What happened?

Some weeks I think about my blog and muse that nothing really happened this week for me to write about. Nothing of interest.

I refuse to force a blog. The blog has to come from something that’s happened or something I’ve witnessed through the week that makes me want to write about it.

So far. Nothing seems to jump out so I sit here and think what’s happened this week? Nothing?

A few years ago when I started my blog sometimes I’d simply write about what made me smile that week. So a throw back and an exercise that I think is more than worthwhile now and again. A look back at what made a difference to this week.

Hopefully it might encourage you to do the same.

For me.

A new walk across the bracken and under pine trees I’d never walked before with someone who makes you feel a better person just by being there

Painting my door and mirror in my new lounge in my new home and not rushing it like I normally do… using masking tape and everything!

Getting to mum’s on my day off who made me chips and egg .. not just any chips but chips cooked Nannas style. Divine.

A meet up with an old friend where lots of wrongs were put right and good feelings were restored

A second tap dancing lesson where I GOT the turn!!!!

Being there at the worst possible moment when someone gets the call that their dad has lost his battle and you can at least offer one of your best hugs and a shoulder x

Playing the piano for the first time in over a year because now I have room for the piano!

A birthday lunch with your ex husband with an invite from his wife and and their son and our son and it’s all just lovely (particularly the quorn sausage breakfast bap!)

Cooking from scratch, lighting some candles and enjoying a few hours away from anything else

Seeing. The emerald reflection of the trees and the greenery at the bottom of the canal swaying in the sunlight which forces you to take a picture.

Some things are worth stopping for.

Sometimes we can think our life and our weeks and days can be quite ordinary but when you break them down they can be simply…..extraordinary.

Happy Sunday to you all

Xx

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Tap. Heel. Toe.

Three words. One new experience. I dipped my ‘toe’ into tap dancing this week. I saw the beginners class advertised a few weeks ago and really wanted to have a go. I’m rather a frustrated actor/dancer/singer (little talent but lots of passion). So I thought why not. Give it a go. Join in.

Trying something new is hard though isn’t it? Walking into a room of people you don’t know to do something you’ve never done before is quite a challenge. Will I look silly? Will the others be friendly? Will they all be better than me? Soon enough we can easily talk ourselves out of new experiences and settle for what we know instead.

I’m fairly confident but it was still a little daunting. I roped a friend along and as they handed out the tap shoes and started talking about a future show we would be putting on I’m sure I saw my friend tapping quite quickly sideways towards the exit. But she stayed (thank you!).

What I loved about the tap dancing class surprised me. I thought it’d be the movement and the music and the sense of keeping fit. But what I really loved was learning something new. Meeting new people. Watching people smile. As we get older we don’t learn new things very often and that’s when our lives can feel a little bit ‘routine’. Our minds too need to keep learning. There’s proven research out there telling us how important it is to keep our minds healthy, we need to use it and challenge it.

Tap dancing as it turns out even at the basic level is quite a challenge. Tap, heel, stamp, shuffle, spin…. steps to the right then left, forward 4 and back 8. The next day I woke up and could feel the excercise in my legs a little and as I sat at my desk later that day I involuntarily caught myself doing a back shuffle tap with my right foot!!

It’s good to push ourselves and try something new whatever our age. With Spring around the corner what perfect time to try something new. New people. New experiences. New smiles. New beginnings!

Happy Sunday everyone xxx

The right change.

As my mum says often, I don’t do things by halves. Every important aspect of my life seems to have changed recently or is going to change over the next few weeks or so.

Change.

Something that many people don’t like at all. I have never really minded change. Sometimes it’s not nice when it’s inflicted on you or when you’ve no choice but change usually means opportunity.

Change also creates a time for reflection. What would you do differently in the future? What will you try to keep the same? What have you learnt from the past? What can you bring to the new future?

As I packed up my belongings this week I inevitably came across memories spanning from the day I was born. A black and white teddy that sadly no longer has an eye but still has the number 7 I wrote on it with nail varnish at 9 yrs old! My doll that frankly looks like it belongs in a horror film now and still has the make up I adorned her with as a toddler. The soft toy that mum made me out of my carnival attendant dress! Letters of love and photos of friendship from the last few (ahem) decades.

As I sat revelling in the memories with some tears but mostly smiles… for some reason my main emotion was of having not put some things right with some people in these memories of my life. Because sometimes we don’t like change and we can react badly. As I held my memories in my hands I realised despite me thinking I handled change well, at times I haven’t.

The problem with changes that you don’t handle well or resolve is ‘the niggle’. The niggle in the back of your head that for most of us won’t go away. Even if you’ve spent many years arguing with the niggle that you’re right there will only ever be one winner. The niggle. Until you make things right.

So I tried to make amends this week and it felt really good to have eventually managed those changes positively. The niggle has retreated too.

Change can be difficult but the key is how we deal with the change, it can be a chance to do things differently. A new beginning. A closure. An adventure. A challenge. A new beginning.

Lots of love this Sunday x

Dwys x

I’ve no time for that!

