A time to rebel

I once wrote, that when a woman goes through major changes in her life, there is a good chance she will cut her hair.

Well, for now, my hair is once again, quite long.  I spend a lot of money of having professional highlights through my naturally brown hair.

It looks OK (I think!), and I’m sure a million other woman do the same thing to theirs.

At the moment my life is fairly settled, no major incidents to report, no crisis or drama demanding my attention.

I work regular, if somewhat long hours;  I neither love nor hate the job, I just have to do it!  There’s no romantic entanglements, and I’m fairly OK about being single.

In fact, it’s fair to say that life has become a tad dull.

So, a few weeks ago, before going on a family holiday, a little devil inside me pointed out a pink hair dye.

I thought, this could be interesting!  I was away for a week, and the dye was temporary, so I gave into my little devil, and proceeded to put the dye on top of my high lightened hair!

It was a little bit shocking, but I liked it!  In fact, I liked it so much, when I came back from holiday, and it started fading, I put another, brighter pink dye on!

And there started my problems!

My employer decided the colour was not what they would consider appropriate.  And whilst, in a way, I can see their point, my role is not customer facing, and the colour of my hair in no way affects my ability to carry out my duties.

So, having been sent home to remove the pink, either by endless washing, or by way of a brown dye, I made a decision that the time had come to part ways.

Now, I have spent the best part of my working life sat at a desk, crunching numbers, and generally being vaguely dissatisfied with where I had ended up.

Music and writing are the only real interests that I have, (outside of drinking at weekends!), but unfortunately neither of them are going to present a way of a) career change of b) reliable source of alternative income!

So, whilst dying my hair bright pink might be amusing, it might remind me of the little rebel I was once was in my teens, it’s also been a catalyst for reviewing where I am, and where I want to go, far more than cutting it all off has ever been!

And, whilst I do not have any answers right now, I know that I can no longer keep plodding along in a career that does not, and never has, kept me happy!

So, any suggestions on a career change, whilst in your 40’s, that allows you to dye your hair any colour of the rainbow would be much appreciated!!

 

 

 

 

Why women need to pamper

In a time when women are increasingly required to be all things to all people, whether you are busy looking after the family, building your career, or even both, it’s hard to find the time in our busy schedules, for ourselves.

Considering all the stresses that we do have to deal with on a daily basis, if we don’t take a little time out, to give ourselves that that one little treat,  who else will?

Much as we love them, we all need time away from the kids, the husbands, the parents, the job, and all the other parts of our lives, that together, take up so much of our time, and cause so much of our stress! 

Even friends can be a drain, having to deal with their drama’s as well as our own.  

So sometime, whilst it’s always good to see friends, and spend time together, every now and then, you need to have time, just for you.

Whether it’s getting your hair done, your nails done, having a spray tan, it is all part of that valuable ‘me-time’. 

Dealing with too much constant stress is not good for anyone, so it’s important to give yourself a treat, to be kind to yourself, to love yourself, for your emotional health and well-being, for your self-esteem. 

Make that time to treat yourself, no matter how small.  It can be a great way to boost your self-esteem, to remind yourself that you are doing a great job, that you deserve a treat, a reward.

Sometimes all it takes, is locking the door, lighting some candles, some soft music, and a long soak in a hot bath! Other times, it’s making sure we get an early night, let’s face it, do any of us get the recommended amount of sleep??

When we feel better about ourselves, the world feels a better place, and we feel better equipped to deal with it all – and isn’t that a better place to find ourselves?

 I’ve just discovered the joys of Gel Nails.   It’s cheap, my nails look pretty, and for 20 minutes the biggest decision I have to make, is what colour I’m getting!  For that short time, everything is about me, and nothing else, it’s precious time out from a hectic schedule, to take some care of me, for a change.

 So whatever treat you choose, just make sure you make the time – after all, aren’t we all worth it??

 

 

Friends Forever?

It’s strange when you think about it, we have so many friends pass through our lives. Some we meet, and keep them with us, some are fleeting, and drift away from us. Others are ripped away from us.

I have not stayed in touch with many people from school, but a little while ago I received a few friendship requests on facebook from girls I knew at school. We haven’t spoken in what, 30 years?   We are hardly friends, yet I felt compelled, for politeness sake, to accept their ‘friendship’.

