What does actually matter?
When I was 16, I sat in a ward smelling of disinfectant and cabbage with squeaky trolleys rolling by every 10 seconds and gibbered at the bedside of my dad who was dying of stomach cancer. He was helping me revise for my O levels and he was testing me on chemistry equations. ‘How many did I get right?”
“2 out of 37.”
“I’m going to fail,” I would wail to him, as only a self-obsessed teen could do, sitting at the bedside of her dying father.
“It doesn’t matter, baby. None of it matters,” he would say to me, trying to hold my hand but failing because his energy ran out.
He died not long after that conversation.
Three years later, my mum died too.
I was only a teenager but I learned early on that life can be very short and you really don’t know how long you’ve got. I feel like I’ve dedicated my life to seeking, experimenting and writing about ways to not only survive but thrive – no matter what challenges you have faced.
And to discover for myself, what did actually matter.
Making the big leap.
My first big leap was to retrain as a journalist when I was 26. I had left Leeds University with a degree in English and got a job as the manager of a translation agency in Leeds with a company car and a mobile phone – quite the Yuppie. But my dream was always to be a writer so after three years, I left my job, put my handkerchief on a stick and headed to London to do a course in magazine journalism.
I started out writing about health but then became fascinated by mental health and self-development, which I have written about for over 25 years. I have been privileged to interview self development greats from Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert to BRENÉ Brown and Esther Perel and the wisdom I have gleaned from them has transformed my life. I loved the self-development world so much that I trained to be a life coach in 1997, graduated with Coach University in 2000. I have been coaching on and off for 23 years ever since.
In 2013, I became Editor-in-Chief of Psychologies magazine and for 8 years led a brilliant team producing a magazine that helped give people hope and routes through the darkness and a hand to hold when the going got tough.
I am now 55 years old and have just made another big leap, left London and Psychologies to move back up North to a little apartment in the rooftops of a town called Alnwick. My son has gone to university, so I’m starting over, on my own to create a life that I love on the empty beaches and wild coast of Northumberland.
Are you making a leap too? Join me.
I have created a monthly newsletter to build a community of like-minded people who are also making brave moves and big leaps – on Substack. We are stronger together! I want to continue to share the self development tools I discover and experiment with and share the wisdom of the experts I continue to interview along the way.
I hope you’ll join me.