When we were growing up, our Mum (now 83 years young), often suggested we should ‘count our blessings’. So last summer, on a day when the world felt extra-wobbly, I thought I’d do just that – sit down and write 20 reasons why I’m lucky.
It was actually really easy once I got started, it helped a lot that day, and re-reading it today has helped all over again.
It’s not meant to be a showoff-ey list. Most of the things on it are relatively ‘small’, but they’re all important to remember. Especially now.
1. Despite the 8 year age gap between my brother, Scott, and I (I was a ‘surprise’, apparently!), we’ve always been the best of friends. I know, for a fact, that this makes our Mum very happy too.
2. Music’s always been a huge part of our sibling lives. Scott gave me The Smiths, The B52s, REM, The Stone Roses, Nirvana…and the list goes on. It’s reciprocal though, so he got Pixies, Blur, Ride and Elliott Smith in return. Everyone’s a winner. We think so, anyway.
3. Our parents weren’t well off, but we really never wanted for anything. In fact, looking back, they probably spoilt us way beyond their means. So, thanks Mum and Dad.
4. My 70s/80s childhood in rural Northumberland was a happy blur of medieval castles, swimming, BMX-ing and Top of The Pops.
5. I genuinely loved school and I had some brilliant teachers – special thanks to Mr Davison (Primary School), Miss Lowden (Middle School) and Mrs Adams (High School).
6. I was never majorly bullied or picked on – I’ve still no idea how I got away with that.
7. My oldest friend from primary school (Fiona) is still my bestie, along with two other ace school friends, Elaine and Anna-Marie*. We now live hundreds of miles apart, but we still meet up as often as we can.
*WhatsApp Group name = ‘The Hot Tub Sh*#faces’. Don’t ask!
8. I’ve only been admitted to hospital twice – once with a childhood ‘high temperature’ (I still don’t really understood what that means, but I guess it was quite serious?), and once with peritonitis. Which was nasty.
9. My 3 x A levels got me to Edinburgh Uni, where I met more lifelong friends – fellow students and workmates at The Royal Archer pub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Happy Daze indeed.
10. Even though I had no idea what I wanted to be/do for work when I started it, my Business Study degree actually turned out to be quite useful for an eventual ‘career’ in Graphic Design.
11. I got my first ever job (of just 3 in my life so far) by writing a hand-written letter to the MD. Cheeky, but it worked!
12. That first job took me to the States and all over Europe…And also to Chelmsford, Slough and Staines A LOT.
13. I spent 7 years living and working in Camden (which has to be the best bit of the world’s best city – London).
14. I’ve travelled round the world – with a proper 6-month, multi-stop plane ticket – twice.
15. I’ve now got great friends and family all over the world – and some of them have lovely spare rooms we can stay in.
16. 6 years ago, after being made redundant from our previous agency, my business partner (Linda) was brave enough to start Howell & Hicks Creative with me. It’s been a BIG learning curve, and we’ve had proper feast and famine periods(!), but we both still love what we do.
17. When I first spotted my husband (Chris) across a very dark, very crowded bar in Camden, I experienced that genuine ‘thunderbolts and lightning’ feeling. And luckily for me, he turned out to the best person on the planet.
18. We live in Deal. And we never want to leave.
19. We own our little house. And we never want to leave.
20. Between May and October, we get to swim between these posts (off Deal beach) most mornings. Now that’s lucky.