Not allowing myself to wallow

This blog is very different to my usual tone. I wanted to write about something that affects many of us.
In advance I want to apologise if what I write may cause offence to members of my family. It certainly isn’t intended but part of this blog will touch on personal issues.

Recently I’ve been unwell, a slight stroke highlighted some other problems, which hopefully are now being addressed. However the exhaustion & threat of losing my personal care has causes quite a bit of worry and stress.
Generally I’m still upbeat and positive but my mood is definitely slipping.

I live alone and because of previous life problems, including a 17 year bout of agoraphobia, the plight of those facing loneliness is always on my mind. I am doing all that I can to highlight the problem. I write a column in the local paper trying to address this serious issue. The difficulty that I have is that I literally feel their pain. When I see or hear someone who is alone or feel unloved, it actually hurts me. If I could, I’d wrap my arms around every lonely person, even the difficult and unlikeable and welcome them into my home. No one should have nobody.

I guess because of the time of year, the whole family thing is going round and round in my head, everyone is chattering about how many visitors they will be having and so on. Unlike many, I am fortunate, I do have family, however we are no longer very close and I have in fact lost contact with two of my sons and their children. I find this really hard. Because of the family situation, I spend most Christmases totally alone. I receive very few presents & only one or two cards from my family. I try to act as if I don’t mind, but really I do! It’s not the being on my own for Christmas Day that’s the problem, after all, it’s just another day. I don’t mind my own company. I have a good social life with lots of friends and lead a very full life. But Christmas highlights the separation between us. I don’t complain, you can’t force someone to like/ love you, even your own flesh and blood.

Everywhere you hear of families driving miles to be with or fetch their distant families, people will be getting together, maybe having a great time, maybe not, but at least they are together. I will be alone, like many, many other elderly people. Through my voluntary work in a charity shop I have spoken to many people in a similar boat. Several tell me that they have family that rarely contact them. I wonder why it happens?

Years ago it was accepted that families stuck together. Now through people relocating all over the country, even world, families are not as close knit as the were. Divorce/ remarriages have added to the problem. It is such a dreadful pity. Youngsters no longer have the security of the family elders ( often grumpy or difficult) but usually a source of love and comfort as well as knowledge. It taught older generations how to tolerate and accept the ‘batty’ great aunt or uncle with peculiar habits. Children were taught how to handle these situations, how to accept the differences between the generations. We played family games, knowing that certain elders would insist on winning, equally we learnt who could be relied on and who would help us cheat ( playfully) at times. A bit like Christmas Cracker jokes, memories of past Christmases can often be remembered with a groan, but we understood our place in the family, our role.

How will young children learn to accept and help older relatives if they are kept away from them? One day, they too will be the elders.

Of course there are a huge majority of families who take their responsibilities seriously and include the older family members, whether they are very fond of them, or not. In some families the elders are very much loved, important figures who are totally involved with everything. The children from these families will undoubtedly be more rounded in their attitudes to others.

Since the split up of families has become so widespread, many children will grow up without knowing their grandparents or Great aunts and uncles, maybe even their cousins. This is such a shame. It is a relationship that cannot be found again. Although there are many extremely successful step families, in most cases, somewhere in the background are the now unwanted relatives.

I’ve been as guilty as many others, having been short sighted about my children keeping in contact with blood relatives, when divorce caused separations. I believed, ( wrongly) that consistency, being only with my side of the family was less painful and less harmful for my children. I know realise how badly I got it wrong. Inadvertently I was teaching them that relatives could be dispensed with, or forgotten about. That was such a bad lesson to show them. It’s understandable that I have now become dispensable.

With my generation, we were taught to accept our responsibilities and would travel regularly to make visits, topping up with at least weekly calls. It wasn’t always convenient or easy, at times the cheerful, chatty banter had to be forced, especially as the years went by. Now that all of my elders are gone, my brother and myself are the new elders. He is fortunate that his family is extremely close knit, I’m sure that the family dynamic doesn’t always run smoothly but they get over difficulties and remain very close. I am blessed to be quite close to this side of the family and love seeing how the younger members are growing. My own relationship with my parents wasn’t always easy, in fact at times it was dreadfully strained but now I can look back over those times spent together and feel so grateful that I have those memories, good and bad.

In years to come, there is a real risk of family unity bepreaking down totally. What stories will the children hear from their rambling grandfather or funny memories of their fussy grandmother? Children are richer for having grandparents. The relationship is very different from the one with their parents.

Times have changed, I understand that, the clock can’t be turned back but I really believe that the younger generation will be losing out.
In many countries the elders are revered, known as a source of wisdom which undoubtedly can only be attained by age and has nothing to do with educational knowledge. Here we are frequently treated with indifference.

Most of us have past memories of times spent with our elders, doing things that our parents didn’t have the time or money to do with us. I am so glad that I have mine. I pity the children that won’t have that because their parents are too tied up with their own lives to include the nuisance older relatives.

