Tag Archives: coping with life

You Never Know

You don’t, ever.

Things and people you thought of as “forever” can disappear in the blink of an eye, often leaving a wake of hurt and devastation, whilst some quiet, unassuming folk can offer a strong, tender pair of arms to help and shelter you just when you need it most.

The older I get the more I seem to hear myself say, “But I don’t understand,” feeling both foolish and childish simultaneously.

Life is just too short, too precious, to spread so much hurt and annoyance.

I don’t understand.

So what do you do? What can I do?

I carry on. I hurt, feel sad, can’t be assed to do stuff, but I keep carrying on. The alternative is grim.

I start, very slowly, with something or someone in my life who warms my heart, and remember why it is good to be alive, even in the crappy times.

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.

I Hate Grapes.

After months of putting-off, and one re-booking, I was really looking forward to my appointment with the kinesiologist (Alex) that came so highly recommended. As usual, I was going to be far too early so I stopped at a local convenience store to buy a magazine.

I didn’t have a fixed idea about what this lady was going to be able to do for me, except that I wanted to try something new, something that may help unlock certain problem areas in my life and allow me to move forward.

Well, move I did, but not forward.

I finished paying for my thick, glossy copy of Vogue and headed out of the shop…..and then it got me!  As I lay on the floor, reeling from both shock and pain, with kind people gathering round, offering many helping hands, a man stood up with something in his hand.

“There you are love. You slipped on this,” as he proffered the remains of a grape.

I hate grapes. I always have. Good for your health? I don’t bloody think so.

With voices asking for the manager to call an ambulance, I sat there wondering at the irony of it all. Here I am, attempting to shed feelings of angst, stress, fear and anger, to allow my life to progress in a positive direction and I wind up sprawled on a floor, my knee and hip throbbing, hoping I can manage to drive my car home. If there was a meter capable of measuring my stress level at that moment I think it would have exploded.

Could I possibly have sub-consciously tried to prevent myself getting to the appointment? Self-sabotage? Me?

I couldn’t accept that so, with the help of two very kind men, I hobbled out to my car and drove to see Alex.

It was everything I had hoped for. She was wonderful; kind and caring and I happily arranged for my next appointment.

But the thing is, I want this change, more than anything and not even a grape is going to stand in my way.

Faking It

Have you ever sat in a room where there is lots of laughter and hilarity and people are obviously having a great time, and yet, even though you are smiling and chatting, you wish with all your heart you were anywhere but there? It’s like the room is closing in around you and all you can hear is joined up noise; no individual words, just one ear-splitting clamour.

You want to gather yourself up and make for the exit, find your car and get home as fast as you can. But you can’t. This is a big night out, so you might have a drink and so you didn’t bring your car. You can call a taxi, but it’s Friday night and you will have to wait for ages. So you sit it out and wait for your lift, which is now an hour away. And you fake it. And for all you know, the person sitting next to you could be faking it too.

That’s a big dose of faking, but we do huge amounts of it on a small-scale every day. If any of you are “Charlie Brown” fans you will remember the noise his teacher made and this keeps popping into my head at various times. Times where you could replace the words being spoken in a conversation with “Blah, blah, blah” and neither party would either notice or care. We just seem to disconnect, leave the room mentally if not physically, wanting to be somewhere else.

Okay, so everything doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful. You don’t have to gaze into the eyes of the shop assistant as you pay for your groceries, paying dutiful attention to every word spoken. But at a time where we are being bombarded with instructions on how to be “mindful” in our everyday lives, are we so busy listening to our own self-talk that we can’t really be assed listening to others?

Cold Comfort

As I approach the counter a mixture of dread and excitement are doing battle within me. The old favourites, chocolate covered and sugar-coated, are there. I place my coffee order and hear a voice saying, “No thank you.”

It takes a second for me to realise the voice was my own. Brilliant, another small victory. Like anyone trying to break damaging habits I am learning to take it a day, and as with now, a confrontation, at a time. As I am confronted with my old problem areas I prepare for those old feelings with my newer and stronger desire to improve on where I am now.

Not exactly mantras, just healthier mental processes, run through my mind, coupled with a realisation that these calorie-laden, body and soul damaging confections are not a “warm pair of arms to comfort me”, as I have often quoted as explanation in the past. They are cold comfort, temporary solace and a ball and chain around my ankle, never letting me fly, to become all I want to be.

I am not trying to say that losing weight is going to cure all ills in my life, but just dealing with an old issue such as this has already given me courage, and repaired my somewhat shaky confidence enough, to enable me to look at other things that need work.

Stuff, whatever your stuff is, is never an answer, but it is usually easy; at least easier than dealing with all that ails us, until it becomes the most pressing issue of all.

The inanimate lump of sugar, fat and flour lies on the shelf and, for this trip at least, I win.

Proudman Vs Carter-Silk

Why does all of this, including Charlotte Proudman’s response, leave me so uneasy?

In case you haven’t read about it, Charlotte Proudman published a “LinkedIn” e-mail message from Alexander Carter-Silk, a very prominent solicitor,  branded him sexist and misogynistic and is calling for a public apology.

