The “Ooof” Factor

You know the sound, the one older people make when they drop into or fall out of a chair?  The one you are NEVER going to make.  As of now you have to take the oath:

“I do solemnly swear that I will observe all people older than me, note all the signs of ageing and then commit myself to do none of those things and fight venerability, respectability, caution and all forms of stiffness with a vengeance.  If necessary I will give my face and body regular sticky-tape lifts and fill in my cracks with plaster, but I will NOT ever ‘ooof’ when I get up or down, bend or stretch, pick up a pencil or fall off a cliff.  Should I ever fall off a cliff I will be a) drunk as a Lord, b) youthfully dressed, c) beautifully made up and d) I will scream like a 20 year old at a One Direction shindig.”

Did I say shindig?

Anyway, ignoring that ageing language lapse and moving on.  Let’s examine our oath in close detail (if you’re going to put your reading glasses on do it properly and DO NOT peer myopically over the top of your lenses, that is against the law of youthfulness…ooooh we need laws!)

Swearing is pretty much okay as real swear words don’t change much, okay the young perhaps use the fornicate word more than we did, but we’ve been using it all our lives and are therefore hip and with it.

Although we can get a few aches and pains as we get older we must never forget that with a sensible approach and the advice of a doctor we can remain fit and flexible.  Therefore the legendary stiffness we associate with age can be butt kicked out of sight by a good yoga teacher and a Golden Oldie willing to let a much younger person put your limbs in places they haven’t seen since you were 3 months old and no one had told you that you weren’t bendy.

Okay, we might not want to be sticky-taping our lower areas that used to be our higher areas to the higher areas that used to be north of our face, but again a bit of fitness might encourage a generally northern-ish movement in various facets of our body.  Gravity can and must be fought.

When it comes to wrinkles the men need not worry as they are wisdom lines and therefore, along with your grey hair, make you look wisdomous and attractive (i.e. rich enough to bag a babe).  However, for us dames…I meant girls…it’s a bit different and that’s where expensive creams and good cosmetics come into play.

If you want surgical intervention, your nether regions to become your chin, and a cleft chin on the back of your head, that’s pretty much up to you, but I think the wisdom of a lifetime would tell us that it doesn’t matter how many parts you have lifted you’ll still be 42 no matter what you do.  Forty two being the age we will be until it’s patently ridiculous to be it and then we will be 99 and no one will know how old we are.  After all, 42 is the meaning of life and it’s okay to know that because there was a recent film update of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide”.

One pitfall you must avoid at all costs ladies, and that’s to have a cosmetics bag full of congealed make up that you apply with a good outline of 1960’s (literally) black eyeliner.  It’s important to keep up with the latest looks and colours and adapt them to your own unique and individual look in a sensibly youthful way.

Although a lot of this is cosmetic I admit it, by the same token making sure that you like what you see in a mirror is critical to feeling youthful.  We do not ever want to fake it until we become it, we’re golden, we’re youthful and we are it already.

As to you boys, who traditionally don’t resort to make up to cover the cracks how can you halt the course of ageing?

By doing something!  Anything!  I hear a lot of men saying that they don’t dance but what the heck is wrong with holding your wife close and giving her a twirl around a dance floor.  You might even get fit as long as you don’t try a lift and put something out (and I don’t mean her out the window in your enthusiasm to lift macho-ly higher than that guy 10 years younger than you).

You might even find that your wife likes you more if you take her out like you used to do when you were young, had no kids, and needed to keep her onside so that you didn’t get the big bedroom freeze-out.  I can absolutely promise you that there is nothing more ageing for a man than being nagged by a wife/partner who is bored out of her skull.

Bring some of that excitement back into her life that you used to be famous for, you might not be in your 20 year old shape but you are that same guy inside and you two used to like being together and having fun together.  A young, together, fun-loving older couple are definitely hip and the younger generation will marvel at you and aspire to be you.

Young man:  “They’re that old and they still like each other and laugh together…how do they do that?”