I was told about a book this week. Sober Diaries (by Clare Pooley). An inspiring blogger who wrote a book about her struggles with alcohol and sets herself a 100 day challenge. Whether you think this applies to you or someone else or doesn’t apply at all it’s still a really good unpatronising funny and powerful read.

I’m half way through and what I realised more than anything is we often look to something else to make sure we don’t have to focus on the niggly stuff.

She talks about alcohol but as I read it, I realised my drug is ‘busy’. And it’s a very popular and accepted tactic of avoidance. It’s even encouraged in society. How many times are we met when we talk to friends and family with stories how they never have a minute in the day or how hectic work is or how the kids are driving them mad or what’s left to clean and iron and wash or what excercise class they need to get to. Even though I keep my weekends free from work type stuff what I’ve realised is that they’re free but also busy. Busy with lots of lovely things but truthfully, probably way too packed. Why? Because then I don’t have too much time to think about things that I might not want to. Tes. Grief. Money. Problems. Work. Etc.

The thing is in our society if your not professing about this busy hectic life then people often think your unmotivated, unambitious, lazy. When someone tells me they’ve read a book I honestly think really loudly in my head. How??! (I had to download mine on audio to fit it in while driving or I read it during my frequents bouts of being awake at 3am!) How do people get time to read books? Or even more impressive. – watching a box set. In one sitting.

I’m always on the go. I feel my Nanna was a big influence on this. Education was a luxury/waste of time. Hard work is what was important. I have found myself in relationships with equally busy minded partners and friends tend also to be dynamic and on the go. Days planned out. Times plotted. Maps drawn. Evenings allotted. No time to think.

I pride myself on telling people I watch TV on catch up. No time for actually watching tv when it’s on. I have no time for books though there are 5 next to my bed. Waiting. My new swimming costume stays in its cellophane. No time. I couldn’t make the amateur dramatics. No time. It’s popular to be rushing and having no time. It’s much easier to join in with the chorus of the busy and tired brigade.

This week I’ve been ill. I got in the car on Monday morning, my ribs hurt from coughing all night. The ibuprofen helped with my temperature but my head throbbed and I was a little breathless from the chest infection. Of course I was going to work. I felt far too guilty to contemplate anything else. I survived until home time and I wearily made the 29 mile journey back. Heavy eyes. Yawning. Achey limbs.

What for?

Who am I doing this for? Yes I’m told I have a ‘great work ethic’. Yes I’m loyal. Yes I’m dedicated to work. But.

Who am I doing this for?? This busy frantic life. Why don’t I have time to read a book? Why do I feel guilty for watching tv? Why do I have to justify and tell people I’ve already walked 3 miles that day if I’m sitting down for more than 20 mins?

I was telling mum about this blog yesterday. Another very busy bee. A few minutes later she said.. I watched a film the other week. During the day. Then of course she followed it up with… I haven’t done that for years!! We have to justify if we take time out for ourselves.

Time doing nothing is really really good for us. The happiest man in the world apparently locked himself away in a hut for 5 years!! It seems dramatic and of course impossible for us but our brains are so busy with phones and to do lists there’s no wonder mental health issues are on the up. We  could try doing absolutely nothing for 5 minutes at least!

I’m reading (aka googling for busy people!) up on Hyggae at the moment. A study on the Danes. The happiest nation on earth! Yet they have the least natural daylight. What do they do to keep so happy? The basic premis is… they create ‘cosy’. Lighting. Candles. Blankets. Hot chocolate. Family get togethers. Community projects. Outdoors. Technology free time. They take away what drains us and focus on what makes us feel cosy. Warm. Loved.

Sounds good to me. Huggae. I’m coming to get you.

Happy Sunday x

Now. Not later.

I had a vivid dream about Tes this week.

 

In my dream she was almost 16 and she was telling me she has kissed someone! A boy!! I was very laid back about this and we had a chat about it and she said she wanted to see him again. My head was reeling with all the thoughts and feelings I think I’d have had if we had this conversation in real life, who was he? Was he good enough? Was she going to be safe?

 

We had a lovely conversation, she looked about a year older than the last time I saw her and she felt the same when I stroked her cheek and she had the same mannerisms and kindness in her face as she talked to me through her large rimmed glasses with her brown and auburn highlighted hair falling to her shoulders.

 

In my dream I was trying my best to tell her all the things I knew could protect her but also I knew she’d be ok.

 

Somehow, ironically, I always knew Tes would be ok.

 

I woke up and I didn’t feel upset, strangely. I felt a comfort, it felt so real.

 

As the day went on I wondered why I’d had this dream. I think it is as obvious as it sounds that I have always focused more on what future we missed by not having Tes and in my dream I was able to do some of the things I’ve missed out on.

 

It reminded me really of how important it is to protect what we have today and to make the most of what we have today. Because you know, even with this traumatic event that happened – I still sometimes forget that and it’s something we shouldn’t forget.

