Great, you’ve found the Kitchen.
The About me part…
Just writing that makes me laugh, ‘About me’ and when it came to writing this, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done.
Where do you start when writing about you?, What do you say, leave out, keep in? Will people like you? Will you offend anyone with what you say?
Will anyone want to read anything about me in the first place?
Why as humans do we over complicate things? And why so many questions? When we’re just getting the conversation going. OK, well, it’s mostly my side of the story for now anyway.
So, if you’ve found your way to this page, like me, you have also gone to the kitchen first. So make yourself a cuppa, pull up a stool and allow me to introduce you into my world. BUT, keep an eye on the biscuits as you never know who may pinch one.
Just like my mum, whenever she explains anything, we like to give a ’rounded’ perspective to any story. So with that in mind the listener or in this case the reader. Can hopefully feel like they are living that experience with us.
I hope I can do as good a job as my mum does and I do hope it will give you an idea of what I’m about.
Are you ready?
If so let's go...
The inspiration and how my imagination grew – thank’s dad x
I was born in the ’70s and together with my sister we were fortunate to grow up in a loving environment in a little village in Hertfordshire England.
Our childhood was amazing with my friends of similar ages. We rode our bikes up and down the street, climbed trees, camped out in the farmer’s fields, went to many village discos, fell in love for the first time, kissed our childhood sweethearts and had our little hearts broken.
Throughout our childhood, our parents always managed to find the money so that we could have a 2week holiday each year. My dad would make up the bed in the back of the family estate car, and we would travel through the night to arrive when the new day started.
I can honestly say we had the best holidays ever as kids. Camping the beautiful seaside counties in southern England and then later upgrading to caravanning. Or, so it was thought of back then.
My dad has a fantastic imagination and would encourage my sister and me to use ours. He would tell us bedtime stories he made up, move our toys while we slept so in waking they were in different positions. Leading us to believe they came alive when we weren’t looking. We would fly kites, have picnics, climb trees, make camps in the woods and in our bedrooms. The best one for me was when we all would lay on the grass looking up at the clouds while he told us stories about the creatures he created with the shapes.
It was with our growing imagination that started me to dream, and as children, everything was possible, so our dreams were big and magical!
We had our ‘upgrade’ into the world of caravanning and my sister by this time had left home. We were members of a caravanning club and would often get away at the weekends whenever possible. It was somewhere new and often my mates from caravanning would be there so it was fun too. Even with my dad moaning about the weekend traffic for the entire journey. That just became background music and I recall even back then as I looked out of the window I would be wondering what life was all about.
I knew caravanning was just an escape for them and it was something we all looked forward to. Leaving as soon as my Dad was home from work on the Friday. However by Sunday I would see them start to relax. Just in time for work Monday morning. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it at the time. But looking back now I realized how good they were in being masters in hiding how at times, life was actually quite hard.
THE REALITY HIT
It was my parents routine. When the element of fun and magic of our childhood, the dreams, big ideas all became a distant memory as I watched the actual hard reality of life unfold right before my eyes, this was what was in store for me. When I was able to find a job earn enough money to buy my own house or rent one and start a family of my own.
The routine went something like this;
Get up – get ready for work – rush breakfast – go to work – come home – cook dinner – housework – eat – TV – bed. Monday – Friday.
The weekends it was less of a rush because if you were lucky and had the weekends off you could have a lay-in. Then go food shopping with the rest of the world hitting the roads only to sit in traffic feeling stressed out going nowhere in your car.
Often I would ask them “What’s the point of life anyway? Why does everything feel so stressful? Surely life is meant to be fun to be able to do the things you want to do?”
My mum would reply “We’re not Rothschild’s Michele we do what we can” I would reply “Yeah but why does it have to be the same day in day out?” To which she would reply “What do you expect? That’s the way it is. We have to go to work; we don’t have a choice!” “Yeah, but what was it you wanted to do when you was a child? or what would you really love to do now?“.
Michele, dreaming doesn’t pay the bills and when you’re old enough and have a house of your own. You’ll know how hard it is. You have to work. Some of us just don’t get to choose”.
THE REALITY HIT ME AGAIN
Not only had my parents spent a large chunk of their lives working jobs they didn’t enjoy and 40hrs plus a week spent with work colleagues. They were tired, fed up and worried about the bills. And, they thought they didn’t have a choice!
Why am I telling you about my parents?
Because it is relevant to how I grew up and what thought based thinking I had after watching and hearing them talk about money.
I always said that my life would be different; there was no way I was going to have a ‘normal’ life.
Sure, I understand you have to work to pay the bills, but the word ‘have to’ instead of ‘want to’ or ‘get to’ is used so many times.
I became quite depressed thinking if this is going to be my life then what is the point of us being here? Are we all just destined to live out our lives keeping our heads down working jobs only to pay the bills? And if you’re lucky, you get to do a job you enjoy!
