The importance of being popular.

The heading of this post is intended as food for thought, not a factual statement.

As children we strive for popularity, we are desperate to be well liked & be part of the ‘in’ crowd. For many of us it leads to feelings of inadequacy, as we fail miserably. We may well have friends, but for some reason we don’t quite match up to the ‘cool kids’. If we are lucky, we are accepted into the group, but are left trailing behind the popular leaders, never quite good enough to make the transition to becoming one of the central hub.  For many this is the reality of growing up, some don’t even make it to the outer edge of the group, left alone & isolated, their childhood is marked with the overwhelming feeling of being a failure.

The journey into adulthood passes through many differing stages, all marked with their own issues.  Teenagers generally adopt a pack tendency, with everyone striving to find their place in the world, hence the individual & often bizarre fashion statements. This in between stage is all about attempting to find out who you are.

Parenthood, especially the early stages can be extremely fulfilling, but can also turn into a comparison battle, with those annoyingly pushy parents who insist on flouting their childs’ genius or beauty. The majority of us, with our own cute, yet noisy, messy & let’s face it – normal children, are frequently left to question whether we’ve done our best for our offspring. Once again that familiar feeling of inadequacy.

Later years, with battles for promotion at work & the cut throat fight to climb the ladder of success can, once again cause us to question our worth. Neighbours & friends seem to have more income, better homes, faster cars, fancier holidays & often, more harmonious lives. All in all, life can feel like fighting a losing battle. We accept that we’re never going to be one of the ‘special ‘ people, we are just Mr or Mrs ordinary, plodding through life, just tying to get by. Of course this is just a generalisation, there are those who sail through life, seemingly successful in all that they attempt, but they are definitely in the minority.

This brings me to the subject for today – popularity. Throughout life we tend to go in & out of favour, but on the whole, the most confident ‘golden people’ will always be safely installed at the forefront of society, while the remainder spend a lot of time & heartache trying to reach those heady heights. Where on the popularity ladder are you? Let’s be honest, does it really matter?

What makes a person popular? Sense of humour? Kindness? Appearance? Money? Maybe a bit of all of these, but these attributes are only skin deep. Someone who is central to a group could be considered popular, but move them to a different location, where they are forced to begin again, it is unlikely that they will establish themselves so easily. This would force them to begin on the lower rungs of the popularity ladder & attempt the hard climb upwards.

The entire subject has no hard & fast rules, all we can do is try to find our way through the maze of life, hoping that we are accepted at some point.

Following a recent conversation, it made me think about the importance of popularity. Within my own life I have flowed in & out of popularity, although it has to be said that I have mainly been an ‘also – ran’, a nice enough, friendly person, but never on the top of the invite list. In my present stage of life, I know a lot of people & am comparatively well known in the area. It could be said that I am popular because I am the ‘go to’ person, the one to call on when a volunteer is needed, but then again I have only a small selection of very close friends  & am distinctly disliked by some members of society. So am I popular? No, probably not. So where do you draw the line? Is popularity about being liked by everybody? Celebrities are popular, yet apparently many of them suffer crippling depression & the happy, confident face is no more than a public mask. Robin Williams was a perfect example of this. He was much loved, always cheerful, you would imagine him to be fun to be around, yet his life was wracked with self loathing & feelings of inadequacy. He was certainly popular, yet so, so sad. So maybe that is the key – there is no real answer, it’s all subjective.

I believe if we were all able to forget about striving to be popular & instead concentrated on learning to be the kind of person that we would look for in a good friend, the world would be a lot less stressful. None of us is perfect, to some extent we all wear a mask at times, attempting to cover up our characteristic blemishes. We all have aspects of ourselves that we aren’t proud of. We all sometimes say or do things that we regret. In other words – we are all human!

