Me and the Tortoise

Day 4

Live your legend 7 day self-discovery writing challenge


Today my email asks what’s one thing you’re proud of….

Ok…. it says ‘one thing’ not THE one thing….

So what’s my one thing? 

Well looking back at the last 10 or so years from the time of trying to keep the relationship together, my separation, my divorce to my new (currently) single life, I’ve achieved so many things that I am proud of.

I could talk about

My degree show – I did an degree in fine art as a mature student – I was 44 when I graduated.  I can talk about the vulnerability of showing my work to the public, the thrill of seeing a collection of my best pieces in a gallery setting, the pride of my achievement and the very lovely positive feedback from those that saw it.

My re-registration – knowing that we were headed towards a divorce I set about re-instating my nursing registration status aged 47.  I had left nursing 15 years previous.  But to re-register I not only had to do a degree module but also 150 hours of practical ward based experience, which I did in my ‘spare’ time (weekends and annual leave) over three months while still working full time.  Along side of this my daughter was doing her A levels and my son his GCSE’s!  Yup that’s some crazy achievement but we did it.  I then went on to become a specialist nurse within 5 years and now this year I have left that behind again in search of a different life.

My life change – surviving a divorce, re-location from one side of the country to the other, having my first (hopefully only) solo mortgage and new job within the same year.  With the added bonus of it being the time the kids went to uni and left home so empty nest syndrome big time!

My couch to 5k when I was 52 and the personal hurdles that I overcame to achieve this.  Am I ready to share with the world the background story here?  Not sure, maybe one day soon.

My single holidays

To Stromboli on a ‘fuck it’ retreat and climbing the volcano.  Not everyone has been up a live volcano right?

To India on an Exodus trip, room sharing with a stranger (who as it turns out is now a friend) coping with squatting toilets and spending 2 nights on crowded sleeper trains.

But no, I think I will tell you about my most recent thing that I am proud of.  It’s not a big thing.  It’s something that people do all the time but it was an achievement for me and an inspiration for some people that I know.  By sharing this small achievement I hope it will inspire others to recognise just how incredible we are and to say well done to ourselves for the little things a bit more often.

So here’s the story.

Over the last 2 years I have been on a journey of personal development.  A realisation that we have one life and we should jolly well make the most of it.  Now I am someone who can swing from complete lack of confidence to ‘fuck it, I’m doing it you just watch me’.  I am also a person who can overthink.  Someone who will work it all out on paper but not actually do it – the whatever the it is.

But I realised the NHS job, that although in many ways I loved, one where I was well thought of by my patients and highly respected by my colleagues, was just not lighting my fire, it was actually putting my fire out.  It was draining me.  I worked from a basement room, working ten hour days, seeing little to no daylight.  There must be another way.  So I had my ‘fuck it’ moment and with my positive head on, with the thinking that, for change to happen I must make space for it, I quit my job in May.

Ok thats big I hear you say.  What happened to the small achievement?

I’m getting there….

So after quitting my job I thought I would take time out to draw breath.

My friend has a house in the south of France.  How blessed am I to have such a friend?  So I decide to make use of her offer and go there.  Alone.

Ok, I’ve done singles holidays before but this one was just me.  Myself.  I.  In a house in the middle of a vineyard in France.  Just me and the tortoise!

But here’s my thing.  My, I’m so proud of thing.  This house is about thirty minutes from the airport.  I had to get myself there.  Alone!

I’ve done trips to France before.  I driven hire cars before.  But I’ve never done it alone and I know for sure there are plenty of women who have never done this alone either.

I went to France, a country where I speak next to none of the language.

Arranged a hire car. 

Navigated and drove to my destination. 

On my own.   

Very proud. 


So did this positively impact on anyone else?  I’m not sure but I hope it does, I hope it will inspire others. 

Friends have said they admired what I did and wish they had the confidence to do something like that too.  But as I said at the start I struggle with lack of confidence, so my message is;

Put yourself out of your comfort zone now and again even if it is in small ways.

Give yourself the praise you deserve for all of your achievements.

If I can do it, you sure as hell can do it too.