Young girl:    “Clearly he still goes out and has fun.  He’s not tied to his email and playing stupid computer games until 3 in the morning.  He’s cool!

Don’t tell your ladies but you could easily become the guy that all the younger men hate and all the young women twinkle at…but never under any circumstances notice those twinkles or you’ll get more than the bedroom freeze-out you’ll get the clothes in the yard in a pile of dog crap tornado!

Finally, returning to the falling off a cliff bizzo, the biggest danger of falling off a cliff when you’re not looking your best, and “oofing” like an oldie on the way down, arises from not wearing your specs and being unable to see the edge of the cliff.  Think contact lenses or cool designer sunglasses that have prescription lenses in them.

If Hollywood ‘royalty’ can wear sunglasses all year then so can we – they’re great wrinkle covers and a lot less worrying than a scalpel held in the hand of a surgeon of our age who’s peering myopically over the top of a pair of half glasses asking “am I anywhere near your eye?”  “Yes, but it’s the other eye!”

Suggestions to remain mobile:

Flexibility/Mobility:  Yoga and Tai Chi

Core Strength:          The gym or Pilates

Cardio:                      Aerobics/Water Aerobics; Zumba; Fitsteps

Sir Bruce Forsyth:     Does the Tibetan stretching routine “The Fountain of Youth”                                     

As with all fitness regimes consult your doctor before taking on anything new.


Take the oath

Remember the oath

And if you do forget and “ooof” say you were asleep and dreaming about dogs



Loneliness – All in the Mind?

I’ve spent a great deal of my life feeling extraordinarily lonely for a number of reasons many of them sad and messy and a few factual, like being married to a New Zealander and living in the UK.

My chosen lifestyle of writer doesn’t help, nor does having a husband who works at senior management level and has to put in the hours necessary to get the job done.  When you have a partner working at this level you understand that there is a high price to pay for money and that price is isolation.

We’ve never had children, we couldn’t have them, and although mercifully that wasn’t a particular disaster for us it does mean that we’ve never made friends through the children’s schools or with the parents of our children’s friends.  When you’re childless there is an entire network of communication that is closed to you; especially in this day and age when loitering outside a school hoping to make friends would probably get you arrested.

We’ve done a number of hobbies and met some amazing people, but if you’re unfortunate enough to have to leave the hobby you usually find that the people still doing it drift away because they don’t know what to talk to you about and anyway you’ve rejected their passion.  That’s sad because I can talk to anyone about anything at great length and I’m certainly the sum of more than one hobby.  However…

The upshot of this for me has been that there have been many, many times when I’ve really needed help there has been no one there and at times I’ve known an aloneness that’s been almost crippling.  Take 1999 for instance, I lost one father, three uncles and a cat in 12 months.  I was on semester break from University from the middle of May (no exams for historians) until the beginning of September – and my husband’s company was in serious trouble so it was all hands on deck for all hours of the day to work through the crisis.  However, this meant that I was alone from 7.30 in the morning to between 9.30 pm and midnight most days, and sometimes part of the weekend too.  Where were my friends you ask?  They were giving me space because they knew I needed it!  Don’t worry, I still need the space so I’m not troubled by them any more.

I’m only saying all this to demonstrate to those reading this that what I’m going to say next a) comes from experience and b) works!  So please don’t feel any lack of sympathy or empathy in my words, it’s just that sometimes there is a simple truth.


That’s your simple truth.  You see, there is always more than one truth operating on any situation and it depends which truth you choose as to how you’re going to feel about and respond to the facts of your life.  This mindset doesn’t just cover loneliness, it covers attitude towards money, aspects of health and fitness, career success, determination to change your life, and most importantly – your willingness to be happy.

You might be thinking “Willingness to be happy?  Everyone wants to be happy don’t they?”  People definitely think and believe that they want to be happy, but ask yourself this: why do so many people choose to remain in unhappy situations that aren’t working for them if they genuinely want to be happy?  Who do you?

