One of the things I like most about returning to places I have lived is meeting up with old friends. It’s been three years since I last visited Greece, where I had lived for over 20.

iced coffee on beach


I was having a coffee (and frozen yogurt) in one of the newly popular frozen yogurt shops with an old friend who is still teaching here in Athens. Even though she works in a prestigious private school, She was describing the same challenges, facing the same issues and feeling the same stress I was familiar with in the UK educational system.


Of course her situation is exacerbated by the economic crisis here in Greece, but when we talked about what she would like to do when she retires from teaching her answers to my questions were the same as what so many of you have told me.


When I asked her what she loves to do, what are her passions, I was met by a blank stare.

“I don’t really know any more,” she said sadly. “My job is so exhausting both physically and mentally that by the time I get home I just collapse on the couch and only get up to eat and go to bed!”


When pressed a little further, she remembered how much she loves baking and how her lemon cake is famous amongst her friends. She has even been asked to take samples of it and other cakes she bakes to a new coffee shop in central Athens.


It was interesting to watch her reactions. When talking a bout baking her cakes, her face suddenly lit up. She was a different person, energised and feeling good about herself, with a sparkle in her eye.


What a contrast to the worn-out, over-stressed teacher she had been just a few minutes earlier! For a moment she believed change was possible for her!


And then resistance kicked in and she started to express (very logical) reasons why she wopuldn’t be able to make anything of this idea.


I’m not suggesting she’ll be able to replace her teacher’s salary by baking a few cakes, but I am suggesting that she leans into the idea and stays open to any possibilities that present themselves.


Another thing I’m suggesting to her is t begin visualising how she’d love to see her passion for baking develop so it’s a bigger part of her life. If she spends just 5 – 10 minutes twice a day, say first thing in the morning and last thing at night, getting quiet and creating a vision of how her life looks in 2 years’ time, she’ll find that other doors will open as the Universe conspires to make her dream come true.


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