Sixty years! And what have I learned?

little SueSue 2I read something recently: ‘Never be defined by your past. It was a lesson, not a life sentence.’ I like that, but more importantly I believe it.

Flowers, trees, green space and sky can transform the way we feel, and remind us what living is.

Identity can’t be captured or reflected by a mirror.

Nothing that matters is ever a competition.

Forgiveness liberates. Being unforgiven is hell. And guilt is hard to shake off but it’s worth trying because it achieves nothing and limits growth.

Difficulties make us stronger if we refuse to be cowed by them.

Each of us is the result of our genes, upbringing and other influences and experiences. So if we can’t understand why someone is the way she is, that’s because we haven’t lived her life. But imagination can help with that – which is one reason I write!

The value of creative work can’t be measured in numbers any more than the value of a violet or song thrush.

Life on earth isn’t a trolley dash. We can’t leave the shelves empty for the next generation. We need, in a literal sense, to be caretakers of this planet.

Poetry is powerful. It’s what I value most from my education and upbringing. It’s what I most enjoyed teaching. For me, it’s the meaning and the joy.

There’s no such thing as an ordinary person – only people whose gifts we haven’t yet understood.

Since each of us is unique, any labels applied to us are unlikely to be a perfect fit.

There’s no point in aspiring to be ‘normal’. It’s easy to waste emotional energy on this meaningless goal (especially if we present as different) but if we can jettison the whole ridiculous concept, the freedom is wonderful. I’m loving it!

Having more money than we need to live simply really doesn’t make us happy. Having less makes us choose and appreciate.

When we are facing death or crisis, we know what matters: love. Only love.

Physical difficulties can undermine emotional wellbeing. Giving up is easy (for me anyway) but it also hurts.

People are mostly kind, with manners and empathy. The few exceptions live without real love, friendship or fulfilment.

In a romantic relationship, when love fades it is very unlikely to dazzle again however hard it’s polished.

Family history begins to matter around the time when it’s too late to access the memories of parents.

Each of us is a one-off individual – and exactly like our parents at times.


Nationality is a kind of accident beyond anyone’s control so letting it drive feelings or opinions doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Later in life sleep becomes an urgent need and blissful blessing.

Throughout life, confidence can be tidal – but without the rhythm.

Sometimes friends last for ever and feel like family but without judgement. Sometimes a deep connection can be secured in five minutes – even, just possibly, on Facebook!


Closing doors deprives us of opportunities so we need good reasons to keep them shut. It’s easy to narrow with age and to play a familiar role without learning any new lines.

There are often equally good reasons for and against a decision or action. But with big issues like government policies the love lens will normally clarify what’s right and wrong.

God is love. Love is God. By comparison, the whole religious remainder is fascinating and irrelevant. Tragically, it can also be divisive. In love we are one. Love is all. We have to trust it, and if it doesn’t seem to be working (to quote from Facebook again) increase the dose.

Little Sue kilt

Little Sue windowsilllittle Sue on beach


Sue bridesmaid


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