If we stop worrying about what anyone else thinks & work at bringing out the best in ourselves, then the whole issue of popularity becomes unimportant. With a kind, genuine personality, friends will be drawn to you. Be spiritually generous, compassionate & caring, consider the feelings of others, while looking after your inner frailties, be honest & thoughtful. Smile often. Offer unconditional love to the world, yet treat yourself with respect & consideration. Be yourself, ensuring that the real you is a genuinely worthwhile person. If you achieve all of this, or at least make big inroads, you may not be number 1 on the popularity lists, but you will have something less fickle, you will be someone that many enjoy in their company. You will bring joy into other lives. That is worth so much more !

Until next time, stay happy,

Rosie x

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Never too old to Learn.

Like many people of the older generation, we were brought up to believe that once you exceed your ‘best before’ date, new knowledge isn’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 invogourating, can help to keep life interesting, as well as helping to stave off the ravages of some forms of dementia.

Since I reached my 60s, 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, learning less academic subjects, instead favouring those that have 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 anyway, besides, how relevant would it be now anyway? I can see now that I was just making excuses to cover up my fear.

Almost five years ago my life changed dramatically when I found myself single again. With a unused brain & disabling depression, I felt like the village idiot. Try as I might, I was unable to retain anything. Yes, I obviously was thick!  But no, I wasn’t! I simply had limited my learning abilities as a form of self protection. If I didn’t stretch myself, I couldn’t fail, could I?

Once I had fought my way out of the depression, I knew that 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 a lot 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, even as far as becoming 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, even so, confidence was by far the biggest challenge, but no books could really teach it, I had to discover it for myself. Once I had found confidence, nothing seemed an impossibility, I realised that actually 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 I realised that 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, taken courses in Life Coaching, first aid, food hygeine & safety. I am newly qualified as a Tai Chi Instructor, Food Waste Champion, run a writing group and lead a women’s group, with another one starting next month. I have written books, learnt to self – publish, have become a motivational speaker & next week have to go before a ‘dragons den’ type panel, to try to obtain a grant to further my work. I can now set up basic websites, write a column in the local newspaper, have several voluntary positions & am currently undertaking three different online college courses.

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 am currently taking an English Grammer course, simply because I believe it will aid me with my writing, but as for the rest? Well, I have realised that I’d rather use my brain space with things that interest me. I don’t need a certificate to prove my worth. My life is doing that!

I know that not every pensioner shuts down their brain, some are naturally interested in continuing achievements, however far too many aren’t.

I’m not advocating that everyone follow my path. There is no 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 they can feel proud of, then I will be delighted. Life is very different for upcoming generations, where women in particular are becoming more self – assured & are able to follow their ambitions a lot more easily. Pre 1960s,Women were only good as housekeepers, wives & mothers, maybe reaching the exalted heady heights of shop assistant once their children had left home. Thankfully that is in the past, most people in developed countries have choices now.

We are very fortunate to live in a Country where we have freedom of choice (more or less) we don’t have to scrabble for food & on the whole our lives are fairly comfortable. However  it breaks my heart to see so many older people who are 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. They don’t believe that they are capable of anything else.

Three words : YES YOU ARE!

Two words : GO FOR IT!

One word: BELIEVE!

Rosie x

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Spreading your web.

Recently a friend asked how I tackled being alone when I first moved to this area. Was I lonely? Yes of course I was! I was 60, knew no-one & wasn’t sure where to begin.
There is really no definite formula that I can guarantee would work for everyone, however there is one tip that I believe always helps – that is to put yourself ‘out there’ and be pro-active, strangers are unlikely to knock on your door, begging for your friendship!

As I have previously said, at first, although nervous, I joined lots of groups and clubs until I found my feet and had begun to build a social circle, then I re-evaluated the usefulness of the clubs, dropping those that weren’t really working for me, leaving space in my life to join others If and when the opportunity arose.

Through these groups I was able to make contacts, through those contacts, further ones and so on. The point is that everything has to have a starting point. Wanting to make changes won’t work unless you actually do something about it.

