The Drawbacks of Goodness and Gratitude

What more can you do???

As you may already know, I walk a spiritual path, or try to. I long ago became realistic about being spirit in the human world, and don’t try for the flowing robes and carefree hair, barefoot in the grass, type approach. I’m not cynical, it just doesn’t work for me. There’s too much damned reality out there, and of course you can’t change the reality of others.

I used the word damned not as a swear word but as a fact. To many crazy mixed up people doing far too much damage in all areas of life and all walks of life. I’m not being a negative nelly, I just watch the news. Yes I know a lot is dramatised, but far too much is not.

Deep Breath

I HATE approaching any form of negativity or negative speak, but I’ve actually concluded that trying to be good and decent, honourable and truthful in this world, is not a good thing. I haven’t reached cynic status yet, nor am I wearing a tin foil hate in case they are trying to steal my brainwaves. 🤣 Good luck to them if they are that alone would prevent any alien invasion!

Let me explain. I genuinely try to treat the world in the way I would wish to be treated. I’m no saint I’ve just been hurt so many times I truly don’t want to be that person. I want people to feel good around me, safe, supported, able to be themselves warts and all without any judgement coming from this direction. It’s why I write.

I make mistakes, I’m very human, and to me that should make you more compassionate…But…

Gratitude can suck

First post I saw on Facebook last night

Odd statement I know, but as with all good things it’s how you use them that counts. One of the reasons the wheels often come off the lives of good people, human people who try so hard to be what they believe in, is that they forget to put themselves into the equation. They forget that they are as deserving as everyone else of a happy, content, peaceful, loving and loved life. Loving goes out…love coming in provides you with a much needed top up.

It’s true that you can get that love from Source Energy, insert name of your deity or joy in nature. Add in pets and those are the three most healing things in this world in my experience, accompanied by some beautiful background music. You can get such great feelings from all those things. But let’s be real here..

Don’t be too good

It is very difficult to remain in that great space of whatever makes you the happiest, when metaphorically speaking you’re staggering around with several knives of human angst in your back. But let’s work with the negative here…

Sort of…🤣

When you’re trying to walk a spiritual path, or just be a good person, you’re often accused of being selfish if you stand up for yourself.

It is worth remembering that we are trained to be good in order to keep us acquiescent. Train someone to be good and you have endless opportunities to use their humanity to keep them in place. If you’re a loving parent raise a rebel with a heart of gold.

It’s also worth remembering that making you wrong gives others that wonderful feeling of being both right and superior. This is not good for them or you. It’s a moral duty to stand up for yourself. 😍

Of course it’s how you stand up for yourself that matters. My first suggestion is that we replace the word good with balance and equality. That we expect the treatment we try to deliver ourselves.

Yes people will tell you shouldn’t expect the best but that’s because they don’t intend to deliver it. They will ask you to bear their slings and arrows, whilst telling you off for having expectations of decency. Don’t fall for it. Tell them you expect respect and kindness and refuse to back down. It will honestly do them good. Seriously.

In which case we must also have a reality check. The saying I labelled ‘sort of’ in the image above reminds me that although I’m trying my best I will sometimes not be at my best. Not fully aware of what others are going through, not properly tuned in. This may be because I’m distracted by something, or it may be that there’s something I don’t know that would change everything and either I haven’t been told or I’ve forgotten to stop and think.

I can face the humanity in me, and it’s something we should all do. Spiritually I was given the strong impression by humans teaching on this path that I should be more spiritual, whilst being deeply hurt by the things they were doing and saying. That made me want to mentor from a different place. How can a human truly teach Spirituality?

My answer is to work closely with my Guide and let him and the other guides do that, it’s quite frankly amazing. They have the full overview to work from, I don’t. I’m not giving my power away either, they need me to help them to reach more people and help them, That’s my role and forget ego, my life experience and my truth tells me that this is the right way.

I just threw that in as people love to tell me that doing the right thing for others represents a failure in me. A demonstration of how truly trying to be decent often gets you shot in the foot instead. 🤣

Shock everyone?

Let’s do that! Let’s be decent, let’s be a force for good, and let’s be beautifully human and stubborn about it but, let’s also consider the following:

  • Being ‘good’ must not drain you.
  • Being decent must not take everything from you including your sense of decency, and self.
  • Just aim to be the best version of yourself, load regular updates, but DO NOT load the updates ‘soft’ or ‘pushover’.
  • Never be too great to listen to others, or so daft as to fully take on board what are only their opinions based on their life experience.
  • Be grateful for all the good things, but don’t try to be grateful for the hurtful ones. It’s one thing to know they taught you a lot, but don’t keep embracing that method of learning. There are better ways to learn that are more effective. You can know that sky diving without a parachute will kill you, or you can try it to find out. Once you know that someone hurts you or something in your life isn’t working, grab a parachute and jump into endless possibilities for happiness.