Just a few months into these new relationship, none of us had actually communicated with each other, I found myself quietly unfriending them, and withdrawing from our so called friendship!

I don’t feel any guilt about this. One of these women recently walked straight past me, I’m pretty sure it was simply because she didn’t recognise me, rather than from malice, so why pretend to be online friends?

I am lucky to have a close circle of friends.  We are all very different, and on paper, have little in common, but we have stuck together through thick and thin for nearly 30 years,

Through our teens, and 20’s, we were inseparable, in and out of each other’s houses, evenings in the pub, and never once did a man come between any of us. Even when our lives changed directions, they had kids, got married, I moved to London; our relationship pretty much stayed the same. As we drifted into our 30’s, even our 40’s, though we saw less of each other, the bond of friendship was still there.

For me, as a single woman, I probably invest more time into the relationships I have with my friends.  I’m the one making all the arrangements, organising everyone, reminding everyone of birthdays, anniversary’s, even if they now see me as a nag!

So, to loose one of these friends, after an argument that seemed to roll on for months, cut me to the very core, made me rethink everything I had held dear, and question the validity of my friendships.

This is where the relationships we have with our friends is so different from the ones we have with our partners; we argue with our partners all the time, and normally, once you’re done arguing, you make up, move on, and forget about it.  It’s not necessarily the same when we argue with our friends. When a friend hurts you, betrays you, it is so much more painful, because you simply don’t expect it.

After not speaking for 12 months, my friend wrote to me, and apologised, I wrote back thanking for the apology, but another 12 months has passed, and we have still not spoken, face to face.

The longer we go without speaking, the less likely it is that we will be friends again.  I wholeheartedly accept this situation is now my fault, that I am the one who won’t allow a reconciliation. My one regret is that our mutual friends find the situation so difficult, they do not understand my unwillingness to comply when they beg me to back down, to try being friends again.

Normally I would do what my friends were asking of me, but I am aware of a change in me, in my attitude. For the first time in my life, I have consciously removed people from my life, nothing drastic, just let them drift away. At first I was worried, I thought this is how I end up a friendless old spinster, my cat my only friend (no, I haven’t been and got one, yet!).

But I have been surprised at how things have developed, at the people who are no longer close to me,  that people I considered to be mere acquaintances, have stepped up to become close friends, I had a breakfast date with one of them not so long ago, how modern is that!!

So whilst I treasure the friends I had as a teenager, I can see that as we grow, develop, change, so therefore, do our friendships. I have more in common with the women I work with, of course I do, we are at the same place in our careers, we’re similar ages, we enjoy a night out, and we all have other friends, other relationships.

So whilst I would not want to loose my oldest friends, I do feel like I have had quite a ‘çlear out’ and updated my friends, those who remain – I treasure, those who do not, I feel no guilt at having let them go.

And of course, if we don’t speak, don’t expect to stay my facebook friend for very long!!

A return to Greece

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I can’t remember exactly when I last came to Crete, but I’m pretty sure that at no point would I have been striking poses for snapchat.

What even is that?

Sat on the coach taking us to our hotel, a couple of young girls were pouting into their phone camera’s giving the peace sign.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand selfies, I get drunk, take silly photos, uploading them onto Facebook along with the best of ‘em.

I’ve also got a twitter account: I don’t get it, but I got it!

But what is this obsession with posting photos on a site which then deletes them??

Come on girls, this is probably your first trip abroad without your parents, and you’re missing it! Put your phones down and have a look around you!

I know when I was backpacking, I had a camera, but my photos were mostly scenic or of people that I met and travelled with, there are very few of myself, in those days you didn’t trust people enough to hand them your camera, just in case they turned round and scarpered with it!

Of course times change, and technology progresses at an alarming speed.  The irony of this piece is not lost on me, I know I am moaning about the use of phones, camera’s and social media as a whole, even though, of course, I go on holiday with phone, tablet and keyboard.

In my defence, I saw a trip back to a Greek Island as a return to my almost hippy like youth (although I don’t think the early 1990’s counts as the hippy age?!!!)

Well, the rooms are still fairly basic, although there is of course wifi access!!  But other than that, this is not a Greece that I recognise.

Last time I was here, I arrived on a ferry, with a rucksack, sleeping bag and a boyfriend in tow.  We’d just spent a month inter railing across Europe, ending up in Athens so that we could spend the rest of the summer Greek Island hopping, with every intention of finding work.

