5 Easy Steps to Freedom

So the plan is hatched and nothing is stopping me now.  We have just come to the end of a holiday weekend and the majority of my time has been devoted to my “other job” – writing, blogging and enacting my own decluttering plan.  On Friday night after work I made a start on my own slash and burn (Steps 1 & 2) – and today I  start my 20 minute steps.

 

The task ahead

The task ahead

My "work" space - can't wait to tackle this one!

My “work” space – can’t wait to tackle this one!

There actually is a workbench under all that.

There actually is a workbench under all that.

 

Before you read my plan let me share this with you – a paragraph from Julia Cameron‘s “The Artist’s Way”.

“By tossing out the old and unworkable, we make way for the new and suitable.  A closet stuffed with ratty old clothes does not invite new ones.  A house overflowing with odds and ends and tidbits you’ve held on to for someday has no space for the things that might truly enhance today.

“When the search-and-discard impulse seizes you, two crosscurrents are at work: the old you is leaving and grieving, while the new you celebrates and grows strong.”

Looks quite tidy - but I could lessen the load.

Looks tidy – but I could lessen the load.

Now read the plan below – right to the end. Spend time digesting each step, especially Step 1. (This is the crux of the whole plan).  Do some planning on paper first if you need to – don’t be afraid to write down your reasons for decluttering, or what you want to achieve – be specific.  Describe how you may feel about throwing out or giving certain items away,  and how you would like to feel after you have achieved this.

 

5 Easy Steps to Freedom – Making decluttering fun – not a chore!

Step 1. Question yourself.

  • Generically Why did I start keeping “stuff” in the first place?  Place importance on your reason, think about it, be kind to yourself if it’s a trauma, and try to unload any possible unhappiness.  Write it down – it really helps to put it behind you.  If you can let go of the unhappiness then it’s easier to let go of the “stuff”.
  • Specifically – Look at each item and ask, When did I last use that? (Now it depends on your end goal as to how brutal you are here) You could say that if you haven’t used it for one year then it goes out – I tend to think that one year is a little severe but whatever the limit you arrive at – stick to it.

Step 2. Decide which areas are to be tackled.

  • Have a good look around your home, sheds, garage, studio and garden spaces. Decide which areas you wish to clear out.  Drawing a plan of your home helps, using colours to shade the different areas that need attention.  Make a list of the tasks required to declutter each area, leaving it in a prominent place – and tick off each area as you go.  This helps with motivation and you can actually map your progress – the more ticks the closer to your goal. Wow!
  • Discuss it – with your family, or just yourself!
  • Commit your decision to paper  – as in “I, Cate Walker, commit to completing the tasks listed to successfully declutter my home.”   Sign and date it.  Place copies of the “pledge” around the house – in the areas that need work.  (Committing to paper actually makes you accountable to yourself)
  • Don’t spend TOO much time on the decision-making progress – it doesn’t have to be perfect, there’s room for flexibility, as long as it doesn’t distract you from the action required.  Remember, procrastination is the enemy.

Step 3. Allocate regular blocks of time, and commit to ridding yourself of a certain amount each time.

  • The 20 minute rule!  Here you need to be realistic.  There’s no point coming home from work intending to spend 3 hours each night clearing out the garage and expecting to succeed.  You won’t!  Think small blocks of time and a specific target each day.  I am thinking 20 minutes each evening – smaller blocks of time are achievable, you can always extend to 30 minutes or even an hour if you’re “on a roll”.  But always do the minimum 20 minutes.
  • The 5-10 item rule!  Allocate how much you wish to get rid of in that 20 minutes.  Aim to throw out at least five items each time – or ten if you like, but stick to that number.   When I say “throw out” I mean remove from your property – either in the rubbish bin, to the charity bin, sell on e-Bay (or similar) – do not relocate to another box or room.  If you think somebody else will benefit from your “trash” try the following ideas – hospitals love old books and magazines, your kids may be moving out of home and could use the old armchairs or excess mugs and glasses, or the local patchwork group could use some of your excess fabrics.
  • This is totally achievable!  Each night you can easily maintain your goal of 20 minutes/10 items – imagine what you can do in a week, or a month!