I never want you to hear these words

Image from
(poem ‘I wanna be a fairy’ by Em Lynas)

Not long before she died I spent a week with my mum when she was taking her Alzheimers drugs and was beautifully lucid.

She looked at me one day and gave me a stratospheric level of compliment, the honour of which is hard to put into words, she said:

“You’re everything your father was aren’t you?”

Pause for effusive thanks, joy, and expressions of respect for that amazing moment. Wait for it…

“And it’s done you about as much good as it did him hasn’t it.”

It didn’t do me much good because I didn’t understand what true decency and goodness is. It’s taking care of the self too. The only person who will put you front and centre is you. You can’t be that in anyone else’s life, but you must must must be that in your own. It’s not selfishness, it’s pure self preservation.

Long blog, hard to sound like a positivity princess throughout, but I’m more of a realistic rebel. Think princess with a tattered dress, one shoe missing, covered in dust and grime from the needless battles of life, with earrings and tiara still firmly in place and sparkling. Don’t ask how I broke the wand though.

To your happiness and self preservation

Deb xx


Humanity Plus Authenticity

What quality do you value most in a friend?

I’ve watched the Philip Schofield situation unfold with horror this week. So many accusations, no supporting evidence that he did anything more than have an adult to adult affair. Caught in the fallout from his brother’s crimes. And what happens? His so called friends run to the hills. I’d be disgusted with myself.

When a friend lies to you it’s important to take a step back and put their behaviour into perspective. Firstly, what kind of friend have they been to you? Secondly, why did they feel they had to lie? With Schofield I can see precisely why, it’s obvious.

Nothing to do with the age of the parties involved, older/younger relationships are magnificently common. Simply a married man in a position where being gay was something you kept quiet about. In a marriage to a woman he loves, with beautiful daughters. What’s more he’s famous, and that as we know brings with it 100 times the trouble that any member of Joe Public would experience. For us it can be private, for them it’s national even international.

Then there’s the other party, young, unused to fame, you don’t want to ruin his life, have him hounded. Add that all together and you lie. It’s text book.

Humanity & Authenticity

I’m human. Anyone who meets me needs to accept that. I do my best and I also fall over that humanity far too often. As such I want my friends to be human with me. Just that.

I don’t want friends living a life of pretence because they’re embarrassed about who they are. That’s insulting to us both. I can accept my humanity and I can accept theirs.

If they lie to me I will sit down, if necessary, and hear them out. I’ve had people in my life who weren’t entirely truthful, sometimes because it’s not their truth to tell, or because they feel someone else needed protecting. I didn’t have to judge, I could see actions not matching words.

It’s all a bit silly but I get it and it’s not worth a discussion. Taken as a whole they were worth far more than a few human glitches. Which we all have.

Authenticity is important in any relationship because it means that you have trust.

I have one particular friend who has stood by me, and I her, through thick and thin. Without question. If she murdered someone I’d immediately ask what they did to her. I could never abandon her no matter what. To turn my back on her, to throw her to the wolves, it’s unthinkable.

We would both give each other a serious piece of our minds, we don’t have to pull punches, tell each other that we were furious, but I know she’d stand by me and I by her. I could hear us saying “Yes she’s entirely wrong, but touch her and you’ll have me to deal with.”

With Philip Schofield I would have said that I’m disappointed that he felt he had to lie to me, but to misquote Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

I know that I too have been seen when I was younger and too scared to speak my truth.

You shouldn’t call yourself a friend in the first place if you can’t accept that humanity comes with a huge dose of fear of being wrong. You have it yourself so you should know. Frankly I’d like to know how many people on ITV should also be fired to not telling the truth. I mean come on, they’re in the media!


Is a whole not a selection of a person. What I value the most is a trust relationship with a realistic view of the other as human, allowing each other to be human, and being a safe space for that to be possible. I also appreciate a reality check when I need one.

What I want to give and what I want to receive, is unconditional acceptance of the human condition.

As my mum would have said “if you committed a crime I would take you to the police but I’d stand by you and never stop loving you.

If you want me to be perfect – no point in connecting. If you’re not perfect – that’s okay as long as you’re not afraid of that.

To our global imperfection and doing our best.

Deb xx

The Emmett Technique

This is how you should feel inside

As I’m sitting here in the sun waiting for my husband to finish his Emmett treatment, I fold that I didn’t feel like playing solitaire on my phone.