Conceptual Living

There is a big difference between knowing something, believing something, and making that something real in your life by being it.  We all know the rules, we’ve read the positive thinking books, our social media walls are flooded with pretty pictures with inspiring words on them, and we all absolutely totally and positively definitely believe in all those good things.  Except we don’t make them real.

Yes, you have to make those things happen.  Loneliness is a good example of conceptually wanting not to be lonely and factually not going out and meeting new people.  Of living in an area where you can’t make friends, believing it’s entirely your fault, and refusing to move away to somewhere you feel happier in yourself.  Of working in a company where the staff are unfriendly, believing it’s entirely your fault that you can’t make friends, and refusing to job hunt and find a company where you’ll be more comfortable.  Of staying in evenings and weekends instead of getting a hobby (yes you might find your friends disappear with the hobby if it doesn’t work for you, but you’ll at least have something in common for a time), instead of going into a coffee shop and smiling at people, striking up conversations in queues.  Instead of taking up fitness and being sparkly and chatty at the gym.  Sparkly you ask?  Read on.

The Magnetic Glow

When you feel wonderful in yourself you will attract people, when you slump around with a face like a wet weekend they will be scared to approach you because they have enough problems of their own without risking meeting a negative nelly.  Anyway, who wants to meet someone who’s stomping around in grotty trainers and sweatpants and a singularly unattractive zip up hoody thing , their hair in tatters, and looking like they’d rather bite you than speak to you.  Ok so George Clooney meets lots of people who would like to bite him but that’s a different issue entirely and taking the search for meaningful communication too far.

Seriously, even if you feel like garbage having a haircut, buying some clothes you feel good in, wearing footwear that puts a spring in your step, and colouring in your face can all make a big difference to how you feel and how you walk out into the world.  Everyone loves a smiley face, shoulders back, hips swinging and the sound of a happy tune.  They want to know this person because they might enhance their life and be up for some fun, rather than drag them further down into the mire of 21st Century living.

The Magnetic Attitude

You’ve heard of cosmic ordering and The Law of Attraction, and you may or may not believe in it, but here’s one plain fact, Monty Python were right “Always look on the bright side of life da dum, da da da da da dum…”  There are enough real problems in life without you consciously or subconsciously choosing to find the worst in everything.  And guess what happens when you look for the worst in everything?  You find it, and you find more of it.  People who tell you that they don’t have to go looking for trouble if they stand still long enough it will come and find them, usually a) accept a lot of bad treatment and b) stand still a lot.  They don’t tend to be big on change.

So, quite seriously and without a woo-woo or weird thought in my head, adjust your attitude now.  Don’t think about how much money you don’t have, think about how you can do your best with what you have and find more.  There are reasons that rich people are rich, they don’t sit around waiting for someone to make everything right.  They worked hard at school, maybe they went to university, or like Richard Branson they beavered their way from the bottom to the top.  Theo Paphetis was born in a poverty-stricken Greek village.  J. K. Rowling was an abandoned wife and single mother struggling to feed her kinds, but instead of complaining she sat all night writing Harry Potter, and when no one would publish the first book she self published.

Not all the rich and successful were born wealthy, they have a rich and successful mindset and you can have that too.  It’s very hard when you don’t have enough money to feed your family, but one thing is for certain and that is that something needs to change and instead of thinking about what you can’t do ask yourself what you can do.  If you struggled to study at school find out if you’re dyslexic, sort that out and maybe you can take some courses and change your lot in life.  Can you move somewhere there is more work?  I don’t know what you can do you have to decide that, but I do know that you should never believe in can’t.  At the end of the day a good attitude will draw help towards you and a bad attitude won’t.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

You might be thinking “I thought this was about loneliness and she’s rabbiting on about money and work”, but loneliness is the same as lack of anything, when you focus on what you lack you don’t focus on what you have, or what you can do.

