Guest Post ~ Terry Tyler’s Thoughts on Life Experiences

I’m very pleased to welcome Terry Tyler to Between The Lines today, with many thanks for a thoughtful and entertaining post. I hope everyone finds something to take away or ponder upon, as I have. Over to you, Terry…

First of all, many thanks to Cathy for asking me to do a guest post for her blog.  She gave me a list of subjects to write around, and the one I chose was ‘Life Experiences’.

Something close to the hearts of many of us at the beginning of a new year is making changes, getting rid of the negative in our lives and seeking out the new and positive.  

I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit lately, because I’ve been talking to a friend who I shall call Max.  Max is going through a very difficult time right now.  Job, home, relationships, finances – you know how once in a while those things decide to gang up together and cause you problems all at the same time, and you feel as though you’re in a pit from which there is no crawling out.  We all get rough years – mine were 1989 and 1997.  I’m just crossing my fingers I never have any years as bad as those two again.

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The other day I said something like this to Max:  Think back six years.  You would never have predicted any of the events that have led you to where you are now.  Similarly, all sorts of things are going to happen in the next few years, too, because life changes and darts off in all sorts of ways we never expect, all the time.  Your fortunes will alter, if you recognise opportunities and open your life up to invite in the possibilities.

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A bit about my own life, with the clock turned back six years.  In January 2009 I was living alone in a nice little house I could barely afford.  I was saddled with too much expense because of an ill-advised love relationship from which I had semi-extricated myself (in that I had removed the man in question from my house, along with the money he brought into it, but was still involved with him).  My finances were up the spout, I had little social life simply because I couldn’t afford to go out and do stuff with my friends, so I was lonely.  I was a bit fed up with my job, which bored me at times; I shared an office with my boss, a nice enough but difficult woman, and I wasn’t meeting many new people through work.  I drank too much wine on too many evenings.  

I would never have thought that six years later I would be married again, happily, and living 250 miles away, or that I would be writing again (I wrote a lot in the 1990s but more or less stopped by 2001) and have published nine books – I wouldn’t have foreseen Amazon Kindle, for a start!  I could not have pictured myself happy to spend most of my time at home, or imagined anything about this whole new world in which I am so involved, ie, the online community of writers and readers.

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I made my life happier again by being open to what life chucked at me, I think.  When I first visited my husband in his house where I now live, I thought, everything about this feels right, and positive, for both of us.  I’ve been married twice before but am not one of those who says ‘marriage?  Nah, been there, done that, you’ve got to be joking!’, because I’m not cynical about relationships.  I believe that if you keep your eyes open there is always a new and better love around the corner.  The person with whom you had a crap time is only one person out of whole world full of others, after all.

Years ago I had a friend I will call Sylvia.  Our first marriages broke up around the same time, in 1988/9; the four of us had all been friends.  Sylvia and I were at opposite ends of the ‘moving on’ scale; I tended to plunge into stuff without thinking too much about it, whereas she preferred to wait, assess, weigh up every opportunity to see if it was exactly what she was looking for.  Within six months of finally calling time on my marriage I was in a new relationship, having had a couple of transitional dalliances along the way.  Sylvia sat in her armchair, read self-help books and waited.  Okay, fair enough; some people need a longer recovery time that others.

Twelve years later, I was married again, living in another county (somewhere I’d always wanted to live), had worked at several different jobs and written a whole stack of novels that hardly anyone ever saw but laid the foundations for what I do now.  I’d made loads of new friends and had a few romantic relationships.  Sylvia was still sitting in her chair reading about life, and waiting for it to happen.  She would tell me I was too impulsive; yes, I’d got myself into a few scrapes and negative situations, but life is about living, isn’t it?  It’s an ongoing, developing, changing thing.  It’s nice to think that we can work towards goals and, once achieved, sit back and think, right, I’ve got to the stage I wanted to be at, now, but it doesn’t work like that.  

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans” – a now rather clichéd quote from John Lennon.  While Sylvia was reading self-help books and philosophy, aiming for a time in which everything would suddenly drop into her lap, her life was actually taking place.  That life was her sitting in her chair reading books and saying ‘no’ to practically every invitation that came her way.  I haven’t seen her for many years, but I hear that all she’s got is older.

