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New perspectives

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016



I am standing at a crossroads. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I’ve taken a big risk giving up a very good job (at my age…, a big risk I know, but it just had to be…). I had been working my socks off for a long time, with a lot of responsibility and a horrid commute. I reached a point about 6 months ago where I felt like I was standing on the edge of a big cliff overlooking the abyss and realised that if I didn’t do anything then I would topple over and that would be it. I’m glad that I was sensible enough to see the risk before I fell.

Everyone told me I was mad to resign without another job to go to, but I was too tired to look and so I wasn’t going to find another position anyway. So I took the risk on board and left. This probably sounds a bit silly (and I might live to regret it), but it feels so good to have followed my own feelings. I didn’t do what anyone else told me to do – infact I did the opposite – I followed my own heart and my own head. I didn’t do the sensible thing, I did what I wanted to do. It felt wild and free and a rather reckless act for a woman of a certain age! I suppose we all fall into the tracks of doing what we have to do, what other people expect and as mothers with children the decisions are always constrained by looking after others. I’ve reached the stage where I only have one child at home. He is about to turn 18 and thrives on neglect, so I actually can be a little bit selfish on this call.

Since the end of September I’ve been sorting out my mother in England, travelling around Burma, getting my poor neglected home back into shape and trying to do the same for my poor neglected body. Oh and I have been applying for jobs – not very successfully so far, but to be perfectly honest I would be a bit disappointed if I found something now. I am LOVING being at home, pottering, organising, not having to get up early in the morning and going out to the train in the dark. I’m taking the time to explore lots of avenues – even radical ones about following my love of all things fabric and doing something in that direction and ssssshhhhhhh not being an accountant anymore.

I’m also sewing and knitting and being happier than I’ve been in ages. Oh and I’m not dog-tired anymore. I feel like I’m actually living again and listening to the little voice inside of me that has been ignored for a long time.

Any my husband loves coming home to nice dinners again…..

Sometimes it’s really good to jump into the dark.



I’m back

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

I can’t believe I’ve been away so long – what can I say? Life got in the way. Actually life got in the way of life too, so there have been some big changes recently up here on the hill.

I guess I’ve reached that time in my life where my happiness and balance have taken centre stage and if things aren’t right then I’m ready to make drastic changes to get to where I want to be.

So…deep breath…my ‘challenging’ job, which moved locations and meant 3 hours travelling a day (6 trains – and believe me, Swiss trains are not always as efficient as they make out) had to go. I’m now happy, unemployed (but looking) and starting to feel more like myself again and not the scary zombie lady of the last half year. I’ve been travelling, given myself some head space to take stock and now life begins. I don’t know where I’m going but it feels good to be taking steps. Throwing in the towel on a great job at the ripe old age of nearly 53 may prove to have been a mistake but right now it doesn’t feel like that.

It actually feels like the beginning of a whole new adventure with myself. I’m back folks – and glad to be so!


A simpler life

Monday, February 15th, 2016

I set off this year to live a simpler life. Nothing earth-shaking, but little changes for the better.  Less materialism, using up what I have, seeing friends more and taking time to do the things I love. I really want to use up what I have – fabric, yarn, food, clothes – rather than buying yet more stuff that just accumulates and doesn’t get used up.

Six weeks in and actually I’m starting to see the difference. No online shopping late at night, slowing down and taking time to stop and enjoy the little things in life. Making time to spend with friends and and family. Reading books, knitting, watching movies, taking relaxing baths and being self-indulgent…..

Of course at the back of it all is working less at the day job and cutting down on stress. This actually seems to be working out pretty well and if I’m honest, I don’t think one single person  except me has noticed. Even though I have clocked up less overtime, things have still got done.

I’m taking time in the mornings to make myself a green smoothie before work and looking that my nutrition is as good as it can be. Thankfully the result is that he dragging tiredness from before Christmas seems to be lifting. I still feel tired at the weekends sometimes, but when that’s the case, I am indulging in delicious afternoon naps. Yes, I lose a few hours, but I’m learning to listen to what my body is telling me and it feels good. I even sometimes make it to bed a little earlier and I let myself take one train later in the morning, so things are just a little less rushed.

Of course it helps that I only have one child still at home (and what he wants more than anything is for his mother to neglect him!) and I have failed big time on my goals of losing weight and getting fit again….but somehow It feel good that at least some areas of my life are going in the right direction.

