Food for thought

A Stitch in time

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Better late than never.
  • A picture paints a thousand words.
  • Change is as good as a rest.
  • A watched pot never boils. 
  •  Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

I’m sure that most of us have heard these and the many other proverbs. You may even say them without thinking about it, I know I do.

My Grandmother used a lot of proverbs, one of her most quoted was ‘A stitch in time, saves nine.’  As a child, I though she meant it literally, it made sense since she was teaching me to knit and sew. It’s not surprising that I took it at face value.

[ If it’s of interest, It seems the phrase originated in France, during the 1700’s, and was first recorded in English in Thomas Fuller’s book of Gnomologia (1732) ]

But I digress…

Most (if not all) proverbs were intended to teach the masses in an easily remembered format. However, I wonder if any of them thought about alternate meanings?

The subject of this blog invaded my thoughts, without any form of invite. It wasn’t one of my considered subjects, but never-the-less, it has refused to go away until I put it ‘out there’. So for the sake of my sanity, I shall attempt to quell it’s nagging.

A stitch in time, saves nine.

Scenario 1

In our hectic daily lives, how often do we put off doing things, telling ourselves we haven’t got time? Frequently, even if concerned about their health, many people will use a variety of excuses to avoid seeing their doctor. Even when the ailment becomes more worrying, they ignore it, doing anything to avoid hearing the truth. However, this can easily back-fire. The delay could mean that a simple, easy to treat niggle  has become a more serious problem, with all that entails. Without a proper diagnosis, how can any of us know? Why do we procrastinate over something as serious as our health? Use that first*stitch* when needed, there is nothing to gain by delay.

Scenario 2

Maybe you misunderstand what someone is telling you and you get angry. Your temper rockets skyward, preventing the unwitting recipient the opportunity to clarify what they were saying. The argument gets personal, with you hurling hurtful insults. Later, once the fiery rage has faded, you reflect and realise you were in the wrong. You owe the other person an apology, do you make your peace immediately or avoid it, hoping it will resolve itself? It won’t. In most cases, delayed apologies are less likely to be accepted.

Scenario 3

How many of us have bumped into an old acquaintance – you know the face but can’t recall their name? They are chatting as if you were long-lost friends, what do you do? The sensible solution would be to apologise, then explain and ask them to remind you. But courage is a strange being, it can tell you it will be easier to bluff your way through the conversation. So you smile and chat, walking on quicksand, hoping you don’t give the game away. ( I fall into this category). You might breath a sigh of relief when they leave,  but what if you meet them again? How much more difficult is it going to be then?

Scenario 4

For no specific reason, you are late for a meeting, do you make a simple apology, or concoct an elaborate web of lies? While the fanciful tales might ease your conscience, is your memory really that good? You will be walking on egg-shells, scared of being caught out. And what happens if you are?

Scenario 5

One of the most difficult and distressing situations, is meeting someone you know has been recently bereaved. You don’t want to speak to them because you’re nervous about saying the wrong thing. Few of us can instinctively find the right words, (if there is such a thing) but avoidance, perhaps by crossing the street, doesn’t help anyone, nor does it solve anything. You’ll still need to have that first conversation sometime, you can’t avoid it forever. Pushing through your discomfort by focusing on the other person’s needs is kinder and easier, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Nearly there…

Scenario 6

Relationships can be a ticking time-bomb. Even in a fairly close partnership, it’s likely that at some point the boat will be rocked and by the law of averages, at some point, the blame will be well and truly yours. You’ve hurt the person you love most, they are upset, the atmosphere is dreadful. You want things back as they were but you also want to save face, besides why you should make the first move? They were to blame as well! You realise that you need to talk through your problem but your inner coward is insisting you avoid the truth at all costs. So instead you snipe and bitch, hoping that your partner apologises first. Problems can easily escalate and there is no way of knowing how much damage is being done. While there is love between you, there is no place for pride. Put your partner first. Using the *stitch* in time, can make the difference between healing the hurt, or allowing your world to collapse around you.

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The key in all of these scenarios, is one word, or rather, two – ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s a simple little phrase, but said with humility, it can be the necessary *stitch* that repairs the damage. It can hold things together, even bridging the widest chasm. It’s up to you whether you use it.

