Blog, Words



When I was small, my only requirements for my future job were that I would never have to get up in the dark, and I would never have to wear a suit. I loved dirt, skateboards, mountain bikes and loud music. I loved baggy trousers, bike chains worn as bracelets, and the outdoors. I was messy, arty, creative.

But then, ‘real life’ started to happen. GCSE’s came along and I was steered to ‘proper’ subjects. A levels followed and I failed most of them, thoroughly fed up of being in education by that point. Still, I did the ‘normal’ thing and went to uni, and watched as parts of that young person started to peel away. Little by little, the alternative mindset washed away, the creativeness became buried under layers of normality.

I graduated and got a job in a shop. I got promoted, promoted, and promoted again. I became sleek and styled, missing biking and replacing it with commuting, missing art and replacing it with spreadsheets and figures. I wore a suit every day, got up in the dark and came home in the dark. I’m glad to say my love of loud music stuck with me, although now the loud beats masked a stressed out mind.

I became so buried under what everyone thought I should be doing that I could no longer remember who I was underneath. When I left management, I spent 3 years floating, in the shock of the stress, with no direction and no memory of what I enjoyed. I was a shell.

But now it’s coming back. I remember the love of mud, of rainstorms, of a thumping bassline, of climbing trees and long summer days.
I remember who I was before the GCSE’s, the person who loved the other view, the tomboy, the person who ran 4 hours for fun and rode bikes through quarries rather unskillfully.

What’s strange and wonderful is that at 32, I’m coming back. The person who I thought was a distant memory is real, alive, and getting stronger every day. I feel like I took a detour but I got here in the end. I’m sitting in my bedroom 18 years ago, smiling at myself in the future, knowing I got here eventually, even though it took a while longer than I thought.

Life happens to us, but we can remember that the person we thought we’d lost is always still there, sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, waiting to come back.

I faded out but now I can turn up the colour…and the volume, of course.


7 thoughts on “Detour

  1. And see, when I was growing up, I thought you needed to have to wear a suit to work to be considered successful. But I’ve since learned that is really not the case, and in fact, left a job that required two advanced degrees to now work hands-on with animals, and I’m much, much happier with life. I’m happy for you that you figured it out so early too (I’m 42, so it took me a bit longer to come to the realization.) Life really is about the small things that make you happy.

    I love your blog, am a new subscriber, and look forward to reading more of your posts and connecting with you!

    1. Thank you Terri 🙂

      It scares me that so much of what ‘success’ means nowadays is linked to suits, long hours, flash cars, and all that jazz. I’m sort of thankful I experienced work I definitely didn’t enjoy as I appreciate everything I’ve got now so much more, but wish I’d followed my heart not my head in those early days! Ah well, I’m making up for it now *cue all the daft decisions*

      I admire your courage leaving your job to work with animals – sounds perfect! So glad you love what you do now.
      Thanks for subscribing, look forward to connecting more 🙂


    1. Thanks Michelle!
      I think it’s sad that it seems to be normal to take the detour away from fun and passion that a lot of us experience as children, and head instead to a ‘grown-up’ life of endlessly chasing what society deems as ‘success’ (which is usually a collection of expensive stuff!).

      I like that more and more people are realising that stuff doesn’t equate to happiness and there is a lot more out there in the world!

      :):) Sal

  2. Detours all round!
    As a teenager, all I wanted to do was work with horses (or dogs) and maybe write. None of the adults took me seriously, because I was “bright” and all expected me to go on to do “great” things, at least university and a career. As it happens, I had my first child at 19 and though I worked in an office for a few years out of necessity, my life has since been very fulfilled by my chosen one of domesticity and craft, surrounded by kids and pets (including a horse, well, a pony of character!) and I think I’m probably the happier for it. It wasn’t all plain sailing and I do enjoy academic pastimes when it suits me (I started an OU open degree – that is, subjects of my choice – when I was 38 and finished at 43, just because). I look at the lives of my old schoolmates (we are all in our early 50s now) and I wouldn’t swap a moment. Today, I recognise that there isn’t a bone of competitiveness in me and I would have sunk fast and deep had I gone in for the rat race. I still think I might have done things differently one way or another but hey, we only get the one life and so far, I’m definitely not complaining!! Total gratitude. All in all, I just think I’ve been really lucky – but then, they do say you make your own…

    1. Very true Melanie! I think every ‘detour’ adds something to the mix of who we are, when we get chance to look back and reflect!
      I agree there’s no point wishing we’d done things a different way, I’m just learning to embrace the path (however winding!) I’m on and learn from each experience…

      Love the expression ‘pony of character’ – very descriptive! 🙂

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