What should I do? I asked myself. Then I thought ‘why not a blog on Emmetts, after all you are supposed to be here to help.’

Nothing short of a miracle

When I first had this technique for lower back pain I walked out thinking ‘that didn’t just happen!’ I’d walked in to that room in a lot of discomfort, and using a very simple-seeming technique the therapist, now friend, had sent me out with no pain, able to balance for the first time in over 30 years.

It transpired that when I pulled my back all those years ago, a major muscle that controls back posture had tightened up to protect my back, and was still in shock as it were.

In less than half an hour I could move without pain, and stand on either foot, perfectly balanced. I’d never been able to do that as a child.

Since I discovered Emmetts I’ve taken it sent many friends to Rob, all of whom thought I was evangelical but deluded, all of whom walked out saying versions of ‘That’s the closest thing to a miracle I’ve ever experienced’. The only person he was unable to help had two fractured vertebrae, and he sent her back to her doctor to tell them that if it was muscular Emmett would work. So she still benefited.

Hidden benefits

My husband and I religiously have the technique once a month now. It helps to ensure we don’t develop sorting imbalances through squash and badminton, and keeps the body aligned. He also drains The lymphatic system.

However, it does something else that I certainly didn’t expect. When your muscles are helped to relax a lot of what you thought was tension within goes. This also eases your movement of course.

Neck tension – forget it, and the headaches that go with it. Stomach in knots? It will unknot it. Stiff back? Emmetts will relax it. When you lose all that muscular tension the body unwinds and so do you.

Because your worth it

You can look it up on line,, but it is all over the world. If your body isn’t moving easily and naturally, and providing you’ve seen a doctor for any pain, it’s worth a try at the very least, and will change your life if you let it.

But the best part is that Emmetts has to be ‘locked in’. So the practitioner realigns you, and if you’re still not comfortable they can either adjust or (absolute truth coming) erase it. Literally undo everything they’ve done.

If you’re experiencing mobility issues related to your work, an old injury, a new muscular injury, stress and tension, it certainly can’t hurt to try it because…

You’re worth it!

To moving line a 20 year old

Deb xx

Marketing Plan?

I just discovered this poem that I clearly wrote about my work at a time when someone somewhere was trying to persuade me to join a marketing bandwagon and turn my clients into profit. Yes I know it’s sensible, no I can’t think that way, first and foremost people matter.

I hold my beliefs in the heart of me
They go to my core
They are everything I am
Not a reflection of other peoples’ views
They’re not up for grabs to the highest bidder
For sale as some sort of bribe
Or made wishy-washy to be safe
Or make money
I don’t market what I feel to be popular
Or spread the words that people want to hear
So thinly so that they become transparent
And you can see through to a different truth beneath
My beliefs are my life and my heart and my soul
I am my beliefs
My words are as true as I can communicate
To the people who are tired of marketing pizzazz
And strap-lines taken from the nearest bandwagon
Because they’re what we ought to say
Not what we believe
People who feel will hear me
And they will know that I speak sincerely
And even if I’m wrong in their eyes
They will know that I’m honestly wrong
Not dishonestly popular
I’m not selling a life based on my ideas
I’m selling inspiration for individual ideas
I feel because I am
And what I feel is real to me
I want you to be real for you too
Let’s enjoy the difference
Together we can be the change
YOU want to see

Deb Hawken

Too Many Lonely Coffees

Not my happiest poem but I’m sure many will relate
I’ve sat in many coffee shops nursing cups of coffee
Watching people interacting in an ordinary way
My loneliness is crippling but no one gives a toffee
Somehow they know (how could they know?) 
That I was born this way

Fate played an icy game when I came into this world
Setting fingers of indifference upon a tiny child
I’m a normal willing member of the human race but
Fate opened my heart to love and then left an empty space

My cup is overflowing but no one wants to share
I care so much and love so hard
I'm puzzled by despair

I cannot help but wonder what places me apart
Unless of course they’re deafened by
Tears falling in my heart

Deb Hawken ©
January 2016

If you’re struggling like this, and know this feeling only too well, do seek help. We live in a society now that struggles to connect and wasn’t raised to recognise loving, decent, people. A society where kindness is seen as weakness, or a total lack of understanding what’s really going on. Also remember that because of my spiritual learning I now stand in my own space, and don’t take other peoples’ thoughts, words, and actions, on board as having anything to do with me…they aren’t.

Dancing Star

I became known as Deb Dancing Star due to my love of a saying by Nietzsche:

“One must have chaos in oneself
in order to give birth to a dancing star.”

