A friend sent me a reel yesterday. On instagram. Not a friend that I see a lot or that I know particularly well. But someone who helped me to care for my Dad when he was dying. Who turned up at the house at midnight on the evening he passed away to express her respect and love. Someone who is now striking out on her own entrepreneurial path, working long, brave hours, making an incredible success of her life. A single Mum to a gorgeous little girl because the child’s father cheated and lied, and so she left him to find real happiness. In short, a young woman I respect very much.

Her message just said ‘reminded me of you x’

The view is from a car window as it moves through a mountain landscape in the blistering sun. When I see it, it instantly reminds me of Andalusia. I’ve made videos like this myself, on the winding mountain roads around Granada. Those gorgeous giant semi-circles the sun creates as it bounces off the lens.

A woman’s arm rests on the ledge of the car window, gently waving in an expression of contentment and freedom. The voice over says: ‘A wise woman once packed all her stuff and said, ‘this fucked up shit will not be my story’.

I burst into tears and watched it on repeat for 5 minutes.

It’s funny how we can communicate in reels now. I know we’re supposed to hate social media and there’s so much wrong with it. But there are some beautiful moments. You can sometimes say things with a stranger’s reel that you wouldn’t ever have the words for otherwise.

You see, they say you can’t choose your family. Most of us believe that. But it’s not true.

Last time I saw my best friend I asked her to be my next of kin. I’ve known her since we were at boarding school together, thirty-five years ago now. She hugged me and said she’d be honoured.

You can do that in the UK. Next of kin doesn’t have to be a family member. If you find that your family members don’t behave like family, but you have friends that do, this is an excellent option. It’s important that we feel loved by our family. If the DNA version isn’t doing that then you can create a version that does. You should. Create your own family. DNA isn’t everything.

After my beloved Dad passed away it was six week before any other family came to visit. Six weeks. My uncle only lives an hour away.

And another thing.

You can also choose where you want to be. You can just pack up your stuff and go somewhere else. Somewhere that makes you happy. Somewhere that the sun shines. This is not impossible to do.

If the story that was handed down to you isn’t your story, then write your own.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps along the way. But in the end, it’ll be your story, nobody else’s.