Sunday, 11 May 2014

Don't be afraid of change. Acceptance and Adapting.

The monthly column in The York Press on Monday, May 7th 2014

We started to drive to Pickering. The opening of John Lewis in York was mentioned on the radio. There was a lump in my throat, just as there had been, when Waitrose opened in the city in 2010.  Am I shopaholic? Not at all.

I moved to York from Buckinghamshire in 1994, leaving behind a good job at Waitrose. I had to adapt, start all over again and look for new opportunities.  If either Waitrose or John Lewis had been opened in 1994, I would probably still be working with them. It is most unlikely that there would be a published book or a regular newspaper column. I felt emotional about the unexpected achievements over twenty years, against all expectations.

My husband, Adrian, felt there was something wrong with the car’s steering and so we drove straight to the garage.  Pete, an acknowledged workaholic, was ready to help, as usual. But there had been changes since we last saw him. He told us that he’d been Christmas shopping with his wife in Newcastle last December, when he experienced a heart attack.

Pete had downsized, opened less days a week, chose his jobs carefully and was retraining to teach mechanics at college. He was thriving.

I looked at the two men, looking healthy and thought how near death they had both been in the previous six months. Both men had experienced different, out of the blue, life threatening ill health. Both are alive due to the expertise of the NHS. Both have dealt with shock and adjustment. Both have embraced the change and the chance to reassess their lives. Adrian looked at me. “You’re going to write about this, aren’t you?” Correct.

I thought of the chef, Gordon Ramsey, whose dream of being a professional footballer was thwarted by injury and he had to change his plans.

I thought of the artist Henri Matisse, who stopped painting due to ill health, but found that he could sit in bed with a pair of scissors and paper instead. He said, “why didn’t I do this earlier?”  The exhibition of his ‘cut-outs ‘ is at The Tate Modern until September.

I thought of the Paralympians.

The common factor is that after the initial shock and adjustment, the people mentioned, didn’t look to blame and lose control of their situation. They took personal responsibility to change and took control instead.


There are many inspirational quotes available, though often, people prefer to collect them, rather than put them into action. 

This is my favourite quote. If actioned, it would lead to less emotional health problems, waiting lists for therapists and questionable prescriptions.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller.


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