I should have attended to in the summer, plus the usual activities.

It was an extraordinary few weeks, those weeks in August and September. Many people have suggested that it must have been life-changing.

I could and would call the experiences I had, wonderful, exhilarating, life-affirming, joyful, fun, tiring, inspiring, humbling, unbelievable, unusual, bizarre, thought-provoking and thrilling. But life-changing? No.

I wonder if we think that it has to be a huge event to be life-changing? Of course, life-changing events can be huge, such as accidents, illness, redundancy, lottery wins. But I have been thinking of the events in my own life, which have literally been life-changing. It interested me that the root cause can generally be attributed to such small, seemingly insignificant incidents.

Life-changing events have often been down to noticing an opportunity and following it through.

First husband, children, grandchildren. 1970

I had a bedroom near the one public telephone at college. I couldn't bear letting it ring and ring, so answered it regularly. One call was for a girl who was away. I continued talking to the guy. I married him two years later. A life-changing phone-call. (Wouldn't happen in this mobile phone era.)

Working at Waitrose. 1984

The street collection for Poppy Day. A good, sheltered pitch was in the doorway of Waitrose.  There was a card on the vacancy board for an early morning shelf filler. I walked into the store and applied for the job. Due to moving north into a Waitrose-free zone (at that time), I left nine years later. A financially independent and wiser woman. I had risen, fallen and risen again, up the management ladder. The experiences I had, would inform my future work in mental and emotional health.  A life-changing glance at a window.

My interest in psychology and re-training as a psychotherapist.


The phone again. 11am on a Friday morning. An agency I worked temporally for, as nursery nurse, asked me to attend a case meeting on a local acute psychiatric ward at 2pm. I was to help a mother, with post natal depression, look after her baby. I so nearly declined the job, as a comfortable afternoon at home seemed more tempting. After two days on the unit, the agency work changed into bank nursing for the hospital on the acute unit. No more babies and children, but adults. Adults often behaving emotionally as children. I re-trained in order to become a more effective nursing assistant. In fact, the training left me with a conflict of interest and I left the unit after five years and set up my own practice. Another life-changing phone-call.

The most recent house move. 2007

Five years ago, I visited a new friend 45 miles away from my home. The house next-door was empty and had a For Sale board outside. We didn't have any spare money, only possible prospects sometime in the future. I decided there was nothing to lose, by writing to the owners, telling them this fact. The owners allowed us to rent the house for a year, until we were able to get a mortgage. We moved two years ago. A life-changing acceptance of a lunch invitation.

I have no doubt that The Olympics and Paralympics will have been life-changing for many people. Athletes, Games Makers and Spectators amongst them. Change of relationships, jobs and interests will have occurred solely due to the events of this summer.

My life this summer has been exhilarating. It wasn't life-changing. Though that door hasn't fully closed yet, so who knows...?

It's good to be back!