It all seems so bizarre; I have spent so long planning for this moment and now today has arrived I find myself all jittery and full of nerves!
I will say it again...Wow! I am finally here! Retirement to me was never about doing nothing for the rest of my life, it was about doing what I want to do, writing my own rule book and most importantly setting my own holiday allowance!
Over the years my view about what is and what isn't important in life have changed, I have changed and looking back I can pinpoint exactly the making of the me that I am now, it was as a direct consequence of the darker, harder moments in my life that Forgetmenot evolved.
As is inevitable with us all, my life has had its ups and downs, I cared for both my Father and Step-father throughout their terminal illnesses. I experienced first-hand how hard caring for a loved one at their end of life can be. I had an inbuilt need to make their remaining time as precious as possible but the reality was that juggling full-time work, running a home, travelling backwards and forwards to hospital appointments whilst desperately nursing and caring left very little time for much else, I could hardly keep my head above water and I often thought that if I sat down I simply wouldn't have the energy to stand back up again.
It was hard.
I have regrets, my Dad's told me stories that I can't remember, they named the generations before me in the black and white photographs - but looking at them again now sadly I am no longer confident of who's who. Each of them had so much to say, I, on the other hand, juggling far too many balls, had so little time to 'properly' listen.
When the time came and they passed away the pressure changed slightly but it didn't ease, if anything I felt it had intensified; piles of forms to complete, phone calls to make, letters to write, appointments to keep and then the funeral service itself to arrange, I recognise now that I didn't even have time to grieve.
I should have asked for help, I didn't, but you can, although ironically I also sincerely hope that you don't need my services!
Running alongside my work within Forgetmenot I will be keeping my Blog up to date with regular new posts, and like the tributes that I will be creating for other people, I intend to keep it real. It is important for me to be who I am. I am here to represent people and their lives; I would no more make up their life stories than I would my own.
For those of you who may be considering writing dedications yourselves, I intend to publish 'how to' guides offering guidance and direction, once updated you will find these in the 'Inspiration, help and support' category or, if like me you are interested in setting up your own business, I will also be creating blogs offering advice on what (and who) worked well for me - and more importantly what didn't - let me learn your lessons! Amongst a whole host of other things I will be talking about life outside of the office and the pros and cons of working from home...you will find all of this and more under 'My journey so far' - so please, keep checking in to read my latest updates and if there is a particular topic you would like me to cover then feel free to contact me, if I can help you I will.
Before I go, I would just like to give my family and friends a little shout out! If it wasn't for the guidance, love and time that you have all given to me freely and unconditionally I wouldn't be here today.
To my Mr P for your encouragement and support which have made this day possible, I am so excited for what the future will hold for the two of us and to see the places we are yet to visit. To Jasmin, for my social media tuition (amongst many other things!) I have said it before and I will say it again, you are the colour in my black and white, my biggest cheerleader and I love you the world. And finally, to my mum, my best friend, for always being proud of me and making me feel worth it.
Thank you all, truly x