Step 4. Photograph your progress.

  • As you are progressing so quickly – and painlessly, because you have planned it so well – it is surprising how quickly you forget what it all looked like before you started.
  • Use the photographs as motivation to keep you going  – and as inspiration for others to follow your lead.

Step 5. Celebrate.

  • Invite your friends around to celebrate your achievements – you will be amazed how many more people you can fit in your house and garden!
  • But…remain true to the habits you have formed to achieve your goals.  Maintain your free space and mental freedom to try other more enjoyable pursuits.
  • Finally, give yourself a treat – paint that old chair you have been “getting round to” for years – your workbench is now clear to do the job, and you have room to put the chair in your study, in a nice sunny corner.  Now you can sit in your “new” chair, complete with the cushion you made, and read a book – with a clear conscience.  Ahh!

 

So what do you think?  Sounds easy – and it will be lots of fun.  Imagine all the things you will rediscover – and the memories that will go with those items.  Some memories will be good, and some not so good.  But don’t waste time on this – keep going.  Getting rid of the bad memories will free your mind for the new happy and fulfilling ones.

I can’t wait to begin!  And I’m looking forward to being accountable to all of you by updating my progress on this blog.  Keep following me.  If you know someone who could do with some help in this area of their lives share this blog with them.  But the best example is to do it yourself – then they will notice the difference in you.  Good luck!

Please share your thoughts on the plan, or any great ideas you have, in the comments section below and connect with me via Facebook and Twitter.  I would love to hear of your progress as well, and how it worked for you.

Advertisements

Priority One

My decision to prioritise Decluttering  as Task No. 1 was easily made as I feel that once I have relieved myself of unwanted items, which have taken years to accumulate, I will be able to move around my garage, my wardrobe, and my desk(s) – yes I have two – but it’s not a collection!  Consequently I will be free to access and work in  these uncluttered physical spaces.  This in turn will allow me to concentrate on the things I need and want to do – rather than thinking where will I do it and where will I put it once finished.

If you have read my previous post about freedom you will see I am convinced that by relieving my brain of making so many unnecessary decisions about things, I will also have uncluttered my mental space.  I’m sure the body will thank me too!  Success with the remainder of the “tasks” will follow, with perseverance of course!  (Remember those tasks were to turn around my attitude to exercise, actually complete the projects I begin, and banish procrastination) Once I have decluttered, I will have finished a task, and I will feel liberated – FREE – to get on with the next tasks – I might even feel like going for long walks, regularly.  There you are – procrastination gone just like that!!

But is it that easy?  Yes – and No!

Firstly we have to get to the bottom of why we have accumulated so many useless possessions.  Much has been written about hoarding and decluttering.  Hoarding is now recognised as an illness, has various causes, and is treatable with therapy, support and guidance.  A hoarder is someone who collects, keeps and stores items for “later use”.  These items can include tinned food, dolls, records, cardboard boxes, newspapers, Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons, old light fittings, teapots, or even kitchen sinks!

Serious hoarders have been known to keep everything that comes into their home, sheds and gardens.  They have often been traumatised by something, either as children or adults – death of a parent at an early age, a divorce, an old friend dying later in their life.  They tend to replace people with things -because “things won’t let them down or leave them”.  Some are no longer able to move around their homes safely – hence unable to attend to the necessary chores around the home that we take for granted – cooking, sleeping and maintaining personal hygiene.  Over the years they withdraw from family and friends, are unable to ask for help and unwilling to accept help when offered.

Fortunately I do NOT fall into the serious hoarder category – but I empathise with those who do.  There are various things that make us hang onto a particular item.  Some people collect certain things (like brightly coloured teapots), some just love being surrounded by books or family photos, others have the “scatter cushion syndrome” and only feel comfortable propped up by at least a dozen cushions while reading in bed.  Each to their own.  I am probably guilty of most of those – except the teapots!

