Today it was time… I decided to update my profile. If you have patience, bear with me…I like talking…but I didn’t realise I had so much to say!…

Hi… failte (Irish for welcome! and pronounced fall-thhha).

I’m a relative newbie to blogging, being here just over a year, but what an insightful year it has been!

I’ve turned the corner to 50 recently and two things become more relevant…time and experiences!

Material possessions are less important! Using time wisely and truly experiencing each day holds a new significance for me!

The challenges I’ve experienced in my short life have shaped me into who I am today. But to take on new experiences and challenges I have to balance my health; as I have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue, with my desire to achieve as much as I can!

Some days I feel normal, like yesterday, a day where I’m temped to do more, like preparing lots of cooking apples to make 4 apple crumbles and 3 apple tarts and shared them around my family. But by evening I was done for… only now I don’t beat myself up anymore, instead I accept that it’s ok!

However, today might be the very opposite, feeling drained with an unshakeable tiredness or worse still brain fog that wrecks any hope of sustained concentration… Trouble is it is unpredictable, so planning anything is next to impossible!!

But if you wish to read on…, a little of the back story…

I’m blessed to be married to a kind and loving man for 28 years. Now, don’t be fooled! We have had good and bad days but we are still here!… and we have two children now almost 19 and 21.

I worked as a legal secretary for 23 years but in December 2007, approaching 40, I was searching for something more. (Obviously the decades are problematic for me, 40 a mini mid-life crisis and now 50 a paring down of possessions and a search for connections and experiences).

So back to 40, whilst holding down my then part-time legal secretarial work for another 4 years and working in adult education, I decided to train as a voluntary adult literacy tutor, with the hope of helping adults improve their literacy skills and have a second, and better experience of learning!

However, little did I think that wanting to help others improve their lives would see my own life improve beyond measure also!

You see for years I found it difficult to know what to do as I watched our two children suffer at the hands of bullies. Finding the right support was next to impossible and stress and fibromyalgia are not good friends but that struggle only began to change when I returned to education myself! By becoming a student I slowly gained valuable knowledge, I grew in confidence and self-esteme and built my stamina step by step!

After six years of part-time study, part-time work, juggling family commitments and constant exhaustion, I was thrilled when, in 2014 aged 47 to have experienced college for the first time in my life and felt proud of my achievements! I obtained a Higher Certificate in Literacy Development and a B.A. in Adult Education. I have worked with adults in a learning environment almost everyday since January 2008 and I love my work as an adult educator, particularly when adults trust me enough to let down their defences and ‘let me in’, so I can help them by getting to know what makes them ‘tic’ and ‘lights their fire!’.

As an added bonus along the way I’ve realised that I also have a love of writing and that writing is cathartic (providing psychological relief through written expression of built up emotions), both for my students and myself. This blog enables me to pursue that new-found interest and I’ve really enjoying reading your blogs, sharing comments and gaining new perspectives. I also like to share any little ‘gems’ of learning I’ve gathered along the way!

But best of all drawing on my learning with Waterford Institute of Technology and The Adlerian Network of Ireland including the work of Alfred Adler and the crucial ‘C’s’…and of course the amazing Carl Rogers and his belief in the power of unconditional love, empathy (walking in someone else’s shoes) and congruance (being yourself)…

I realise…just like I have found in my classrooms… that…

I am ‘CONNECTING’ with so many warm, fun loving and supportive people!

I realise I ‘COUNT’, I am valued and that my thoughts and opinions matter.

I am feeling ‘CAPABLE’ realising that I can achieve and make progress whether I am ill or not.

And finally thanks to all your kind and encouraging comments I have the ‘COURAGE’ to try out something new, to face the challenges, to make mistakes and fall down, to shrug it off and knowing I won’t be harshly judged I can simply start again!

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Thanks for helping me realise again, like in my classrooms that it is all possible…and that together we write a truly better story!

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Much love,
Marie x

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