"I've gone from being a captain of industry to a Devon beach bum. For 18 years, I was running my own company in Kent, working a 70-hour-week, staying in endless hotels, watching mogadon TV with a bottle of wine, my phone always on and with me, 24/7. Then our kids left home and we bought this dilapidated shack in a little village on the Devon coast, and started coming down every weekend to fix it up. When we finally moved down there full-time, 2 years ago, there was still so much to do, including stopping it raining in every room, and I'd feel stricken with guilt if I wasn't doing something constructive, so I was still working 70 hours a week
Now most of it's done so it's much calmer and we've been having more fun - swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, mountain biking, yoga, pilates, beach cleaning. I sleep fantastically and when I wake up in the morning and look out at our beautiful sea view I keep doing this victory stretch and going 'How marvellous! I can choose exactly what I want to do today.' We hardly watch TV any more. We'll spend our evenings reading, listening to the radio, conversing, looking at the fire, socialising.
Everyone's very encompassing there - I've never felt a sense of belonging in such a short space of time before. They're always saying 'Come round!', or offering to include you in whatever activity they're doing. I've found giving people a bloody good listening-to helps them relax when they first meet you and can't quite identify what box you fit into. I've also learnt to say 'Yes' to everything in the first instance. Occasionally you might go 'Ooh, maybe a bit too exciting for me' but you can always not-go next time. I never thought I'd be happy to live in a little shed above a beach, but I am. I'm really enjoying it."
Ben, met in Avenue Gardens, Acton.
#downsizing #retiring #devon #morefun #newlifestyle #happy #belonging #londonsnow #streetportrait #hogl #celebratinghumanity