Setting The Tone

Setting The Tone

Today we are going to set the tone
We’ll remain so measured and quiet
Today let’s refrain from the usual moans
Put verbosity on a strict diet

This is the start of a fresh new day
So you choose how you wish to play it
You can choose to be generous, gracious and gay
To improve life or instead dismay it

Today we are going to draw a clear line
Sadness past, let us look to what’s next
Choose today to move on, take the bull by the horns
Or, Dear Lord, be perpetually vexed

Today we will be a nice person to know
Abandon resentment and rage
You must know that you are a nice person to know?
So buck up now and let’s turn the page

Remember my dear you are young, bright and strong
Such potential when you’re ‘In The Zone’
Not so much when you’re petulant, angry and wrong
So today, my dear, let’s set the toneRead More »


Loose End, Not Dead End

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Never have. I have always been incredibly envious of people who knew from a young age – could point themselves in the right direction and then work their socks off to make it happen.

You see, I sort of fell into my career path. And, because I always give my all to whatever work I am presented with (even towards things that I don’t much care for) I became really quite good at it and, as a result, kept getting promoted. So successful was I, that I ended up in a well paid, well respected job, with excellent prospects, offers of Masters degrees, yet more promotion, and so on, and so on, and so on.

And every day I died a little more inside.Read More »

The Odd Girl

In a room full of misfits she stands out
That is a special talent
That takes years of honing

“An eccentric” he once suggested
Experience teaching her to be restored by her own company
That is a blessing at least
Having learned to live in some comfort with the discomfort

Skilled at making simple amusements complex
Pleasantries awkward
Small talk loom large
Making trusting people suspicious
With that guiltless guilt

A simple greeting, a smile, a gesture of kindness, all suspect
All potential enemies, agendas disguised
She probably needs help
Though it wouldn’t help
All helpers co-conspirators

A life recorded on film
Friends watching for entertainment
Except not friends, but actors
And not very entertained
Meeting often to analyse the script
There are minutes
There are agendas

Occasional passers-by give the game away
Looking for just slightly too long
Then she knows, for a second
And then she forgets
And then she remembers

Odd girl
But she lives with it
Curious about the next episode
Cosy down, it’s about to begin


Copyright © 2016 · Forty and Everything After

Backpacks don’t come with age limits

As I begin to describe my encounters with others whilst travelling, it occurs to me that to many this may sound like just an expected and natural part of travelling alone. But I am an introvert, not always able to converse with others in a comfortable and confident fashion. I only wish that were so. These are not straightforward interactions for me. I sometimes find it hard to talk to my closest family and friends in the most familiar of surroundings, so talking to strangers in foreign lands can take a lot of effort on my part. I have to build up to it. I sometimes have to force myself. This is compounded by the fact that the overwhelming majority of strangers I have ended up travelling with (on a budget, on overnight buses, residing in hostels) are about half my age. There are a few slightly older people on the backpacker trail, but never many, and never, it would seem, as old as me.Read More »

A Drop Of Determination

The water runs downhill
A small trickle, growing with each inch it travels
Sometimes following the pavement seams
Sometimes breaking free

We know that we come from and will return to the river
But our path is not defined
Like this trickle, our journey, our direction is altered
By what we encounter on the way
Sometimes following the seams
Sometimes breaking free

I watch as it boldly traverses the pavement slab
It wasn’t the easiest route
It took effort to surmount the curb
Yet its force of will gave it the strength it needed
To break free of its confines

I see a hollow empty pool
Crying out for fulfilment
An obvious destination
The trickle sees it too, senses the opportunity
And it, accompanied now by a separate yet likeminded trickle
Power in their small yet determined way to achieve their goal

It can be done
A trickle can grow tired of its seam
It can break free and forge its own path
Though all destined for the river eventually
A trickle can become a stream, a waterfall, a raging torrent

Watch it go its own way
Refusing the restrictions of the obvious course
Time to break free

Why head to the river?
Be bold and brave in your choices
We could become the whole sea


Copyright © 2016 · Image and Text · Forty and Everything After

The emergence of an adventurous spirit

I couldn’t book the Inca Trail in advance, as I didn’t know when I would get to Peru. I had six weeks in South America to play with, my very first travel experience on my own. And, unlike every other aspect of my life, I didn’t want to plan this trip. I wanted it to emerge organically, I wanted to ‘Go With The Flow’. In other words, be a completely different person to my actual self. So, I booked my flight to Chile, my first two nights in a hostel in Santiago, and a flight home from Rio six weeks later. The in between bits were to be a mystery. “How exciting!” people said to me. “What the hell am I thinking?!” I said to myself, over and over as I waited for my flight to be called at Heathrow.Read More »