In the context of this proverb, I believe ‘one stitch’ means to face up to your problem as soon as possible. Delaying tactics might render your sewing abilities futile.

Sometimes, the remaining eight stitches won’t be enough.

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This is my interpretation but you may think differently, I’d be interested to hear other ideas.

Rosie x

 

 

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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Food for thought, General ramblings

The price of suspicion.

I am saddened by the suspicion that is aimed at anyone who chooses to help others. I know that this can be a hard, difficult world, but there is a flip side. There are a lot of kind, considerate and caring people spread throughout the planet, so why aren’t they accepted & appreciated without having to justify their motives?

I was brought up to trust & give people a chance. Yes of course I have been used & abused but that doesn’t alter my belief that on the whole, people are basically good. There have been times that I’ve teetered on the edge of doubt, but I still prefer to trust humankind.

After many years of self survival through abusive relationships, I celebrated my freedom after divorce by dedicating my life to helping others. This has taken many forms from volunteering, assisting, donating, encouraging & showing general kindness to everyone that I meet.
Let me say – I’m no saint, I make a lot of mistakes and am not always as good as I’d like to be but I do keep trying. Too many people say the words but don’t put them into action. I attempt to live my life in a way that I feel brings harmony, it also brings me a great deal of pleasure!

There have always been doubters, those who can’t understand why I do something for nothing, I guess there always wil be, but it’s very sad.

This was brought home clearly today. I live in a retirement building & despite my best attempts, I have been unsuccessful in gaining the trust of many of my neighbours. I am not a typical pensioner, I am a child of the 60s who never really outgrew the hippy idealism. I believe in self expression, wear whatever I like & live a lifestyle that suits me, including being a non-smoking,teetotal,vegetarian. I don’t enjoy being glued to a television set, hooked on the exploits of various soap characters, or gossiping about anyone who comes into their orbit. I live a very busy, full life, so when home, tend to be hermit-like, listening to music while writing or reading. This is treated with absolute suspicion. I can accept that. I choose to be an individual, not a sheep. I enjoy my life.

Today I was reminded about the sadness that suspicion causes. I arrived home during the weekly tea gathering. Aware that I hadn’t socialised with my neighbours for a while, I joined them. I entered the room to mutterings of “oh look who it is, wonder what she wants?” I smiled & took a seat. After general chit chat, someone commented on having seen a poster about a book reading that I am doing soon & asked what it was all about? I explained that I had written a childs’ story book which I am due to publish via Kindle. I then told them about another book that is also due for publication, a collaboration between my writing group, that is being sold to raise money for charity. This was met with cross questioning – which charity? Who would be handling the money? How could I prove what we’d collected? Once I’d answered to general satisfaction, someone pipped up ” what charity are you selling your childrens’ book for?” Then I said something that was apparently absolutely abhorrent! – I answered that it was being sold for my own benefit. It took hours of hard work to create, why shouldn’t I benefit from sales? HORROR! How could I do such a thing?
I left the lounge, having difficulty accepting that attitude!

Over the past 4 years I have tried setting up various groups with little success. A previous exercise class being terminated when someone stole the television set that I used. Choosing not to involve the police, I appealed for it’s return, but it was ignored. Other events have met with indifference so eventually I decided to stop trying within this building, using my energies where they are appreciated. Needless to say, this hasn’t gone down well.

This has made me question the motives of the doubters. What do they get out of it? Can’t they understand that through their mistrust & suspicion, they have lost a willing, caring participant in their community? Now of course I’m vilified for putting my energies elsewhere.

None of this has changed my attitude, I still am dedicated to helping others, nothing will change that!

Isn’t it time that poeople began to trust their fellow man? Not everyone is out for what they can get. The bitter, suspicious neighbours have lost what I could offer, simply because it is easier to doubt, to look for the hidden agenda, unable to accept there was none. How many opportunities are lost worldwide through mistrust?

That is so sad. It’s personal choice of course but I prefer my way. With more love and less spitefullness, imagine the difference we could make to the world?

Rosie x

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