In this latest blog post, Maggie speaks to writer and presenter Clancy Walker. They chat about life, loves and many challenges along the way…
Maggie, you say that your life changed almost overnight when you made the decision to change your thinking. What is your life like now?
I am now living my dream on the beautiful Isle of Wight. I am doing the work I love and living in a place that I love, with the man that I love.
It sounds wonderful, and it’s something that others can aspire to, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for you, has it? How did life start out for you?
I was born and brought up in Essex. When I was born, I was labelled as illegitimate because my birth mother was barely sixteen when I was born, she wasn’t married and had put me in a children’s home.
Whether this was her choice or one that was forced upon her I don’t know and probably never will know. But that is where I was.
So, not the easiest of starts and I’m sure others will be able to relate to you. What happened from there?
I was fortunate enough to be adopted, rather than staying in care long term, and was taken to my prospective parents’ home when I was about six weeks old to meet my new older brother. I was fostered until the official adoption came when I was around two years of age, although I really don’t remember it.
My childhood, on reflection, was a fairly good one. We always had a two-week
holiday, usually on the Isle of Wight, which is why I grew to love it so much.
I was sent to a private school because my parents thought I would do better there than at the local comprehensive school. I did really well and left school at the age of 16 with a GCE in Commerce and a string of RSAs in shorthand, typing etc. My first job was with an insurance company in London.
I then got married for the first time when I was 19 and had three lovely children.
It all sounds great, although I notice you said ‘for the first time’ when you talk about getting married. I’m guessing things changed in your relationship?
Yes, unfortunately the marriage did not last due to the verbal, psychological and financial abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband.
I finally woke up to the fact that this was not normal and summoned up the courage to consult a solicitor who agreed with me and I filed for divorce.
It took two years for the divorce to go through, as my husband refused to accept the marriage was over, but eventually, after me standing my ground, we were divorced when I was 30.
So, you were 30 with three children to support – did you have much support from those around you?
For various reasons I had to take the children, who were aged then nine and six (I had twins), to another town and live in a one bedroom flat.
Thankfully it had a garden and was close to the schools and shops and we lived there for about two years along with a menagerie of two cats, a dog, two rabbits, some goldfish, a hamster, two gerbils and some zebra finches.
It sounds quite tough, and hectic, but it also sounds like you were starting to find your feet and enjoying the challenges life was throwing you?
Yes, I think I had got used to being on my own with the kids – and was enjoying a freedom I’d not experienced before – thanks to being free of an abusive relationship. I’m so pleased I was able to find the courage to leave it.
And then something even more wonderful happened, didn’t it?
Yes, I met up with a man called Kelvin again. I had known him for some years as a friend of my brother, and we fell in love.
We married when I was 32 and we moved to a lovely Victorian terraced house with four bedrooms and a long garden in the same town.
We lived in that house for about 15 years, so the children grew up there, and we were very happy there.
It just shows how much life can change over the years, doesn’t it? You did have some very difficult times too, though, didn’t you?
Yes, and like many people we had family challenges that we thought were impossible to solve and would never end.
At times like those we had to be patient and weather the storm. On those days it seemed that life was too much to bear. Some very hard decisions had to be made – decisions that no parents should have to make – but we made them and life carried on.
How did you manage to make such difficult decisions?
We made the decisions that we thought were the best at that time and would be the most beneficial for the whole family.
But life does get better and that cloud does go away especially by thinking good thoughts and getting back on track and by not feeling guilty or giving in to emotional blackmail, which is something I can help others with through my coaching.
So, what happened after the children had grown up?
When the children had all left home we moved to Hampshire, where we lived for
about five years. We had also bought a flat on the Isle of Wight and we took holidays in it and spent lots of weekends in it. We planned to retire into it as well, as we loved the island so much.
While we were living in Hampshire our next-door neighbour was Maureen – who was looking forward to retiring at 60.
Sadly Maureen was diagnosed with cancer and died six months later, before she got to her sixtieth birthday.
We made the decision then to move to the Isle of Wight and not wait until we retired. A step we have never once regretted.
Which leads us back to where we started in this interview! Tell me a little more about what life is like for you now, Maggie?
Moving to the Island has opened up so many doors that would not have been opened if we had stayed where we were.
I have opened my mind to the new opportunities that are available and I have kept my mind open to make sure that I don’t miss any.
I have found that following the signs, even if I am not sure where they are leading me, can be really beneficial.
Some opportunities I reject, some I embrace. I have made mistakes, learned from them and moved on.
But life isn’t perfect for everyone all of the time – how have you handled the difficult times in recent years?
There have been times when life has not been so good. Like when my father died suddenly in 1999. I miss him still. He was a fountain of knowledge and wisdom and always had time and wise words for me.
I have learned how to bounce back and gain something from the experiences I have been through to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. I really believe you can do the same if you are gentle with yourself.
Thanks Maggie, what advice would you like to finish with for your readers?
I know my coaching, books, talks and courses will help you to change your life for the better.
Don’t forget to open your mind to the new opportunities that lie ahead of you.
The choice is yours, you have the ability to create your very own future. Your new life is out there. Go and open the door to your new, fantastic future.
Good luck on your motorway of life, take the right exits for you, try some you think might not be quite right, you may be surprised.
Be brave. You deserve to succeed.
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Maggie Currie was speaking to writer and presenter Clancy Walker