Category Archives: Kind Thoughts

The Best Things In Life….

are free. I agree, but how about the best things in life to give?

Throughout my adult life I have gone from being quite flush with money to not having the proverbial pot to urinate in, and everything in between.

At one of my more financially lean times a very good friend had a big birthday. The potential of a grand gesture was fairly remote, so, I spent the one thing I could on her, time.

I spent time, freely and liberally, considering what her friendship means to me and put it down on paper. It allowed me to express feelings I could never do verbally because………well, I’m not sure of the because actually.

I would cry of course (bucket loads) and so would she,( more buckets), but most probably because, as I grew up, I learned to not say, “I love you. You mean the world to me.” The reasons for this are too many and too screwed up to think about, and they don’t matter now either.

The important thing is that, long after most gifts would have passed their sell-by dates, my friend still has these words, to read again when she needs to feel the message they hold. And she does.

I still love shopping for presents, searching for that something special, hoping to please someone special, but for a gift that keeps on giving, try some love, appreciation and understanding.

When Will I Grow Up?

Well, permanently I mean. There are times I feel it, feel like I have some of the answers, but usually when I am talking to someone half my age, or find myself part of the older generation at a funeral and thinking, “Uh oh.”  And is that not just feeling old?

Is this an actual stage or phase anyway? Or do we just learn to suppress our childish impulses from public view?

When I was a teenager( yes a million years ago now) I thought that being 30 meant I was grown up. It was as though when you got to this age you were taken to a room and shown the secrets of life, given all the answers to all the questions and delivered of sense and sensibility ( no, not the book). Then I got to 30, looked around me, examined my life and thought, “Oh shit, I think I know less now than when I was 18 and I understand absolutely nothing.”

I am 52 now and guess what, I still don’t know anything, but with one difference, I don’t care!  I think, feel, love, worry, hope, cry and laugh lots……..but I know nothing.

Does this make me a grown up?

Words

Where would we be without them?

Would we have developed another way of communicating, a better way possibly?

I often wonder because of the number of times when words, quite literally, fail me. It’s ironic how, with the vast increase in the amount of them flying through the atmosphere, whether by e-mail, mobile phones, Twitter, Facebook and all the squillions of other platforms, we all seem to understand less and less.

People could be speaking a different language going by how often I find myself completely lost as to what others want, need or expect from me.

“Oh, but I meant…..”, “Well, I hoped you would know………” , “But you should have guessed…….”

So, have words lost their meaning? Or are we just weary of them?

“A bad workman blames his tools,” they say and perhaps this is never more true than in this case. Words need more than a mouth to speak them; they need ears to hear them and a brain to process them, but, most importantly, a heart to understand them.

Ego, anger and resentment stifle them; twisting their meaning and distorting their sound. And yet in that joyous space, where love, kindness and warmth flow, they lift us out of the blackest of depths and transport us to our own kind of heaven.

Words can move nations to war then bring them back from the brink; they can break hearts, then make them whole again.

It’s Been A Funny Old Year…….So Far

I was lying in bed, thinking back over the first eight months of this year……and wow, how things have changed. The problems I had this time last year are as nothing now beside the events that came after; the dark and dismal summer seeming like a reflection of things going on around me.

It has been life-changing, but, as with most “big things”, good can come out of the ashes. CAN.

Because, as with most things, it’s about choice isn’t it?

I was talking to one of my wonderful friends last night and she told me about a “mantra” she has started using that has helped her enormously, in fact “freeing” her to enjoy where she is here and now.

” I am here, NOT because I need to be, but because I want to be.”

I watched her face as she told me about it and she is right. She looks happier, more empowered and certainly more in charge of her own destiny than I have seen her, possibly ever.

Life does change and some of those changes stink.

So what do you do?  You choose.

Make sure it’s what you want.

Teeny Weeny Talk

I was just reading an article on small talk and the article’s author “David Roberts. vox.com” describes how he really hates it. Perhaps it’s a male/female thing, but I can usually manage the hairdresser/nail technician/beauty parlour stuff; “Any holidays planned?” “Going out anywhere at the weekend?” kind of thing. I feel quite sorry for them having to listen to some of the crap to be honest.