For a while, I studied and kept studying because I thought if I were in control of my career path then at least I would love my job and be paid a good wage for it.
But also, that was what we thought back then. Study hard, work hard, and you will reap the rewards or at least get to work a job of your choosing.
The feeling of doom and gloom would be sugar coated at times with a boyfriend or the prospect of a new job that paid a bit more money.
I’ve had many jobs looking back from waitressing to managing a restaurant; selling space for a courier company; headhunted to work with a company distributing financial papers and then working with the printers who printed the financial papers.
Becoming a fitness trainer in a gym to managing the gym and later teaching a variety of aerobics classes to becoming a personal trainer. Being asked to teach Pilates in a hotel resort abroad for the summer season and taking to the slopes in Chamonix running a ski chalet for a season.
Having an interest in the human body, I studied Remedial and Sports Massage which opened up the door to travel the world with a rock band as their masseuse and wardrobe mistress.
Later moving to France and becoming an organic farmer with my French boyfriend at the time with his farm and becoming hands-on rearing Charolais cows to driving a tractor cutting hay for the harvest.
Blimey, just writing all of that brings back memories both good and bad but that’s what life about right?
These days there are no cows or fields to cut only to admire as I now look out of my open windows with the views of forests and rolling hills. Being able to create each day as you choose and not have the constraints of that ‘normal’ life I was explaining earlier.
So why did it change for me?
My parent’s words would ring true to me for so many years.
“That’s the way it is; we have to work; we don’t have a choice!”
“Dreaming doesn’t pay the bills and when you’re old enough and have a house of your own. You will know how hard it is. You have to work.”
Of course, I know you have to work we all do, but surely if we are to spend the majority of our lives working then surely it can be FUN and FULFILLING?
THE WAKE-UP CALL
Here’s the thing, when I was employed and earned a good salary I felt owned. Why? The higher paid you were, the more responsibility you had, and the more you were expected to show ‘willingness.’ Or, another way put… Free labor.
Starting early, finishing late, and working your weekends just for kicks to keep up with the workload. With one job I was given a fax machine to install in my house so that I could be reachable 24/7!
In becoming self-employed working a job, you have a passion for and love. You start to get noticed, and then word of mouth gets around, and people recommend you to their friends and so on. Your diary gets busy and your free time becomes booked out time.
It’s great to be wanted, and it does wonders for your self-confidence. But burn out is around the corner because you end up living your life for others at their beck and call and being self-employed if you don’t work you don’t get paid. That’s how my set up was anyway.
I started to have less time for my self-development and nourishment and became stuck in the trap of selling myself with my time for money.
There are only 24hours in a day after all. So how can you get the balance between having the time and the money to give you the freedom to enjoy your life?
Your hobbies become a distant memory, holidays become weekend breaks, and if you can afford to stay in the places where you fall out of bed onto your piece of beach. Then fantastic!
From experience whenever I did finally allow myself to have a break, it would take a good 10days for my body to start to relax and shut out the senseless chatter. Then by day 11 the thoughts of ‘how many months it’ll take to pay off’ started to creep back in
‘Madame, more Champagne? No, I’ll take orange juice from now on thanks.’
THE DOUBLE EDGE SWORD
Holidays and free time are excellent and very much needed but then how long can someone sit on a beach sunning themselves? Even if you had Rothchild’s money and could take a month off. Or, maybe it’s a skiing holiday? Or, just traveling the globe from this place to that? Sooner or later boredom kicks in. I know it’s hard to believe. But, I’ve seen and heard it so many times. When you lack the reasons why you do anything, then the boredom creeps in.
I’ve had the fortune to be at both ends of the scale, having money but not much time due to work commitments. I’ve had money and time but was scared to spend the money because of not knowing when the next job would come in. And I’ve had no money and lots of time but feeling scared as to when the next job would arrive?
Having the opportunity of eating in fantastic restaurants all over the world enjoying the moment but still feeling unfulfilled. Sitting on beautiful beaches or laying around the poolside drinking cocktails staring up at the sky wondering where that missing piece of me had gone?
I heard this saying once while sitting on a beach in Turkey –
‘You can take your suitcase with you anywhere in the world, but if you don’t clean what’s inside, you’re just carrying around old s***. Deal with the contents as nothing will ever change’.
In all corners of my life looking back, I was always searching for that inspiration and excitement that filled my veins when I was a kid.
That excitement of Christmas mornings, family holidays in our tent or caravan, and my sister and I being carried by my dad in our pj’s to the car so that we could sleep through the night while we drove to our holiday.
Memories of riding our pushbikes during the summer with our mates, climbing trees, and making camps wherever we felt. Village fetes and discos and falling in and out of love. We felt free, and as long as we had our bikes we had our liberty!
