Why my friend Jen matters to me

My dear friend Jen came for lunch yesterday or perhaps I should say, ‘our’ dear friend Jen came for lunch yesterday as she has become very dear to Paul too.

Like Bev and Lisa, Jen came into my life when we were both older. That was in November 2015 when I was 70 – one month before I met Paul.

We were both attending a 3-day personal development weekend. There were 150 people in the room. She was sitting in the row right behind me so we would both share our lunch breaks.

We clearly liked each other so here’s the question that intrigues us both.

Read moreWhy my friend Jen matters to me

What makes Lisa so special

Perhaps it’s that time of the year.  Or perhaps it’s because we met for lunch yesterday.  Whatever the reason, it started me thinking about my friendship with Lisa.

My very first experience of her was of her open heart, generosity and thoughtfulness.

We first met through an online breakfast group many years ago and, at one point, decided to meet and go together to a special women’s event.

We met for coffee and she handed me a wrapped gift.  Inside was one of those beautiful Paperchase notebooks so I could take notes at the event.

To this day, many years later, love, generosity and giving are Lisa’s hallmark.  This is who she is.

Read moreWhat makes Lisa so special

To celebrate my friendship with Bev

Today I feel compelled to write about my friendship with my dearest friend Bev.

The reason she’s on my mind is that today we’re meeting for lunch and spending time with her is always such a joy.

Bev and I met about 10 years ago when I was 63 or so.  The reason I mention this is because I’m always hearing people say how hard it is to make friends when you’re older but this is not at all my experience!

In fact, I met all of my friends (male and female) who have become really close since I turned 60.

Read moreTo celebrate my friendship with Bev

7 ways to thrive in a challenging world

So there we are – or, more accurately, there I am, again.

I thought life had stopping pissing on me but no.  As I said, there I am, again.

Except this time it feels different.

Last time I felt numb, in shock.  It took me a while to recover.

This time, not only am I not in shock, I’m feeling at peace.  I know that I will overcome this latest challenge – in the face of no evidence whatsoever.  Is this hope?

So why the difference?

Read more7 ways to thrive in a challenging world

If you want to know the secret to staying younger longer, read on

When I was 14 years old, my Dad asked me what I wanted to do after I finished school.  I shrugged.  He said, “In that case, you will become a trilingual secretary because you’re good at languages.”  I replied, “OK, can I go out and play now?”

And that’s how I became a secretary.  I carried on as a secretary for the next 18 years.

I had many jobs along the way.  Most were OK.  What I liked best about them was the friends I made.

Fast forward 18 years and things were changing.  Not only were there social changes as well as changes in women’s expectations; there were also changes in my personal life.

My then husband, Jim, had been very unhappy in his job in Rank Xerox in Welwyn Garden City, and had applied for a very different position in their Gloucester site.

He never gave me a thought.

Read moreIf you want to know the secret to staying younger longer, read on

How to rekindle romance no matter how long you’ve been together

On 12 September 2018 I published a blog called ‘How To Really Listen And Make People Fall In Love With You’.

It was a detailed blog about the mechanics of listening.

The ability to listen well makes such a huge difference to our relationships that I feel compelled to address it again from a slightly different angle.

What triggered this train of thought was watching Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt, his wife, being interviewed.  They are relationship gurus and have been working for decades helping couples who are struggling with their relationships.

Interestingly, they articulated what I know to be true from my own experience which is that poor communication between people leads to toxic relationships by which I mean relationships where you feel unloved, unimportant, even invisible as well as angry, frustrated and resentful.

Read moreHow to rekindle romance no matter how long you’ve been together

How to wake up to what matters to you the most

Every week, I record one of Paul’s and mine favourite weekly television dramas.

So here we are, ready to start watching – or, at least, I am.

Paul’s looking pensive and distracted so I thought I’d wait for him to refocus.  Instead, he does something else.

He starts talking about techie stuff that I know is very close to his heart and which takes up a lot of his time, effort and attention.

My mind’s half on the programme I thought we were going to watch, and I start feeling a little impatient and put out.

Read moreHow to wake up to what matters to you the most

How this simple phrase stopped a fight before it started

Paul and I were having one of our stimulating conversations which I really enjoy when he, unexpectedly, asked me, “Do you regard yourself as a strong woman?”

Without the slightest hesitation I firmly replied, “Absolutely!”  He looked sceptical and commented, “Actually, I don’t think so.”

In years gone by I would immediately have felt defensive and challenged him, “What do you mean!  Are you suggesting I’m weak?!”

But I didn’t.  Instead I remembered another conversation with a woman friend many years ago.

Read moreHow this simple phrase stopped a fight before it started

How to really listen and make people fall in love with you

I’d been married about 20 years, feeling unloved and unimportant when I met a man at one of the workshops I liked to attend.

His name was Bob (not his real name) and we were working in the same group.  He appeared to be bowled over by me, a real novelty for me.  Nobody had ever been bowled over by me before and my marriage wasn’t exactly conducive to me thinking of myself as an attractive woman.

But that wasn’t the thing that struck me about him.  It was that he found me interesting! That was even more of a novelty for me!

Is it any wonder that I fell head over heels in love with him?  Well, I didn’t exactly fall in love with him but I did go to bed with him – not because of the sex but because I’d felt lonely and practically invisible for such a long time and here was a man who really listened to me.

Read moreHow to really listen and make people fall in love with you

Why expressing love in your relationship is not as easy as you might think

Jim, my ex husband, was my first real relationship and I was his. Neither one of us knew anything about expressing love.

We believed that love was just a feeling.

If being with Paul, my partner, taught me anything, it is that love is more than a feeling; it’s a verb. It’s behaviours. But not just any old behaviours.  It’s behaviours that our partner actually recognises as love.

Read moreWhy expressing love in your relationship is not as easy as you might think

Grow Your Confidence and Fabulous Relationships will Follow