 

I don’t know how it happened that we are so so busy getting to work and back, going to work in the dark, getting home in the dark, not taking a break, being so stressed that it makes us ill, we don’t have time to visit grandparents or aunts, we waste time on relationships that don’t make us happy, we forget to pick up a book or simply listen to a song or cook from scratch or not cook and get a take-out or just to stop what we’re doing and do nothing. I still feel guilty about that one. We are so so busy and we are so distracted by making a life that we somehow we forget to have a life?

 

I have a rule now that I don’t really ‘work’ at weekends, the bare minimum of housework is done. The rest of the week I’m up at 6 and home at 6pm, I do bits of stuff around the house but I keep my weekends free because they are so so precious, they’re the only 48hrs of my life that I don’t have to work so why would I then fill it with washing down sills or cleaning the bathroom!

 

I go to the cinema and go for long walks, I eat a banana and pecan cake at the local garden centre and walk the dogs along the canal to a pub and have a glass of fizz on a Friday evening. We wander charity shops and visit family, catch up with friends and watch cheesy TV, we have lie ins and long chats and read magazines and plan recipes We play cards and do the lottery and we take photos of rainbows and chat with strangers who later in life will become friends, we’ll sometimes even join a demonstration, we visit book shops and markets and occasionally we do virtually nothing at all. You may be reading this thinking it’s not possible, yes other things do come up sometimes but we can also prioritise ourselves a bit more.

 

You/we have to remember this – we need to have time for us, to have time for our family and time for those people we love now  – not later. 

 

Happy Sunday x

 

Changing for good?

So. 2018 has take a turn for the better. Much better. Good news x 3 this week!! This made me think about the idea of good news. Particularly about the word good. What does good actually mean?

So, I looked up the meaning of good. The first definition I came across was ..

Good:
to be desired or approved of.
Eg. “it’s good that she’s back to her old self”

Are we always trying to get back to our old selves? I wonder if this is sometimes why we don’t feel good because we’re trying to get back to where we were yesterday rather than what we are today?

Things change.. ill health… relationships.. .children grow up… new jobs… loss…..age…. opinions… values.. . morals….homes…..emotional health…our bodies.. our looks… our surroundings…. our feelings …things change!

We fight against those changes a lot of the time and crave to be just what we were instead of what we are. We see change quite often as a bad thing and sometimes it can feel very bad. Perhaps if we had more acceptance about the inevitability of change and less focus on trying to look and feel and be exactly who we were yesterday we might be more relaxed about our future?

A good example of this in my life has been dealing with the loss of Tes. How can a mum accept that and just move on? You can’t. But I did adjust my thoughts, eventually, to understand that this life for most people isn’t the one we were led to believe it would be. The ideological life route set out can set us up to fail…. we’re babies, go to school, get education, go to work, meet the loves of our lives, have babies, be grandparents and we live to a grand old age. I can be sure that at least three quarters of you reading this do not and have not had that journey. Life is not a familiar pattern.

So why are we still focussed on a concept of what we’re told life should be when it isn’t like that? Our life changes. And it’ll always change. The best thing we can do is to BE in the present moment, stop fighting change and stop trying to carve out a life prescribed to us.

Of course we can encourage change and we can make changes but we also have to accept change happens and it may not always be that our life is ‘good’ all the time but there is good in our life? We might just need to stop looking for perfect and instead settle for… it’s perfectly good.

Happy Sunday xx

Light in the darkness

While my 2018 continues to be a challenging one so far I had a brief moment this week that made me realise how much we can change without even noticing.

It’s not even a big thing perhaps for many but for me it is.

I came home from work Tuesday night. It was pitch black as usual. The dogs greet me like they haven’t seen me for 7 years and I hurriedly get their coats and leads on. I change to my blue wellies and don my bobble hat, puffy purple walking coat and a new addition to the walks.. .. a head torch! I wear it under my bobble hat and to be honest I feel a bit of an idiot wearing it! However needs must. Unless I want to do all my walks in the lit up areas that frankly are a little dull I need my head torch.

I walk through the woods and can literally only see the metre ahead of me from the narrow torch light but it’s a familiar route and I dodge the brambles and skip the puddles. It’s so quiet and I see no-one. I look back over the town speckled with white and orange lights and thats when it dawned on me.

About two years ago I remembered that I once wrote a blog about an achievement of mine.. that achievement was that I walked a circular route during the day for the first time. On my own. I remember it well. I had been so pleased with myself because previous to this I would only do that route with someone else. Now, here I was donning a head torch in the dark on my own walking a couple of miles. In the dark. Not just walking but enjoying every moment.

I tried to figure out where did I go from being scared of walking on my own in the day to this. The only thing I could come up with was that I’ve become less scared of the world.

Though most people wouldn’t know it.. I’ve spent a great deal of my life being scared. Yet something somewhere has edged me forward and kept me rolling ahead rather than permanently faltering backwards into my comfort zone.

If you too aren’t having the best start to the year then don’t forget to be kind to yourself and focus on the positive stuff about you too! And if your stuck in a rut or that comfort- zone take a small step outside of it? It might not be that scary after all!

Happy Sunday x lots of love x