The Other Side…

It’s been quite a week. One of those weeks that moves you forward, usually by knocking you flat on your behind, before scooping you up and setting you gently on your feet a few more miles down the road. Yeah. That!

Last Wednesday I attended a free event, a training day with a gentleman called David Key. I had heard of this man through my networking groups. By all accounts he was a great speaker. A good coach. A lovely man. Due to circumstances beyond my control I had missing hearing him speak on two previous occasions. Don’t you love how the Universe conspires to put you in the right place at the right moment?

Just over an hour or so into David’s presentation I was mentally knocked over. Someone threw a switch in my head and turned on the lights. I couldn’t tell you now exactly what he said. I have tried to explain to a few people and literally could not find the words. But I saw a direction, a belief, a future that I had not seen before.

It was like standing at the start of a runway, and watching the lights illuminate ready for take-off.

Many of you know that I worked in aviation for over 20 years. In the early days of that company life was so exciting. It was the early 90s, I was newly married, excited to have found a job I loved in a company that embraced everything good about team work, was growing fast, paid well and promised a bright future. Working on an airport was so exciting! I met amazing people and worked alongside an amazing lady that I am now proud to call one of my best friends. We were passionate, driven, often exhausted and stressed and we worked very long hours. But it was fabulous!

We were a small company, growing quickly but it was definitely all-hands-on deck at all times. I was employed as the Accounts Manager, but was often called on to assist with the main work of the company, handling aircraft.

I have one really outstanding memory of that time. It was a summer evening, just in the moments before dusk. It had been a really hot day, and there was a warm breeze. We were expecting two large aircraft to arrive, important middle-eastern clients, with lots of passengers. The whole team was waiting on stand with all the equipment needed to look after every need of the arrivals.

We watched the planes land, and stood on the stand waiting for them to taxi to their parking stands. Amazingly it was really quiet out on the airfield. And I remember this amazing sense of anticipation, excitement, enhanced by the sounds of the engines as the planes approached us. Growing from a distant hum to a deafening roar as they manoeuvred the massive machines onto the stands, followed by a sudden silence when they shut off the engines and we sprang into action.

The sense of wonder was a physical thing. My breath caught in my chest. At that moment, everything was right in the world. It was moments like that that kept me with that company for 24 years. Even when things deteriorated into a stressful, miserable and unhappy existence, I held on to the memories of the good times until the Universe once again intervened, and gave me a shove.

That shove, 3 years ago, propelled me into the next bit of my journey.

This was my recent Facebook status:

I have been viewing our life-changing decision to move 250 miles to Morecambe as the opportunity to start afresh, wipe the slate, reinvent myself. Create a new version of Penny that takes all the good stuff I have learned, and drops all the crap that I carry around with me from the past.

But in reality, Penny is made up of all those things, good and bad. As we all are. What I need is a different perspective. I need to set the bags down in the corner, or maybe in our new cellar, out of the way but there as the foundations to my new life.

Listening to David last week was the moment when I finally closed the last suitcase and chose a new destination! And I am not just talking about Morecambe. It feels like I am back, standing out on that airfield, with the warm breeze ruffling my hair, and a sense of anticipation wedged in my stomach.

One of the things I learned this year is how most of my motivation comes from helping people. I knew that I would need to “re-train” when we move and we have budgeted for that. I have been considering teaching, but I am now looking at moving into coaching. I have booked onto a course with David in September to explore this option. Many things seem to be falling into place and along with the excitement and anticipation I have described is a sense of calm. Of clarity. A spiritual sense of peace.

It won’t all be plain sailing. Part of the process will be taking a broom to some of the dusty corners of my own psyche. That could be painful! But healing too.

This week I finally got around to selling off the huge amounts of Pampered Chef stock that I have had in my house for years! I have been talking about this for ages. I think I was simply just not ready to part with those memories. Totally ridiculous – the things I am selling are all still brand new and in boxes. The products that I use all the time will more than fill my new extra-large kitchen! But I had some curious sense of attachment to all those items. There are EIGHT boxes that I think I have now reduced to one. It is a logistical nightmare to get them all packed up and shipped out. But it is time. Time to create space for new stuff (Lakeland is beckoning!). To de-clutter.

Over the last year, I have de-cluttered many areas of my life. It created space and in the last six months or so I have made new friends, discovered a new confidence, made scary and brave decisions and acted on them. I am quite proud of myself. But there was a missing link. Could not quite put my finger on it. I think I might have found it. Or at least a way of finding it! I am impatient though. The legal wheels of conveyancing are turning more slowly than we would like. But I suspect the Universe is intervening there too. There are so many other boxes that we need to unpack or pack before moving.

At the start of my day with David, he asked us all to write down two metaphors. One for where we are now, and one for where we want to be in the future. Anyone who reads my blogs knows I love metaphors! But I did have to really think about it. Here is what I wrote.

Where I am now?

“Standing on one side of a chasm about to leap and waiting for the net to appear.”

Where do I want to be?

“Gathered safely in”

I don’t think that that scary chasm is anywhere near as wide as I once thought it was!




Conversations with labradors…



Ben rests his head on Mum’s knee and gazes soulfully up at her

Ben: “Mum…?”

Mum: “Yes Ben, what’s up?”

Ben: “There’s a lot of boxes. What’s going on?”

Over on his bed Barney’s ears perk up

Mum: “Well, we were going to tell you. We are moving. Going to live somewhere else, a place called Morecambe”

Ben: “Moving? You and Dad?”

Barney sits up and moves to sit next to Ben, wearing his best Eeyore face.

Mum: “And you two of course! And the cats! Not Zoe though, she is staying here, but she will come to visit”

There is a pause while the dogs contemplate the news.

Mum: “It’s good, Morecambe has a beach! We took you for a walk on it a couple of weeks ago. It smelt good, lots of seaweed”

Barney: “Beach? Water?”

Mum: “Yes Barney, but its ok, you don’t have to swim. Remember we took you in the cafe and you got treats.”

Barney relaxes a little. Pepsi-cat stares malevolently from the windowsill.

Mum: “We have a lovely new big house, with lots of space for you all, and room for all our lovely friends and family to come visit”

Barney: “A new garden? With squirrels?”

Mum (ruefully) “Well, no garden. We will have a yard where you can lay out, but you will be getting lots more walks, some of them on the beach! And the best bit is that anytime we want we can jump in the car and in about 40 minutes we can be in Windermere where you can visit all your doggie friends! Bailey, Sam, and Max and Findlay!”

Barney takes a step back.

Barney: “Max?”

Even Ben looks slightly disconcerted.

Mum: “Yes, Auntie Theresa will be visiting often and we will be visiting her too and going for walks too. Max will be fine when he gets to know you better. And I don’t know if you noticed, but he is much, much, smaller than you!”

Barney does not look reassured. Cola-cat walks by rubbing noses with both dogs. She joins Pepsi on the windowsill.

Mum: “Boys, it’s going to be great. We will make new friends, explore new places, and have lots of fun. I promise you will like it. Any more questions?”

The dogs look at each other, Barney looks at the cats on the windowsill.

Ben: “Will there be food?”

Barney: “Do we have to take Pepsi?”

Mum: “Yes Ben, and yes Barney. Hush now, have a sleep. It will all be good.”

The dogs make their way to their respective baskets. And soon the room is filled with the sound of gentle Labrador snoring. It smells like Labradors too. But the less said about that the better!


Ben and Barney’s first walk on Morecambe beach with Dad