The Women in my Life

I’ve spent the past few days at home recovering from pneumonia. The new batch of drugs I received last night have kicked in already and I can now breathe without wheezing and laugh without coughing.

With this renewed energy ad because it’s International Women’s Day, I’ve spent a bit of time drawing up a graph and a diagram detailing all the women in my life, past and present, who have had a significant impact on my life.

In posting this, I can think of at least two people I’ve missed. If you’re not on there, don’t be disappointed. It’s not a judgment, more an illustration of the constraints of time and space.

I’ve identified what each person taught me and the qualities they brought to our relationship.



I soon realised that three things were going on here:

– the list celebrates a surprising number of people;
– there are similarities in the qualities those women have brought out in me; and,
– the process has highlighted qualities I’d quite like myself.

Achievement seems to be a strong theme that links all of these women together. They are indifiduals I want to associate myself with (in the hope that some of their talents might rub off on me). And perhaps some of those qualities have rubbed off: Gillian Grinham (my middle school English teacher) inspired me with her passion and enthusiasm for literature; I strive for a fraction of Joanna Spicer (an executive at the BBC in the 50s, 60s and 70s – a male-dominated era); the presence of school-teachers Nuala NicShane, Elizabeth Ashurst and Debbie Gowers remind me even to this day thatthere is joy tobe experienced taking a methodical approach to learning and creativity.

There are some on the chart whose inclusion is awe-inspiring and, in a couple of cases, chilling. Two of the individuals have faced considerable challenges in their lives which make their subsequent achievements all the more incredible. One experienced a profound loss at a relatively young age; the other responded to the destruction inflicted on her and her family during the second world war in a catastrophic and destructive way – actions which still resonate today.

All of the characteristics I’ve noted down are the ones I value the most. They excite me every time I look at the words because they give me hope. They also make me want to give thanks. Funnily enough, I can’t imagine either diagram being quite so rich if I stop to think about the men who have made an impact in my life. But overall it confirms something I was reminded of during my coaching retreat a few weeks back: we are the sum of all our experiences and I’m rather thankful that so many women are responsible for those experiences.

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