I will spend this weekend alone, if I’m lucky I’ll get a few fleeting phone calls. I’ll sound happy enough and I won’t complain. I can’t alter their mindset, but deep down there will be a heartfelt sadness, not just for what I’m missing, more for what memories are being lost from the younger generations. Not just in my own family but in those homes up and down the country who have decided not to bother about the irritating oldies.

I will not allow myself to wallow in sadness, I will keep myself busy with one of my many interests, but not everyone will feel the same. I wonder how many tears will be shed? How many pensioners will be dreading the coming few days?
How many will only have a carers company for an hour or so?

Remember, one day, you too will be that oldie and without having anything to follow,there is every chance that you too will be left alone.
As I said at the beginning – No one should have nobody. None of us are islands.
We all need company, some more than others.

I hope that this gives food for thought. Make that unexpected phone call or trip, it may be an inconvenience but think of the joy that you could be bringing.

I wish you all love and happiness and hope that the coming year will b good to you.

Rosie x

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Christmas illusion.

As someone who spends Christmas alone, I am saddened by the amount of people who tell me how much they dread the enforced jollity.

There are a couple of points here.
First of all, although I agree that family get together are rarely ideal, at least they are fortunate enough to be invited. However if it really is such a trial, why don’t they decline the invitation? Getting along with your fellow man can be tricky at any time of the year but when expectations are running so high, it’s so easy for arguments to flare up.

The other side is how false it all is. This whole Christmas thing has become a huge obstacle to sanity!

People inviting people that they don’t like or want to be with, others accepting invites that they don’t want to go to.

Giving gifts is the same – surely presents should be given for the right reasons, not because ‘it’ll do!’

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get this right?

Many people dread the idea of being alone at Christmas, others are horrified with the thought of their family sitting alone, so people are shipped across the miles so that they can sit there, uncomfortable, like a spare part.

In an ideal world families would be closer, always caring about their elderly or single members but this isn’t an ideal world.

Being alone at Christmas isn’t really any different from any other day – it’s our expectations that make it so.

I find it so false when Granny or Grandad or Great Aunt are invited & then treated as an incombance. What we need is more honesty and a more caring society.

Are people so short sighted to believe that most elderly people want to sit in a room full of screaming, overly excited children, fed totally unsuitable food, then are delivered back home once the family need to get down to some serious drinking. Why are there not more centres where older people can actually enjoy themselves at Christmas? Company needs to be good and interesting, for it to be enjoyable. Not for pensioners to be marginalised or patronised, but to actually offer the form of entertainment that they would actually enjoy.
No one should be forced to be alone at this time of year, but neither should they be coerced to go where they feel uncomfortable.

There will be a lot of people who disagree with this post but I feel it needs to be said. When our Children are young, Christmas is a wonderful, magical time, even when money is tight, the wonder on their faces as they spy the wrapped gifts and all of the glitter and glitz is what it’s all about. A good Christmas with family games, laughter and few treats is what we all aspire to, yet in reality it’s rarely like that. Alcohol, stress, arguments get in the way. Too much emphasis is put onto the achievement of the ‘perfect ‘ day.

So what would be perfect? Surely it all depends on the person involved?
Different ages will usually see things differently. Nowadays it’s all about money, buying the biggest, most expensive gifts. Is that really right?
What about Granny or Grandad? Do they just get chocolates or toiletries or some other thoughtless gift? I bet for many this is true.

Can’t we have a rethink? Putting the Christian aspect to one side, the social & economic drudgery that can be caused is a travesty.
I would willingly help out at a lively, cheerful alternative get together.yet there are so few available. I have previously volunteered at a homeless shelter on the big day ( & a great day it was) but why aren’t there more options? Eating out at Christmas as a single person is virtually impossible. I don’t want to be an imposition on my family but I would actually like to have fun too. Holidays at this time of year are beyond the reach of many pensioners so what choices do we have?
I’ve done the tearful holiday period, now thankfully I’ve come to accept how things are. I’m used to living alone and actually enjoy it, but not everyone feels like me. I’m fortunate enough to have a great social circle so although I won’t have company on the day, I have plenty of events both before and after.

There will be many who are loved and cherished who will be warmly welcomed by their loved ones, they are very fortunate.
With everything shut, too many pensioners will be totally alone, totally uncared about. This is so wrong.
Everyone who believes in the season of goodwill, wherever you may be, bear a thought for others less fortunate and maybe think of something positive that you can instigate for future years. It isn’t charity or pity that most pensioners want, it’s just a bit of genuine consideration.

Let’s put the ‘Happy’ back into happy Christmas.

I wish you all a lovely time.

Rosie x

Was there life before trust?