Twenty four years ago today I was married.  We were lucky to be given many wonderful wedding gifts, allowing us to comfortably set up our first home.  Moving house (and towns) became a regular occurrence due to my husband’s work commitments.  As married life progressed and No.1 Son grew up we accumulated more books, toys, tables, bed-linen, garden tools, sewing equipment and fabrics, dogs and chickens.  Each time we moved packing up and unpacking took longer – and more decisions needed to be made.

Sadly, in 2002, our home burnt to the ground.  Nobody was home at the time, so no human or canine loss.  Fortunately not everything was burned – we managed to retrieve most photos, some books and pictures, toys and clothes.  (But a word of warning – this is NOT a method of decluttering I would recommend!)  While we concentrated on rebuilding the house over the next 12 months, I was also rebuilding the other “collections” – books, music, having pictures re-framed, photos, recipes, scarves (one of my downfalls!) – so that when we finally moved back into our wonderful new home it actually felt like a home, not an empty shell.

The re-accumulation was on track!

Some years later my husband became my ex-husband.  No.1 Son and I were on the move again.  There was not the time – or the will – to have a good throw-out before moving this time – so all the “stuff” came with us.  We spent 4 years adjusting, finding it hard to let go of the excess, for whatever reasons – and trying not to welcome more clutter into the house.  Then an opportunity came to move to a better house and location – closer to university and work.  ‘Ruthless’ was a word I used while packing up this time – but once it was all in boxes and my friends and family were doing endless loads to the new home, I realised something was wrong.  I discovered that I didn’t really know the meaning of the word ‘ruthless’ after all!

Accumulation is a slow process – getting rid of it all can seem to take even longer.

This is where a plan comes in!

Now, these plans can take on many guises – each person will develop a plan that suits them, using the time available and, of course, their end goal.  But I intend to follow a pretty simple formula.

And the key to success is to

  • Start
  • Commit
  • Be honest with yourself
  • Enjoy your small achievements – daily
  • See it through to the end
  • Celebrate!

What’s next?

The plan will reveal itself in my next post.  I will let you in on my mess – with photographs! I will explain my starting point and invite you to leave comments, share helpful hints and creative ideas for my quest – and yours!

Until next time…..stay safe.

PS – Don’t forget to click the FOLLOW button at the top of the page – then you will be notified by email whenever my new posts are up and running!

 

In Search of Freedom

Are you a lucky person?  I certainly am.  I don’t mean that in the “lottery” sense either – although that would be nice!

I am talking about being free.

No.1 son and I are lucky to live in a place where we are free to voice our opinions on politics, religion, race, sexual persuasions, creativity, family values – anything really, without actually offending someone personally.  We are, within our financial limitations, able to live anywhere we choose, buy what we need and want, and travel anywhere we want – for holidays, family or employment reasons, or just to discover somewhere new.  We have access to education, employment, medical care, business opportunities, creative pursuits and recreation.

Sadly, many people in this world are not free.  So many are imprisoned (rightly or wrongly), or live in war zones or countries where the freedoms mentioned above do not exist.  Historically (and currently) people have been persecuted (or worse) for being the wrong colour, worshiping the wrong god, writing the wrong words, composing or listening to the wrong music, being out after dark, being a young girl going to school, being a woman who dares to show her face in public, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Those people are not free to live the way they want – or the way we are lucky enough to live.  They are victims of hatred and intolerance – and sadly live in a society where life is cheap.

Despair will lead most people to believe they cannot make a difference. However there are many (some well-known, and others not so) who find something deep within themselves to help and inspire others and change lives forever.  The form these changes take is many and varied.  It can be medical aid (look what Weary Dunlop did for the POWs in Singapore in WWII), or political and personal inspiration (no greater example than the mental perseverance of Nelson Mandela) – or it can be simply holding someone’s hand and smiling, making a difference to that person for just a short moment.