I don’t entirely agree with that quotation now, but I still treasure it as one of the sayings that changed my life. In my spiritual work I support people who are finding this life too hard, they feel lost, but they’re not needing a one-size-fits-all package of support. For many those coaching packages work very well, but for the lost they often ask for answers to questions people don’t even have.

The loser

I tried many business courses to try to learn how to promote my work, and often came uncomfortably unstuck because the solutions they were offering didn’t fit my work, or me. How do you market “I have no idea what I will do for you when I meet you, but when I do I’ll pick up your energy and understand you instantly, faster than many would think possible, and I’ll be able to ‘see’ you.”

The so-called experts could only keep saying “build a coaching programme”. What they could not understand was that I don’t need a programme, and people often don’t need to go through a 6 week course to sort themselves out.

I do have one coaching form, described by my tutor at Newcastle College as hands down the best coaching document she’d ever seen, but it’s not a programme. It’s a 10 minute insight into yourself. I can interpret it, but many people can work through it and it becomes obvious. To me a simple, speedy, method of change has to be the best. We don’t need more complication when we’re just trying to get up in the morning, stay sane, go to bed and fail to sleep.

As you may imagine, many coaches who thought they were the last word on coaching had absolutely no idea what to do with me, and the results were often extremely uncomfortable. I walked out of one course after the first day. Obviously I was the loser in the opinion of the leader and the room, but I also know that I would have understood someone who didn’t fit into that room or that system. It wasn’t even his system, he was delivering it for someone else. When I read that guy’s book he was the most understanding person of all kinds of challenges that people face. Pity it wasn’t him delivering the course.

My take on Nietzsche

As I’ve learned more from my Guides I’ve understood that chaos is not an essential part of life and living. So whilst I would say that if you have chaos inside then do turn it into a positive, become a person who dances through life emanating sparkles. Use that negativity to create positive change.

What the saying did for me was to focus me on the idea that your negativity is not something to be feared, and I’ve concluded that it’s vital. When you feel like moaning about everything do so, and listen. You will not only be telling yourself precisely what’s wrong, you’ll also be giving yourself the solutions.

“I don’t want to go to work today” is a straightforward indicator of the problem and solution. Find another job, retire if you can, sort out your finances and if it’s possible start that business you’ve dreamed of. Maybe retrain.

Constantly telling people how unhappy you are in a relationship and everything your partner is doing wrong, is the message, and of course it’s also the solution. This person is not for you. Don’t bother about right or wrong, who’s to blame, why it isn’t your fault. Just do what you know you need to do – get happy!

Too generic?

Yes I’ve offered completely obvious information above. Information you’ve known for a very long time. But have you ever taken it seriously? Have you ever accepted that all negative speak means you’re unhappy? Unfortunately we live in a world where intellect and ‘mental health’ often obscure the blindingly obvious:

You won’t heal your mind until you put your life right. All the time you’re troubling your mind with misery it will not magically turn itself to happiness and success. As such your negative self-speak is vital!

More unique?

Cycling back to the way I work, we are all unique. When it comes to the everyday, what upsets my husband doesn’t upset me, and what irritates the whatsit out of me doesn’t even register on his radar. As such telling anyone that something shouldn’t bother them, isn’t a problem, or they’re being a bit silly, is completely unacceptable. The important point of those courses was that the person I am was never helped even though I’d paid good money. It would shatter me if someone paid me money and went home feeling worse.

The only true way to work with people is to see their uniqueness, to understand that a life you know nothing about has affected them in their own unique way. That what is or isn’t a problem to you is irrelevant in that room. That they are upset and your job is to help them find a route through to the other side in a way that is comfortable for them. They have to tell you that they’re helped, no matter what you think.

The Avatar films

I’m sort of a fan, I love the ideas about the way their societies run, I cringe at the violence.

For those who may not have seen them, they are set in the future on another planet inhabited by a very gentle race who have no violence and no means of dealing with such. We humans invade, try to take it over, and start slaughtering them. One way is to create copies of their bodies and then somehow some of the team are connected to those bodies and can live amongst them. Obviously those humans fall in love and eventually one chooses to change and becomes one of what we would call the aliens.

The thing I love about those gentle people is that they don’t say “I love you” they say “I see you”. That to me is the most profound and important difference. To see each other not as a reflection of us that is either the same, better (enter jealousy), or not so good (enter believing that you’re doing better than you are).

