Food for thought

Why me?

I began this blog, bursting with positivity. I intended to write a post, at least weekly, hoping to inspire others, but despite good intentions, I wasn’t organised enough. Posts were written sporadically, occasionally two in one day, then perhaps a month or so before another. It wasn’t what I’d intended.

I was filled with recriminations, yet no matter much I blamed myself, nothing changed. I told myself I was a failure. I considered giving up, but before I could make that decision, life set it’s own rules. A succession of personal and health difficulties took away my choice. After a period in hospital, I expected things to return to normal (or what passes for normal in my world) within a few weeks, yet somehow, it’s been almost almost 18 months.

Since that period I’ve been unable to write anything worthwhile. My books, short stories, even my newspaper column fell by the wayside. Many times I’ve tried to find my muse, yet it seemed to have deserted me.

Already in the throws of deep depression, I felt bereft. Why couldn’t I write? It had been my coping strategy, helping me make sense of the world, but for some reason, I was left stranded. My self-esteem and confidence were dragging along the floor. Life seemed pointless. Two years previously, I’d been riding high. I live with EUBPD (emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder) so life can be a rollercoaster but this felt different. A long battle with DWP over my PIP entitlement had left me frail and exhausted, a mild heart attack soon followed. There was no point in writing- I had nothing interesting to say. My depression worsened, yet I couldn’t see that it was probably the cause of my writing block.
It took anti-depressants, good friends and a lengthy period of counselling with a wonderful psychologist before I faced reality.

I’m not Super Woman.

No matter what I’d like to be, I’m a disabled woman in my late 60s, living alone, doing my best to make a good life in difficult circumstances. Once I reconciled myself to those simple facts, things began to make sense. The fog began to clear.

There is nothing to prevent me from writing. I may not be Shakespeare or Wordsworth, but I have a gift and people tell me that my words help them, furthermore, my disastrous life experiences mean I have plenty to share with the world. So here I am, back again, writing my first blog in an absolute age. I’m a little rusty and not without a bucketful of nerves, but I’m doing my best.

Once I’m back in the swing of things, I’ll attempt to post regularly, but won’t heap unnecessary pressure on myself this time.

We aren’t given a life rule book, we just make it up as we go along. No one has any other choice. A fortunate few seem to have a comparatively easy ride, sailing through life with barely a blip, while others are constantly on the verge of collapsing under the weight of responsibility. Allowing the pressure to suffocate us is futile.

As far as I know, none of us has superpowers.

In life, some have been dealt a good hand, others not, but while some thrive on stress, others can barely cope. Yet even in the hardest lives, there is something positive to grasp.

We can’t all be highly successful or wealthy, yet we can still be proud of ourselves. Almost certainly you have a special talent. Are you shaking your head?

Let me show you…

Are you reliable?

A good friend?

Perhaps you are creative?

Are you extremely patient with children or the elderly?

Do people turn to you in a crisis?

Is your shoulder always available to cry on?

Are you loving and caring?

Perhaps you gave a natural affinity with animals?

Do you volunteer to help, or raise money for charities?

Are you passionate about the environment?

The list is endless. You might not find it easy to blow your own trumpet, but that doesn’t take away from your success. If even one person truly cares about you, you are a winner.

If you believe you’re failing in some aspect of life, don’t allow it to define you. Illness or circumstance can knock any of us off balance, but it isn’t the end. Lick your wounds if you need to, then get back up and continue your fight. For you, that might mean quietly, perhaps behind the scenes. Do it your way. As long as you don’t trample on others, how you get through your life is unique to you. You might be overlooked, even loved ones may fail to recognise your positive attributes, but don’t let that throw you off course.

You are a wonderful, unique person. Even if you think no one else believes in you – believe in yourself. Stoke the fires to keep your shining light burning brightly.

You are worthy, just as I am. We deserve the best possible life. It’s there for us, we just need to grasp it.

If you want life to change, you need to change it. If you sit and feel sorry for yourself (as I did), opportunities will pass you by.

Remember, success doesn’t need to be measured by income or status.

A good, kind person us worth far, far more.

Don’t just dream it. Live it. Remember, you have the world in your hands. Cherish it.

Rosie x

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Food for thought, General ramblings

Never too old to Learn.

