Two and a half-years-ago, I was single, living alone in an attic flat in Islington and wondering if I would ever meet someone to share my life with.
I am now living by the sea in Dorset with my partner, who proposed to me three weeks ago. I now get to call him my fiancé.
What changed? I changed.
I changed my work, my lifestyle and my priorities.
I used to fly around the world with the prime minister as a Reuters political correspondent. My job was all consuming and it left little time for love. I used to return exhausted from work trips to the silence of my empty home.
I now work at a slower pace, writing about my life experiences in the media and in my recently published book, How to Fall in Love – A 10-Step Journey to the Heart, in the hope I can help others find love.
My ambition to climb the journalism career ladder has been replaced by a different passion – to turn some of the grief and loss I have felt on my serendipitous journey to love into something worthwhile that benefits others.
I now run How to Fall in Love courses online, helping women understand their blocks to a healthy relationship and to fall in love, and I coach women one-to-one – women who are wondering why they’re struggling to meet someone or why their relationships always fail, as I was a few years ago.
I began writing this Maybe No Baby blog back in 2013 when I was 42 so it took me a while to find love – I’ve just turned 46. Perhaps we should call it Definitely No Baby now. I found love late, I was always ambivalent about motherhood, and I fell for a man who didn’t want kids. Sometimes I feel sad but most of the time, I’m delighted with the miracle that is my life today.
I am passionate, though, that women should have a choice around whether to have kids or not rather than simply run out of time, which is why I want to help women find a relationship that works before it’s too late.
I meet so many women in their late thirties or early forties who are struggling through what I call the baby gap – that period of uncertainty that kicks in when you realise you may be running out of time to have children. I also meet women who are tired of returning to an empty house after a hard day’s work.
If this is you, if you are single and don’t want to be, can I suggest you find time and space to explore the reasons why. I know it’s not easy. I know it’s easier to assume you just haven’t met him yet and to get on with your career, which is hugely important too. But sometimes we need to slow down, sit still for a while and ask ourselves what we truly want out of life.
For me, love, companionship and wellbeing are my priorities today. I still have my ambitions – for my book and my articles to be widely read and to make a difference in people’s lives – but I no longer strive like I used to. I go at a gentler pace.
My work hasn’t suffered. Rather, I have found the courage to do the work I was meant to do and to do it well.
So I wonder if it’s time for you to slow down and to see if you are moving towards your heart’s desires or moving away from them. It takes courage to stop and look at your life and to change tack if that’s what you’re meant to do.
But believe me, the rewards are incredible.