Well, that didn’t happen!!  My love of the sea, and the beach was simply too strong to compete with the need to work!  So we lived in cheap rooms, with communal kitchen and bathroom, and enjoyed the summer.  There was a strong sense of community amongst the travellers, we all shared stories, hints and tips, learnt where to go, where not to go, we looked out for each other, and the Greeks seemed to love us.

I recall one Island we landed at during the night, with no one to greet us, we simply got into our sleeping bags, curled up against a wall and went to sleep, only to be woken a few hours later, by a Greek widow woman, dressed in traditional black, who spoke no English, but invited us into her home and made us breakfast, then took us to her friend who had rooms to let.

I don’t see that Greece anymore.  I see shops selling Prada, Gucci, Nike.  Taverna’s replaced by internet cafe’s serving posh coffees.

The old hippy part of me resents the change in this Island that looks so similar, yet feels and acts so differently from how I remember it, but this is modern Greece, catering to what the tourist wants.

But this commercialised Greece doesn’t seem to appeal to the young travellers of today.

More and more, I hear tales of trips to more distant destinations, like India, Thailand, even Australia, places I would never have dreamt of going, certainly not alone.

And whilst I applaud them, I hope that their camera’s are pointing in the right direction!  Capture the sights, your memories, not just yourself!

Modern technology is amazing, we can stay in touch with families whenever we are away, but don’t allow technology to get in the way of getting to see as much as life as you possibly can!

The Long versus The Short

I read recently that a woman who cuts her hair, is a woman who is ready to make a change.

But what happens once the changes have been made?

I have naturally dark hair, which is normally fairly long.  But at the moment, it’s short and blonde.

The last 2 years have been challenging for me, on a professional level.  Since being made redundant, I’ve moved from job to job, finding it hard to settle since the redundancy, and my hair has stayed short and blonde.

Last summer, a friend of mine, with a vey successful career, lost over 3 stones, she looked amazing.  To complete the new look, she had her hair cut very short.  Soon afterwards, she left her partner, got a new house, and basically threw herself into herself into life as a single lady.

We met up a few days ago, she is extremely happy, and confident, she’s looking forward to owning a new house, to going on her first girly holiday in years.

I couldn’t help but notice that her hair was longer, it suited her, but I was surprised as she had been adamant she was not going to grow it back.

Maybe, if we cut our hair when we have changes to make, then once they have been made, we allow our hair to grow back?

Which makes me notice my own hair, it’s inching it’s way down my neck again, I can get it in a pony tail once more.

Less appealing, though, are the dark roots.

My own situation is settling down, I’ve been in my current job for 6 months, and I feel like I could stay here a while.

Maybe this is the reason I have been reluctant to book an appointment with the hairdresser?

Maybe, allowing our hair to grow back, is a part of accepting ourselves again, after the changes have been made?

I don’t know the answer, obviously, but I do know, that right now, I want my long hair back!!

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Where did that rucksack go??

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My 23 year old God daughter updated her status yesterday, announcing that that she was planning her first overseas trip by herself, and asked for advice on where to go etc.  I flippantly told her to get a rucksack and see where the journey took her.

Putting aside my fears for her safety, and a sense of panic at loosing her, I paused to think – where exactly was my own rucksack?

There was a time, when I was much younger than my God Daughter is now, when I packed a rucksack, travelled down to London, got on a flight to Israel, and basically didn’t come home for 2 years.

As a teenager, that rucksack was one of my most prized possessions, one that I vowed I would never get rid of.  It kind of represented everything that I wanted to do in life – to travel, to explore, to live a life that was somehow free of normal constraints.

Of course, life gets the better of you, eventually I settled down, concentrated on work.  Admittedly I lived in various places in the UK, London, Kent, Hampshire, the Midlands, but somewhere in my 30’s, I threw away my rucksack.  I bought a house.  I went on package holidays.

As I approached my 40th, I recall a sense of panic settling in around me, I took time off work, once again traveled down to London, got on a flight by myself, this time to California.

I volunteered at the Gibbon Conservation Centre, north of Los Angeles, and explored the Californian coast line, from Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, down to Long Beach.  Of course, I did the normal touristy stuff in LA, walked the Boulevard, took the Big Red Bus trip, even a bus round the homes of the famous people – in my defence, this seemed an ideal way to see as much of the area as possible, in the short time I was there, rather than any real interest in seeing the outside of house that may or may not belong to someone famous!