Like many people of the older generation, I was brought up to believe that once I’d exceeded my ‘best before’ date, new knowledge wasn’t something to worry about. Our poor old shrivelled brains don’t need to be bothered with such things.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY DISAGREE!

Agreed, information isn’t absorbed as readily as in youth, however learning anything can be invigorating and can keep life interesting, as well as helping to stave off the ravages of some forms of dementia.

Since I reached my 60s, now nearing my 70s, my thirst for knowledge has actually grown, even though I am unable to process/ retain some information due to stroke damage. However, by accepting certain limitations and changing direction in my quest, I’ve learnt that practical rather than academic subjects, are more readily stored in my brain. Favouring subjects with more relevance in my life, has been a real brain stretcher.

As someone who left school, aged 15 without qualifications, I always intended to attend adult education classes to gain at least the most basics certificates. With all good intentions, a large family & manic home life got in the way and when I was finally able to spare the time, my confidence had deserted me. I told myself that I was obviously stupid & would probably never have passed my exams, besides, how relevant could it be anyway? I can now see I was just making excuses to cover up my fear.

Shortly after my 60th birthday, my life changed dramatically when I found myself single again. With a little used brain & disabling depression, I felt like the village idiot. Try as I might, I was unable to retain anything. I was stupid!  But I knew I wasn’t! I’d simply limited my abilities for self protection. If I didn’t stretch myself, I couldn’t fail, could I?

Once I fought my way out of the depression, I needed to find something to keep me stimulated, to prevent the likelihood of a recurrence. And so my love of learning began….

It started on a very small scale, dabbling with pottery and art, with plenty of home reading. I became obsessed with holistic healing ( something I’d always even interested in.) Shortly before my divorce I’d surprised myself by training as a Reiki therapist, going on to become a Reiki Master, although I wasn’t really convinced of my worth. Once single, I began to relearn & gradually added to my list of holistic abilities. Lack of confidence was by far the biggest challenge, but no books could really teach me, knew I had to discover it for myself. Once I had achieved that, nothing seemed an impossibility, I could attempt anything that I wanted. Suddenly succeeding seemed less important than having a go.

With a lot of encouragement I became a flexercise leader ( I thought it was an easy option), but soon knew I didn’t want to stop there. Certain things were unrealistic due to health restrictions but I have since accrued a list of practical qualifications. Through my voluntary work I have taken training in Mental Health studies, courses in Life Coaching, first aid, food hygeine & safety. I am a Tai Chi Instructor, Food Waste Champion, set up a writing group and even led a women’s friendship group. I have written books, learnt to self – publish, even became a motivational speaker for a while. I can set up basic websites, and, for several months wrote a column in the local newspaper. For the last five years I’ve dedicated my spare time to a child cancer charity ‘Young Lives vs Cancer.’ I volunteer in one of their charity shops and absolutely love it.

Phew! I’m exhausted just reading that list. It’s as if it has happened to someone else, not me. Not stupid, unqualified me? Me who was only capable of making good cakes & looking after children?  Me, who thought that I was a write off!

I still don’t have academic qualifications. I enrolled on an English Grammer course, but soon realised that I was doing it for other people, for their acceptance and approval, not for myself. At my age I don’t need a certificate to prove my worth. My life is doing that!

Not every pensioner willingly shuts down their brain on retirement, many aim for continuing achievements, however far too many aren’t.

I’m not advocating that everyone follow my path. There isn’t one right way. Everyones’journey is different. However I wanted to share this with you all, to prove that nothing is impossible. If I can encourage one person to achieve something that makes them swell with pride, I will be delighted.

Life is very different for upcoming generations, where women in particular are more self – assured and able to follow their dreams more easily. Pre 1960s,Women were mainly required to be proficient housekeepers, wives & mothers, perhaps reaching the exalted heady heights of shop assistants once their children had left home. I was none of these. Thankfully that is in the past.

We are fortunate to live in a Country where we have many choices. Few live in squallor, in fact most are able to live reasonable well, in comfort, even if not in luxury. However, it breaks my heart to see so many older people, resigned to a life of loneliness & misery because they feel unworthy of anything more. Their latter years are filled with little more than a television for company. Too many don’t strive for, or expect to achieve anything more, believing they aren’t capable of anything else.

Three words : YES YOU ARE!

Two words : TRUST YOURSELF.

One word: BELIEVE!

Rosie x

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