As followers and friends will know, I believe totally that everything happens for a reason. I believe that the Universe has a plan for me and I am regularly tested, not to test me, but for me to judge for myself how strong my faith is.
I realise that to a lot of people this sounds like madness, but it matters not, I no longer need anyone elses approval – it works for me.

A week ago my world came close to crashing down around me. I had 3 major financial hardships in one day, meaning that I am going to have to rethink my life.
Although it came as a shock, I can now see the reason for it happening.
I’ve not got a very good relationship with money, over the years it has caused me much heartache, both in having it and not having it. Following years of severe financial strain during my marriage to an alcoholic, where I had to watch every penny & had no financial freedom whatsoever, when I found myself single, with money in the bank I couldn’t cope.

The money that was rattling in my bank account was thanks to the sale of our marital home, from a marriage that I had desperately tried to save.

How I hated that money!!!
Advice came thick and fast – go on a cruise, buy a huge television, buy all the things that I wanted. I tried, really I did. After a few months of renting, I bought myself a small flat, thus getting rid of a huge percentage of what felt like ill-gotten gains. I didn’t want any of the luxuries that friends told me to buy, I gave quite a bit away, then went on a silly spending spree. I would buy anything ‘pretty’ or ‘girlie’. After a life time surrounded by 5 sons and 3 husbands, pretty, girlie things were in short supply. The thing is, I didn’t really want these things and the novelty soon wore off.

Because my needs were minimal ( I don’t have a car, drink, smoke, do drugs, gamble etc) at first the money didn’t really go down much. I began giving a lot to charity, in a way it was penance for failing as a wife.
After a failed business attempt, where I lost quite a lot of money, suddenly there was very little left. So I began spending on credit cards instead.
I hated the years when we were living in such debt, yet I seemed hell bent on reliving it. I began buying all sorts of things, most of which I never used.
Worried that it could be the return of my mental health problems, I consulted a psychiatrist who assured me that it was a delayed reaction to my stressful marriage and that it would settle in time.

It didn’t.

The difficulty with any habit is that it can get out of control. I became the butt of many jokes about the amount of things that I was buying.
Thankfully, I came to the realisation that it was just comfort buying and that it was no more than ‘stuff’, not really even possessions. I began to declutter my flat ( well documented) I sold a few things but gave most things to a charity shop where I volunteer. Unfortunately as soon as I was getting rid of things, I was replacing them with further clutter.
I wanted to stop. I tried selling a few more expensive things but couldn’t bring myself to ask for anything like the worth, almost paying the purchasers for the privilege of rehomeing my things.

When my first credit card bounced, it came as a shock, never the less the spending continued on another card.

During this time I began to realise how much I despised many of the things that filled my home, so increased the decluttering/ donating. However this wasn’t helping me pay off my outstanding bills. I was running into big trouble and knew it!
I made many lists, cutting out unneccesary direct debits, working out how to save money, but nothing really changed. I looked at homeless people and felt dreadful, I couldn’t even help them because I had nothing left.

I prayed for guidance.

By now, having decided to raise money on my flat through equity release, rather than easing my worries, my haphazard spending increased, bringing no pleasure whatsoever.

Then my guidance came, but not in the way I’d expected.

My expected loan against the flat was refused, due to the high cost of the service charge, making it non viable. Boy was that a shock!
The same day I received two other financial setbacks,one being the quadrupling of my care contribution, also some anticipated extra money didn’t materialise. On top of all of that, adding salt to my already weeping wounds, my computer caught a nasty virus that cost an unexpected near ¬£100 to repair.

I should be devastated, but actually I’m so thankful!

It has forced me to really look at myself and my wasteful lifestyle. My money could have done so much good, yet I wasted it, now with my outgoings far higher than previously and with no equity release to pay off my bills, life has to change. My increase in care contributions was beyond my reach, so I have been forced to cancel my carer. Although I’m nervous about it, as she has been my lifesaver, I realise that I am being told to take personal responsibility.
With no leeway on my credit cards ( all maxed out) it will take me years to get back onto an even keel. But with the financial shocks, coming all together, it has jolted me back to reality.

This week I have searched through my flat and found several things that I don’t use, so have successfully sold them. I have looked at my bursting at the seams food cupboard and have decided to use it up, rather than buy new. Rather than investing in another overflow freezer, as I’d intended, I can actually eat what’s filled up the old one. I have reduced my eating lunches out, choosing to eat at home instead. I have stopped a lot of subscriptions to sites that I rarely, if ever, use.

At last I feel more normal. I’m just a pensioner with a very small income, I don’t need to spend so wildly. However I’m not panicking, or too worried. Things will work out, I’m sure of it. Opportunities to earn money will present themselves. That’s what I’ve needed – to earn what I spend, to give it a value.