As someone told me many years ago:

Nothing changes until something changes.

Think about it – then DO SOMETHING!

Loneliness is a dreadful thing and the longer the situation continues, the more difficult it is to resolve. That first step will never get easier, there will never be ‘the right time,’ the time to take action is NOW.

Don’t allow the fear to hold you back. Nervousness won’t kill you, it may feel like a step to far & that you’re not ready yet, but when is that likely to change? It is unlikely to. The first step is to make a personal commitment, the second is to walk through that door! Sure, so some people will turn and look at yo, just as people did when they first started, just as you probably will when newcomers join after you. It doesn’t mean that they are being unkind, generally they are just intrigued about who this stranger is, possibly wondering if this could be a new friend for them.

That very first time is scary, the next time it will be easier, soon you won’t bat an eyelid, so go on – do it! Make 2017 the year that your social circle will expand. But don’t wait till next month, or the spring or summer or your birthday, or any other excuse, because that’s all it is – an excuse, a reason to put off something that seems scary.

Please do it. Decide on something that you would like to join, ( if retired the local U3A is a good place to start.) find out details, phone up the contact number if there is one ( this will actually soften the blow), make a date to join and don’t let yourself talk you out of it.

Life is only as good as we make it so make it good!

Be brave. You can do it!

Take care

Rosie x

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Looking back, looking forward.

As 2016 draws to it’s conclusion, like many I have been looking back over the past twelve months.

Undoubtedly it has been a very difficult year for a multitude of reasons. On a worldwide scale there has been so much unrest and uncertainty. Here in the U.K. We have been reeling at the unexpected deaths of so many of our dearly loved and respected musical & film icons. I think that many people are holding their breath to see if we can make it to the turn of the year without further famous people leaving us. It has seemed as if everything is coming to a dramatic peak, surely not much else can go wrong? Here of course is where a problem is brewing….

With so much difficult news in 2016 it is easy ( and understandable) for many people to blame everything that has gone wrong onto the curse of the year. But is that really the case?  Disasters happen regularly. World unrest is all too familiar. Famous people die, in fact death knows no barriers, people die everyday. Undoubtedly there has been a plethora of devestating deaths this year, one star after another seems to have cut their ties with this Earth and gone on to who knows where? But is this reason enough to consider 2016 a cursed year?

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, adding our own tales of woe and just as in other years, there have been many. However little has been spoken about the positive side of the past year.

I can’t be the only person who has plenty to be thankful for. I know of many people who have had wonderful news and fantastic events, yet the bad news seems to be over riding this. 

My foray into the writing world began in earnest at the beginning of this year. In 2015 I had taken my first writing course which opened the floodgates, other courses and workshops followed, allowing me to enter this year with enthusiasm and new hope. In the late spring I set up my first writing group. On more than one occasion I sat alone, wondering if I had made a major error, but rather than give up ( as I am prone to do), I persevered. At first the uptake was slow, then the trickle grew into a stream and soon I had to stop advertising as I couldn’t accept any more members. It has proved to be a wonderful group and through it I have made some great friends. Running this group is no hardship, It is an absolute pleasure and I look forward to it each week. Fuelled by the success of the group I applied to the local newspaper to see if they would like me to write a regular column, which they accepted. I’ve loved doing this too. Another life changer for me was finding the courage to apply for a voluntary job in a local charity shop. Despite being hard work, as it is a really busy shop, I enjoy every second that I am there. My writing year finished on a high with me completing my first novel during the NanoWriMo challenge, where Writer’s across the globe take up the gauntlet and try to complete a 50,000+ word novel during November. I doubted whether I’d succeed as I suffered a small stroke in the early days but somehow I persevered and was delighted to write my first full novel! Although it still needs editing before it can be published, I am delighted with it.