Daily, I am thankful for what I have and for the community I am part of, and hopefully contribute to.  I often worry that we take our lives for granted – not just our way of life, but our own personal contribution to our community, our family – and to ourselves. 

Choices are the essence of freedom.

On a personal level we can choose the path we take in life.  Sometimes situations beyond our control can cause us to deviate from that path (natural disasters, accidents, illness) but with help and support from others, and our own inner strength, we can usually return to that path pretty quickly.

Bad choices and unrecognised habits, however, can cause landslides that block our path and leave the “other path” wide open.

Extreme examples of ‘bad choices’ could include not completing your schooling, running away from home and family, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, theft, joining a gang – you get the picture.  The unrecognised habits could be taking welfare payments for granted (‘cos you can‘ or ‘it’s your right’), not exercising, not getting up till midday, hanging out with the wrong people, or simply not taking an interest in the world around you.

In my case I have made some bad choices – I think we all have.  But they are not earth-shattering, and have not impinged on others directly.  I don’t drink much, have never smoked or taken drugs, I’ve had one speeding ticket in my life (so far) and I have never stolen anything (maybe a grape in the supermarket – taste before you buy!).

However I chose (albeit subconsciously) to not study hard enough at school, barely gaining the minimum marks needed to continue on to University (I can admit this now that No.1 son has developed his own dedicated study routine through school and beyond!).  Because my study habits were left wanting, I failed to gain entry to my first preference for studying Librarianship.  After six months attempting Business Studies in Melbourne I chose NOT to complete a University education – finding ‘exciting’  jobs in retail instead.  Maybe short-sighted or maybe misguided – certainly not a good long-term choice.

Consequently my bad choices aided the development of unrecognised habits (unclear to me until I started writing this today).  Not finishing tasks, procrastination, finding it easier not to exercise, hanging onto possessions that I may need one day, and trying to justify (to myself) the reasons for doing all of the above.  Each of those habits bugs me, frustrates me and stresses me out – they are inhibiting my mental freedom.

So take a stand!

OK – I WILL.  With you as my witnesses (and hopefully supporters) I am going to banish those habits.  It’s not going to happen overnight – I will attempt to unravel each one in turn.  After all, it took me a long time to fully develop those habits into seriously effective inhibitors!

First task is to de-clutter.  By rationalizing my possessions I hope to free my brain of clutter as well!  The daily decisions I make to deal with my “objects” is daunting – cleaning, tidying, sorting, storing, adding to, do I really need it?  Do you go through the same process?  Come on now be honest….

I suggest you watch this space as I get on with the unravelling – I will keep you informed of my progress, and the consequences that ensue.   I know they are going to be good ones!

What can you do to help?  Let me know if you have a similar story, about gaining personal relief, by taking a stand against a bad choice or an unrecognised habit.  (Please note I am not after stories about bad choices in partners, employers, or illicit substances – let’s start with day to day tasks and how you made your life easier and clearer.)  I’m on for new ideas and there are some really exciting ideas out there to be shared…don’t keep them to yourself please.

Here’s to freedom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Book – an Inspiration

Have you ever bought yourself a book to put under the tree – just in case nobody else gave you a book for Christmas?  I have – most years since I can’t remember when!

I am a book giver – fortunately all my family LOVE books.  In fact I think they all secretly think like me – have one under the tree, or in the “present drawer” just in case.  Well I mean, what are the Christmas holidays without a good book?

These ‘backups’ have varied depending on my mood at the time of purchase.  They have ranged from a fascinating Biography to a good curl-up-in-bed-holiday-read from Maeve Binchy or Cathy Kelly.  This time though (Xmas 2014) I definitely hit the jackpot!