To many readers, this will sound bizarre, probably thinking that I don’t know what hardship is – believe me I do. I spent so many years without a penny to my name, convincing the kids that playing games by candlelight was fun, when in fact I had no money for electricity. Hiding from debtors, court summonses etc. Believe me, I’ve been there – for a huge chunk of my life! I now owe more than I ever have, with very little means of paying it off. But pay it off, I will.
Something will come to show me the way. An opportunity will show itself. I really believe that.
When things improve, I want to be able to appreciate what I have and own, not to come across endless carrier bags of things I’d bought on impulse and not even unwrapped. Thankfully my tastes are fairly simple, so most purchases came from second hand shops, I’m not into high living, expensive perfumes and the like.

Yesterday my mobility scooter decided to play me up, I need it for my independence, so will have to get that looked at too. But the Universe wants me to feel more humble and be more grateful for what I do have, not just spending money that I can ill afford, to buy something new. I understand that. I am so grateful for that understanding. Without this wake up call I could have totally gone under, but I don’t believe that this was the Universal plan for me. I need to be more honest with myself. More humble. Live more simply. Something will present itself. Maybe I should apply to magazines or similar, touting for freelance work? Maybe I should get my book finished/ published ?

I trust, absolutely and totally. I was living in a fantasy world. Being honest on here, and to myself has been very freeing. I will be alright. I will find the way that I need to put this right. I have many talents and skills that I’ve not felt confident about.

I give thanks to the Universe for this painful, yet powerful lesson.

NamasteūüēČ

Rosie x

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How much had I been missing?

Today has been exceptionally good for me. I haven’t come into money, or met the man of my dreams, nor have I been on an exotic jaunt. No, my days was blessed with simple pleasures.

Despite feeling unwell, a fellow writer dragged herself out to pick me up, enabling me to attend a much enjoyed writing retreat in Frome. I had expected to miss it due to her illness, so being able to attend was terrific. I was able to do quite a significant amount of work, despite us needing to leave early.
I met several new people, hopefully recruiting a few new members for my writing group. I also paid a visit to the cottage that is key to my novel. All in all, an enjoyable morning. But there was much more to come……

The day has been very sunny and warm, too nice to go home, so I uncovered my mega size mobility scooter and headed for one of Wells’ jewels – The Bishops Palace. I was fortunate enough to have been given a membership by a dear friend which allows me free access to the magnificent gardens. I frequently go there to write, especially if I feel a little bogged down with hum-drum life. Today however, I simply wanted to bask in the sun.
I have recently been unwell (hence no blogs)and have become a slight recluse, purely because I didn’t have strength to venture outside. I hadn’t realised how much I had missed it.

I was filled with pleasure from the outset, having chosen to use a bridleway rather than the town centre. I’ve lived here for four years but for some inexplicable reason I had never used this route. Although the road has houses, they are non obtrusive and all the way there are overhanging trees and bushes. I immediately felt at peace. I even noticed the first blackberries of the season, something which, for some reason always excites me.
After a pleasant ride alongside the moat, observing the ducks and almost fully grown cygnets, I enjoyed a glass of elderflower presse, overlooking the palace before entering the gardens. That’s when I felt totally serene.

Leaving my mobility scooter safely inside the grounds, I continued on foot across the stream towards my favourite writing spot. Seating myself down, I tied my scarf around my shorn hair to protect me from the searing heat & settled down to get on with my stories, but was couldn’t. Sipping my water, I closed my eyes and enjoyed feeling the suns rays impregnating my skin. All around people were in good humour, due mainly to the weather I imagine, but I paid very little attention to them. The sounds of nature were speaking far louder. The water flowed, ducks quacked, birds chirped, leaves rustled and bees buzzed, I’m sure that I could even hear the insects scurrying around. It was idyllic.
My mind drifted to a time and place when I lived on Dartmoor, a memory that had become tainted by life problems. A storyline came into my head and as I quickly scribbled it onto paper, I knew that the happy feelings could be recalled. I felt myself smiling like a goon! Bare feet, scarfed head, a batty old woman sitting, grinning to herself but I didn’t care.

I spent a while writing before roughly sketching the scene. A couple of elderly neighbours stopped to exchange pleasantries before wending their way around the grounds. The Cathedral clock chimed. Taking a further sip of water, I realised what was making me so happy.
Life.
Pure and simple.
Life.

I have recently spent quite a while sharing the details of my 17 year battle with crippling agoraphobia. I’ve even had a near full page article about it published. Life is rapidly changing, new opportunities are making themselves known. I’m so enthralled with the fullness of my life, but I still hadn’t truly grasped what had happened previously. For seventeen long, lonely, miserable years I hadn’t spent any time outside. The warm air hadn’t brushed my skin. The breeze hadn’t blown through my (then long) hair. I hadn’t lifted my face to the sun, or heard the calls of the birds. I had been imprisoned through fear, yet it had affected me in ways that I hadn’t considered.

I now understand why it is so vital for me to encourage others to step outside. Face life. Face their demons, their challenges, their fears. No-one should take the elements for granted. It wasn’t just my physical freedom that I gave up – it was all of the years of poetry and song, writing and drawing. It was my potential that I had turned my back on.

