Story share - A blub & a brew

Forced into inactivity by foot surgery I turned to the bookshelf for diversion. Selecting a book based on its print size and page count, I made myself a brew and turned to the first page.

‘Moving is easy. Everyone does it. But actually leaving somewhere is difficult’

(Utterly Monkey by Nick Laird)

And I stopped. And I stared at the page. And I read the words again. Then I picked up a pad and pen. I needed to speak about this. I needed to share. But most of all I needed to process...

Eight weeks earlier, in the midst of Covid I took a decision; a left-brain, no-brainer decision. My dilemma of whether to renew the lease on my London therapy centre was resolved immediately. I would close it down. I’d been toying with this for some time as the expiry of the lease approached and my desire to live permanently in Yorkshire increased. But I was hesitant to let it go.

Ten years ago after 15 years of renting rooms in gyms & health centres and two years into ‘the great recession’ of 2008, I took the plunge. After some ‘back of a fag packet’ calculations and with the belief that I could make a success of it, I signed a lease on a shop. Friends supported me knowing that when I set my mind to something I give it 110. I’m not a gambler and I can swing from risk-averse to ‘go for it’ when I truly believe in something; or myself.

I opened my therapy centre a month after signing the lease. I decorated it by day, then I’d drive to see clients at the gym close by at night. The mayor of Merton came to open it officially and my business was in the local paper. Now I know that it’s normal in stories to describe challenges on the route to success but if I had them (and I’m sure I must have done) I don’t remember them. Existing clients loved my fabulous new premises and I found new ones too. When I locked up, I saw my name on the door and I felt proud. People less brave than me told me I was lucky, but they knew, as I did that it was effort and judgement and commitment and energy. And of course, I’m pretty good at what I do.

Fast forward 10 years and I am once again locking the door on my therapy centre but this time in the final days of my tenure. I’ve emptied the cupboards and cleared much of the furniture and the decorators are about to remove the hooks where my certificates hung and the shelves where my awards sat. My therapist’s chair remains but my client chair has been dismantled to be reassembled in another room in another town far away. Then the tears started. Slow silent trickles at first followed by sobs that only stopped when I pulled my car up outside my house. Pouring a glass of pinot I sat in my self-pity. Checking in with myself I knew that this was about failure. My failure; I’d been here before.

In the late 80’s I’d given up a business I loved before I lost everything. I put the tools of my trade, magazine covers and press cuttings in the loft and went out to work. One full-time and three part-time jobs helped me keep the bank at bay before I could finally settle with them. I didn’t notify stores waiting for deliveries or factories that produced goods for me. I hid. And I worked. And I worked very hard.

As a therapist of 25 years, I now joke that I should have had bereavement counselling, but I didn’t. I bottled it up and survived. And after many ups and downs (some pretty memorable) I reinvented myself and forged a successful new career. The tears I shed in my therapy centre in Wimbledon a few months ago were the unshed tears from that earlier time. After a blub and a brew, I recognised that this closure was a choice, and back then when I gave up my first business it wasn’t. Shit happens sometimes however skilled or talented you are. And to tweak an old adage, ‘As one door closes, another one is waiting to be kicked open!’

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or emotional by changes that you need to make or have been forced on you, give me a call. I’ve got the tools and the t-shirt (thankfully now tucked away in a metaphorical drawer) and I can help you. I’ll be there to support you, encourage you, and pat you on the back when you step into your new life or business. Don’t suffer in silence or self-medicate with food or booze; call me now on 07525 012221 or email me at to learn how we can work together.

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