Friday, November 25, 2011

Step 25 - Never Give Up

Day 25 of the National Blog Post Month challenge where I’m writing a blog post every day along the theme of 30 Steps to Happiness and Contentment. 

Moulin d'en Bas
In Step 23 – Go with the Flow, I was talking about when things go consistantly wrong when you’re on a certain path, don’t fight it, change path and go with the flow.  This is not to say give up, don’t give up whatever you’re working towards, just change direction slightly and approach it from another way.  Using the example I gave of the catalogue of misfortunes showered on us during those first 6 months of our lives together.  Our ultimate goal at that particular time was to set up home and make a life together.  We didn’t give up on that, we just moved areas and everything fell into place.

There have been so many occasions in my life where I could have just given up, but I haven’t. I’ve battled on against the odds and come out on top (eventually).  I won’t go into all that now, I’ll save it for another time.  I’m going to fast forward a few years now, well nearly 20 to be exact, to the time we were planning our move to France (8 years ago).  It took a long time to plan the move – it was 18 months before we had a buyer for our guest house in England.  During that time we spent every holiday and break in SW France researching different areas, looking at different houses to decide exactly what we wanted.  We found the house of our dreams (a watermill), the offer was accepted and we arranged to pay our 10% deposit.  In France you have to sign within 7 days of agreeing a price and pay a 10% deposit up front.  If you drop out, or fail to meet the completion date (which is usually 3 months from initial signing), you loose your deposit.  We didn’t have that sort of money so we had to borrow it from the bank with the agreement that we’d pay it back when our house sale completed.  Initial contracts were signed and we agreed to complete by early July 2004.

All seemed to be going well, then our buyers dropped out at the last minute – they had said they were cash buyers, but it seemed they had to borrow some of the money and they were having problems raising it.  We were desperate, we only had a few weeks until completion on the mill and we could loose our deposit if we didn’t sign and all dreams of moving to France.  We managed to persuade the seller to give us a couple of months extension on the completion date and miraculously we had another buyer within a week.

This buyer was much more serious and their solicitor meant business.  He had us running round and signing and agreeing to all sorts of things.  About a month into the sale process and we had a major setback – it seems we had a big planning problem.  I won’t go into details here as it’s very long (and you’ll have to read about it all in my book when I finish it, if you are remotely interested).  But, suffice to say it was complicated and extremely stressful.  There was a strong possibility that our buyers would drop out over it as it could have meant them loosing half the garden (which was already small).  

We could have given up at this point, everything we tried seemed to come up with a big barrier.  But, we were determined to do all that we could to get to our goal.  We wrote letters, visited the planning office on several occasions, pleaded and begged.  Gary almost reverted to violence during a particularly annoying meeting with a stupid planning officer.  Gary is the calmest person you could ever wish to meet, so it just shows the pressure we were both under.  Anyway after weeks of stress and pressure the day of the planning meeting came and the permission was passed with no conditions.  What a relief. The sale then went on smoothly and we finally got to France at the end of September 2004, 3 months after the date we should have.

The point here is we had so many obstacles put in our way, we could easily have given in, but we persevered and I’m so glad we did.  I can’t say life has been easy here in France – we’ve had loads of difficulties to overcome and lots of hard times.  But, it’s a beautiful place to live, we have an amazing property (a bit big and scary for most people), we have some lovely friends and our beautiful family.  What more could you want?

So go with the flow but don’t ever give up on your dreams or you’ll never have a dream come true!
Our house as it was when we brought it in 2004 - yes we are completely bonkers!
You may be interested to read the other posts in this series:
Step 30 - The Key to Happiness and Contentment
Step 29 -You are the master of your own destiny
Step 28 - Don't give up on a good relationship
Step 27 - Don't Judge , Live and let live
Step 26 - Don't Worry, by happy
Step 25 - Never give up
Step 24 - Get by with a little help from your friends
Step 23 - Go with the Flow
Step 22 - Enjoy the moment
Step 21 - Love what you do
Step 20 - Forgive and Forget
Step 19 - Unconditional giving
Step 18 - Smile and the world smiles with you
Step 17 - Work to live, don't live to work
Step 16 - Surround yourself with Positive People
Step 15 - Always look on the bright side of life
Step 14 - Where there's a will there's a way
Step 13 - Silence is Golden
Step 12 - Feed your Soul
Step 11 - Follow your Dreams
Step 10 - Use your time wisely
Step 9 - Don't be too hard on yourself
Step 8 - Consider what you value most
Step 7 - Find time for Yourself
Step 6 - Make time for Family and Friends
Step 5 - Don't take yourself too Seriously
Step 4 - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
Step 3 - Love what you Hate
Step 2 - There's no such word as CAN''T
Step 1 - Find the Best in Every Day


  1. Not bonkers at all! So brilliant to persevere and get there in the end. House buying and selling can be a nightmare, especially with the French system to contend with.... if we ever decide to up sticks and join you - I'll be heading to you for advice!

  2. This is the perfect post for today given that many people (myself included) are struggling with writing a post a day.

    Obviously this is on a completely different scale but the principles remain the same.

    You may well be bonkers - but you are bonkers with a dream that you made come true :)

  3. Congrats on keeping writing one a day - I just couldn't keep it up and still run a family!
    Your tenacity really is an inspiration - well done! Looks like everything worked out ok by the top picture!

  4. Your house looks magnificent in the after shot at the top. I can totally identify with never give up. I had five rounds of IVF, two miscarriages and endless disappointments over the four years it took me from the intial meeting to bringing home my baby. At no time did I think there was a chance that I wouldn't become a mother one day. I veiwed every setback as a frustrating delay and carried straight on with my mission.

  5. Yes come to me Fiona if you what to move to France - I could tell you a tale or two ;)

    Hope you get your mojo back Sarah :)

    Hi Mum in Awe, yes we've come a long way - the first photo shows the best bits. You can't see all the bits we've yet to do, but we always know it would be a lifetime project.

    Well done you MS for persevering, just shows what you can achieve if you really set your heart on something. Glad it all worked out for you in the end :)