I hadn’t realised how long it had been since my last post until someone contacted me last week and asked if I had given up my blog! I haven’t given it up and neither do I intend to, I’d just let time run away with me over the summer and hadn’t noticed that it was months rather than weeks since I’d posted! I was obviously having too much fun!
And that’s the truth, despite it being a tumultuous year for me, a year of trying to discover who I am, what I want and where I’m going – well I never said the bankrupt’s route to recovery was going to be easy! – I spent much of the summer, particularly August, getting back in touch with the girl I was when life was carefree and full of fun.
I’ve always been an outdoors girl and it wasn’t until we went camping for 2 weeks that I remembered how much I love and need to get outdoors regularly. Despite living in a lovely flat with fantastic views, I don’t have a garden so I rarely sit outside and work because having a communal garden means that every time I want to go inside for something I need to pack up the laptop, the papers, the phone and move everything. So for the best part of the last couple of years I’ve been cocooned in the 4 walls of my home slowly withering away. I just hadn’t noticed it.
Earlier this year, in my desperate need to work out who I was, I made a really stupid business mistake. I ignored my gut instinct and some months, a few thousand pounds and oceans of tears later it all ended horribly. In fact my body took over and I had a breakdown. I knew I was doing the wrong thing but I ignored all those little niggles because I’d decided I needed to do something to define me. I’d hoped that almost 4 years since my previous business became insolvent I would have worked out what to do by now! Obviously I hadn’t.
I’ve spent the best part of 4 years trying things out. Much as you try a new dress or new shoes for size, I’ve been trying new businesses for size. I’ve dabbled in them, started them and walked away or in the case of the one above, totally freaked out, broke down and realised it was so far removed from the way I do business that I was acting without integrity or authenticity. I’ve beaten myself up over it that’s for sure and have spent more hours crying in the GPs office than I care to remember, refusing to take the drugs he was desperate to prescribe to help me cope because I knew deep down that drugs weren’t the answer.
It’s all part of my personal and unique route along the Bankrupt’s Route to Recovery. Some days, most days thankfully, I take the right turning, sometimes I take the wrong turning and make a slight detour and it’s only this one occasion that has seen me take a turning so wrong that I seriously thought I’d end up right back where I started. Certainly my confidence and self-esteem were back there. For a number of months I wouldn’t leave the flat, having panic-attacks each time I went out and for a short while I couldn’t even talk to or see friends or family. How Mark, my other half, managed me I have no idea but him and one or two other friends who ignored my selfishness and refused to go away pulled me through. In fact, one friend said to me “We’re like your armbands. And whether you like it or not we’re not going to let you drown. You can either work with us or we’ll just drag you through”! Tough words at the time but I’m glad that I have a friend who can be as blunt and direct as that. And believe me, there were times where she did drag me through, pushing me into situations she knew I would and could handle but left to my own devices I’d have walked away and disappeared.
So, I was still in this semi-fragile state when we went away on holiday. We had planned on driving to St Tropez but cancelled that when I didn’t feel as if I could cope with a strange place and a strange language. So we went camping instead, for 2 weeks to St Ives in Cornwall. We put the tent up in the rain and some nights we were woken up by the wind and the rain threatening to uproot the tent. But the days for the most part were warm and sunny and we had fun.
Being back outside in all weathers was precisely what I needed, I only wish I’d done it sooner. My body and mind reconnected and got back in sync with the natural rhythm of things. We were waking up when the sun came up and was bright enough to infiltrate the darkness of the tent and we went to bed around 10/10.30pm when we were exhausted from a full day in the fresh air, walking around. We ate simple food and drank a lot less than we would at home.
We actually arrived home feeling so much better that we’ve continued the same rhythm. The hardest thing about being back home has been reconnecting with technology. I can honestly say that in those 2 weeks of getting back to nature I didn’t miss the ipad, blackberry or computer one little bit. Although I did fall in love with the kindle!
And whilst adopting the same routine I’ve made sure that I get outside every day for a minimum of 20 minutes. If I have a letter to post or need to pick something up from the shop I walk rather than take the car or ask Mark to drop it off or pick it up on his way to and from the office. And the best side effect is the weight I’ve lost. Without even trying I lost half a stone in 10 days! That’s when I know I’m doing the right things.
And in adopting this routine I’ve inadvertently stumbled upon another business. The last month or so has seen me remember what it is I need to feel alive and to feel like me and now I’m doing just that.
I’ve managed to create a lifestyle for myself that many years ago (I’m talking 10/20/30 years) seemed just a pipe dream. Now my week sees me working on any one of a number of TV productions or films as an extra, I spend time in the kitchen developing new products for Deb’s Kitchen and I get out and about speaking to various groups and coaching people in how to present themselves on a public platform. I do the occasional bit of PA work but for someone who at 16 said “I’m never ever going to work in an office or on a computer and I’m certainly not going to be a secretary” I think it’s about time I gave that up. I know I was good at it and for many years it earned me a very good salary but 20 years is a long time to spend doing a job you don’t enjoy.
That chapter of the book has closed now. The new chapter has started and this time I expect the last leg of the Bankrupt’s Route to Recovery to be more of a straight line with fewer detours.
I hope that your route to recover has fewer detours than mine but equally that it’s leading you to a better place. I’d love to know how you’re getting on.