I see you as you are neatly encompasses my work. I’m a psychic empath (as are many people on this planet who are completely unaware of that fact), I feel how people are when I’m with them, I may politely agree that you seem very happy, even though I can feel the stress. What I don’t do under any circumstances is start reading someone who hasn’t asked me to do so. That to me is highly rude and the height of unprofessionalism. So I will know without rudely interfering to find out what I’m picking up.

When I heard and understood that line in Avatar, I realised that I do see people. The odd thing is that in over 40 years of being aware of this ability, I have very rarely seen a bad person. I have seen many who are finding themselves wanting, but inside all of us is a beautiful soul, we are all wise people, we just forget all that on the way down the birth canal and become confused by humanity. Most people are an exercise in gorgeousness waiting to escape.

How to be a Dancing Star

  • Listen to yourself moan
  • Take it seriously
  • Make notes
  • Allow yourself to be you
  • Take the action you need to take
  • Do not let anyone else tell you that you’re wrong

You have a right to say you’re unhappy, and a right to design your own solution.

I did that when I was 34. I lost my entire family and all but two friends because my ex worked very hard to ensure that happened. It was the first time I ‘did’ my life my way. Did it hurt yes? Would I do it again – YES!

I do understand and you know where I am

To being the only you happily

Deb xx


Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on

Here is a waterfall. It hasn’t decided to be a waterfall. The water was there, the drop was there, the water found its way there and then the only option was to flow downwards. Gravity is in charge.

When you want to make changes in your life you should stop and work out why you want to make changes, why you want to change specific things, why it matters, why you’re feeling that way. Then you need to go with the flow to bring in that change.

But what is the flow in life? It’s following your feelings and emotions. You can deal with logic, but logic can be a trickster. You may want to do something that will cost you money and logic will tell you that you can’t afford it. Maybe you can’t, but creativity says there may be another way to create the same thing. You could improve your house rather than sell it.

Attitude is everything and other useful chestnuts

Attitude is everything, and attitude is often decided by the past, considering we only recall 25% of the past accurately it’s rather a risky thing to base decisions upon. Dad told you that you were useless, you’ve been living that idea, you want to do something really different and honestly believe you can. Stop at that point…don’t cycle back to dad. Otherwise the attitude making the decisions is not yours.

This is where feelings and emotions are important, if you feel that you can do something and your instinct tells you that you can, you have to learn to trust that. If you do trust it and take steady steps towards whatever it is you want to do, you will succeed. Maybe not exactly as you wished, or in a different way, but you will take steps forward that can be built on.

If your why is coming from you not someone else, and if you’re not living their why not!

Water flows in one direction

Rivers flow to the sea. They don’t question it, logic it out, worry about it, when did you last see a confused river? They know what they are and what they do and they do that.

If you can be more like a river and flow forward in life your, on your river of life, allowing yourself to be pulled by your own gravity, your own dreams, your own self-beliefs, your own inner calling. If you can silence the worry in your gut, the chatter in your head, and go with the flow giving it a go, you’ve taken the first step towards flowing with your life, not against your life. If you’re mindful and monitor your feels at every step, you can readjust at any point, which gives you a greater chance of success, or do I mean happiness?

I definitely mean happiness.

Success and happiness are two very different things, success may bring money but it may also bring anxiety, stress, loneliness, and so on. If you’re very happy in your success then you’re successful, if not you’re still not successful. Oh…and don’t forget to define what success means for you.

That river of life

Many years ago I was asked to do a reading for a young man from Australia. He’d come over to the UK in the hope of making a success of his musical career but it hadn’t worked out before he had to go home. I can’t recall why but he did. He was so upset that he was going backwards in life.

I honestly didn’t know what to say. What’s the point of smiling and saying it’s all fine to someone who feels the exact opposite? So I asked my guide Amos to help. Here’s what he said that may be useful for you.

There is no going backwards in life. You left Australia to come forward to the UK, now you go forward on the river of your life to Australia. Leaving the UK doesn’t mean you won’t be successful. Just sit in your boat, put your paddles away, let the river of your life take you in the only direction it flows, forward, and watch out for your opportunities. But you have not failed and you are not going backwards, it’s not even possible.

That young man went back to Australia, joined a band, and the last I heard they were doing well. I hope that continued, but if it didn’t I hope he put the paddles marked “worry” and “failure” down, settled back in the boat, and travelled forward on his river looking for the next opportunity for happiness.

Trust your river, you access it through your heart truth, and your gut and emotions will tell you whether you’re listening properly. Use your ears and eyes to gather information, ensuring that what your ears hear your eyes confirm, and vice versa, and be open to everything good! We can’t control the direction, but we can control how we get there…aim for happily.

