So, I sit in the latest cafe to open in my home town, Petersfield, pondering on the welcoming atmosphere redolent of freshly ground coffee and delicately spiced home-made cakes, and artistic way the owners have displayed their goods to reflect the name of the cafe: The Natural Apothecary. There are couple of people discussing business development over a frothy cappucino, a mother and daughter planning a wedding and me, just kicking back and enjoying the freedom to sit, think and observe.
It is now some months since I handed in my notice – following my tightly-knotted gut which was telling me that the life of long days and long knives that I was leading would not end well. I had no plan, just a feeling. But us women of a certain age learn to trust their feelings. Mine was telling me that the world is changing, and that the ruthless pursuit of profit and material wealth is not only damaging the planet, but also our psyche. I see people embracing a more simple life and reconnecting with nature and communities, both in cyberspace and in their immediate surroundings. I want to be part of that movement.
I am still working part time (and from home) for my old company, for which I am very grateful. It is keeping the wolf from the door while I explore opportunities and the job market closer to home. I have been concentrating my search for work in the charity, not for profit and educational sectors, and have had a number of interviews. I remain optimistic and hopeful that the perfect role is waiting for me, and that there is a reason that I have not so far been “successful”.
I feel successful: I am volunteering with Community First East Hampshire, meeting new friends and creating a network at long last. I continue to look after my health by eating healthy, organic vegetables from the wonderful Riverford Farm box scheme, cycling back and forth to town along the River Walk (please note any town planners: we need more cycle routes in our towns) and rather too occasionally working out at the gym.
I have started up a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HealthyBodyImageImaginingYourselfHealthy to share articles, links and thoughts about achieving a healthy, happy and worthwhile life. I have had the fortune to meet some really inspirational bloggers on here to whom I can direct people for guidance, ideas and entertainment. I have been excited by the sense of connectedness I am getting from the online communities of which I am a part, but also from my own local community.
Whilst sipping my healthy energiser juice at the cafe, I spotted a card advertising a new website promoting Petersfield: http://www.lovepetersfield.co.uk/. There really is so much to offer in this ancient market town, and I would love to help to encourage people to come and visit it, to enjoy the fact that it still has a heart, a thriving market square, unique shops which do not appear on every high street and shopping mall all over Europe, excellent cafes, restaurants and pubs full of original art and live music – what is not to love?