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