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Life is short, and the older you get the more you realise this.  There are things I wish I’d done when I was younger, things I wish I hadn’t felt scared of doing.  I wish I’d made the most of my twenties and travelled; certain aspects of my life mean that I am not able to do so now.  But I’ve met all sorts of people who’ve become important in my life simply by saying ‘yes’; going to a party even though I felt a bit tired and thought I wouldn’t know anyone, walking out of jobs and into others that weren’t ideal at a moment’s notice, I’ve got talking to people in pubs, at work and online who’ve become really good friends, and sometimes more.  I’ve followed my intuition.  I haven’t made absolutely the best of my life by any means, because few people ever do, but here are a couple of sayings I try to remember, often:

If you do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

No-one ever said, on their death bed, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office” (great excuse for leaving work early, that one!).

To sum up – as I keep reiterating to Max, life changes and evolves and presents new opportunities all the time.  As long as you keep your eyes open so that you see them, even the darkest hour can lead on to a shiny new dawn. 

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Terry can be found on Twitter, her blog and the UK Arts Directory

30 thoughts on “Guest Post ~ Terry Tyler’s Thoughts on Life Experiences

  1. Gosh, that was quick! What a nice thing to see when I logged on to Twitter – thanks so much for asking me to do a guest post, Cathy; also, it encouraged me to go a bit more philosophical instead of my usual self-pub tips, funny stuff and top ten lists!!!

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  2. What a wonderfully inspiring post! It’s set me up for the weekend and I feel all uplifted and positive. I agree completely with being open to new opportunities, I’m a big believer that life will lead you to where you need to be if you just listen to your instincts. I like the idea of looking back at all the changes of the last 6 years as a little motivator. Terry is a lesson to us all – we need to embrace life while we can.

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    • Oh yeah – and if someone said “In six years time, THIS will be happening, and THIS….” – you’d probably think, really? How come???????

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    • Oh yeah, and if someone said to you, in 6 years time THIS will be happening, and THIS, you’d probably say, REALLY??? How come????!!!

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  3. Great post Terry and it sums up all I’ve ever thought about you (in the brief time we’ve ‘known’ each other!) in that you go out and grab the world by the scruff of its neck – which is an excellent philosophy to have. You’re quite right life is too short and you have to take every opportunity you can – everything, good or bad, happens for a reason but if you don’t take the chance’s that come your way you will never find out what the reason was.

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    • Lately I’ve not been feeling very scruff of neck grabbing, more in the bed lazing, but yes, generally speaking I am a great one for seeing what is right and going for it. In 1999 my then husband and I were buying a new house. We’d taken a builder friend with us to advise us on some, and he was telling us which ones were structurally the best buys, etc. The one I loved wasn’t, but I just loved it and knew I’d be happy there. I insisted the estate agent put in an offer THAT MINUTE, and that we bought it whatever the cost. We did – and I was right, living there was one of the happiest times of both our lives!

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  4. Great post, Terry. As you said “I haven’t made absolutely the best of my life by any means,” but you’re sure as hell having a ball along the way – and that’s what makes life so great.

    I was asked back in 2006 to lead a one-day workshop on a regulatory system about which I knew very little. I nearly said ‘no’, but around the same time, one of the speakers at Swanwick had challenged us to ‘do something different, that takes you outside your comfort zone.’ So I said yes to the workshop – and it led directly to the biggest project I ever worked on, which lasted nearly a year, employed lots of people, allowed us to buy our beautiful home in Devon and ultimately let me ‘give up the day job’ in order to write full time. (And when I went back to the Swanwick speaker to tell her she said: bloody hell, I was only expecting people to buy a different brand of margarine!). I tend to say yes to most things these days 🙂

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    • Nice one, E! Now, what better example than that, eh? I’ve taken on two jobs that were really worth it, by saying yes to a random suggestion, and both of them led to new relationships of the male kind too (though they weren’t necessarily a good thing but hey, it’s all life experience and something to fill the novels with!!!!). I met my best friend through accepting someone else’s friendly chatter in a pub…. but yours does rather cap the lot!

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