What I don’t get, and completely boils my brain, is the minutiae, that stuff that is so small and insignificant most folk don’t even notice they do it, the teeny, tiny stuff, being broadcast to the world at such a relentless pace and seemingly without end!!

And before you go there , don’t blame it all on the kids of to-day. I have seen men and women, young, middle-aged and old enough to know better, battering away on their keyboards, telling the world and it’s mother how they have just cleaned their teeth, brushed their hair, emptied the bin, put the dinner on……blah, blah, blah.

Okay, okay, I’m a bitch!! What harm are they doing? Leave the poor souls alone, I hear you say.

Well, you see, my point is this; if they put the keyboard down and looked outside of themselves and their immediate vicinity for just a moment or three, they may well find something of genuine interest to them, something rewarding, something that may help fill that void in their lives that drives them to record the dross and miss out the big stuff, their lives, passing them by.

Remember that well-known saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”?

Well, don’t record it either!

Mmmm, I Wonder…

I wonder if anyone actually enjoys spending time around those who wear their negativity loud and proud, who feel the rest of us owe it to them to bolster their self-esteem and “make them happy.”( as if ). How delusional do you have to be not to notice people recoil, break off conversation when you approach or wait until you are not quite out of earshot before uttering,

“What is it with her?”

Yes, it takes all sorts and around Christmas time I wrote a blog called “You get more with sugar than with salt,” where I talked about a man I had worked for in the not so distant past. He believed (and still does) that you get far more from folk by treating them fairly and with respect, a viewpoint I completely agree with and which contributed to such a positive working environment that going to work became a real pleasure. He gave off positive energy (most of the time) and usually got positive back.

Now, I would never pretend to be a modern-day Pollyanna, permanently cheerful and constantly “glad” about life, as you will see from my earlier blog in fact. But I have to wonder, as I said, about some of the joyless, life-sucking and toxic individuals I have encountered lately and what drives their mind-set.

I would love to think you could hold up a mirror to these folk, a mirror with the power to reflect back upon them all that they normally cast outwards, that they could then see and learn and understand.

Is it ever too late? Is it a learned behaviour or are some just born this way?

It may be loneliness, unhappiness, bitterness or disappointment. Who knows. Sadly it usually ends up, “Who cares”. I suppose our response depends heavily on our connection to them.

At what point, when I would find myself alone, without a friend or family, would I wonder,

“Was it something I said?”

Giving It Up.

I have read so many self-help books, listened to so many experts and attended so many seminars, all aimed at helping us give up the struggle, the stress and the negative thoughts and behaviour that marks our lives.

And I get it! Honestly, I do. Let’s face it, the vast majority of it is plain, good old common sense.

But, what it is NOT, is easy; hence the enormous quantity and re-hashing of similar information.

But, no-body said it would, or should, be.

What it is, is worth it.

Each time I hand over a particular stressor to my life’s path, I gain a relief and sense of peace I would not swap for any amount of money or possession.

I am where I am supposed to be, for whatever reason, and I will find happiness here and now.

I have lived with more stuff, more money, more ego, more fear, more stress.

Giving up the fear of losing something you never “owned” in the first place is liberating, and underlines that well-known saying,

“Less is more.”

Everyday “Heroes”

I know, I’m thinking of David Bowie too.

But funnily enough this is not about him. It’s about the everyday people who made me start writing this blog in the first place and some who, in the last twenty-four hours, came back into my life and reminded me of the people that made me want to write..

I want to tell you about SBM. (She’ll know who she is)

I met her in hospital. My daughter was very sick and I was spending a lot of time just sitting at her bedside, feeling as much use as a chocolate teapot and thinking, ” Why my girl, why her”.

The nurse asked me to leave as visiting was long over. Reluctantly I stood up just as a voice called over, “Don’t worry about her. I’ll watch over her for you. She’ll be okay.”

