A change in direction

30/12/2019

The end of the year, and of the 2010s decade. How quickly has that passed? The end of a year usually means a time of reflection of the months that have passed, what has been achieved, what hasn’t… which then usually leads to resolutions promised for changes to be made… often relating to health, home and career. Some of these will happen, many won’t (gym membership anyone?)… disappearing into the ether of time, along with any sense of strong willpower. When it coincides with a new decade, that can often be a springboard for deeper introspection and evaluation of this thing we call Life.

And so it is with this blog. I originally set it up when I was finishing my night school education to become a mental health therapist/counsellor. What a great privilege that has been. To sit with clients, to listen and hear their stories… to be allowed to walk alongside their personal journeys and to share in their challenges, struggles and successes as they forged forwards, with many a bittersweet moment as sessions finished and goodbyes were said when it was time for them to move on. In that time I also changed my direction in sports, and surprisingly found I enjoyed the challenge of running long distance. Unfortunately time did not permit the two to co-exist alongside the demands of a full-time job with a long commute. Something had to give, and that was the counselling, although I’m not ruling out a potential return to it one day, or to something along the lines of goal-orientated life coaching. Never say never. 😉

There has been a lot in the press over the last year regarding women and their place in the world, not only with regard to our “rights” but also how we are not following previous generations in how to live our lives as we age. When I was growing up it was common for my grandmother’s generation to have to give up work when they got married, where when she was born, women did not have the right to vote; for my mother’s generation to work until they had children and then stay home. For my generation, most women I know have always worked, whether that be full or part-time, depending on financial constraints and necessities (such as childcare).

I’m now of the generation that is not bound by the patterns of the past, where “middle-age” is no longer seen to be for those who have reached 40 plus… and where once when you reached 50, Life was only on a decline towards the very end (my mother once described to me… I’m nearer death than further away from it… how morbid)… now we are no longer confined by others’ expectations and beliefs of how we should act, where we should go, who we should be… rather, we are open to travel and exploration of what Life has to offer… to ideas that inspire us… to delicious opportunities and adventures that beckon…

And this is where I find myself… looking to try new things, travel to new places… to share these things with friends and loved ones, to challenge myself and to maybe… hopefully… inspire others and pass on some ideas through this website of my own experiences and adventures as an older woman.

So this website/blog will be getting a new design and a new name, although I’m keeping my old domains due to the posts I already have on this blog. If there are any subjects that you want to be discussed on here, experiences or places reviewed, please either add as a comment to this post or send me a message from the contact page.

Wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year, as well as an exciting and adventurous decade ahead!
Michelle


Sierra Leone Marathon 2013 – A new challenge #SLM13

10/02/2013

Last Monday a friend mentioned to me about the Sierra Leone Marathon that was taking place in May this year and wondered if I fancied doing it as I’ve been wanting to improve my running. Well, when I say running, I mean my attempted “interval training” on the gym’s treadmill. As my jaw dropped in disbelief at the word “Marathon”, she quickly mentioned that there were two other options: a half-marathon and a 5K run. I kinda liked the idea of a 5k run, even though I’d never managed it before without stopping. And so the seed was planted.

However, given that a 5K wouldn’t really be THAT much of a challenge and really… how could I fly all the way from London to West Africa for that… that seed sprouted into the idea of doing a half-marathon. I think I’m still in shock that I’m actually going to go and do this.

So, the basics!  This is for Street Child:

Print

As stated on their website:

“The children who eke their survival only by stealing, working for pitiful sums in often hazardous and/or demeaning conditions, or selling – often selling that which no-one should ever have to sell?

The children whose sum possessions are usually the rags you see on their bodies.

The children who sleep on the street in lorry parks, market stalls and other public places, hopelessly exposed to disease and predation.

The children with no hope of medical care when they inevitably fall ill.

The children with no secure or safe place – who can never relax.

The children more often viewed with hatred than concern in the places they live.

The children exposed to gangs and drugs instead of school and food.

The children with no visible prospect of education or development, condemned to parasitic life.

The children with no one to look after them.

The children whose life is almost certainly condemned to being brutish, short, and dangerous.”

A pretty damn worthwhile charity don’t you think?

Add to that the personal challenge from only being able to run a 4.5km on a treadmill in 25 minutes and getting myself fit enough in the roughly 12 weeks that is available, but also to fit it in around what is an already hugely packed schedule; not forgetting that as a life coach I have to be able to motivate my clients, so motivating myself should be a doddle right?  Not so.  After all, how many people find it easier to help others change things in their life, than their own!  Coaches (and counsellors) are no exception!

The aims:

*** to raise money and awareness through social media and blogging for Street Child (thereby helping others to eventually help themselves);

*** to blog updates showing the highs (and no doubt lows, hopefully not too many) of this personal challenge;

*** to get fitter;

*** to be able to complete a half-marathon;

*** and maybe, hopefully, inspire others who may be finding their current path a bit hard to walk at present.

I will also be looking at finding and utilising any resources I can, as well as listing them on the specific page I’ve created for this challenge, which can be found here!

If anyone has any questions, tips or thoughts… please do comment and share them.  I will endeavour to respond as soon as I can, either by comment reply or in a blog post.

Please do share and help me get Street Child’s message out there into the world. For twitter users, the hashtag is #SLM13. And for anyone that fancies joining in and running either a 5K, half-marathon or full marathon, please hop on over to their Marathon Page for more information, which can be found here.

My fundraising page can be found here and I will be adding that to each blog post I write.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Namaste
Michelle

© 2013 Michelle Payne


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