To your happiness

Deb xx


Partnered alone
It’s unfashionable to be selfish 
Unnatural not to care more for others than yourself
But you have needs and wishes
that aren’t compatible with mine
Which means that either I care more for you than me
And you care more for me than you
Or you can’t be who you are
And I can’t be who I am
And we can’t be
So will we be selfish or will we be self-ish?
Something like ourselves
An altered version
Comfortable and complete
Because we want to make each other
Not break each other

Deb Hawken

Things I Thought I Needed

When I was young I felt like no one and nothing.

I’d dreamed of going to university, flying the nest, travelling the world, and having a great career as an interpreter in foreign climes. Instead my parents took me out of school aged 16 because I had one bad year where school was boring and I was well ready to go to college, and as a result I didn’t even get an O’level.

They put me into a job I had never wanted, thinking they were doing the right thing, and that was when my life fell apart. No meaningful education, no prospects, decades of okay jobs that didn’t match up to my dreams.


I still had dreams though, but I lacked confidence as I’d never finished my education and had no idea what I was capable of. In those days it was a bad thing not to have an O’level and you were turned down many times pre-interview. I knew it was bad when you needed a minimum of 6 O’levels to sell jewellery on a market stall. Oddly I learned years later that if you had a degree and went for an interview where there was an Oxbridge graduate, just give up and walk out because they’d get the job. But that was also years ago.

Oddly, for a person born in 3″ stiletto heels, I developed a fancy to do a martial art. This was so un-me it was ridiculous. Everyone laughed. Then I met Tony. We were in Bristol Christmas shopping one dark, cold, December evening, when a young man who was clearly out of his mind with drugs reeled up behind us.

Tony told me to get back to the car park now, and was concerned that I froze. Truth was I hadn’t been with him when he parked the car and didn’t know Bristol. However, the outcome of that misunderstanding was wonderful.

Two degrees and a black belt later

Long story short, I’d decided I wanted to be a history lecturer as not only did I love the subject I’d learned about its importance in the here and now. If politicians had recognised the importance of history the Twin World Towers may still be standing. I know that sounds very dramatic, but one of our lecturers, an expert on the middle east warned us, obviously he didn’t know exactly what the targets would be, but he told how terrorism would arise and it did. I wanted to understand the past to help the future.

At the time I started Taekwon do I was also doing a history degree at Bath Spa. We’d realised that we could live on Tony’s income, and I made a bit doing readings in between fretting over essays and seminars, I was finally where I wanted to be, and filled with hope.

Unfortunately you need a first class honours degree in order to be accepted to do a doctorate, you could do an MA to PhD, which meant if the MA was going spectacularly well you could skip a step. But, and this is one of the biggest buts of my life, my father died during my second year and I dropped 5% in my marks across the board, I did pull back in the third year though.

I missed the mark I needed by 0.5%. The university had told me that I wouldn’t need to put in a special circumstances form, my work was sent out to external examiners (I was nearly always in the group that got lumbered with that one) and he dropped everyone’s marks that year. The students whose work wasn’t sent out were safe, so the consistently more enthusiastic students lost out. Had I completed that form my marks would have been upheld. I use the word enthusiastic, because when you love what you do it becomes easy. We can all be the best at the right thing.


As you may imagine, dad’s dead, I’ve lost my dream, I was too depressed to even think about fighting this, and when I went to the university their best advice was to go into teaching. If I’d wanted to teach children, of which I have exactly none, I would have done a teaching degree. What I didn’t know at the time, and a heads up would have been useful, was that history is the perfect degree for journalism as we know how to research and present an argument. I actually learned that after my second degree. Don’t get too impressed by all this academic fluff, I was just thoroughly ‘annoyed’ and came out fighting.

Computer Science

I decided to get myself a qualification that would help me to get a real job! So I applied to a different university in Bath, was turned down, demanded a meeting (I was feeling stronger by then), and talked my way in. They had the audacity to tell me that they didn’t take people from ‘third rate university colleges’, I pointed out they were only university colleges because you had to have over 3000 students to drop the word college. Can you believe that? Nothing to do with having world-class tutors, just the head count. They did a tie up a couple of years later with some colleges, and the wonderful Bath Spa University is now the place it deserves to be. I’m so happy for them.

Oh Dear Lord! I didn’t realise but I’d chosen a conversion degree. I had no idea what that was. It meant that effectively my BA was wiped out and I became an MSc. It also meant that your degree was completed in 12 months, and you did 3 years work in 1. There were aspects I got on very well with, but the normal route into computing was via programming, and I couldn’t do that. I’m sorry but I’m a writer and programming is just punctuation. I could write out pseudo code (a computer programme in English) but I couldn’t put those words into dots, spaces, brackets, and question marks!