There were many other highs, including my son becoming an expectant father, as well as finding his own life turned upside down by having two young step daughters moving in along with their now pregnant mother. On the surface it would seem like 2016 has been wonderful for me and in some ways it has, but there have been down sides too. A second voluntary job didn’t work out. My newspaper column is in the balance as the newspaper itself has changed ownership and I’ve no idea If the new owners will want me to continue. My health in recent months has taken a down turn. My finances have nose dived. The point that I’m trying to make is that life is always swings and roundabouts. I could blame the lows on the curse of 2016 but surely they are just part of life?

I was listening earlier to a radio interview about some of this years’ deaths. Although most of them have come as an unwelcome shock, could it be a coincidence rather than curse?  Many of the stars of the music world rose to fame in the 70s and 80s, most undoubtedly lived and played hard, many leading a less than healthy ( and legal) lifestyle in their heyday. Although still comparatively young, I wonder if many of these stars would have dreaded the idea of fading away? How much better for them to go out on a high, while they were still adored by their followers. I can’t imagine some of them rotting away in a nursing home in their 90s. I’m sure that would have seemed like hell! We are the ones who will miss them, their creativity, their inspirational songs, music, words. Perhaps their demise reminds us of our own frailties. Many of us were fans from our youth, now they’ve gone. What about us? Will we soon be following?  Of course it’s possible, but most of us have lived a life far removed from that of the stars. So many of them found sobriety and became drug free in later years, but I daresay that the damage was already done. These departed stars may be gone but they have left their inspirational works and the music will always be part of the soundtrack of our lives. When the majority of us pass on, there will be no major outcry, no public weeping, we will leave this earth, missed only by family and friends. But surely that is the way that life has always been and always will be?

I may have waffled during this blog but I just wanted to show that live has it’s ups and downs, always has, always will. Yes it’s seemed worse this year but there have been many positives to offset the negatives. So when you look back over this past year, don’t fixate on the sadness and misery, look for the good things, I’m sure there are plenty! And when you raise your glass to the New Year, by all means hope for nirvana, but don’t be surprised when life doesn’t turn out perfectly. Everything needs to be in balance. There needs to be good and bad. That is the way of the world. That is real life.

Despite all of the above, I too will be raising my glass ( non alcoholic) to welcome 2017. We all need something to focus on, something to look forward to. We all need new challenges. Let this coming year be the year that you take steps to achieve your goals. May your dreams come to fruition and I hope that it is successful, happy year.

Take care one and all. Till next time,

Rosie x
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Security in self belief

Two friends visited today, as I have been unwell. One of these is a newly found friendship, hence this was her first visit to my home.

Strangers tend to be taken aback by my decor, as it is eclectic to say the least! Goddesses, Buddhas & Native American Indians vie with each other to find their place amongst a rather excessive collection of crystals. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that I am what can be called ‘alternative.’ Living in a retirement flat, my choice of decoration doesn’t appeal to many of the other residents, but thankfully I’m comfortable enough in my beliefs not to worry about their opinions.

The new friend who visited already knew about my chosen path, just as I did hers, however it was refreshing to hear her opinion of my chosen deities. She follows a diffent path, although we are both pagan, in fact until a few years ago, my chosen route was similar to hers. We had an enjoyable conversation, It was really interesting to discuss why I do what I do & having a slightly different viewpoint was stimulating.

After they had left, it set me thinking about the confidence that I have & my way of expressing it. For too many years I attempted to ‘fit in’ & even more recently I felt the need to explain or justify my beliefs. I no longer do that.

Is it an age thing,I wonder? Certainly my confidence has grown with the passing years but I think it’s more than that. I feel comfortable in my own skin now. I don’t need to appease anyone or attempt to justify anything. This has released me from the constraints that I had grown up with. I’m not just older ( & single) I’m emotionally free to be myself. I don’t need anyones’approval to be who I am. It is so liberating!

