When I first started this blog, I chose the tag-line carefully….
I said in my intro to this blog that I was writing it for all the people who were wondering ‘What if?’ Or, like us, were thinking that there must be more to life than this – and not necessarily material things. who were thinking about making change, about people who were thinking about stepping off the path that we are all led to believe we should follow, and going off into the woods to see what life may hold.
I have written about serendipity, one of my most favourite words, and something I believe in: A series of events that we were not looking for that add up to make something wonderful.
I have written about our mini-bus of life, and asked who is on your mini-bus, how many people do you allow on your bus, give them a seat only for them to try and influence you to do what they think you should do, often because they want to feel safe in numbers, and need to know what they are doing is right?
How often? When, in fact, you should not let them influence you at all. How many people have told you that your mad? That you need to keep doing what you are doing even if it is clearly killing you?
I have had people contact me from all over the world to tell me that I have made them think. Not least when I share my experiences with regard to mental health (I am not going to call them issues, they are not issues they are just another part of the body that sometimes find’s it hard to work with all the shit we are bombarded with!!) Some of those people have made me cry, to know that my words have resonated with them. Some have made me smile when they start to make change.
I have made people laugh and I have made people cry, but most importantly for me I have inspired people. Not least our friend Karen:
I share her blog often, Dylan’s Welshie World. It is a blog about her puppy and her antics, but it is not just a blog about that, it is a blog about how that puppy has changed Karen’s life, how Karen has stepped off that cliff (or fell off! As she said the other day!) at a time when she needed the love that, sometimes, only a dog can bring.
You should read her story it is a young blog , but it will make you laugh out loud and make some others who have been on the hamster wheel for so long ask themselves if they need to make that change too. Karen has been brave, she had to overcome the worry of opening up to the world – but the response she had has been life affirming.
So I have inspired Karen, she has set up her blog after years as a high-flying editor she went back to writing, doubted herself because it had been so long, until I convinced her and now her blog has become a hit and she is receiving high praise for her writing. – See, she just had to believe and have someone believe in her, of course she could write!! The things we come to believe!! Because we listen to that spin doctor in our head!
A series of events led Karen and I to being back in touch and closer than ever; sadly Karen’s dear mum died, her last remaining brother died a short time after, and, as death does, it started Karen on a path to looking at her life and the career that had defined her. Then a person who she had known for many years and got back in touch with showed that they were not the person that she thought they were all along, and left her at a time when her life was in upheaval. Just as that happened we got back in touch, I had sold a story to one of the Magazines that Karen edited, and, although we had seen each other over the years, I came back into her life at a time when she needed someone who would listen, had been through something similar, and would tell her the truth. In addition my husband makes her laugh all the time, and she needed that.
So Karen came over to see us, fell in love with our dogs (who couldn’t)….
Karen returned home with the firm intention of finding a Welsh Terrier puppy. They are hard to get, and there is normally an eighteen month waiting list, but serendipity clearly had a plan for Karen, and she rang a breeder who had just had a little girl puppy rejected because she had a kink in her tail. The breeder liked Karen, liked the way she talked about the breed and just knew that, although others were waiting, Karen would love this Welshie with all her heart, and she does.
In the September Dyls came home to live with Karen, and the rest, as they say is history…
As Karen came over more and more and fell in love with the serenity of France, it made her think about her life again. No least watching Dylan run free around our garden like a mad thing helped her decide to come to France and spend the summer here and see where life takes her – she is starting to understand that she is not doing the driving!!
So today Karen packed up the car with the final bits and bobs, and she is now in France, with Dylan, and on her way to our house. On Saturday she collects the keys for her rental and she will be over here for at least two months, maybe more, who knows what we will find in our house hunt.
We have a new member of our family, two in fact, and she helps me in the same way as I help her. We are both straight talkers, and so alike, whoever is driving this bus knows what they are doing!! Not only that Karen loves my husband and his mix of madness, and vulnerability at times.
But it does not end there…. In August Jen, another old friend who we have all got close to again over the past year, is coming over for another adventure, travelling on her own, something she has not done for some time! Who knows where life will lead her; and then there is my other dear friend Mary, who has been inspired to sell her home in Herne Bay and go to pastures new in the countryside of England and take that chance. She says I have inspired her, and for that I am truly honored.
So over these last three years, I have read the Tao, learnt to let my ego go, to still be kind (even to arseholes! Oops!).
I have learnt to unlearn all that I had learnt – that material things are not important, and often make you unhappier, to not plan way in advance – you only have this moment that is all you are guaranteed; I have learnt to laugh in the face of adversity, to know that you can survive even when that spin doctor tells you that you can’t. Of course you can you wake up tomorrow and you are still alive! I know the people that count are sitting on my mini-bus and that all the others, whilst of course allowed to have an opinion, are not the ones whose opinions count where I am concerned.
I am thankful every day.
I have read others stories as part of my book research, and my heart has broken all over again for those people, and I have learnt to just be me, and happy in my own skin.
But most importantly I have learnt that I can touch people with my words, from all over the world. Whilst it is an honor to be in the top twenty expat blogs in France, it is the people who I inspire who make me want to do more and more. For that I thank you all…..