I’m sure the others will follow. Once the snow goes and the spring comes to the hill I will actually want to get out into the woods and have a little run . Right now, despite the fact I have lovely friends to run with, the weather is so cold and it is so dark in the mornings, there is just no way it is going to happen. The decision is between having the discipline to do what is good for me and being kind to myself. Right now kindness is winning.

And you know what? That’s ok.




Sunday, January 17th, 2016

I have done something (a little bit) radical. After 35 years as a blonde of various hues I have stopped dying my hair. Or rather (to get to the nub of the issue) I have stopped spending inordinate amounts of time at the hairdressers every six weeks; I have stopped worrying about how much my roots are showing or how I can deal with the sometime straw-like nature of my hair.

The exhilarating feeling of freedom is just wonderful!

It has all been a bit of an adventure, albeit a little one.

You see, I actually had no idea what colour my hair really was. I knew there was some grey, but how much, who knew?

The revelation is that my hair is MUCH darker than it was all those years ago, when it was somewhere among the masses of dirty blondes. Now it is dark without being brown. There is grey. More round the ears than on the top, but a bit glittery and if I say so myself, quite a nice soft grey. I actually rather like it.

It has opened up a whole new palette of colours to me – blacks, red lipstick, reds and oranges. Colours I never actually felt all that happy in before. Now I catch a glance in the mirror and think, who is that devastating woman? (OK, so that bit was a joke…but it did take a little time to get used to the new look me!)

It’s sooooo exciting.

There have of course been comments. Fashion designer daughter said I should immediately go back to being blonde; after a business lunch with my foreign exchange dealer (who was in a bad mood with me because I wouldn’t buy anything she was trying to sell me), she looked at me and said in a caustic voice ‘you’re looking rather grey Helen, time for the hairdresser’ (How rude was that?!!). But on the whole people have been positive. Soft grey probably suits my complexion and personality more than the blond look ever did. An elderly gentleman at church today told me I still looked like a teenager (but I guess all things are relative!)

I have invested in a rather natty short and gamin hairstyle and I have come to the conclusion that if the haircut is good then grey most certainly does not mean old lady.

In my book it means being happy with who I am and where I am in life. It means accepting that I am getting a little older and positively embracing it – together with the feeling of not needing to pretend to anybody or anything that I am something I am not. It says ‘this is me, unashamedly, this is who I am and I am ok with it’.

It is good.


PS. I’m not actually sure my dear husband has even noticed……

Christmas is over

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

DH and I have been quietly pottering along taking down the Christmas decorations this morning and dismantling the tree. The purist in me wanted to leave everything up until 12th Night, but the realist won the argument, as once we are back at work tomorrow we will have less time and will be dragging the tree up the garden in the dark. Not to mention that my angel cleaning lady comes on Wednesday and it would be much easier for her to hoover round with all the clutter out of the way.

It’s always a bit of a sad job. Another Christmas over. Maybe the last one where my mother will be able to travel over to see us. But on the other hand, it was, on the whole, successful and a job well done. The stress beforehand was worth it …..(I think….probably….)

The wonderful thing about having put everything away and tidied up is the sense of space and freshness that goes with it. I will try to buy myself a bunch of tulips this week to brighten things up and give us a sign of spring – but as winter hasn’t even got going this year yet, real spring seems a long way away and it’s certainly still very dark in the morning when we get up.

I’ve avoided calling mum this weekend. She doesn’t remember if I’ve called or not and conversation seems limited these days to the weather she can see out of her window. She won’t have done the things she was supposed to have done as regards giving me information to finalise all the house sale details and I know my blood pressure will only go shooting up again, which I can live without. (I am however immensely thankful that I moved her into her wonderful retirement living complex last May. That was my project for 2015. She didn’t want to go – but is very contented there now – and I see how much harder it would have been if I had left it another year. I’m glad I trusted my instincts on that one!)

There is more than enough stress anyway today in trying to get DD2 out of bed to work on a university application personal statement that should (I now discover) have been given to her school on 7th December…..She flies back to England tomorrow, so it has to be done today. Co-operation is zero and it is anything but ready to go.

I’m really feeling the sandwich generation problems. Add the menopause and stress at work and I get a rather black vision of what 2016 may hold…..

Onwards and upwards then ladies. I suspect many of you out there may be faced with similar issues. Really not a bundle of laughs…