As long as I don’t hurt anyone or intentionally offend, as long as I can like myself, look in the mirror & see a friendly, kind person looking back, then I know that I am on the right track. The right path for me. I don’t need to conform to anyone else’s ideals because I’m strong enough in my own. It’s a lovely place to be.

I hope that you are able to feel even a tiny bit as contented with your choices, if not, think about why you live as you do, maybe you could consider changing? but only for yourself. Being true to YOURSELF is the key to happiness & ultimately inner peace. I hope that you are able to find it.

I wish you love, peace & joy.

Rosie x

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Learning from disappointment.

I have had the strangest week!
I tend to overbook myself & end up burning the candle at both ends as well as in the middle. Not one to give in, I keep pushing myself until I come to an abrupt halt. Recently I have been approaching the halt sign & had tried to reduce my unnecessary workload before I hit it – however I needn’t have worried, it was taken out of my hands.

Having more than one commitment a day causes me extreme exhaustion & pain, however sometimes it can’t be avoided, Wednesday this week was one such day.
Although looking forward to the first event ( as a mental health champion with Mind/ Rethink at a freshers day talking to students) it was expected to be tiring. Knowing that I had an important meeting the same evening, I was a little concerned how to pace myself. I preplanned my meals, double checked bus timetables & was getting close to worrying about it.

The evening before, it got cancelled.

I used the opportunity to attend a different group, then of course began to beat myself up because I was still over stretching myself.

On my return I received a message to say that I wasn’t needed at the evening meeting.

Hmm, bit weird. Maybe the Universe was making my decisions for me?

Following a very exhausting day at my voluntary job yesterday, I felt dreadful this morning. A friend gave me the routine lecture about taking things easier, which led to a discussion about my upcoming charity abseil –

Just received an email telling me that it has been cancelled!!!

I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
As I rarely get stressed or worried about things, I emailed the abseil organiser asking to be notified if another becomes available,then decided to write this blog.

Just received an email telling me that another abseil is being arranged.

I wonder if the Universe is testing me or playing jokes?

It has however made me think whether I need to learn something from this. As always there was a very definite lesson trying to get it’s message across.
I have had to ask myself if I was getting a bit egotistical & full of my own self importance? Possibly I was. So many people do far more important & worthwhile things than I do. Of course to me, my achievements are big, but not to everyone else. I had been banging on about the abseil to anyone who would listen, probably boring the pants off them. Had I allowed my courage & determination go to my head? I had enjoyed the praise that I was receiving.

Humility isn’t simply a word, it’a life choice. Made for the right reasons. Not something done for glory, or to be boasted about. I had fallen into a trap.

Humility is about simplicity, about genuine care, about honour.
Part of me thinks that I should be ashamed, but isn’t that playing the same card?
I need to actually understand & learn from the lesson. Being ashamed isn’t the solution. I had strayed from my life choice, chosen to broadcast my glory. Been guilty of pride & tripped myself up. It wasn’t about doing anything wrong, it was doing things in the wrong way. I enjoy helping others, I do it because it helps us both. I don’t need to broadcast it. I’m no saint, just a person trying to fulfil my purpose on this earth ( as feels right to me). Helping someone so that you get praised isn’t what it should be about.

Acceptance & Humilty are all important. Or certainly should be.

I’m thankful for being able to understand what it all meant.
We are all trying to find our way through the maze of life. There will always be hazards, blocks & difficulties, without these we would be unable to appreciate when things are going well. The newer abseil gives me a chance to approach things differently. Yes I will still approach people for sponsorship but for the correct reasons – just to gain money for the charities, not so that I can bask in the glory of how brave I am. It lovely to be paid compliments but to accept them with grace is not the same as milking it for all it’s worth.

In gratitude & with humility I accept this lesson.

Rosie X

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Until next time, take care x

                                                Thank you to a stranger

A few months ago, at the end of a blog that I was reading, the author gave some advice that has changed me.

