Today’s blog is from someone who I admire hugely, she is an inspiration to everyone who knows her.  I met Adriane back in 1989 and I’m proud to call her my friend, she’s been through many ups and downs in the last twenty years or so and I asked if she would mind sharing with us her journey and how she has re-engineered her life.


Well, here I am again. Ghorepani, Himalayan foothills, twelve years on with my beautiful friends – Emma and Tamsyn.

I’ve just turned fifty years old. For the first time in my life I can truly say that I’m probably the happiest and most content person that I know. It took a lot to get to this place and I wasn’t prepasred to stop until I got here. To be perfectly honest I thought that it would take me a lot longer to get here, so I’m feeling quite smug with myself at the moment.

So, how did you get here?

I ponder with the thought. To me happiness means going to sleep at night, every night, with a smile on my face and not waking up at 3 am with those nasty worrying pains and dark images. They went about ten months ago when I left my long-term partner and moved back into my happy home. Similarly, I wake up with a warm feeling in my belly and again – a smile on my face, looking forward to each and every day.

First of all I had to work out what constituted ‘happiness’ in my world as everyone’s happiness is totally different.

It started when I was a very young girl. Although I was brought up in a very large and loving family with nurturing parents, who are still together to this day, well into their seventies and having been married for fifty three years. However, as a child they argued a lot. They were young, working-class, with everyday worries about how to pay the water rates, pay for our new school uniforms, and how to deal with the real basics of life. They argued a lot and my mother said over and over again that she would leave him if she could but she had to stay with him as she couldn’t afford to live without him.

It was then that I told myself that I had to be in a place where I could afford to support myself and not depend on a man to find happiness.

To be able to support myself I needed to get educated and find myself a profession, which paid well.

So, over the years I embarked upon a path of working hard and educating myself so I could achieve that. I am now an educated woman, with a good job and can financially support myself. So, there’s lesson number one. Find a profession where you can support yourself and doing what you love to do. Also, don’t ever stop learning and progressing. I’ve just completed a course on how to lecture to adults. So next year I’ll be pursuing the lecturing path as well as keeping my fabulous job as a Marketing Manager for a small software house in Devon.

Education was always important to me as a working class girl. When I was young only the middle classes could afford an education. So, I’m proud of my academic achievements as not only has it opened doors from a career perspective, it’s given me an immense sense of pride which has led to increased confidence. Lesson number two – education, keep feeding my brain.

I wanted to be a mum one day. As a younger woman I was too selfish and busy to be a mum but as the years went on I felt the need to procreate and wanted to experience the joy of carrying and bearing a child. It took a long time to get my pride and joy – Connor, but as soon as I knew that my pregnancy was viable (I’d miscarried shortly before conceiving him), there was a void in my soul that was completely filled. So, lesson number three for me. I’m naturally quite a selfish person, but having Connor has taught me humility and – to a certain degree – dare I say – patience!!

Family and friends. I’ve always been blessed with an amazing family. So that’s been a given. Friends have come and gone but when Connor was born I found that my time was limited with regards spending quality time with my friends. So, I went on a huge cull and got rid of those ‘friends’ who just took from me. I now just spend and invest time in those quality like-minded individuals who bring me joy and laughter and support. Lesson four – get rid of the social vampires. They will only take from you. Surround yourself with friends from the light side!

Men!! I love men. Probably my Achilles Heel. I’ve been in a relationship since I was twelve years old. I’m very lucky in love and find men easy to be around. Then again, after a while I get bored with them and move on. I’m now with a man who I want to be with. I don’t need to be with him. I’m with him because he satisfies every element that is important to me. He looks good, he’s kind, he’s a good father, he works hard, he’s brave and strong (Alpha male – very important to me), he’s very active, he’s good fun and most of all he’s very good in bed. Why be with a man who is a fabulous mate but doesn’t satisfy you on a sexual level? You may as well be with your best friend. It’s taken me fifty years to find him, and maybe it won’t work out, only time will tell, but I have a strong feeling that this one is the love of my life. Lesson five … don’t settle. Keep moving on until you find the right one. Also, don’t be with a partner because you need to be. You have to want to be with them.

Exercise. Get fit. Two years ago when I realised I was unhappy and wanted to move on, I decided to get fit again. I now cannot live without my fitness. I try to get to the gym 4-5 times a week. If I don’t go, I feel sluggish and rubbish. So, get yourself fit. It’ll improve your mind, body and soul. I can’t stress this enough. Lesson number six … find your fit. Whatever it is. Find it.

Adventure. I love Cornwall. I love being with my little boy in Sennen surfing, covered in sand with burnt shoulders and big smiley faces. I bought an old battered 2-berth caravan for £400 when Connor was little and did it up. So, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I made it happen. Lesson seven – think of where you love to be, what you love to do and make it happen.

I think that’s really about it. Negative people irritate me. Excuses? Anyone can make excuses for not doing something. You need to think about every element of your life – friends, family, profession, love life, education – everything – work out where you want to be and make it happen. Nobody can do it for you.

adrianeTo finish, I need to mention my nan Ruby Colwell. We lost her around three years ago now. She was probably my inspiration in life. She lived through the Second World War, was widowed twice, reared five children and worked until she was 78. She lived a very basic existence and material things meant nothing to her. She laughed a lot and gave more than she took.

I learnt from the best that material things mean nothing. As long as you have a comfortable home, enough money to pay the bills and go on your adventures, what more do you need? Fancy handbags and Jimmy Choos don’t do it for me. They mean nothing. Last word, her advice to me was always, “Aygee, whatever you do don’t weaken’. I’ve been through an awful lot of dark times throughout my life and each and every time when I’ve been faced with such adversity, I hear my wise old nan whispering quietly in my ear. Best advice I’ve ever been given, which I now teach my eight year old son and will no doubt take to my grave as I truly believe that this has been a huge contribution to getting to my extremely happy place.

Adriane Gillies

If you have an inspirational story to share, please get in touch I always delighted to hear from you and your story could be incredibly helpful to others facing challenges right now.

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