• Alison Cowell

Reflections and rejections

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

As I sit here in a caravan in the Scottish countryside with Steve, my husband of 40 years, and our 11 year old German Shepherd dog, watching the black skies threatening another downpour, I recall how very different life was this time last year. Then, I was in New Zealand, having a chilled glass of rose on our sunny deck that overlooked the vineyards and hills beyond. Would I swap back? Not at all.

Before I begin to share the story of my next new life (to anyone who’s remotely interested!), I thought I’d start with a brief rec-cap on my last one.

I’m English born and bred to Scottish parents. Steve and I went to live in New Zealand in 2005 because Steve thought it would be good to ‘try something new’ as we hurtled towards our 50s. I wasn’t terribly keen to be honest. I had my two sons, Mum and Dad, a lovely home (with only a few years left on the mortgage), wonderful friends and a precious cat. Still, after much debate, I agreed to try it for two years, because I didn’t want us to look back and think ‘what if...’

Life in New Zealand wasn’t anything like we’d expected. Originally, we were going to buy a courier franchise - with Steve using his extensive knowledge in the haulage industry at the helm, and me working part time assisting him. Ha! The Universe had other plans. Steve was offered a job working at the courier company’s head office. It was less risk to us as we weren’t going to plough all our money into a business. However, the job took him away from Monday to Friday most weeks, which wasn’t much fun for either of us. We had bought an old cottage in the country and I had never felt so alone when the nights crept in. I didn’t know a soul, I had no job and felt completely adrift. I applied for job after job, manipulating my CV to suit whatever was being sought. I had quite a few strings to my bow, but New Zealand couldn’t have cared less! So I dug deep and created a business for myself. Hence I went from being a civil servant in the UK to a self-employed nutritionist in New Zealand. My business was predominantly giving one-to-one health consultations but I expanded to work with businesses and organisations, becoming a keynote speaker at many conferences and working within large corporates increasing awareness of how everyone could invest in their health. I also published a couple of booklets (my BIG health book is in its final stages, watch this space!) and had an award-winning radio show. After 12 years, I had consulted with over 10,000 individuals.

I would visit home whenever I could, which was almost every year, thanks to the success of my business. The UK has always been home, and it was always a question of ‘when’ we returned for good, not ‘if’. I didn’t know when that time would be, but after a trip home for my Dad’s 90th birthday in December 2017, I realised I wanted to be spending precious time with my Mum and Dad. Whilst Dad was still his lively self, playing 18 holes of golf at least two times a week (no buggy or aids), Mum was noticeably struggling in her 86th year; slow, hesitant movements, a lack of confidence and low moods.

So the decision was made to return. Steve and I knew as we welcomed 2018 that the year ahead would herald the start of another chapter in our lives. Little did we know the trials that ahead. Events that would test our patience and resilience to the very limit!


Copyright © 2019 Alison Cowell

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