The biggest difference on that trip, was the lack of rucksack.  I’ve gotten used to traveling with plenty of clothes, and ‘stuff’, and suitcases now have wheels on them, so there is no need to carry my belongings on my back anymore.

The trip did, however, make me realise that I can still travel, I still want to – I still don’t want to live ‘here’, I’ve been back in my home town 12 years, which is about 8 years too many!!

Last year, I went back to USA, Florida this time, a few days in Orlando, a swim with the dolphins, down to the beaches of Miami, then an epic train trip up to New York, before flying home (via Iceland – I don’t recommend it, get a direct flight!)

So now, even though the thought of her going away terrifies me, I am so very, very proud of her.

I am also a little bit jealous!

She is still young, and brave enough to give it a go.  It’s only for a week, but already she has talked of working abroad for the summer next year.  I would so, so love to be as young and as brave as her.

I want to have the freedom to go, but even without the demands of children, I have family, I have a mortgage.  My rucksack has gone, replaced with a grown up suitcase, complete with wheels.

The thing that scares me the most, is not that I’ve gotten too old to keep on travelling and exploring, it’s that I have allowed myself to hide behind excuses, allowed ‘life’ ‘work’ ‘commitments’, or whatever, to keep me in a place that I have never wanted to be.

I may be all grown up now, but there’s only me keeping me here, my suitcase is more than willing to travel!!

Maybe I can take inspiration from my girl, maybe now is the time to continue my travels, before I really am too old!

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Single and Childless – It’s not the end of the world!

Getting to 44 and being single and childless was not a actual life choice, I never made a decision to be in this situation.

It’s just, life happened that way.  It was never the right person, the right time, I just assumed that husband and babies would be part of my life, at some point, in the future. And then, slowly, I realised I was too old to be having babies, and I no longer had the patience to deal with the BS associated with men!

It’s strange how people react to my single, childless state.  Meeting new people, you always ask the standard questions:

are you married?

how many kids have you got?

Some people seem genuinely surprised by my situation, especially someone of my age.

The last ‘normal’ boyfriend relationship I had was probably about 7 years ago, and even I am beginning to think there must be something wrong with me!

A friend recently told me to go to a museum to meet single men.  Her rationale was that the men you meet in a pub are likely to be drinkers, men you meet at a museum, less likely.

Well, I can’t argue with her logic, but her plan has one fatal flaw.

Should her plan succeed, I would potentially end up with someone who think it’s OK to spend their spare time wandering around museums!  I would, of course, be in a pub somewhere, waiting for him to be finished!

You see, I have tried to explain this to her, but she doesn’t seem to understand that; I don’t drink, go to pubs and gigs because there is something missing from my life.  Because there really isn’t.

I drink because I like going ‘out’. I like to meet new people, I like to be with old friends, I like to have a drink and I like to have a dance, and if not the pub, then there’s the joy of going to a gig, and yes, for me , that means a lot of drink , as well as the screaming, singing and dodgy dancing!

As I get older, and especially since I got past the big ‘4 0’  my social life has changed, as you would expect.

I don’t go into ‘town’ anymore if I can help it, I’m not ‘hip’ or ‘cool’, I don’t pretend to be able to be able to keep up with the ‘kids’. I prefer the more traditional pubs, with people from my own generation, playing music that I can understand!  But I’m certainly not ready to start acting my age just yet!  I don’t knit, or bake, or take any interest in my garden, much to my mother’s horror!

I do have moments of regret, or more accurately, pangs of panic, a sense that I ‘forgot’ to have my children, but I can’t change things now.  I don’t think I would want to.

I remember feeling relieved at reaching 20, knowing I would never be a teen mum like so many of my friends – nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t for me.  I got to 30 and for a (very) short while thought I was finally old enough to consider having a child, but I was in a turbulent relationship at that point, and lived hundred’s of mile away from home in London. I was mid 30’s by the time I got out of the situation and moved closer to home.

I never went through the stir crazy stages of desperation that some of my friends went through, rushing through their 30’s in a state of sheer terror that time was running out for them to meet their perfect men and have some babies.

So, no babies  – but a life full of love, laughter, friends and music, with a little help from a glass or two of cider!