My baby got big. He got all big and grown up and then he started thinking about moving away. About moving on.
That means I’ve done my job well, right? That means that through divorce and illness, through financial hardships and guilt, I managed to do ok by him. That means through all those tearful evenings worrying about whether I’m doing the right thing, some of the decisions and choices I made might have been good ones. All those days of encouraging him to do his homework/empty the dishwasher/do his piano practice, they are all but over now. Buying his winter coat and shoes may still come down to me, but choosing his bedtime story won’t. I might be called on to lend him my car so he can take his girlfriend to town, but it won’t be my job to check he’s got the right change for a cappuccino. I don’t even remind him to brush his teeth anymore. Well, not EVERY day…
Knowing I’ve done all these things that ultimately mean he can make his own way in the world, does give me sense of pride and enormous love. Doesn’t make it any easier to let him go, though.
One + the other = a full set.
Knife and fork.
Toothbrush and toothpaste.
Cheese and pickle.
Ant and Dec.
Salt and pepper.
Tonight I am in a different city, in a different bed, with a different view. I’m listening to the hustle down below and wondering where all these strangers are heading, and what lives they are leading.
I remember the first time I became aware of my sense of self within my own head. I was about 11 and on my own on a bus heading into town to meet my friend at Top Shop. I noticed someone walking along the pavement next to the bus and was struck by the fact that I would never know what they were thinking and would probably never ever get to meet them to even ask them their name.
Sometimes it takes a change of view to remind us of ourselves. To remind us what it is that makes us unique and special. To remind us to consider our outlook, and be thankful for what we see.
Good food is essential to keeping a calm head and a strong body. It is so easy to get food these days. It’s packaged in handy plastic containers, and sold in portions, just for you! I am not the best cook. I struggle making food that isn’t yellow. But over the past few months I have tried really hard to learn how to cook food from scratch – with a little help from my friends.
One of the beautiful things about social media, is our friends are always next door. And that means ‘pass it forward’ becomes easier than ever. I have a few recipes that I inherited from from friends over the years, but these days, help is just a click away. I recently made a pasta/quiche/vegetable concoction that I would never have risked without message support from an experienced pasta quicher. Good things come to those who have access to social media stalkers to help you measure your pasta/eggs ratios.
Over the past few months I have been indulging in the past. Photographs, memories, friendships. It has made me assess what I know about ageing, family and my place in the world.
I used to think that dwelling on the past – moments missed, people whom you let slip away, relationships that came and went – was unhealthy and our journey was about continually moving forward and carving a new path. But sometimes having time to look back is good. And I am allowing myself to get absorbed in reflection and memory.
What if the choices we made 20yrs ago impact on the life we are living right now?
What if the people who were so much part of our lives then, should still be in our lives?
What if decisions made now involve people and things from our past?
We can’t go back and change our road to the here and now, but we can certainly be conscious of our past choices, and if some of those people that we let go, should still be by our side.
Learning new things keeps our brains ticking over, apparently. Learning a new instrument, a new language, a new sport. All these things are proven to get the synapses firing and keep us on our toes.
Well today I did a new thing. I had to go somewhere I’d never been before. I didn’t know the route and I didn’t know the destination. And it was dark. I was sensible – I used the satnav on my phone – but it still made me anxious. The roads were really winding and the new LED street lamps lit the roads up like a weird computer driving game.
But I made it – made it to the car park. Good. But now I realised didn’t know where I was going when I arrived! Gah… No satnav to find a music recital in a school building. Time for a phone call I think.
Need a quick boost? Some motivation to make good choices? Here >>
- Have a drink of water
- Have a bath
- Go for a walk/run/swim/dance
- Do some colouring in
- Sing a song
- Stroke a cat/dog/rabbit/cushion
- Eat an apple
- Mow the lawn (love this)
- Read a book
- Smile 🙂
We’re all so busy… Our days are full and our weekends are fuller. As we get stretched more and more by our families and our managers, by our responsibilities at work and at home, we start to think that we are failing if we can’t keep up. Something’s got to give…
We’ve all heard about ‘Work Life Balance’, but what is this elusive thing that other people seem to have that we don’t? What does it actually look like? I’ve gathered together a few ideas that are accessible to all of us, no matter how busy we are, that might bring back some measure of joy into our days and weeks.
Essentially, work life balance (WLB) is about allowing ourselves the time to choose an activity, or experience, or task (or absence of these things completely) without guilt, instead of continuing ever onwards with work-based jobs. It’s a well-planned diary where there are pockets of ‘me time’ that remind you what it is that you enjoy about being in the world. A regular exercise class, a gig at a local venue, a meal out with old friend or new friend. A book to pick up and read, just for pleasure, just for you. When was the last time you were able to properly do it for yourself? We know all these things are good for our soul, but we get swept away with the pace of work and the panic of our never-ending to-do list. So we need to plan it, and stick to it.
Once a week, make sure you take an evening off. Handbag Wednesday. This is a real thing. Managers up and down the country are enforcing Handbag Wednesday as we speak, and if yours isn’t, maybe you could suggest it? On this day, you don’t take anything home except your handbag – and gentlemen, we know you have handbags too… So now you’ve found yourself with an evening off! You could go swimming after school with your children, or for a run. Pop into town and buy a new top. Plan a book club night or join WI. Learn a new craft by checking out some local classes. There is a whole world outside that is there to be experienced. But you have to plan it and plan it well otherwise you’ll ‘just leave it for this week’, then a fortnight has passed, and then you might not pick it up again. Get a calendar and write the dates on the calendar in PEN. Book the babysitter and pay the course costs up front. Organise the book club AT YOUR HOUSE so you can’t cancel at the last minute with ‘I’m working tonight. Can we make it next week?’
All of these things are important. Work out what is important to you and your family and begin to bring that balance back into your life. Sometimes, the smallest things can make a massive difference.
Kindness comes from a place of contentment. Of love and of peace. The measure of our humanity is our ability to be kind to others and to ourselves. The latter is, I believe, the hardest thing to do, especially under times of stress and panic. So take a little time to be kind to yourself and nurture the small child inside. Have a bath, have an early night, read a book, drink cold water, get a haircut, do your nails. Whatever it takes to be kind, do it. You’re worth it.
What’s your thing? ‘If I win the lottery, I will still…’ – what is it? To know this thing is to know yourself for it is truly what makes your heart beat every day.
If I win the lottery, I will still crochet. I’ve always been a knitter. Since being a little girl, I’ve always made my own clothes and accessories and knitting was always my bag. I love wool and the feel of different yarns running through my fingers. But since I taught myself to crochet last year, now it’s all I want to do. My knitting bag has now become my crochet bag. And my click clacking needles have now given way to a singular hook. I like it. I like how quickly it grows and how much I can create in one sitting.
So if I ever win the lottery, I will continue to crochet. I will continue on my quest to make a beautiful blanket for each of my four children. It just might be slightly more expensive wool.