Posted by: Admin | October 9, 2010

We have lift off!

Who would have thought it? Me, a photographer?

image by Kate Hopewell-Smith

Life has a way of surprising us at times and it certainly has surprised me this year! Twelve months ago I was flat broke and 12 weeks into a new job that was making me miserable. My last child had left home and my husband’s business was negotiating turbulent times. I felt ill, exhausted and depressed. There didn’t seem to be much to look forward to and I felt as if I constantly had a cloud of negativity swirling around my head.

If there’s one thing about depression, it’s boring. I was sick of thinking about myself and how I felt, sick of not wanting to get up in the morning and sick of being trapped inside my own head. So sick, in fact, that I decided to undertake an experiment. Believing, as I do, in the laws of attraction, I set out to make a change in my life. What did I have to lose?

We all need to conduct a personal audit every now and then. Personal relationships aside, my achievements included studying for my degree (in International Studies) with the Open University and going on to gain my MA in International Relations in 2007. For the past two years I had been trying to obtain funding for my Phd. Three universities offered me a place but all my attempts to obtain a studentship came to naught, even though I came close more than once. My only option would have been to self-fund and study part time for six years and I just felt that my age was against me for taking my academic career forward after that. Deciding to let go of that ambitions was hard, but as one door closes…

For thirty years I have been a facilitator: a support system for my husband and four children. Don’t misunderstand, that was my choice and I was happy to have been there for them. But it meant that somehow, over the years, I lost sight of me. Sound familiar? Taking a long, hard look at myself, I realised that I no longer felt comfortable being visible: even my books and articles were published under a variety of pseudonyms!

That is why my name is on this blog and on my business. This is my way of announcing: “Here I am – this is me and I have something to say.” It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me, or like what I do. I know I have a right to be here. It doesn’t matter that I’m approaching 50 and my hair is greying – I will be seen and heard.

I honestly don’t know what I was afraid of before, I only know that I’m not prepared to live the rest of my life fearfully. It’s time for me to nurture myself the way I have nurtured my family. Time for me to explore my potential and become the person I’ve always felt I could be. So today is important for me: today is where the next chapter begins.

Deciding to make something happen was the first step in “things” happening! Since starting the blog I have met so many positive, life-affirming people and that has rekindled my own positivity. Although I lose confidence every now and again, I haven’t allowed myself to lose focus. I’ve forged ahead with setting up my photography business and writing the blog and things seem to have fallen almost effortlessly into place. Suddenly, everything I’m doing feels right. I don’t over-think it, I just go with the flow.

So stick with me, folks – together we can soar beyond the limitations we impose on ourselves. For I am fabulous – and so are YOU!

(note: apologies to the 4 people who logged on to find a sentence and a half of nonsense – whoops!)



  1. So you are the famous Jo Blackwell? Never heard of you.

    Isn’t owning up to who you are great? I decided a while back that having everyone know everything was a comfortable place. You don’t have to worry then that “somebody will find out”.

  2. Good on you Jo!! This is a quote my son sent me, I think it`1s appropriate for you to!

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    Be brilliant!

  3. Thanks, guys – you’re two of the positive people I was talking about and I’m very glad to have you around!

  4. Oh…this resonates for me… I have spent 27 years (so far) raising our rather large family (and at least another 9 years to go til the youngest is ready to leave home)…

    Like you, I chose to be a “facilitator” for our family. And, like you, I finally realized that I needed to figure out who I am and what else (besides being a facilitator) I really want to be doing.

    I started small (becoming a National Ski Patroller at a small hill near our home) which eventually led to bigger things (becoming a certified instructor for NSP) and bigger things (earning my EMT certification) and someday I hope to progress even further to gaining Paramedic certification and maybe even finding time to work in an Emergency Room at a hospital.

    Isn’t it WONDERFUL to finally SOAR?!! There is such freedom in following the currents of interests and passions…

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