I looked across to a bed and a woman who was far from well, very far.She had more tubes and monitors around her than you could shake a stick at. She could see the doubt in my face.

” I can call a nurse if she needs one, don’t worry, and I will watch her for you.”

I believed she would and I left with more comfort than I had dared hope for.

Over the following week I got to know SBM and some of her wonderful family; all very ordinary folk, but all coping with a high level of ongoing, grinding stress that left me breathless. And how they coped?

With laughter, generosity of spirit and an open, embracing love for others. This woman is no shrinking violet and has a sense of humour that could raise a laugh in an empty room. Many times I would have been begging her to stop, my sides aching and the tears running down my face, I was laughing so much.

The thing is, if you heard her story, if you understood her circumstances and the awful loss she has suffered and ill-health she endures, you could forgive her for wanting to lock herself away and wallow in self-pity. But not a bit of it!

She raises money for charities ( having her head shaved for one when sitting upright even hurt), comforts others in times of stress and for me, well, when I couldn’t be at my daughters bedside she was, and I knew it. I will never be able to repay that peace of mind.

And there are others like SBM out there, quietly giving out such positive energy to those around them and, in my eyes, earning the title of “Hero”.

And here she goes again, popping up in my “Inbox” last night, reminding me what life, love and happinesss should be about.

Thank you.

Life’s Compensations

Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who waxed lyrical about “Youth being wasted on the young.” He sounds embittered whereas I feel sorry for young people; not just todays young’uns, but for the youth of every generation.

I know all stages of life have that double-edged sword aspect, but the angst and self-doubt of my teens, twenties and even thirties blinded me to the opportunities and energy that were within my grasp. Is that what nature does; she gives you the wisdom and self-awareness of middle age and saps your drive to maximise their benefits. We grow into ourselves just as our bodies start to creek and groan with the passing years.

Is it all just a see-saw of gains and losses?  Yes, on all levels.

New technology gives us speed and ease of access in communication and yet so many more of us report feeling isolated. Air travel is common place for most and yet the flight is usually a fraction of the time it takes to get to the airport, get through security, and cope with the delays etc. Our houses have every labour-saving device our grandmothers could have hoped for and every gadget to prepare a healthy and nutritious diet, but we have less time for friends and family and, for most of us, eat less home prepared food than ever before.

So, are we ever any further on than of predecessors? No.

Until time travel is invented future generations will go through the same growing pains me, my parents and their parents did. The scenery and specifics may morph but they will remain centered around those insecurities that haunted us all.

But what about the upside of youth; the energy, strength and enthusiasm. They don’t know the limits, so why are we imposing ours on them?

Would You Believe It?

The news is full of stories illustrating “mans inhumanity to man”, but rarely do we get to hear about those moments of inspiration that so perfectly show what the power of many can do.

Last week approximately one hundred passers-by rushed to the aid of a cyclist trapped under a double-decker bus in Walthamstow, London. Together, they lifted the bus enough to allow the injured man to be pulled clear. Their behaviour flies in the face of the theorists that say, when we become part of a crowd we are slow to react, electing to stand back and wait for “someone else” to take charge.

I doubt anyone there stopped to check out the person on either side of them, to assess whether they would ask them round to theirs for tea on Sunday; they just took a place beside them and, together, their joint strength and will moved, not mountains on this occasion, but a huge, heavy bus and for the benefit of one.

This happened three days ago and I have been wishing ever since we could work like this on a larger scale, politically and socially.

Well, to-day it is wonderful to find that we have.

The news of the breakthrough in the treatment of cancer is nothing short of spectacular. This result is not only the amazing work of the scientists involved, but of every charity collector in the street, every mini-marathon runner, every patient that has taken part in clinical trials and every man, woman and child that has donated time, money and energy to find and fund a cure.

Our own future health is a mixture of good diet, reasonable exercise, genetics and luck, but the vast majority of people I know have invested, in some shape or form, in this research, without waiting to see if they are going to benefit from it personally and without wishing to monitor those that may benefit from it.

We have the power to do wonderful things when we focus on the hope that unites us instead of the despair that divides.