As a child I could never have imagined what it is that I do now. I had a very long list of aspirational careers; ballerina, artist, astronaut, teacher, scientist, doctor…and more. My top preference was for astronaut and I was obsessed with the Apollo moon programme, I still have my scrapbooks! I then discovered that I had to wear glasses and astronauts needed perfect vision, so I decided I could be an astronomer instead. Then I discovered that perhaps my maths capability probably wasn’t strong enough.
So at the age of 13 I fell in love with geology, there were rocks on the Moon after all and I had always been interested in the natural world. And that is what happened- I took a degree in geology and then went on to work as a geophysicist in the oil and gas industry. But that still wasn’t quite what I had in mind, I spent my working days in an office analysing data- not walking over mountains and valleys with my trusty hammer. I did get to go onto oil rigs and survey vessels, but you don’t see anything more than the ocean from there.
I did see how stressful the world of work is for many people; I noticed how I was often ill at holiday times such as Christmas and that this happened to others too. I also knew that I didn’t really enjoy what I did, although it gave me a very high salary, I travelled the world and owned a property at the age of 26. Something in my soul told me that there must be more to life, but I didn’t know what.
This was more than 25 years ago now and seems like a different lifetime. I quit my job and went to work with my father and cousin in the business my father had set up before I was born. This was a complete change, a fencing company, I did get to be outside in the rain, wind and snow doing estimates for jobs and liaising with customers and staff. But it was still pretty stressful with deadlines, supply problems and staff crises. Partly because my father had it organised that way! He also suffered from high blood pressure, ulcers and heart problems- classic stress related conditions.
So I started out with a scientific background in a high flying job and now I move in very different circles, but it feels much more useful to the world. I certainly saw the effects of stress first hand.
But how did I get from ‘there’ to ‘here’ ? More next time…..