As a nearly 39 + 1 year old (yes, I am totally clinging to the fact that for 2 more weeks I am 39), I have started to reach the stage in life when you question everything you’ve done.
What is to come?
Why is it harder to lose weight than when I was 18?
Why does my head think it’s exactly the same as when I was 18, but in the mirror it tells me differently?
It calls me out; it tells me I am a fibber.
Well, I am not going to lie; I have certainly had a colourful life. One I am proud of. Every step I have taken, good or bad, has led me to where I am today.
From a young aspiring interior designer, photographer, and RAF intelligence analyst to the Civil Service and now project management.
There are three wonderful children who make everything worth it. It is all for them.
In a world full of so much sadness, there really is a lot of beauty that you have to be open to in order to receive it.
What I have come to value most as the years have ticked by is women who empower other women in a world that quite often feels topsy-turvy.
In truth, there are days when I don’t know whether I am coming or going, and I look to other women more and more for support. For understanding and for sanity as we all cheer each other on and make each other feel that the dips are all normal. I find that with this support, you will most certainly be back on track soon.
Running has always been my thing. It is a massive part of my life, and so when my spinal consultant recently said a big fat no to running in the future, I felt a little crumbly.
Great, not only is my face aging, but so are my discs in my vertebrae. What do I do now? This was my passion, my absolute escapism, my way of challenging myself, and my way of keeping healthy and sane.
Yoga has filled this void for sure, but it wasn’t enough, and despite having amazing friends and family, I wanted more. A woman is trying to have it all but is being told no, absolutely not.
“Slow down there, Tarquinette.”.
One day, the Women's Institute popped into my head randomly, and I immediately thought of calendar girls or the TV series ‘Jam and Jerusalem’. A little comical, however, when I get something in my head, I have to try it.
So along I went to my local church, where the nearest W.I. is held. I walked in and immediately felt overwhelmed by how many women were in there. How has this been going on right under my nose, and I had no idea?
Once a month, there is a guest speaker, something new to learn, and a great topic of conversation for us all to natter about later. So far, I have learned all about the life of an actress, sweets and chocolates from back in the day, and the air of nostalgia they bring with them. Lemon sherberts, black jacks, pontefract cakes, and loads more—geriatric jelly babies are an actual thing, did you know? Tea, coffee, and a natter—what's not to love about that?
I am sure the ladies won’t mind me saying that until I walked in, they were of an age group unlike my own. They were of a different generation. This was even more appealing to me. Beautiful, interesting, kind, and friendly ladies who want to know about you and me are women of the world.
The ladies tell stories and meet up to do fun and interesting things. Admittedly, I can’t attend all the events (as they are during the working day), but they host museum trips, theater trips, walks, art classes, meals, and so much more.
This got me thinking about the WI and what it means, though. Why don’t more younger ladies go along? Surely there is much beauty in this to be admired.
To be part of something special. To have your own cheerleaders looking out for each other.
The Christmas do was amazing. We danced the Slosh (like a line dance—not my usual; I can barely muster the macarena). We had a wonderful meal, great conversation again, as always, a secret Santa, and a quiz. I didn’t even drink. So many women, living their best lives, dancing, chatting, and finishing off the night off by all singing ‘White Christmas’.
While it seemed slightly hilarious to me at first, why? This is what life is about. Building precious moments with precious people. Nothing is promised in life—not even tomorrow—so make the very most of this precious gift that we have been blessed with—life.
I would highly recommend the WI to anyone who is thinking of joining. It might surprise you how amazing it feels to be part of something special.