22 Nov Forging a new career at nearly 50 years!
My 40s brought me divorce and a huge journey of self-discovery which now, 11 years on, I am hugely grateful for the lessons! Whilst my ex and I get on, this took some doing and I am proud of how far we’ve come after a journey of many ups and downs. There were moments which were filled with both light and dark and there were challenges at every turn. Now, I can appreciate how time is a great healer and I have so much more experience that I believe it makes me good at what I do for a living now! Celebrant’s work wasn’t something I had ever planned and before I became one – which was quite by chance – I had never even heard of celebrants! This vocation found me and once it did, I was hooked!
I was lucky that when I started officiating ceremonies, I had a “proper job” and so that kept me fed and sheltered. In 2013 I took the plunge and set up my business offering personalised ceremonies for weddings, funerals and baby naming in English and Spanish. Five years on, I am busier every year and this summer I officiated more than 40 weddings and renewal of vow ceremonies. This year I have also seen my local market expand too and I look forward to more Spanish ceremonies! Funerals are another ceremony I offer and I recently organised an open day at my local crematorium with a remembrance ceremony, the sacred space of which I shared with the vicar of the Anglican Church. It was a very successful first event and I hope to offer this every year from now on. It’s important for people to have somewhere to go to be able to remember their loved ones, especially if they are foreign and their loved one was cremated. I hoped to offer that possibility with this open day as well as allowing people to see that death is nothing to fear!
What is a celebrant?
We have the best job in the world and get involved in people’s lives at their most wonderful or their most intense moments. A celebrant is able to provide ceremonies for any of life’s rituals and more! Why not celebrate the opening of a new business or festival with a celebrant led ceremony – and yes, I have opened a music festival twice now! When a celebrant is able to use her talents to listen to couples or family members, she is able to tell the story of the protagonist/s. Whether it’s an occasion to celebrate or one to mourn, using a celebrant means you get the story told and if it’s a funeral or celebration of life, it’s important to acknowledge the life the deceased lived and tell their story.
I feel blessed to share such special moments with couples, families and parents to help them tell the story of their marriage, life or choice of name for their baby. I recently offered a ceremony for a baby welcome, blessing and naming and it was truly special. I especially loved hearing what the grandparents had to say not only to the baby but to the baby’s parents. All of their experience was passed on with love, it was very special!
Mallorca is an amazing place and I found her by chance! It was the best summer of my life, 1992, and I had a summer job on a super yacht – well it was considered super in those days, now it would be more like a dingy! We were based in Italy but came to Mallorca on charter and then when the season finished there, I decided to come here and the rest is history! I met my then partner, we had two amazing, beautiful sons and settled in the wonderful small town of Binissalem where we all still live! I speak Mallorquin, although my elder son says I do it “badly”! However, speaking the local language works for me and allows me to have a very dear relationship with this island! I feel blessed to live here and have seen many changes in my 26 years here, not all positive. Mallorca has a lot to offer but needs to protect herself so that it’s not squandered away!
Family life and community
I have two sons. The first born is 24yrs and a talented musician (guitar and voice). He has a band, Piolet Swing, which plays gipsy jazz swing and they perform regularly all over the island. It’s great bumping into him at weddings and I have grown to love the gipsy jazz genre! My younger son is 17yrs and is a lovely teen although he’s not too keen on school right now! He had quite an educational journey and was part of a pioneer generation who started at brand new schools when they first opened in the last decade! Whilst it was good for him to go to a couple of these when they first started, the downside was the lack of official recognition by the state so we’re now having to study for some qualifications online. The difference between their upbringings insofar as the influence of the internet and social media has been very interesting and I do believe first born got the better deal with no social media when he was a teen!
Being part of a community is very important to me and I am blessed to live in a small town that has welcomed me from day one. As well as my full time job as a celebrant, I enjoy facilitating a couple of groups offering conversation English with the locals – we have a lot of fun!
My 87 year old mother moved here last year and lives around the corner from me and I organise regular meet ups at her home at which she shares her life experience and spiritual knowledge with others! It’s called Conversations with a Wise Woman and I really should get around to filming them as she is a very interesting woman with so much to share! One of my siblings has also moved to the island after 30 years in the Arab world with her husband! They are in the village next door to where I live! We’re taking over and the neighbours are worried!
Mallorca Death Café
I lead a monthly gathering of the Mallorca Death Café which forms part of the global movement of the Death Cafe. I started doing this in December 2015 when I first read an article about the Death Cafe movement. I offer these encounters in both Spanish and English and when they take place in Binissalem, we do the meetings at the L’Exquisit café where we enjoy wonderful teas and cakes. I am currently looking for a venue in Palma to accommodate the many interested people who cannot make it out to the sticks! I have learned a lot about the beauty of life through these meetings and we have some incredible conversations every time! I think the most incredible part of the Death Cafe is that it’s freeing to be able to talk with others where no one knows more than the other! People are put off by the word death but it’s so important that we start to accept that we are all going to die one day. When we are able to talk naturally about death, perhaps some of the fear will disappear and more understanding will take its place!
The Just Glynis show
I host a weekly radio show on Mallorca Sunshine Radio and every week I interview yet another interesting and inspiring person! I love meeting such people and it’s such a pleasure and privilege that so many are living and working in Mallorca! If they’re not here, they’re at the end of a phone call so the show is truly international! Plus we guarantee sunshine and great music! Tune in every Monday at 19h CET on Mallorca Sunshine Radio.
Weddings, Renewal of Vows, Namings glynisgermancelebrant.com