In order to become a magical attractor of the life you desire you will have to smarten up your thinking, focus on what you do have, and get out there and make changes in your life.  There simply is no other way to escape the dungeon in which you find yourself.  There are 7 billion people out there and I will guarantee you that a lot of them would love to meet you especially if you’re wearing a smile.  There are people out there waiting for you to be their friend because they’re lonely too, and if you haven’t met ‘the one’ in the area in which you live or through your work or hobbies then you need to do something different somewhere different in order to fill that hole in your life.

Take Action

We inspirational speakers and writers are positively boring on the subject of doing, but doing nothing achieves nothing 100% of the time.  Fact.

Go to museums and wander round smiling.  Engage strangers in conversation in art galleries on the relative merits of light.  Get your friends to party with you and if they won’t go to singles groups and bars with a first intention of making friends and a second intention of snaring a Clooney look-alike, the female equivalent thereof, or whatever floats your boat.

Just do something or nothing will change.  And never, ever let the attitude of others define who you are.  You are a person worth knowing and there are people out there who want to know you, go find them.


Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and a pleasantly full social life


Look out for my new book “Who Am I, Where Am I, What is This Place?” out soon.



It’s Not About the Money, Money, Money (thank you singer Jessie J)

Different folks, different strokes as they say, and like all things in life there are as many approaches as raindrops on a rainy day, and all of them have relevance – unless the approach you’re using doesn’t work for you.  Let’s use me as an example.

I have many good friends who believe in the idea of setting an amount of money they want to earn and aiming for it.  They believe that the focus on a specific amount encourages them to take the steps they need to take in order to achieve their goal.  It certainly seems to do so for them.  It didn’t for me.

For a long time I tried to take this advice and failed constantly.  I knew the amount per year, broke that down per month, adjusted for quiet months such as January, August and December, and broke that down weekly.  I never got anywhere close.  All of the time I was aware that I hadn’t hit my weekly or monthly target, and eventually I forgot about it because I just wasn’t getting there.  I felt like a failure.

Then I studied the Law of Attraction and I realised that this approach would never work for me because it put me into a mindset of lack.  I didn’t have the money.  I wasn’t earning the money.  Therefore I lacked the money, the determination, the focus and the success.  Big F for failure!

What does work for me is focussing totally and only on the work that I love and not worrying about the money.  Why does it work?  Because I now focus only on the love of what I do and the money is certainly following that.  I believe that’s because I haven’t been thinking about the money I’ve been focussing on creating the links, the relationships, and the work.

Another example.  All my adult life I’ve struggled with my weight, battling every day to keep it within normal parameters for my height and BMI.  Then I started to forget about it because other fun, happy things took precedence, and I noted that my weight was a little lower than normal and holding very steady.  However, something put my mind back on to weight and for the last 5 weeks it has misbehaved badly and crept up, dropped a bit, gone straight back up and so on.  This is because no matter how hard you think you’re thinking about losing weight you’re actually thinking about being overweight, and the Universe is sending weight to you.

So the message is, focus on what matters to you, what motivates you, and what works for you.

If you just can’t work for money then don’t, work for love, and the fact that you’re working and charge money for that work will bring in the money.  However, you will not go out and create work if in your mind you’re focussing on something that makes you feel bad for whatever reason.  I have real problems in working for money, I have no problem with doing loads of the work I love, seeing the smile on people’s’ faces and charging a fair amount for my time.

When it comes to weight, ask yourself whether you really need to lose weight or an exercise programme, which would support your health, wellbeing and mobility (providing you’re sensible of course and if in doubt consult your GP).  The focus on health, wellbeing and mobility might be better for you.  You may have a dread of ageing physically and not being able to get about, or the desire to get into that little black dress for the party season, whatever your motivation is if you can’t control your weight then better to motivate yourself in a manner that works for you.

At the end of the day no one is wrong or right, but if you choose the focus of another person it won’t feel right and you won’t create the right energy for you around whatever it is you want to achieve.

Be yourself, do it your way.

Deb Hawken
To pre-order my forthcoming book “Who am I, Where am I, What is this Place?” and start taking positive control of your life, email me on or fill in the contact form below.