I have been so fortunate to have been given another chance. If I could bottle that feeling of sunshine in my heart as well as my body, I would. Can you imagine sharing that with people in despair? Unfortunately I am unable to do that but came home with the knowledge of what I need to do.

I have been toying with the idea of giving motivational talks (not speeches)but have been dismissing it as a flight of fancy. It’s not. I have those feelings inside of me. I can write about them but I can also talk about them. I’m very capable. I KNOW THAT I CAN DO IT. It was the aftermath of the grey existence that was preventing me, causing doubt. The heady influence of the sun has warmed my soul, shone over my path, guiding me on the role that I was kept alive for. I feel so excited. I’m sure that the road won’t be smooth but it doesn’t matter one bit. I have a story to share, an ability to express it.
WOW!
A couple of hours ago I signed with a motivational speakers agency. The Universe won’t send me clients/jobs unless I’m ready. I’ve got no reason to doubt it.
My blessings are bigger than even I can comprehend. Yes I hid from life for so long as a caterpillar, protected in the safety of my chrysalis for the past few years. Now, today I have emerged into the sunshine as a fully fledged butterfly, dried my wings and have taken flight. I will be guided by the breeze of the universe. One thing is certain – I won’t stop until my job is done.
)0(

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you enjoyed it.
If you did, please ‘share’, post onto your social media pages or even subscribe. I would welcome having you as a follower.
I am aware that my blogs are irregular-something that I shall attempt to rectify. Don’t give up on me. I’m still here, just sometimes a bit side-tracked.
Blessings and love to you all.
Rosie

Day of awareness

My post today is very different. I had a choice of subjects that I wanted to write about, however the following subject grabbed me by the throat & refused to be silenced, so here goes ……….

For the umpteenth time recently, I’m sitting in a pub just a few doors away from my home, simply because I have absolutely no energy to cook myself a meal, so am eating here. I had my day mapped out. I intended to do some housework,a little weeding in the communal garden, clean my goldfish tank & catch up with paperwork, as well as making myself a healthy meal. Things went awry after a friend called & suggested that we go out for a walk as it was such a glorious day. Although I’ve been struggling to stay on my feet as they are dreadfully painful, I decided to ignore the pain & take in the sights & smells of the Jewel in Wells’ crown – the Bishops Palace gardens. It is a fabulous place. I was fortunate enough to be given a membership for my birthday, so am able to visit freely, but typically I don’t go often enough. Today however, I forced myself & am so glad that I did. As my friend is elderly, he was happy to walk slowly, so we strolled around in the sunshine, sitting when needed, enjoyed a cup of tea overlooking the croquet lawn & had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Walking back towards home was less fun, as I was beginning to doubt if I could make it home & of course then I would need to make myself a meal. With the pub in sight, I decided to rest awhile & eat in the hostelry.

As today is part of the bank holiday weekend, as well as such a glorious day, the place was heaving!
I pop in sometimes for a cup of tea, especially if I need a breather before I get home. Usually, because I avoid evenings, it tends to be fairly quiet, but today the noise was at a very high volume. The doors into the garden/ smoking area were open, so there was a cool breeze, which was lovely. I sat by the open door, enjoying the fresh air ( well, tobacco enhanced, but air never the less.)