The post involved the setting up of a writing group. The advice given was not to procrastinate about setting up your own group. It hit me square in the eyes!  I’d been thinking/ talking about organising a creative writing group but doubted my ability.  My confidence had been slightly shaken by the failure of a friendship group last year & I was afraid that another group would go the same way. After reading the blog I realised that I had to try. Even if it had failed, at least I would have tried. The only real failure is in not trying.

In my past I would have allowed my fear to prevent me from doing anything risky or difficult. However this isn’t my past, this is NOW.  I’m not that person anymore.  How could I extol the virtues of living in the moment yet only apply it to certain circumstances?  What’s the worst that could happen?  I might be the only member – would that destroy my life? Of course not!  It felt like that blogger had spoken directly to me. I immediately contacted her & told her that She had inspired me & that I intended to put plans into action immediately. I kept my word.

I made up a few posters asking for interested people, but still had no venue. At my local library I enquired if they would put a poster up for me, the reply was a proposal to allow me the use of the library to hold the meetings – no strings, no fees, just a good, bright area for our use.   I jumped at the chance, but still the little niggle of failure was eating away, willing it to go wrong. I have wanted to do something like this for a long, long time. I now had the bit between my teeth & wasn’t going to let go.

I persevered.

I ignored my doubts & threw myself into the preparations. I told everybody about the new group, even though, at that time I was unsure how it would operate. I certainly didn’t need to worry.  The first couple of weeks were nerve wracking but fun, with a handful of attendees. Then a week where no one came. I sat there by myself but rather than worry, I used the time constructively. That week taught me a lesson in humility. No matter how much I wanted to do it, I’m only as good as the effort that I put in. Maybe I was patting myself on the back without showing gratitude to the Universe, after all without gratitude & humility, I’d be no more than a hollow ego.    

The following week I had a few more members & since then barely a week has passed without newcomers. The newspaper advertises it regularly without cost so I am able to reach a wider area. Everything is ticking along nicely now & the group is nearing capacity. Maybe this will mean having to have a rethink on venue or offering it without any charge but I will cross that bridge if it comes to it.   I have learnt that although I orchestrated the group, it’s not MY group, I’ve simply been given the honour of gathering several lovely people with a common interest together. Should anything cause me to pull out, I’m convinced that it would still continue. It’s a lovely feeling.

As in so many things in life, I am learning through leading others. Each week I work out a variety of exercises for us to try, some I enjoy greatly, a few not so much but it doesn’t matter, it’s all practice. I have had to put structure into my weekly routine to allow for the group, this has also been helpful. Listening to some of the wonderful prose that is penned by relative newcomers is fantastic. I believe that we are all learning from one another. Long may it continue.

I hope that I am able to help this group grow & flourish, I also hope that I will know if the time comes to step aside. All of this has added another dimension to my life & it is all thanks to an unknown blogger.

I hope that this will encourage others to take a leap of faith & make their dreams come true. We are the only ones who put limitations onto our ideas. We tell ourselves that we aren’t capable or not good enough. What if we turn it around & start to believe in ourselves?  Things done with genuine intent have a very good chance of becoming reality.  I urge you to try.

Rosie X

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The busier my life, the better it gets.

There was a time, not too many years ago when the idea of being busy would have seemed abhorent to me. I had no energy & couldn’t understand those who urged me to do more – how could I? I was ill, depressed, too worn out to care. What did those do-gooders know about my life?

I ignored them.
I stayed stuck in my misery.

Today someone reminded me about a saying that I felt was very apt. I might not get the quote exactly correct but I’m sure you’ll get the gist of it.
Unfortunately I don’t know the author either, but here are the words:

If you always do what you’ve always done, in the same ways as you always done them. You will always get the same results.

Simple words, yet very true.
In those days gone by, I was doing exactly what I shouldn’t. I bemoaned that life was too exhausting, that I felt lethargic, uninspired, lacking in motivation. I wasn’t willing to try any other way. Sure I’d read self help books & listened to those ‘in the know’ but they were talking idealism, not real life. Or so I believed.