I got the degree, didn’t even call up to get the actual mark, avoided the graduation ceremony, and couldn’t get work because programming is the general way into a computing role, or was then.

So there I was, not just with the single degree I’d dreamed of, but with two. Yes my history degree still counts to me and it’s the only one I care about.

I went to work with my husband for a while, just temporarily until the job market opened up after Christmas and New Year, the company floundered, went down, we both lost our jobs on the same day, and the only work I could get was in my old career – Personal Assistant or glorified secretary.

Never give up hope

The PA job was the best I ever had. I supported the Bath Neurorehabilitation Unit and there was no more worthwhile work to my mind. The staff were the warmest I’d ever worked with, the boss was the best. I had one more job after that but we won’t talk about that. Polar opposites comes to mind.

During that difficult time, one thing held me up, that black belt. Not that I was ever any good, attitude gave me the one mark I needed to pass. It was the fact that I’d challenged myself in something I was not made for, no balance for a start never had been able to stand on one foot, and I won. To give you perspective, when you achieve a black belt you’re considered to finally be a beginner in Martial Arts, and the first rule of a fight? Don’t be there. Second rule? Run. I liked the first rule best.

I started to realise that I’d never needed a degree in order to be my best self or to be successful, and this part is something to teach your kids, or maybe explore yourself:

If you do what you love you will always put in the work and enthusiasm that is needed for anyone to be a success. Sir Alan Sugar left school with no qualifications…look at him. We rarely dedicate ourselves to things we don’t enjoy, logical things, without either failing or suffering from stress related illness.

I’ve had as many disappointments in my writing as anything else, magazines closing, editors changing and having a different vision, but I’ve never, ever, given up. There were times when the muse deserted me and I wrote mainly rubbish, but in any week I’d write something, even if it was only a social media post. Thanks to this blog and the absolutely generosity of the supporters, I have my mojo back. I am so grateful to you all.

The moral

Anything external to you is only useful if it’s perfect for you. I would have loved to be a journalist, but I didn’t know about that until some time later, and couldn’t get into the local papers as they were cutting back at the time. However, it wasn’t meant to be.

People can be qualified up to the eyeballs, but they may not be happy. Nothing is more important than feeling good. Nowadays I’m at peace with myself, I’m not a go-getter because I’m a writer. I’d love to be an equally adept promoter and I’m working on that, but the feeling and meaning has to come before everything else. That’s who I am.

Be yourself, don’t try to shoehorn yourself into a relationship, career, family, home, city, town, village, where you don’t fit. The things I didn’t need taught me what I did need, to love myself, but also to love my life, and to do that I needed to fit into that life seamlessly.

Hope those ideas help

To your happiness and many thanks to all who read and support this blog

Deb xx

Youth is Wasted on the Young

Photo by kat wilcox on

Like most young people I never thought I would ever utter such sacrilegious words. Now I’m finally young I understand how true they are.

I’m 65 years young, and next month I become a state pensioner, don’t ask me how that happened. It follows a prediction of my mother’s: one moment you’ll be 21 and the next you’ll be wondering what happened! WTF comes to mind!

My lost youth

Unfortunately my youth wasn’t lost having too much fun, far from it. Instead it was lost in sober living, not just alcohol free, but living free. Existence is not too strong a word.

I met the right kind of man, knew it was going to be a disaster, but a good girl wouldn’t rip two families apart by not marrying the perfect man with his own house and an expensive car would she?

In fairness my dad gave me a way out, and I will always be grateful for that, but someone else was more in love with my ex than I was, my mother. Like most mother’s she was also looking forward to the white wedding, which followed the Friends line nicely “You get the wedding of your dreams when your daughter gets married”. My mother was determined that I was getting married and told dad it was just pre-wedding nerves, I thought she was probably right. Stupid, stupid, stupid, because both she and I knew that wasn’t true.

At the age of 21 I was living a middle aged life, wearing middle aged clothes, doing a job I never wanted, living in a museum filled with ex’s grandparents 1930’s furniture, with original wallpaper and 4″ moth holes in the curtains. Everyone kept telling me how fortunate I was. Dear God!

I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, my anxiety was out of control, I was completely miserable, yet I was still getting up every morning, going to work, smiling, running an amateur dramatic group, and generally playing the role to perfection. Why I don’t have an Oscar inscribed with idiot I don’t know. But I do have a lot of empathy for people who are stuck in the wrong life wondering how the heck they got there, it’s only too easy, sadly.