While in my local bookshop in November, buying for the family, an inviting cover beckoned me.  This book begged me to take it home – it spoke to me, You need me, I will give you something in return, it’s a no-brainer.  Pretty cover, nice painting of Paris on a soft blue background.  Title?  “Paris Letters”, by Janice Macleod.  Never heard of her before.  Flipped through – looked fun, nice illustrations – read the blurb on the back, seemed on track for a good holiday read.  Added it to the pile.  Once home I didn’t give it another thought until Christmas Eve when I asked No.1 Son to wrap it and put it under the family Christmas tree – the “insurance policy”!

Christmas day dawned and after the one hour drive to neighbourhood drinks, more family drinks and lovely food at my brother’s house (the farm where I grew up), the great nieces and nephews were insistent that we start opening presents – fair enough, it was after all two o’clock in the afternoon.  At some stage a beautifully wrapped parcel was handed to me amid the chaos of flying paper, much laughter, oohs and aahs, kisses and thank you’s.

Surprise!  A book -how lovely – thank you darling, to  No.1 Son!  Once peace was restored – next day – I settled in for what turned out to be the trip of a lifetime.  Over the next few days I immersed myself in Janice’s journey whenever I had a spare moment.  Her situation was my situation – to a tee – except our age.  I also spent quite a few hours reading Janice’s blog – which I’m now totally hooked on and feel like I know her personally!

For those of you who have yet to discover Janice’s “Paris Letters”  it is about her voyage to a new life – how she came to a decision to save enough money and leave her busy well paid job to travel, and to realise the creative dreams she craved.  The preparations and discipline required to make this move were life-changing.  While not underestimating the difficulties of actually moving to a new city where you know nobody, let alone speak the language, I see this as the easy bit.  It was the decisions she made and the disciplined methods she used to reach that point that were really challenging.

I have taken a couple of crucial elements of her ‘preparations’ to heart – and have begun a challenge of my own.  Early days yet but, after a few weeks of following her “three pages” regime (more about this in a later post) I am starting to feel ‘different’.  Cannot really put that difference into words yet, but I will keep you posted!  Her book has been the catalyst for me believing that change can happen – if you want it to.  Small steps – and all that…!  Actually earlier tonight I started reading it again, I found it so inspiring the first time.  I have raved about it to all my friends – one read it in a weekend, and another is about to borrow my copy.

I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who needs to get out of the rut you are in – if you are in one.  For those of you who are happy with life (awesome), or have already made a change (well done), read it anyway, it’s a wonderful adventure to share.

Happy reading!  (And don’t forget to buy yourself a book for next Christmas.)

 

To view Janice Macleod’s blog click here

To purchase “Paris Letters” click here

Paris-Letters-by-Janice-Macleod

Clouds

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,…”

 

William Wordsworth was actually writing about daffodils in his famous poem, but for this story I need go no further than the first two lines.

What a view a lonely cloud must have – of all the human ants going about their daily business, unaware of the wonderful beauty that “floats on high”. How many of us find time in our day, or even week, to look skyward – and just wonder?

P1000356

Ten minutes is all it takes, but half an hour would take you further into the wonderland. You need no special equipment, no transport, and you can do it alone or in company. It really is one of the most relaxing and rewarding pastimes – a simple form of meditation, if you like.

A dear friend of mine, Jane, recently visited from interstate. We drove around the Bendigo district, and ended up perched on rocks at the top of Mt Alexander. While drinking in the surrounding scenery we chattered away, solving the problems of the world, and watched the progress of a hang-glider in the distance, working the thermals. It was a perfect winter afternoon, sunny and ‘warm’, with clouds passing by – possibly wondering what we were up to?

As the shadows grew longer – and yes, we were still chatting – Jane suddenly lay down on a huge flat rock, inviting me to do the same. Observed by a koala in a gum tree, and occasionally laughed at by a kookaburra, I did as I was told. And there above me was another world. A world of clouds – and peace.

In her busy life as a farmer in Tasmania, Jane regularly takes time out to lie on her back and lose herself in the clouds. She says it’s her “me” time and restores her energy. She has been known to get off her horse, while mustering cattle, to lie down and float away, or take a glass of wine into the garden on a summer evening and discover different shapes in the clouds. Motivated by her inner peace I have tried it a few times, not on a regular basis yet, but I’m working on it.