I have read and watched a lot of the reporting of this issue and I notice that just the first part of the message is being shown in most of the reports.

“Charlotte, delighted to connect, I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!” 

Now, in the ordinary run of things this isn’t a lot to worry about, but he then continues with,

“You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen. Always interest [sic] to understant [sic] people’s skills and how we might work together.”  

Yeah, right. “The Prize”?? WTF. Does this man have NO sense whatsoever? I question his ability to cross the road unaided.

Then we have Matthew Scott, a solicitor and blogger, wade in with the following comments,

“I think we have to look how this developed… Charlotte sent him a message, asking him to connect so the initial contact was made by Charlotte. He later complimented her stunning picture, so I do think his crime is provoked from Charlotte.”

I wonder what this man’s attitude to rape is?  Might he think women provoke men into this crime too? And then to top it all he says,

“If a man wanted to approach a woman because he thinks her attractive… it doesn’t make him sexist. It is just perfectly natural behaviour”
Matthew Scott

Really Matthew, even if this man is married and this man’s position makes it, at the very least, “awkward” to refuse or rebuff?  What utter crap!

Charlotte’s asking to “connect” on LinkedIn was a “provocation” according to Matthew, but Mr Carter-Silk’s response was “perfectly natural”.

Dear God almighty! And these are the assholes we turn to for help on matters of right and wrong.

But I cannot say I am easy with Ms Proudman’s behaviour either. I understand she is 27 years old, but in her chosen profession I would have expected her to be a bit more savvy about not only what the reaction to this would be ( and I deeply suspect she was very aware) but that lamenting about sexism in the legal profession is an incredibly narrow view of a very serious issue affecting all of society. Just ask some of the girls suffering FGM, or the ones who can’t choose who, never mind if, they want to marry, about sexual inequality and misogynistic attitudes.

I have had my (un)fair share of sexist shit throughout my life, like every other woman I know, and I would love that my daughters did not have to endure the same, but, too late. I know they have and will continue to do so for a long time.

There is a lot of really great work going on to promote sexual equality, but this public and political grandstanding does none of us any favours.

I have answered my own question. These people represent our legal profession. Lady Justice may not wear a blindfold in her post atop the Old Bailey, but some of those inside certainly seem to.

Just Go With It

I heard myself lamenting the other day about how the lousy summer was going to make for a long winter. Well, I’m sorry. This is the kind of stuff I berate others for, and now, here I am buying into it. Well, no more.

I went for a lovely drive today and noticed the start of the wonderful, warm gold and red hues of the leaves on the trees and other indicators of the shift in the season, from late summer to early autumn. It was quite simply stunning. We have four seasons, not two, and if you bear this in mind, then even the worst aspects of each is transient.

When you feel stuck, like nothing can change, then look to nature. Just take time to notice the shortening of the days, the changing colours, temperatures and insect and wildlife activity. And when you think you have gotten used to the new look, guess what , it will be time for it to change again. Nothing in nature actually stays the same, including us. So just go with it.

Stop resisting change. Embrace it and make it work for you.

I am happily thinking of my warm, soft winter woolies that hide a multitude of sins, my comfy boots that sooth my sandal-ravaged feet, the log fires to warm me and mulled wine to comfort. I will worry about the frosty morning starts, slippery footpaths and weather-induced travel delays when they happen. That’s soon enough.

Stressing about things we cannot affect, cannot change, diverts our attention from the potential happiness right in front of us.

Where Is Our Positivity Button?

Seriously.

Yeehaa, I am dieting again. Big shock I know. But…..big shock, it is working. I mean really working.

My “positivity button” is switched to on and things are going well. I feel great.

Then, as is my way, I got to thinking. Where the hell is this bloody button? I mean, why now? What stars are in alignment that makes this work for me right now. I suppose it’s a bit like kicking a hornets’ nest, but what happened at that very moment, that very second, when I just knew, accepted and actioned something that has tortured me for so long?

Wouldn’t we all love to know why the simplest, healthiest (physically and mentally) and often the most beneficial choices, cause us so much trouble.

I understand the strength of positive mental attitude, but I would love to find and understand its spark. The why and the how.

Or is this all part of being human; the human condition?

A friend told me I have a habit of over-thinking things so, with that in mind, I am just going to enjoy this current frame of mind and get my one size smaller clothes out of storage.

Bring it on!

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?

Time Saving….

For what?..

I was cleaning my dishwasher earlier, remembering all the expert tips I have read on how to have the “Perfect” home and, funnily enough, bitching away as I was doing it. I reckon it took me as long to clean this bloody machine as it would have taken to wash the rotten dishes for the last week.

Anyway, it got me thinking. There are so many tips and tricks everywhere on how to save time that I got to wondering as to what we all do with this time.

Can you actually “save time”?  Doesn’t it just pass anyway? You can’t put it in a box and take it out later when you want it back again. It’s like my Weight Watchers Pro-Points; you can’t carry them over to the next day!

So make the most of it.

I prefer to take the same attitude to my time as I do with my money……spend it; spend it laughing with friends and family, reading great books, listening to heart-lifting music, watching the little birds and their antics in my back garden.

Time spent happily is time spent well.