Getting Younger

I finally plucked up the courage to leave him, lost my family and all but two friends, and was nearly homeless. Fortunately I met Tony and he took me and the cats in, thank God for real! I was so looked after.

I was excited! I’d met a rebel who’d moved 13,000 miles because he knew he was living the wrong life. He wore jeans and t-shirts (so youthful), drove a battered old car, and had brought a rather down-at-heel flat in South Norwood, South London, which I loved. Surprisingly the two cats that had never been without a garden settled like a dream and never once tried to get out. We were on a very fast main road.

Now I could start to live, I went to restaurants I’d never tried, nightclubs, had spontaneous holidays, and started my new wardrobe with my first pair of jeans and trainers. So cool. Except that Tony was a workaholic often doing 12 hour days, so when he got the job he wanted I landed up mainly living alone. It’s okay, we get each other, we’re still together, he had his issues and I had mine. But the fun mainly stopped.

Concerns of youth

I discovered that they don’t go until you’re not young. I never had confidence in my face, figure, hair, or personality. I always thought I was fat, until I put a collage of Tony and I together for our 25th wedding anniversary and realised I’d never been fat. I only thought so because my mum told me that all the women in our family were fat and I would have to watch every mouthful I ate for the rest of my life! That was the thinking in those days.

However, to be fair to a mother who did care greatly, thanks to her I’m in better shape at 65 than many people, and I know that controlling my weight certainly helped.

The other concern of youth which is no longer the province of women in this day and age, is not being good enough, not doing well enough, not achieving your dreams, being clever, being talented. You can quantify this list and more as ‘all the things you think you’re not with no basis in fact’.

As those of us who have been there know, the more time you waste thinking about what you’re not the more time you’re not thinking about who and what you want.

Post menopause!

I looked forward to mine, which helped enormously, but even so there were a few moments where my hormones got a lecture about the treatment I expected, and one summer’s day where Tony had to take me out on a drive in an air conditioned car because 89 degrees doesn’t need a hot flush! We drove for hours!

SUPER IMPORTANT TIP: Post 45, air conditioning is a vital component of any car that’s going to have a woman in it!

For those who dread ageing

This was when I finally became young.

Once you’re older than a certain age the concerns of youth literally have no place. No point worrying about your figure, you’ve figured out it’s going to do its own thing. No point worrying about wrinkles, they will appear, there is help nowadays, but avoidance is futile. No point worrying about grey hair, there is hair dye!

More importantly, if you’ve been wise and worked on yourself until you’re happy with the person you are, learned your life lessons and put them into action, you will stop caring what other people think of you.

Your career will be rocketing behind you, and as you can’t travel back in time it’s pretty much a done deal. Your children will be making their own life and you will be as helpless as you were the day they were born and you were just praying that you could keep them alive.

After decades of hearing the same criticisms it becomes water off a duck’s back. You also become more aware of yourself as an equal human amongst over 7 billion other equal humans, and wonder (sometimes out loud) why any fallible human has the nerve to criticise anyone else. My faults may not be your faults but they are all faults.

Youth is not wasted on the old

Another hopeful moment. You can dwell on ageing or ignore it. I suggest you ignore it.

There’s a lot of bad press around ageing, a lot of threats from the medical profession, the media who tries to help the young cancel us, the youth who think we’ve screwed up and they’re going to do a much better job (yeah right, we all thought that), that we’re too expensive and rather out-of-line for expecting a pension from the money we have paid, and blame us for a history that was history way before we were born.

Ignore the bad press, ignore the threats, take care of yourself, have fun, lots of fun. You have the time for the holidays now. Get out there and enjoy all the things you’ve never been able to do. Live, laugh, and be happy.

Most people will tell you they never feel older than 30 inside, and it’s true, although I prefer 40, I loved being 40! Given a bit of luck and a following wind, you can have a fantastic golden age enjoying all the worries you don’t have. All the things you feared about getting old have happened and you’re still here! Most importantly, for the vast majority of us, all the youthful fears we had came to nothing, they were just the echo of life pressures and as concrete as a puff of dust.

Moral of the story

If you’re young and really worried that your youth is being wasted, stop worrying. You need to wait another 30 years before you even reach youth, and you will have loads of time to enjoy it, providing you don’t have to work until you’re 90.

And another thing: You’ll finally understand us and send the apologies back into the past, that I’ve sent to my parents, they sent to theirs, and so on. Perhaps the younger generation could finally put a stop to ageism? You’ll certainly benefit!

To your happiness and youthfulness
(may your genes be ever in your favour)

Deb xx