As regular subscribers will know, things changed for me quite dramatically. It took a while for the changes in my mind set to really filter through but it seems that the Universe has accepted my genuine desire for change. Life keeps on improving. The point that I’m making here is that things didn’t just fall into my lap. I had to work at it.

So how did I find the energy to do all the things that are making my life so complete? Simple really – I forced myself to put more in! It’s inconceivable that success & happiness will come for no reason. Obviously I had to play my part. I began to do things to help others,I’d always wanted to but hated the idea of being rejected, so was reluctant to offer. I forced myself to challenge that fear & began volunteering, befriending & at first simply trying to be a helpful & considerate neighbour. People expressed gratitude, I felt useful. I needed to do more.
I set my intention to be a good, kind, useful member of society. I asked for guidance. At times the ideals seemed impossible to ever achieve. I was just me, a little old woman with some pretty batty ideas! But something urged me to continue. I volunteered more, did more. I turned off the television. I stopped procrastinating. I began ‘doing’. It still exhausts me yet it’s so intoxicating that I never want to give up.

I fit more in my week than I previously would have done in a year ( or more). Although It makes me so tired, it means that I generally sleep well. I’ve become fitter, calmer & far more ‘balanced’ in every sense. I’ve also learnt to respect my body more. At times the pain rips through my body like a red hot poker, nothing can ease it. At these times I know that going out walking or working would be counter productive, so I remain at home. Here is where the difference comes – yes I’m at home, maybe, like now with my poor aching feet raised high, but I do something to keep my mind from fixating on my pain. I write a lot when I’m in pain, there again I’m regularly in pain! The thing is that keeping busy, having something to focus on, having a reason to force myself to get on with things or to drag myself out to a meeting is good. It’s extremely therapeutic.
All of my time is used usefully, even ‘wasted time’ isn’t really wasted, If my body needs to sleep, I sleep. If I need to relax, I do so mindfully or use meditation. I no longer force myself to fit into a schedule of what I feel that I have to do, I do things because I want to. I get so many rewards from helping others (emotional, not financial) I love seeing people happy, the work is it’s own reward. I enjoy everything about my life now, even the niggling annoyances of general life serve a purpose. There is positivity in absolutely everything, even though we can’t always see it at the time. If we are open to accept the good things that are offered, they will come, rarely in the form or way that had been anticipated but good things will come in abundance. At times I feel overwhelmed by the gifts that the Universe has showered on me, but I accept graciously & genuinely knowing that it is reward for what I do for others. I feel gratitude for these opportunities. The embarrassing part is that simply enjoying everything is reward enough.
I do things because I can. I can do things because I work at it. I work at it because I enjoy it. I enjoy it because I’m doing what I love & love what I do.

Wow! I’ve just surprised myself by what I’ve written. It’s late at night, I have a busy day tomorrow & a kitchen that looks like there’s been an earthquake in there but it doesn’t matter. I will sleep well & in the morning I will deal with what needs to be done. If that means the housework stays undone – does it really matter? Having a sparkling kitchen or smiling people? No contest!

This has been a bit of a ramble tonight. I hadn’t intended to write anything so it has all tumbled out, totally unplanned. I hope that you can follow my line of thought.

Until next time, look after yourselves & those around you.
Be happy,

Rosie X

If you have enjoyed this blog, please ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘follow’. Tell your friends about it. Let’s see if we can get this blog a wider audience. Not for glory, not for egotism, simply to share my love of life & gratitude to have been given the chance to make a difference, no matter how small.
Imagine how good this world would be if everyone tried giving instead of taking?
Bye for now X

I only need prove to myself.

Recently I have questioned myself about where my confidence has come from & why I keep setting myself challenges. I’m not totally sure of the answer but am so thankful that I feel this way.