Bendigo 8.30 pm 1/1/10

Now I’m no scientist, but even I know that a cloud is not a cloud, is not a cloud…and I certainly cannot tell my Altostratus from my Cumulonimbus clouds. But that does not stop me appreciating the delicacy of floating white fluffy pom-poms, the stunning beauty of a setting sun turning the sky to fire, or the power of thunder storms forming in a swirling, billowing maelstrom of cloud.

I am constantly fascinated when ascending on a plane through clouds, a little bumpy sometimes but once above them at a cruising altitude a whole new world emerges, one of light and a feeling of infinity. One is transported from a grey, sometimes wet place, to a blue playground with a white trampoline of cloud below.

P1000765

Have you ever spent time with young children finding shapes in the passing clouds – rabbits, witches or anything your imagination can stretch to? When did you last smile at a gently pink sunrise or gaze in wonder at a fiery red sunset? Or just lie on a flat rock watching the wispy clouds float by, breathing deeply, forgetting all your worries for a while?

Why don’t you try it? It is an amazingly simple thing to do – and the benefit is simply amazing.

 

This Cycling Life

I definitely call myself a couch potato when it comes to cycling. In fact I don’t even like riding a bicycle – at all. I was brought up riding horses on our farm in southern Tasmania. I first sat on a horse when I was 4 weeks old, and won my first ribbon at our local show aged 5.

However I am a cycling tragic. My ex-husband took up cycling – full on, as with everything he “took up”. He passed on his love of cycling to No.1 Son. There followed frosty Sundays watching junior road racing in central Victoria, and hot summer evenings at the Bendigo velodrome while our little darlings raced their hearts out.

Eventually we “took up” watching the Tour de France, and slowly inhaled all things ‘peleton’, ‘maillot jaune’, ‘tête de la course’ and ‘Alpe d’Huez’. Names like Lance Armstrong (past tense), Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, and Edvald Boasson-Hagen now slip easily into our conversations. We are experienced “travellers” in France, Italy and Belgium.

Aussies competing overseas have become family members. As a mother I “hurt” when one is injured and has to abandon a race. We cheer them on into the wee hours. Since March, No.1 Son and I have avidly watched the One Day Classics in France and Belgium. Now the Giro d’Italia and Tour of California have taken over. A lesser-known 8-day tour in Ireland has caught our attention this week as No.1 Son’s best mate tackles the green fields and rugged coastal roads of the Emerald Isle. But this is building up to the “Big One” – Le Tour. It is Yellow Countdown in our house.

What is it about cycling that captures our attention and challenges our sleep patterns?

A banquet awaits us every night. Amazing TV coverage of the races are filmed from motorbikes and hovering helicopters, bringing us not only the excitement and sometimes despair of the races, but also stunning scenery. Expert commentary brings countryside and racing to life, educating us about riders and team tactics.

And have I mentioned the millions of people who line the roadsides annually, and losers dressed in devil suits and mankinis attempting to outrun arguably some of the finest athletes in the world?

Add breathtaking bravery as riders fly down a mountain at 70kms/hour, spectacular but sickening crashes, great sportsmanship, champagne and flowers presented by leggy girls in ridiculous dresses, and you have a gourmet recipe for insomnia.

But No.1 Son is still out most mornings riding the beautiful country roads around Bendigo – sometimes riding in the bunch, other times alone with his thoughts. He says nothing beats it!

Thumbs up

River Life (The View from My Mother’s House)

Glimpses of a sparkling river tease me as I drive the winding road south from the city of Hobart – on the way to my mother’s house. For twenty one years she has lived in a secluded spot at the bottom of a steep driveway, which is not for the feint-hearted.

Rather like the Man from Snowy River, I arrive safely “at the bottom of that terrible descent”.  Mother’s glorious view reveals itself in full – uninterrupted. Living interstate, I am an infrequent visitor these days, but I anticipate this moment almost daily.

