Daily Life, Reflections

Are you living ‘safe’ or happy?

For the whole of my life I have been ‘safe’.

When you are a child, being safe is a wonderful thing and I should not complain. I am so grateful for growing up in one house, never moving. Never having the earth pulled out from under me. Having parents who are still together. Not having to deal with death until I was older.

But sometimes being safe can make you a little risk averse in older age.

I did all the ‘right’ things in life. Ticked them off the list.

Went to university, because ‘that is what you do’, I was told.

Mum, God bless her, the school teacher, ingrained in me to get a degree before anything else in life. “Be qualified to do something” she said.

Off I went without question. To university. To “become qualified’ to do something.

And because I wanted to ‘help’ people I chose social work.

Somehow between all that nightclubbing and kissing boys I fumbled out of university at the age of 22 as a social worker, qualified to ‘help’.

I was thrown straight into a psychiatric unit for ‘long stay’ patients, wondering what the hell I could do to ‘help’. And so that started a ten-year or so career in mental health. Moving to the next job, moving up the chain. Keeping my salary moving. Getting to the next level.


In between all that I nabbed myself a guy. The wrong guy.  But I was desperate for a relationship. For someone to go along with what I wanted to do.

I had our life all planned out. We would date for five years. We would then get married. We would have two kids. Then that would be it.

Safe. Done. Dusted.

Following the safe path would make me happy… wouldn’t it?

Isn’t that what everyone does?

Then came the wrong way around love story.

My heart sang like I didn’t know it could.

I kept plugging away at the career. Another degree. The dream job.

Safe. Secure. Good pay.


Kids next?

No. (A niggle but a no.)

Still wasn’t happy.



Wanted to travel.

Spent many weekends lost in words.

That nagging feeling continued to grow.

I became so distracted in the office, dreaming about storytelling (or lying on a beach somewhere, or interviewing people from faraway lands, or cats, or freediving….)

Driven by a desire to help us all learn a little more about this big huge world.

So I’ve taken the plunge.

To try find work that fits in more with LIFE.

To live with uncertainty.

To plan maybe three months at a time.

To not feel trapped.

To live a life that’s not ‘safe’.

What’s next?

Who knows.

Is your life safe or happy? Or perhaps you have found the balance of both?

Been brought up ‘safe’ and realised it didn’t fulfil you?

Started chasing your inner dreamer at age 34?

Advice welcome!

Happy Hump Day! 

Ashleigh XXX







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