After ordering my meal, I returned to my table, clutching a diet cola, which is an occasional treat & did as I usually do – I took out my notebook & began to write. Although I have plenty of subjects on he go, I like to use cafes / pubs as a space for observational writing. Noticing the people around me, their behaviour, language, snippets of conversation etc is very interesting & gives me a lot of subject matter, as well as food for thought. Today was no exception.
I find that when I am writing, I’m in a near sound- proofed bubble, although I am aware of the volume, it hardly disturbs me at all.
What does affect me, although not as much as in time gone by, is the smell of alcohol. Drunken people cause me worry, but I think that’s because of my past. I am very conscious of them & give them a wide berth. It’s ironic really, as years ago, I too used to frequently drink far too much & at times could be as drunk as those that I now avoid! This made me think about my own behaviour at that time – did people avoid me too? I dare say that they did, as I have no reason to believe that I was any less obnoxious!
The smell of alcohol, especially beer has the ability to transport me back to those very bleak days, or should I say years? Like so many other people, I didn’t realise what a life destroyer & family breaker it was. Of course I knew the down side, but didn’t really understand until I lived with an alcoholic. No, I’m not a party pooper, most things in moderation are alright, but why have we allowed our society to become so dependant on drinking? A social drink can be undoubtedly pleasurable, but how many people know when they have crossed the line? I was sure that I knew, yet I drank far, far more than was healthy, even worse, I allowed it to destroy much more than my health! Being married to an alcoholic made it easy to excuse my own failings. Between us we allowed our family & finances to suffer. Having one or two drinks inside can make us loosen up & be fun, more than that……?
From a personal point of view, seeing someone that I dearly loved being transformed from a witty, clever man, into a bumbling violent wreck was heartbreaking. His life was being eaten away, simply because he was unable to resist drinking. He was not able to draw a line at which to stop, oblivion was his stopping point! He admitted that he no longer enjoyed the flavour, but would do literally anything to feed his habit. Thankfully My drinking wasn’t an addiction, so when I made the decision to stop, it was incredibly easy for me, but I was very, very fortunate! But for many people, how would they know if they were addicted, unless they tried to stop? Ask most drinkers & they will say that they could easily stop if they wanted to, yet they won’t try.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With this train of thought, I began to notice the behaviour of some of the people sitting nearby. I’m sure that they would hate to read my observations of them – I would have!
Sitting next to me, by the open door into the garden area, there was a group of young women, (maybe in their 20s). They had obviously been enjoying their day & had presumably been drinking for several hours. They were excruciatingly loud & embarrasing – tomorrow they will probably have major hangovers. I can’t tell you how clearly I remember those!!! Their pounding heads & upset stomachs will likely affect their bank holiday plans, so why do they do it? Why did I?
One girl in particular, a very neatly dressed blonde with a beautiful figure was especially mouthy, shouting, swearing & being obstructive when it was time to catch their bus. Screeching, with elegant long legs going everywhere except in a straight line, she was last heard threatening to be sick on the pavement! Classy! Her friends were laughing at her, just as I’m sure mine did to me! One ‘friend’ was even capturing the image on her phone, no doubt sharing it on social media for the world to see. Thank goodness that wasn’t available during my drinking days! I wonder if she has considered the side effect of alcohol on her wonderful complexion & slim figure? I certainly didn’t!

At the table in front of me there was a couple, possibly in their 30s. Already there when I arrived, they seemed to be having a pleasant meal. Over a very short time, aided by several glasses of wine, the woman got progressively louder & louder. Without trying, I overheard many personal things that I’m sure she wouldn’t have wanted to share! I learnt where they met, how long they had been together & how much she hates his sister. I even know what her favourite sexual activity is – believe me, I really didn’t want to overhear that! As he went to the bar to top up their drinks, she began the ‘I love you’ phase. I’m sure that most people know how it goes : ‘I really, really love you, do you love me?’ ‘I love you too’ he responds, ‘but I really, really love you, much more than you love me – do you love me?’ “Yes, you know that I do” came the reply. Tearfully now,”Do you love me? Promise? Tell me you love me?” He grumpily responds & walks to the bar. She begins to sob uncontrollably. He returns & their drinks are wasted as he escorts her out of the pub. Their day probably now spoilt too. I remember that conversation myself. I wonder why alcohol brings out our insecurities?

To one side of me was an older couple, grimacing at the chaos a party of young men near to them was causing. They were having a great time, with no consideration of the upset they were causing. Eventually the older couple left, their part eaten meal, a sign that their day was spoilt through no fault of their own.

As I was gathering my belongings, ready to leave, another couple came & sat nearby. She was hanging around his neck, calling him ‘ babe’ every few seconds, alternating with criticising & swearing at him for how he was treating her. His response was to let out a very unbecoming belch! She didn’t seem to notice & was draping herself all over him. A couple of men, presumably his mates began to jeer & egg him on to ‘go for it!’ I was glad to leave! This may be normal behaviour late on a Friday or Saturday night, but this was at 6pm on a Sunday! At a time when there were several families around, it didn’t seem right!

Although now in my 60s I’m not at all straight laced & enjoy a joke & laugh as much as anyone, but I did find the pub visit an eye opener. Not just because of the behaviour of those so obviously inebriated, the main realisation was that although I can say that I was never that bad, I’ve no real way of being sure. Drink numbs us & helps us to have selective memory. I lost my family through alcohol ( not primarily mine, but it played it’s part!) thankfully, now single & teetotal, I am beginning to rebuild bridges with them. I would never try to prevent anyone from drinking, if that is their choice, but I wonder if things would be different if we were able to see ourselves as others see us. Probably not! Youngsters have an excuse, they are just learning, experimenting. It doesn’t make their actions right, or any less annoying but it is understandable. As we get older, it’s very tempting to gloss over our pasts, or burying them in the hope that they will never be unearthed.
Facing our demons, whatever they may be is a very difficult thing to undertake, but a very worthwhile one. Hindsight would be helpful, but not available, all any of us can do is our best with the tools we have. If we use them to try recollection, we can admit, even if only to ourselves, that we made stupid decisions, probably acted atrociously at times, embarrassingly at others. Most of the time they weren’t actually choices as such, we just didn’t think about the consequences of what we were doing.
Tonight, in the pub, seeing reflections of my past was horrible, yet illuminating. I have come through those days & although I can’t rewrite them, I can learn from them & forgive myself. I can move on.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All of that said, I hope that you all have a lovely weekend. Enjoy the good weather, drink enough water & whatever you do,be kind to yourself, as well as to those you love.