My parents retired to Hobart after a busy and fulfilling farming life in the Derwent Valley, to an ordinary house – with an extraordinary outlook. Renovations of house and garden successfully turned their new abode into a beautiful home which has stood the test of time.

But the WOW factor is the view that greets you, through huge windows along the front of the house, and from the deck, where one can waste many hours drinking in the unspoiled scene. Father is no longer with us, but Mother, now in her nineties, still wakes every morning to the colourful sunrise, and maybe a lone yacht or a crisp white cruise ship gliding quietly up river.

The Derwent River has many faces – some smiling, some angry, some friendly and welcoming. She has the face of someone who can tell a thousand stories. She’s seen the arrival of the first white settlers in 1803, and river traffic increase, bringing settlers and supplies to the growing colony of Van Diemen’s Land, including the transportation of over 60,000 convicts.

The WOW Factor

The WOW Factor

1911 saw the departure to Antarctica of Mawson and Davis aboard the SY Aurora. Nowadays the modern ice-breaker Aurora Australis regularly delivers scientists and supplies to the icy continent. Since Mother has been a ‘Derwent dweller’ she has observed fishing fleets, local and international regattas, exciting tacking duels of maxi yachts finishing the Sydney-to-Hobart race, historic tall ship flotillas, the arrival of solo round-the-world yachtsmen and even US Aircraft carriers.

Daily she observes leisurely kayakers, or pilot boats rushing to meet a large tanker. In summer, cruise ships arrive at daybreak and leave at dusk, tourist boats head down river to observe coastal wildlife, and catamarans ferry visitors to restaurants south of the city.

Some days the river sparkles, dolphins frolic, and frenzied petrels dive for fish. Other days it’s grey and furious, with Easterly winds forcing waves onto the rocks. On these days Mother is content to observe from the comfort of her favourite chair – glad she’s not venturing out into the wind and rough water.

Living with a view like Mother’s is a privilege that only a few are lucky enough to experience. The river is an ever-changing canvas which constantly draws the eye, whatever its’ mood. And for now it’s a wonderful companion and daily source of interest to my dear Mother, and to all who visit her.

Welcome to my blog…

I am on a journey of discovery – of self, ideas, places, friends and adventures.

Like most people I am a creature of unconscious habits.  As a result of this, now in my mid-fifties, I find myself STUCK!  In the past I have drifted from job to job, with little direction or inspiration.  I had not discovered my true passion.

For some time No.1 Son told me I needed to start a blog – but nothing concrete eventuated.  I had no “why”, “how” or “what”.  But his insistence started the thought process.  I wondered what I – little me – could contribute to this world.  People often say that I write great letters – and I enjoy writing them.  The seed was planted, but what I thought was “life” got in the way.  Once again nothing happened!

My light-bulb moment came when I read a magazine advertisement for a Creative Writing Course.  Was this the opportunity I had been waiting for?  With nothing to lose I became a student again (although I have never really thought of myself as a student, even at school!).

The course has sparked my interest in life again.  In the last twelve months I have done a LOT of reading and exposed myself to new people and ideas.  Seemingly endless hours of thought have helped me realise that my current day job, whilst enjoyable, is not fulfilling.  This has been the catalyst for my change of direction.

Through my new passion (yes I have finally found one) for writing, I am discovering new ways to live my life.  No.1 Son is adding to my already high pile of books to read – these are also aiding my journey.  I have given myself permission to have some peaceful “me” time – thinking time, if you wish.  I am following an unknown road, but I like the idea of where that road can lead me.

This blog will consist of regular updates of my journey down that unknown road. I will be posting some of the writing from my course, and will include links to blogs, books and people that I feel will be helpful on your own journey of discovery.  I will share any ideas and information which has made a difference to me.  I am looking forward to our many conversations!

I am on a journey of discovery.  Why don’t you come with me?