Today two people were teasing me about my forthcoming charity abseil, saying that I was proving something to everyone else. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Of course it will be great to show the world that I can do it – me, little old age pensioner me! Naturally I hope that my children will be very proud of me but ultimately I’m doing the challenge for two very different reasons. The first being that I want to raise money for SOS Africa, as the plight of the people there is abhorrent. I’ve raised funds for the Country in a few ways but this is definitely the biggest that I’ve done.

I had hoped to volunteer in Ghana this October, teaching young children in the poorest parts of the area. It probably wouldn’t have helped very much but at least I would have tried. Unfortunately common sense has stopped me from going.

My health is very variable & I can have a bad spell without warning. Over there I would have been pushing myself to keep going, which is really asking for trouble. If I had become ill, I would have become a burden on the host family which would have been dreadful for them. I realised that going over there alone, with my health issues was being selfish.

I wanted to go. I wanted to do it. I wanted to be of help.
Sometimes however it’s more important to see the bigger picture.

There’s such a lot that I would like to do before this life ends. I wasted so many years through having agoraphobia that my choices are now limited. My teenage years weren’t filled with mad stunts,I was too busy being a Mum. I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the world or have exciting experiences, my children took up all of my time. Now so many years later, when many people begin to slow down, I want to experience everything that I am able.
I could save up & maybe in a few years afford a really exotic holiday but the thought leaves me hollow. What I want to experience is something that will enrich my life. Teach me something. I don’t need posh holidays, I’m content with what I do. I want something that money can’t buy me – and that is the inner satisfaction of proving to myself that I have enough trust and faith in the Universe to take these challenges.

I was a cowardly child. A nervous teenager. A troubled young mum & then a very anxious, depressed middle age woman. I was always so needy, incapable of managing anything on my own.

WHAT A WASTE OF LIFE!

Things are very different now.
I want to prove to myself that I have overcome those problems. I have finally discovered the real me & am happy but It doesn’t alter all of the wasted years.
Challenging myself helps me, helping others in the process makes everything even more worthwhile.

I want to embrace life. Celebrate being alive. That’s why I push myself. I could be taking it easy. Instead I fill my life with many diverse things, none of which I could have ever dreamed possible.
So no I’m not doing it for glory or to impress anyone. It’s my way of saying thank you for being alive and capable. I know how fortunate I am to have come through what I did. This is my way of showing gratitude.
I will be doing the abseil at the same time as I had planned to travel to Ghana – one door closed and another one immediately opened. Isn’t that amazing?

I will continue to challenge myself, some things may be trivial, some may not, but I don’t intend to waste any more of my precious time on this earth.

Rosie X

I hope that this has struck a chord with some of you & urge you to make the most of every single day.

Thanks for reading this. Please ‘follow’ & share my blogs, your support means such a lot X

Life keeps getting better

Each time I believe that my life has reached it’s peak, it proves me wrong & something even more wonderful happens.

Despite my reservations I recently set up a free writing group which has been running for a few weeks now. Attendance has been comparatively low which has been disappointing, however I realised that I was sending out the wrong signals to the Universe. I had been doubting my competence, once I dismissed that notion & realised that knowing that I was capable was not an ego trip, things began to change. This week I have had several enquirers from potential new members. Hopefully they will all come but It matters not if they change their minds – I won’t.

Everyday I become more certain of my abilities. I am continually learning new skills. My enthusiasm is growing for the writing group as well as a few other projects that I have in the pipeline.

So many people believe that their life wanes as they age. I don’t believe that it does. What seems to happen is that we need to change our direction as we age. Things that inspired or interested us when we were young lose their appeal or are no longer relevant. Too many people are afraid to let go & hang on to what they used to do/ be good at. This prevents them from learning new skills & finding new interests that would suit them better. There is so much that is out there to learn & experience. Don’t let fear hold you back-
GO FOR IT!😉