Thanks for reading this, although not my usual style, it feels good to get it out of my system.
I hope that you will ‘follow’ or subscribe to my blog. I love sharing my thoughts with you all.

Love & light

Rosie x

When life gets in the way!

Having just come across this from last year, I felt that it was worth reposting. It has helped me to reread it. The decluttering is still ongoing………..

Recently I have been getting more & more bogged down with the practicalities of life. I’ve never been an organised person ( main reason for not blogging regularly.)I promise myself that I will become much more organised, spend hours sorting paperwork into files, boxes & drawers, then realise that I have no idea where everything is so neatly tidied away, causing a mad panic when I need to find something!

This has set me thinking about why I find it so difficult. The main reason is blatantly obvious – I’ve spent my life surrounded by clutter! My Mother loved clutter, 5 children attracted it like a magnet, poverty caused me to save everything & has been a difficult habit to break! The bizarre thing is that I hate living in such chaos! So why do I still do it?

I realised quite a while ago, that I found clutter comforting, because what I had on show was mine & it was a form of security. *(see one of my first blogs, where I talked about needing everything on show.) Once I felt more secure, I was able to begin the very long task of decluttering & letting things go. As regular subscribers will know, this has been an extremely long process & one that I mention regularly. I suppose it shows a) the amount of clutter I’d accumulated & b) the thorough job that I’m doing. I’m extremely delighted with my progress, my home feels far lighter & less oppressive, which in turn has made space to attract new positive energies, all in all, a win-win situation. However I think that there is more to my chaotic lifestyle, than simply clutter, but what?

Having an over active mind doesn’t help, because I find doing one thing at a time virtually impossible. I can be happily cleaning the kitchen, take something into the bedroom, forget the kitchen & begin sorting clothes, take washing into the bathroom & start cleaning the bath! (All the while, storylines, plots & characters are running around in my head, vying for attention!) If I’m not very strict with myself, I’ll just end up writing!
My bathroom needed clearing,being the place of cleansing my body, it made sense for it to be tidier to enable me to cleanse my mind more easily too. I looked around & realised the enormity of my bottles & jars collection. I am aware that many women have huge selections of potions & lotions, however I don’t use most of mine, they just sit there, gathering dust, filling every shelf. My mind immediately slipped back to my childhood, where I remember my parents arguing over my Mothers similar collection. Dad insisted that She get rid of them, which she obediently did. She was upset about it, but never filled the bathroom with anymore. I wonder if deep down, I’ve been following in her footsteps, keeping them to prove that I can!

I think that a psychologist would probably have a field day, untangling why I do what I do! However,the time has come for action, so I have now got rid of many of the unneeded bottles & have donated several beautiful perfume bottles to charity, which have raised quite a few pounds.

I think that this has been an important breakthrough for me. I’m not being forced to get rid of anything, I’m doing it out of choice, my choice -I am no longer allowing myself to be dictated to, or controlled by anyone else. When I give things to charity & they get a good price, I’m delighted. There’s no feeling of upset – it’s really freeing.
Occasionally I slip backwards, dwell in the past & relive the hurt.Thankfully I’m now strong enough to recognise it & pull myself back into the present. I’ve signed up for an online mindfulness course, which is due to begin shortly ( see Future Learn, for free courses) I’ve done a bit of mindfulness previously but have decided that a deeper understanding of these techniques will help me. I hope that they will enable me to focus more on the job in hand, not get so easily distracted & maybe manage my time more effectively. I’ve yet to understand why I’m not able to do so much more,since there are 24 hours in every day!

I am absolutely determined to become more organised, maybe even more tidy, (although I think that may be wishful thinking!) But I have a reason to overcome this chaos,partly because I want to be able to dedicate more time to my writing & it’s difficult to feel creative if I’m worrying about where I put something !!! But more importantly, because I actually want to!

A friend recently commented how nice my home is looking & feeling( she was diplomatic about the untidiness) this has spurred me on. Tommorow I am reluctantly rehoming my tropical fish & their large aquarium. I’ll be sad to see them go, but they are a lot of work to keep clean & it’s difficult for me to manage and realistically the tank is far too large for my room. It’s just another step along this enlightening journey.

For any of us to change, we need to make changes. It can’t happen by itself. We need to be willing participants. Saying goodbye needn’t always be difficult. Rather than losing something, or someone, you are simply freeing yourself to move on to the next chapter. Everything is transient, nothing stays the same forever. I refuse to be stuck in any form of rut anymore. I wasn’t ready before, now I am! I’m saying goodbye to this chaos!

I wish you all love & contentment.

Rosie x

It’s too easy to make excuses!

I have  been having a battle of wills with my inner saboteur.  It needs to stop!

