‘Life Shows You The Way’
So this time next week I will be sixty. I don’t feel sixty (well parts of me do!) and I certainly don’t sound or act sixty, but sixty I will be. I am finding the thought of it daunting.
As I started to pull this post together I found myself asking what would be the quote that I would use for my first visual, one that has resonated with me most this last ten years, one that I find myself returning to again and again. It was a tough choice to make as there have been so many. But, of course, it had to be my own. Because in this past decade I really have learnt, and am still learning every day, that ‘Life’ will show you the way’ whether you like it or not. And accepting that is the key to all things, really.. all things
This post is really about my reflections over the last ten years on the actual things I have done. There has been so much! It is in introductory post to what I hope will be posts to spur some people on, and help some people reflect on their lives. Encouraging people to think has mainly been the aim of this blog that I started all those years ago. So …. here we go.
This time ten years ago I booked two weeks leave from what was a full on stressful job. Little did I know at the time that it was a job that would eventually lead me to having what used to be called a nervous breakdown, (I really am showing my age!) brought on by the stress.
I planned during my two weeks of leave to write my journal and reflect back on my last fifty years of life, to see what I had learned and reflect on what was different about me at that time. I planned to do that in my first week, and then in the second week write about where I would like to be in the next ten years, what I would have liked to have learned. But as my choice of quote shows things don’t work out as we have planned and you have to go with the flow. I ended up reflecting on my past life, on why I was the person that I was, how the people in my life over the years had affected me and how I had evolved from it. It was strong stuff, and obviously ‘The War‘, as RD and I call it, had been one of the biggest catalysts for me. My reflections made me question whether I wanted to live the life I was living, but still I stuck with it, even though I was desperately unhappy. So ‘Life’ stepped in and I had my breakdown. ‘Life’ was telling me it was time to take that step and leave my old life behind. Which then led me to go on this huge adventure I have been on over the last ten years.
I wrote then how I wanted to move to France, tick! How I wanted to start a blog and write what I wanted to write without being confined by others. Tick! How I wanted to have over £50,000 in the bank. Tick! (If only for a very brief time until we bought Montaigu) I wanted freedom, and looking back I got just that, it just wasn’t what I thought freedom would be. It is interesting that in my first ever post I asked people to consider where they wanted to be in ten years time. And here I am: living in Ireland!
It is also interesting how naive we were, how we did not understand just how tough it was going to be in France. But if you asked us now if we would change that experience the answer would be no. France taught us so much, we met some wonderful French people who welcomed us with open arms, and too many English people that were downright bloody awful. We were exploited with work and let us not forget the woman that we worked for who was an absolute bitch.
All those years ago I did not envisage many things that were to happen over the last ten years: the path that the adventure would lead me on and how much more I would learn including how to live my life differently, and that what I thought I needed I did not need at all. That when difficult things happen, like losing your roof and not having one for three years or your well running dry and having no water, does not kill you. In fact we both learned to accept those things with humour, what else was there to do, be miserable and be absorbed by all that negativity? When the tornado came through our garden and wrecked everything in sight we counted our blessings that we were all okay, and that Montaigu had stood strong. I learned that you can find your way around adversity, especially if you have no choice. I learned that simple things are all you need, and I lost the urge for consumerism that I had in the past.
I did not envisage finding Harley and Wiglet both of who came into our lives in 2013 and 2015 respectively. And what a period in our lives that was, those two dogs made us so different with animals. We learned that we should all learn from animals, and they taught us so much, it was a time I will never forget.
I read and read and read. M Scott Peck, Mark Nepo, Maya Angelou, Melody Beattie, Paula Cuello, Byron Katie Pam Grout, who taught me about energy and how it affects our lives in every way, and of course Wayne Dyer – who taught me a way to understand the Tao – leading me by the hand until I was able to see it’s messages for myself. And I listened to what I read. I am finishing this decade with Alan Watts ‘Does it Really Matter?’ and of course Kalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet.’
I have said often that although there were really tough times they brought us closer, we worked together and we thrived spiritually from the adversity. One of our favourite sayings was ‘living the dream’, because we thought we would have this idyllic life that would be so easy, when in fact it was hard most of the time. But every time we said it we giggled, and in fact we were ‘living the dream’, because is one big lesson.
But let us not forget the wonderful times: the peace and tranquillity that surrounded Montaigu. When it came to choosing our house we chose well and that house protected us from so many things. It was our sanctuary from the awful people in the outside world at times, and it healed me. The tree of Tao, that went with the flow as the wind blew. The crazy days of the summer of 2018. Forever etched in our memories, with beautiful Harley barking at the pool, and Wiglet and Dylan, playing on the log pile. They have all gone now.
Picking up Walnuts with the Welshies. The long summers (although by the time we left France they were getting way too hot for us.) Listening to the rain hitting the shutters as we snuggled all together in our bedroom, in our cold little house in the winter,
When we decided to move to Ireland, after finally listening to ‘Life’s’ messages, everything fell into place. I ended the decade coming home to this beautiful Island, and I look out on mountains every day. Over the years I have appreciated nature more and more, and understand now why Mother Nature is angry with mankind. We forget that she gave birth to us, she can just as easily destroy us.
But most of all what I have learned is to let go, reluctantly at times, because we have no choice. I have written often that change is inevitable, and good will always be balanced with bad, happiness with sadness. I suppose that coming up to sixty has made me think of this even more.
Over these last ten years we have lost so many of our beloved furries, it made me smile when I read ‘The Cast’ from all those years ago and now all that is left from them is Daisy, the bond villain.
So here I am, finishing my decade in Ireland, the land of my father.
I will end this post here, but lots more to come, and in homage to all of my beloved family over these ten years I will post pictures of them all, including honorary ones for Oscar and Dylan.
There really will be more to come..