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Philippa Perry answers The Questions I Always Ask

In the first of a new regular(ish) slot, agony aunt, psychotherapist and bestselling author Philippa Perry gives us an insight into her mind (I'm here for the one-shift day!)

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What has been your biggest life shift?
My therapist told me, when I was about 45, that there were two groups of therapists. Those who kept going to trainings, and professional development workshops and wrote academic papers, and those who lapped up the papers and went to all the trainings and then he said, quite forcefully, and YOU are in the WRONG group. A nice kick up the ass that got me facing in the correct direction. And sometimes it is advice I give myself again. Recently I made the significant purchase of my own studio to paint in, it was the same advice resonating in my head – if not now, when? We only have NOW. Make that shift UP. It’s a bit like jumping into the sea, it’s lovely once you get used to it.

What do you wish someone had told you about life after 40?
That your tendons, bones, joints, and ligaments need to be correctly aligned or there’ll be trouble ahead. Go to the physio or to Pilates NOW, do your exercises, or you’ll be in a ton of trouble later.

The best thing about getting older is?
I am less uncertain about the future, I know where I’ll be living and who I’ll be living with and what I like doing and get get on doing it, so I can spend more time in the here and now. The present is what we have and when we truly understand that we can live in it, instead of living in an imagined future or a regretted past.

And the worst?
I have “a knee”, “a hip” I can’t physically run, I can’t walk very far because of tendonitis and arthritis. I have less energy, I need more sleep. I used to be able to do what I called 3 shift days, morning, afternoon and evening. I can just about manage a two shift day and prefer a one shift day and need several days with no shifts at all. People ask me to do stuff and think I’m very busy because I give them a date weeks into the future, but it’s not that I’m that busy, it’s that I need rests between jobs.

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Topic Questions I always ask