Category Archives: Our World

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.

Just Doing What Comes Naturally

How many times have you heard this? Does it usually spring up at the very moment someone is about to attempt to justify the unjustifiable?

Mmm, me too.

“It’s only natural,” is as bogus an excuse for bad behaviour as it is in the labelling of a lot of snacks and convenience foods. In a civilised society we are supposed to temper our “natural” inclinations, to take into account the feelings of others and the impact of our actions on our environment.

Pity then our children trying to make sense of a world where the media makes much of those that shout loudest, stomp on the weak and celebrate/revere the rude, crude and thoroughly undignified.

I feel bombarded by media showing the monetary success this kind of celebrity can bring and, even at my age, have problems processing the quantity and quality of the information, so how on earth can we expect young people to make sense of it, or to be able to filter the myth from the reality.

Unfortunately, and very sadly for all of us, when they try to emulate their modern-day role-models aren’t they then,

“Just doing what comes naturally?”

Be Your Own Best Friend

Throughout my various blogs I have referred many times to the quote,

“Love thy neighbour, as you would love thyself.”

I have also gone over how I did not “get it”, for years, that you need to start with the second part of this before you can understand loving others.

The veracity and truth of this comes back to me so many times, that, each time it does I feel I get a better understanding than that first light-bulb moment.

Friends are wonderful and I am very blessed with mine, but until you learn to listen and respect your inner voice, your inner self, you will continue looking for answers to your problems from others. And no-one can fulfill that role, can know what is truly best for you, better than you.

The act of talking an issue over with a friend is great; quite often allowing you to hear the solution and the sense of it. It can provide a clarity and a comfort that comes with sharing and their loving support.But, ultimately, the answer was within your grasp all the time.

In being your own best friend you need the honesty that comes with this kind of relationship and also the same generosity of spirit you would show to that friend when needed.

Finding peace in being alone should not isolate you, but provide you with a strength of self-awareness and allows you to be a better friend to those you love.

I Am Choosing A Great Day To-Day

Having had some pretty stressful times lately, and with more just around the corner, I have felt a bit battered and bruised, or, more accurately, knocked down and trampled. Things that normally come as second nature to me have taken huge efforts and I have just let others slide completely.

But a couple of days ago I started to get fed up with myself. And it came down to something as simple as this. With my first cup of tea in my hand I asked myself what kind of day I WANT; not hope for or expect, but want.

On the first day all I wanted was a better day than the one before, and so it was. The next I wanted a good day, and so it was. It’s Saturday to-day and I want a great day and I will have it.

There was no fairy godmother involved in any of this and shit still happened on those days, but I also found times of happiness and contentment. The only thing different was me. I chose to be.

My head is full of “I can” and “I will”. Perhaps silly things to some, but they are the things I can control and achieve easily; quick wins.

“I will spend extra time on my hair and I will put my make-up on”

“I will wear something I love to-day.”

“I will eat something yummie and then something healthy.”  (These two don’t often have common ground for me)

I haven’t been able to change the people around me or my circumstances, but I will get back up again and get on with my life, my projects and my loving those close to me.

Where Is The Middle Ground ?

In an era of supposed tolerance I fear society is becoming an environment of increased contradictions, hypocrisy and more polarised than I ever remember it.

By making things law we do not remove people’s ignorance or lack of understanding of different issues, but merely encourage bitterness and resentment which, with the right fuel, ignites into episodes of hatred and violence.

I was reading recently where some are asking for legislation to be passed that makes “wolf-whistling” illegal. I do not believe this is reasonable, or that it will prevent so many women being harassed in a deeply disturbing and intimidating manner.

We all know the difference between a “Hello darlin’ ” from a smiling, open face, without threat or malice, and a car full of men cruising along beside a lone female, making personal, pointed and threatening comments, leaving her frightened, embarrassed and abused. I have experienced both in my life, as have my two daughters, and they are as different as night and day.

Surely the first is about helping men understand what may or may not be suitable and the second should be dealt with under existing legislation. A new law will not bring a new understanding.

And what of me commenting on an image of a gorgeous, young man earlier this week online? Is that an offence? The comments coming back to me, from my female friends, would make your hair curl; funny but very rude. If my husband and his friends did the same about a gorgeous, young female’s image could I complain? No, but then I wouldn’t, if the context and intent was the same.

This week a court found a local bakery guilty of discrimination for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple and ordered to pay £500 damages. Facebook has been buzzing and people who didn’t have much of an opinion on homosexuality, one way or another, or consider themselves as having strong Christian ideals, have been getting into quite heated debates ( arguments in some cases) over it.

With Colleen Nolan appearing on “Loose Women” and likening the baking of a cake for this homosexual couple to baking a cake for ISIS,( the cake being covered with a message supporting murder ), I see the already strained relationship here, between The Church and the Homosexual/Gay community, taking a few steps backwards. I empathised with the bakery if this truly upset their religious beliefs, but listening to this ignorant woman left me determined to not accept this kind of intolerance, wherever I find it.