Getting back to Turkey when I was reflecting on all those memories looking out to the setting sun and feeling empty. ‘What exactly was going to fulfill me and keep this constant chatter of unrest at bay?’
I didn’t know, but I knew I had to keep searching, or what was the point of actually living? I felt sad, unfulfilled, depressed, and worn out!
THE KEY TO HAPPINESS
Happiness does have to come from within.
Have you ever known people, who have lots of money and are still unhappy? Heard of lottery winners who say ‘winning the lottery ruined my life?’ You could also be very successful in your career but always be unhappy? Or, maybe you know people, who have nothing but come over as the happiest of all?
I like this quote by Tony Robbins he says;
‘Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.’
And this one by Paulo Coelho;
‘Success does not come from loving one’s work recognized by others. It is the fruit of the seed that you lovingly planted.’
I discovered that if you’re not living a life that is congruent with who you are, then you quickly become unhappy. It’s simple as that!
I was my most fulfilled and happy when I was helping and giving to others and when I wasn’t stressed out trying to figure it out — just being in the moment, feeling inspired, and in gratitude with life and what I had around me. The love of sharing with others, whether that is giving a hug, a smile, or your time. The essential simpleness of pure and unconditional love.
When you don’t make things about you and you get out of your way, life then does become much lighter.
There was a time in my life when things didn’t look the way they do now; it was a very dark time for me that ranged over a decade. I would ‘pop’ in and out of this darkness from time to time, but it would always creep back like when I was sitting on the beach in Turkey looking out to sea.
One thing lead to another and over the years I became depressed, suicidal, withdrawn, and even breathing was an effort. I had gone into what some would call a nervous breakdown or burnout, depression. Whatever, you want to call it. I know that it felt like an unrelenting, restlessness of my hell.
I did get out of it because I’m here now writing this, but slowly, slowly, bit by bit I got back on my feet and was able to deep breath again. Smell the roses and feel appreciative of what I had around me. See the beauty of life and its wonders. Become inspired and get those creative juices flowing once more. Permitting myself to dream, have desires, and think BIG. And why not, why not indeed?
Isn’t life about being happy, living out our whys, and our purpose? In my fruitful working life, I have had the honor of working with the very rich and the not so. On both scales, I have seen happiness and deep sadness.
However, where I’ve come across a balance of the two, it’s been when I’ve been with people who have found what their purpose in life is.
Purpose in life, you may ask? Just asking that question a few years back would have made you sound all airy-fairy. But nowadays, people are waking up to feeling there is more to life, exploring the connection to all living things. Being one with nature and having that deeper knowing that we too can live our lives on our terms.
Life happens, and we all get knockbacks from time to time, but it’s being able to get back up from them and not allow our past to define us. Being present in the moment and being in gratitude for what we do have — seeing that cup half full and not the other way round.
FINALLY AND TO SUMMARIZE
I’m where I am today because I was ready and searching for the tools to show me a way of how I was going to make all those dreams I had as a child and as an adult come to fruition. Yeah, it’s all very well dreaming about something. I could imagine my stomach muscles into a six-pack, but if I don’t get up and do any exercise, then that six-pack might stay a dream.
It’s about educating yourself and being open to what is going on in the world today. How technology is changing and if we genuinely want to exchange our time for freedom we then need to free up that time. And we need a business model that’s going to support us financially into our later years of life.
It’s also being around like-minded people because a lot of what we set out to do we fall short in the doing of it. A day for some or a few months later for others. Think of those New Years’ resolutions. If you do them that is?
Maybe you have heard of sustainable transformation? If not, basically it comes down to who you surround yourself with and that it will make a massive impact on your success — the circle of influence and how birds of a feather flock together. There are so many different ways of saying the same thing.
I listened to my circle of influence for way too long and it got me paralyzed with fear. It was the wrong circle! I had to become that distressed with my life and that depressed that I had given myself two choices. Get out of here or make some drastic changes Michele, and start doing something about it.
For me, it was the pain of being stuck in the same pattern I had been in most of my life. I had procrastinated for so long listening to fear-based thinkers gaining little pleasure in ‘putting off’ what action was needed on my part to change my situation.
I’ve had to change my mindset, of course, to be able to see things differently. Realize that there is only me to blame for where I am if I don’t like it. Then do something about it! So I did. I wanted to find my passion and become fulfilled. After all, it’s not just for the ‘chosen few’ or the ‘lucky ones’ it’s for me too, and I absolutely can live my life doing the things I love to do.
I made those changes that would take me to a ‘normal life’ which as I’ve stated was not for me. And bring me to an ‘extraordinary life’. And I have to tell you, it excites me to think about what we have at our fingertips now.
I will leave you with these lovely quotes –
‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’
Mark Twain 1835 – 1910
So my question is…‘ Where will you sail too?’
Thanks for reading. I bet you could do with another cuppa by now?
What does it mean to you
To live an ‘Extraordinary life?’
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