Spe­cial times

Susie lets her hair down and also meets some­one do­ing some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary

EDP Norfolk - - SUSIE FOWLER-WATT - ABOVE: Fiona, Steph and Susie

How do we judge whether or not we are suc­cess­ful? Is it to do with exam re­sults, the job we do, how much we earn, how well our chil­dren turn out? We know that many of those we would deem hugely suc­cess­ful don’t feel it them­selves. In fact, that kind of suc­cess can breed anx­i­ety and dis­sat­is­fac­tion.

I read a bril­liant sug­ges­tion the other day; that we should mea­sure suc­cess by how much fun we are hav­ing. Let’s face it, when we look back at life, the best bits are the times when we are hav­ing a laugh. Riches and plau­dits are not worth a jot if you are not en­joy­ing your­self.

The past year has been chal­leng­ing for me at times – as it is for so many of us in mid-life – with young chil­dren, el­derly par­ents and a full-time job. So I have de­cided I need to throw the weight of the world off my shoul­ders, let my trou­ble­some per­i­menopausal hair down and have a gig­gle.

And who bet­ter to do that with than your girl­friends? Highlights of the sum­mer so far have been two out­door con­certs. At Gary Bar­low in Thet­ford For­est we sang, cheered, ate chips and swapped prof­iteroles for rosé wine with the lovely group of ladies next to us. At Lionel Richie at Holkham I was danc­ing on the ceil­ing like I was a teenager.

But even on an un­event­ful day at home there is fun to be had. One of my best mo­ments of the sum­mer has been re­lax­ing with my hus­band in the glo­ri­ous sun­shine in the gar­den, while my daugh­ter climbed a tree and my lit­tle boy ran around a makeshift ob­sta­cle course. Sim­ple fam­ily plea­sures. Hap­pi­ness. Suc­cess!

One of the great priv­i­leges of my job as is that I get to dip into peo­ple’s lives – of­ten when some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary is hap­pen­ing. Ear­lier this year I wrote in this col­umn about a life skills course be­ing run for par­ents at Cat­ton Grove Pri­mary School in Nor­wich. The idea was if you help par­ents who may be strug­gling, you will also be help­ing their chil­dren.

This sum­mer, Fiona – the par­ent sup­port ad­vi­sor who ran the course – won a na­tional award from the BBC Ra­dio 4 pro­gramme All in the Mind. One of the par­ents who nom­i­nated her was Steph, who says that Fiona not only taught her life skills, she saved her life. When Steph was at her low­est ebb, it was Fiona she called. As a re­sult of their friend­ship, Steph’s world is now a much brighter place.

I in­ter­viewed both on Look East and it was very emo­tional. Fiona doesn’t have any med­i­cal or men­tal health train­ing, and she wasn’t look­ing for any grat­i­tude. She just has a huge heart. Or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things – it’s an hon­our to learn about their lives.

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