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Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Live What You Love

Two things happened this weekend that combined to bring me a sweet and perfect moment of clarity, and I felt compelled to share. The first, a message from a friend sharing some sad news. The second, a conversation with a lovely lady at Harvey's agility training today. I never caught her name, but her dog was called Blue (and he is one of handsomest dogs I've ever seen) so I shall call her Blue's Mummy. More on that in a moment. Let me set the scene first.

The Sign.
Yesterday was whirlwind of excitement- my first story was published (and purchased- squeee!) and countless friends around the world were congratulating me and asking about my book. I was on a high, floating around Tesco with a secret smile. I popped into my Mum's shop to share the news and she said she'd found something she thought I might like. She led me over to a pile of framed prints and pulled out this one. It was perfect. "Live What You Love". It was simple, beautiful and succinctly summed up the key to my happiness. As I was crowing over it, the shop's CD started a new song. It was "Baby Give It Up" by KC and the Sunshine Band.

Now, there's a bit of a back-story to this song's significance: being a child of the 80s, this was naturally one of my favourites. It's just so cheerful! It remained a favourite as I grew up too, and Mum and I would always laugh and dance when we heard it on the radio or at a family party. When I moved away to Uni, it became a reminder of happy times and something "special" beyond being an awesome pop song. Notoriously, I would phone her from a cheesy Swansea nightclub at stupid-o'clock just to tell her it was being played. She wasn't always amused, but she appreciated the gesture. I think.

So, as I held the picture that summed up my life's meaning, and heard that song playing around the shop, I felt it. It was a sign. I cried, much to the surprise of my Mum and a few shoppers. They were happy tears, tears that were full of gratitude for the lucky life I have and the wonderful people who are part of it. It felt like the universe was telling me that I was doing OK, that things would be fine, and that it cared.

Now, that sounds a bit dramatic over a picture and a song (and was in all likelihood aided by over-excitement and lack of sleep), but that's how I see things. I don't believe in a god, but I do believe in loving life. I believe in balance, tolerance and being open-minded. I believe that good things happen to good people, and that everyone deserves a second chance. I believe in choosing to be happy. I believe that I have been lucky but, also, to an extent, that I make my own luck. I believe that if you are on the right path then things go your way. I believe in signs.

Later that day I had an email. A new, but already dear, friend had had some terrible news. She urged me to count my blessings, to make sure the people I loved knew how much, to be grateful for every moment I was happy. It made me stop and think. How many of us remember to do this enough? How many of us are unhappy, ungrateful, dissatisfied with our lives, and feel powerless to change them? What do we have to lose before we appreciate what we've got? I think I'm pretty good at counting my blessings, but I still called or messaged family and friends to tell them I loved them. I still snuggled on the sofa with my dogs and gave them extra kisses and treats. I watched a film on my big TV and typed a new story on my laptop and was thankful for the safe and happy bubble I live in. When I went to bed, I thanked the universe that I had a bed to sleep in, and that I wasn't homeless or sick or lonely. I took my friend's email as a sign, a reminder to not take anything for granted.

Which brings me to the second event. Today I was talking to Blue's Mummy. We'd met briefly before, but not really chatted, and she was interested in my baby-steps into publishing. I found that, as I explained how it had all come about, that I became aware again of the importance I place on signs. I realised that everything had come together at once because it was supposed to. Those of you who've visited my website will know that I've started my Bucket List early. This is because of a series of signs that made me think about how short and fragile life is. I decided not to wait until I was old or dying before fulfilling my ambitions. Ever moment is precious and irreplaceable. Writing was something I'd always wanted to try, but I lacked the time and confidence and, quite possibly, the talent. Then a friend gave me a notebook. It was (and still is) a beautiful thing to behold. It sparkled with magic and possibility. it even smelled gorgeous. I began to write.

I wrote about things I knew, little stories and snippets of ideas that might become something more one day. I wrote for my own amusement and pleasure, never sharing my scribblings with anyone. I put it away when life got busy. I didn't have time. Or rather, the time wasn't right.

Then I changed jobs, quite suddenly, because of another series of signs. I was happier, and had more time to do the things I enjoyed. I joined Twitter and followed people who made me laugh or think, and tried my best to be amusing or thought-provoking too. I met Tori, a  talented life-observer and writer, and we swapped ideas about a story she was writing. I was thrilled that she valued my suggestions, and I rushed out to buy her book when it was published. I felt proud to see it in print, even though it wasn't me who had written it.

I pulled out my notebook and began to write again. I wrote a ghost story. I liked it. The idea that other people might like it too began to form. I showed it to some friends. They liked it. I listened to their suggestions and tidied it up before showing some other friends. They liked it too. I played around with it a bit more and plucked up the courage to show it to Tori. I waited nervously for her verdict. When it came, I was overjoyed.

She loved it!

We discussed what I should do with it: competition, submission, publication? I got excited by every new possibility before abandoning it when a new one came along. I was waiting for a sign. I had another idea for a story. I began writing it. It was three times as long as my first one by the time I had finished. I wondered whether I had enough good ideas for a few more. A conversation at work started another story off. I began to wonder if I could do it, if I really could write enough for a whole book. My word count and confidence grew by the day. It felt right. I looked into self-publishing. I discussed strategy. I received a pep-talk from a very no-nonsense colleague who is herself an inspiration in celebrating life. I consulted Tori (who is kindness and patience personified, by the way), fixed my ancient computer and waited for the right moment. I didn't have to wait long: half-term was nearly here.

Finally, on Friday, I was ready: I had the material, the technology, the support, the buzz- and now I had the time. Within 24 hours, I had a blog, a website and a story for sale- like I said, a whirlwind of excitement. I realised, as I chatted to Blue's Mummy, that everything had come together so neatly because it was the right time. Constant signs had pointed me towards this, shaping the future into what I wanted it to be.

Was it luck? Magic? A divine power? I don't think so. The reason I became so emotional about that picture is because it took everything I believe and value and squished it into one, catchy mantra, which I just happened to see on a day that was very special for me. I believe that life goes my way because I live what I love. And I really do love it. I don't take anything for granted. Everyday I count my blessings and am grateful for the opportunities I have. It's not sunshine every day: I have bad times and temper-tantrums, like everyone else, but I know that life is about balance and the storm clouds will pass. I have perspective. I choose to be happy and find something joyful in every day. So can you.

So, thank you for sticking with this long deep-and-meaningful on a Sunday afternoon, but I thought this was an important message to share: be grateful, be joyful and live what you love. I hope your dreams come true too.

Before you go, tell me- what three things are you thankful for?


  1. My family, my work (I truly have a calling, not a career) and lie-ins at the weekend!

    This really made my day- think we should all count our blessings more often.

  2. Thank you! I love my day job and my hobby too! Very lucky us! xxx


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