When you wake up to the fact that your life needs to change, it’s what we call an audrey moment.

Sometimes the need to make a big change comes about gradually. It’s a creeping disquiet that spreads its tendrils inside our souls until we can no longer ignore it. This can take months or even years. In other cases, that need to seize the day is the result of a very precise moment. A moment when we think ‘No more – I’ve had enough!” or “Right, I’m doing this now”.

It’s the kind of mindset change that no calming cup of tea can quench, no box set or night out can stifle. Not even a week of asanas in an Ibizan retreat can quell the need to kick your life into touch as soon as you get home.

Because when your switch is flicked, or your flame is lit, or your goat is got… there’s just no going back.

This moment is known as a paradigm shift, an important change that happens when your usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different mindset. What was acceptable or normal is suddenly not right anymore, or not enough. We need change – and we need it fast.

We call this an audrey moment. Here are a few of yours…

After being diagnosed with cancer and surviving it in 2008, I decided to take more holidays. Not to the beach, but gradually working my way around the world, one country at a time. I have paddled in every ocean and many seas. I have gone off the tourist trails travelling on trains in India, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa and a few more. This year I decided to go back to my love of art. In August I left a highly paid job and set up my own business. I am 58 and I love life.
Susan A

Discovering truths – big or small – about yourself and your real needs is liberating, but once they’ve jumped out of their box, there’s no stuffing them back in again: they need to be accepted and dealt with! Most of us are brought up to believe that doing what WE want and following our dreams is selfish. I am now 56 and have been told all my life that I am selfish, despite having brought up four children to adulthood, caring for a dying parent, pandering to various partners and almost always being the main breadwinner. My kids have now left home and I feel free to do my own thing. I’ve started travel writing, which involves going away a lot and my new partner has suggested that I’m getting more selfish by the day. What he means is that I do what I want, not what HE wants. Perhaps I’m not meant to be in a relationship at this point in my life. Many of my friends aren’t and it seems to work well for them, having no-one to answer to or explain themselves to.

My biggest audrey moment was realising that I could change careers to something I wanted to do, even though I was “old” and already had a degree and a job that were unrelated to each other or to anything I was interested in. I thought I was ancient and mad to be doing something different AGAIN. Nonetheless I spent a year re-training in interior design, completely mentally awakened, energised and re-connected to my creative side. Suppressed for years, that part of me was bursting – I started to sketch again, I saw colour and everything I learned was interesting. Interior design is the closest I will ever be to my ideal career and I’ve never looked back. I earn a lot less money than I did in the city but I would do it all again and feel richer for it.

I suffered empty nest syndrome for too long. I had to look inside myself to find out what I needed to do for the rest of my life. Although I had my work and agency nursing and my business in aesthetics, as well as fostering dogs and being a supportive land lady to my supported lodger, the void was still massive in my personal life! And I realised looking for a man to make me happy was NOT the answer. I asked myself “What is it I’ve ways wanted to do my whole life?” The answer was “Work in the Third World”. Having lived and worked in Saudi Arabia in the 80s and Texas in the 90s, I’m comfortable living abroad. Once my youngest finishes uni and has a job I’m planning to sell up buy a three-bedroom apartment for the kids and move to India, to work for UNICEF and or the Railway Children charity. I’m so relieved I’ve found what it was I needed! I have my plan and I’m happy.

The day my daughter came home with a prospectus for Sixth form and started talking about which university she wanted to go to my blood ran cold. I didn’t feel ready. I could see a big void opening up in front of me. I didn’t want to be one those mums who pines at home, waiting for their kids to call them. I needed to do something for myself, something exciting and new. I’ve had the same job for years and although I work with a great supportive team, I long ago fell out of love with the job. I requested a sabbatical from work and did a short course in screen printing, just to get doing something creative again. I’m now seeing a life coach and thinking of starting my own business.

My boss announced new ‘efficiencies’ at work, which meant I could no longer do my job properly. Working for the NHS I’d always been passionate about patient care, but this was one efficiency too many. I was already run ragged and it just felt like I was letting the patients down. My stress levels were off the scale. Something snapped that day and I just walked out. I’m now retraining to be a mindfulness teacher. I gave it my all for years and I’m ready for something else.

Two of my friends died around their 50th birthdays. I felt guilty that I was alive and they no longer had that privilege, especially as both of them had young children. It was a conversation with the wife of one of them that pushed me into action. “It’s up to us to make the most of our lives – for them”. I owed it to them to live better and do something meaningful. I owed it to myself. I was still working out what that was when I went on a mind-blowing holiday to Sri Lanka. Every sense was awakened, I saw life in technicolour and came back feeling different. I knew I couldn’t carry on self-numbing on social media, watching crap on TV, listening to audio books – all these things I was doing to silence my brain and distract myself, when in fact I needed to get focussed in my down time. Days after getting home I joined a mastermind group to help formulate a plan… which turned into

I am 56, married with five adult kids and an eight year old grandson. I worked for seventeen years doing workshops for parents of children with special needs, then as a Weight Watchers leader and lots more. My life was full, my house always busy and hectic. Then one day, during my usual annual birthday party, I found myself sitting on the stairs feeling a big void – I suddenly felt something was missing! Anyway after that I then went on a mission to find myself. I learned to meditate and listen to myself. Having retrained I now I work from home offering reiki meditation to clients who have cancer or some form of mental health issue. I feel so much more fulfilled and at peace – I used to be such a stressful person but I can now dip into that stillness wherever I go.

My sister got a whole new lease of life when she ditched her job with an accountancy firm and became a life coach. Totally on a mission, suddenly she was doing loads of courses, had her own website made and became very active on social media to market herself. She was shattered, yes, but she had a different kind of confidence – a certainty about what she was doing. I was a bit sneery at first, I’ll admit. But after a while her energy rubbed off on me. I wanted a new lease of life too. I haven’t quit my job but I’ve started doing an online MBA in entrepreneurship. I’ve always wanted to have my own business and this seems like an obvious next step if I’m to do it properly. So I owe a big thanks to my sis’ for the inspiration – and the life coaching. Turns out she’s quite good at it.


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