We seem to need absolutes to-day; laws instead of reason, lists of “can and cannots”, instead of common sense and decency.

We complain of a “Nanny-State” and yet we are doing our level best to ensure that’s what we get.                    .

Being Thankful

This is going to sound a bit odd, but my husband and I are just back from visiting a very good friend, of many, many years, in hospital where he was recovering from a severe and acute illness, one that very nearly killed him, and we had the best nights craic ( that’s Northern Irish for fun and laughs).

We had both been concerned at his appearance at his mother’s funeral two weeks earlier, but did not expect to get the phone call we did from his distraught wife on Sunday morning.

We drove up to the hospital with knots in our stomachs, fearing the worst. But it was great to see him sitting up and back to his grouchy ( in a good way) form, giving us the low-down on his dramatic escape.

And maybe that’s what it was. Maybe we all (his wife, her friend, my husband and I) felt like we had escaped that gaping black hole of grief at the loss of someone we love.

It was a time to laugh at the old times, go over those old stories, when we were ALL there to enjoy them once again. It was a time to let these wonderful people know we love them and our lives have been enriched by them being part of it all. And we did.

My youngest daughter phoned while we were still there to ask about our friend and to give him her love. This guy normally pretends to be oblivious to sentiment, but not now. He lowered his head and nodded, “Oh, that’s nice”, he muttered, still looking down.

Don’t wait to tell those that are important to you how much you love them.

I am so thankful our friend is still here, so grateful of the lesson in this.

Age-Defying Stars Over 70!!!…….Plllllease

Just had a quick look at one of those add-ons at the side of the article I was reading and have almost died laughing.

As you can imagine from the title it lists a host of movie stars who are all over 70, but, for some of them to be described as “Age-Defying”……..oh, excuse me , I’m off again!

Jane Fonda – maybe there are still some of her original parts there, but after the amount of work she has had done, to list her as age-defying is just… defying logic and reason.

Sophia Loren- ridiculous, trying to hold on to a past beauty instead of embracing who and what she is now – a survivor.

Faye Dunaway – She could join Mickey Rourke as poster boy and girl for NEVER having plastic surgery.

As for the rest, a lot of them look really great; if anything some have actually improved with age ( and perhaps a little help).

The difference is they are trying to be the best version of the age they are now, instead of searching for the Holy Grail of their youth and its beauty.

It must be hard for some, to have been known and adored for their looks, to accept the ravages of getting older.

I’m learning to live with it though!

A Quick Thought On Madonna

So Madonna sticks the lips on The Tuesday rapper, Drake, without so much as an “Excuse me dear” He looks like he wants to be sick afterwards, but says in an interview later it’s because of the taste of her lipstick. Yeah, right.

As usual, Ms M is unrepentant. Who’s kidding who. She loves it. Controversy is the air the silly old bag breathes.

But why is okay for her to “out-bloke” the blokes? If an older man had done that to a younger woman, in the same way, would we not all now be outraged?

Such empty, self-serving nonsense does nothing to promote equality for women, except in being equal to the men we now hold up to ridicule.

My Mother

My “issues” with my mother were brought sharply into focus when I found myself watching a particular episode of “The Sopranos”, the one where Tony attempts to suffocate his mother, Livia. Before I knew it I was cheering him on, feeling all of his pent-up hurt, frustration, anger and bitterness as it shut out everything else his conscious self had told him for years; how he should love, care for and respect this woman who had brought him into the world, indeed, given him life.

I looked at “Livia’s” face and saw my own mother.

But instead of feeling shame at my true feelings towards her I acknowledged them and the long path that led to this conclusion. I do not love my mother. I can’t.

Shame has been replaced now with acceptance, albeit an acceptance tinged with real sadness.

Mothers do not give their children life, nature does that. Our children’s’ lives are not our property, not ours to trash as and when the stress of life gets too much. We are merely the guardians, the caretakers (literally) until they can safely take control of their own destinies.

I am so far from being the perfect mother, or even the mother I had hoped to be, but perfection is not what being a parent is about.

For me it’s about loving my kids through all those bad times as well as good, with that same ferocious and undying love I felt the first moment I saw each of them. It’s about putting your arms around them when you really feel like kicking their ass.

And, most importantly, it is about those children growing up knowing, without question at all, that they are loved and lovable.

The reasons for where I am to-day in my relationship with my mother are many and painful, from my parents eventual divorce after years of hell for all involved, to her now obvious mental health problems, but in the end all of this is irrelevant.

I at least understand it is not my fault! It’s just what it is and that is all.

I have no magic answer for how I progress this. It’s just a day at a time.