My desire to become an author has taken over so much of my time, that I find myself chasing my own tail. I want to write all of the time. I let life get in the way. I tell myself that I ‘really should be……….’ I add different excuses all of the time! ¬†It wouldn’t be so bad if I actually did the things that I tell myself that ‘I should’. Ironically I have perfected the art of NOT doing any of the important things, I waste time, often I can’t even work out where the time has gone.

Yesterday I settled down to do an important rewrite, ready for a competition. I was exhausted, it was late, but I persevered, typing, rereading, retyping.

Then the message appeared……..

Windows 10 is reconfiguring an important update on your computer. Please save your work or cancel.

I was too busy writing, I thought that It would be alright to finish what I was doing first. ¬†WRONG! ¬† The update completely took over my laptop before I had saved my work. ¬†I convinced myself that it would be safe somewhere. ¬†WRONG! ¬†Finally at 1.30am ¬†the install had completed, I eagerly went to Open Office to check my work – totally gone! Several hours of work wasted! ¬†I’ve tried to convince myself that it obviously wasn’t good enough & that it will be better at the next rewrite. ¬†Do I believe it? ¬†Hmm, not sure.

Unfortunately my solution to this wasted work was to spend 5 hours wandering around the town today, instead of putting my head down & getting on with the job in hand. ¬†Procrastination in the extreme. ¬†I do this sabotage in many different ways, for example I hate having a pile of dirty dishes In the sink, when I want to write. Simple. Wash the dishes! No, I sit down, or maybe do something else rather than do them. I don’t mind cleaning the dishes, so why don’t I just do them? ¬† Another example, I noticed while in town, that my mobile needs charging. That was over 9 hours ago, it still needs charging. I can’t receive calls until it is done, nor can I settle to anything else because I keep telling myself to charge up the phone! ¬†It would take no more that a couple of minutes, ¬†yet rather than do it, I’m writing about not doing it! ¬†For some reason this sums up my way of putting things off. ¬†It really annoys me, yet I continue to do it.

I have been inspired to write this now because I have just read a blog about making excuses for not writing. ¬† Is that what I am doing? ¬†Am I so critical of my ability to create something worthwhile, that I am using the flimsiest of excuses to put off the completion of any of my writing projects? ¬†I know the answer. ¬†I do this a lot. ¬†I have used excuses throughout my life, usually for avoiding something that would take minutes to rectify. ¬†One childhood memory is of trying to avoid cleaning my teeth, or washing my hands. ¬†My Mother would check my toothbrush/ hands for evidence of use. Knowing this, I would go to great lengths to wet the brush, squeeze some paste down the plug hole, ruffle the towel etc, which took me much longer than just doing it! ¬†I was a child then. That was well over half a century ago. I’m still using the same, illogical reasoning towards avoiding tasks. I want to do them, I want to get things done. I want a clear, uncluttered home, allowing me to have clarity of thought yet I still make excuses to myself that prevent me from doing them.

Bizarrely I don’t do this where other people are concerned. If something needs doing for someone else, I do it as soon as possible. Why is it different when helping others? ¬†The answer is that I don’t like to let people down. This seems to suggest that I don’t mind letting myself down! Aren’t I worth more than that?

What can I do to challenge this behaviour?

The answer is so simple – ¬†I just need to do, rather than think about it! ¬†I made a start recently, I installed some to do apps on my phone & iPad, to allow me to keep track of things that I need to do & allow me to prioritise my tasks. ¬†I felt quite pleased with myself. Good start I thought. ¬†Hmm, I now have daily messages telling me about the overdue tasks, I haven’t even ticked off any jobs that I’ve completed!

Now I could use this ineffective idea as an excuse to stop trying. I could delete the app. I could ignore it. ¬†Or……….

I could do something radical – I could actually try again. No excuses, no delaying tactics, I could simply start at the beginning of my list & work through it. Making excuses is a really pointless exercise, something that should have been left behind with childhood. ¬†So I will try again. I won’t give up. I have an incredibly busy life yet could easily make more time if I simply became more organised & got on with the job in hand.

Having got this off my chest, I’m going to have an early-ish night & make a positive start in the morning, after a good nights’ sleep, but first ¬†have to put my phone on charge!!!

bye for now, take care everyone.

Rosie ūüėÄ

 

Oh what a day

I have always been very much of a morning person, but over recent months I have been finding it a struggle to get started each day. ¬†Fibromyalgia doesn’t help, as one of it’s kind gifts is feeling unrefreshed as if you haven’t slept at all, regardless of how many hours of sleep you’ve actually had. ¬†Apparently it prevents the body from getting into the deep level of sleep that is required – hence fibro sufferers always feel totally washed out. ¬†Unlike many people, I actually have very little trouble with getting to sleep & apart from the inevitable trip(s) to the toilet in the small hours, I sleep fairly soundly. It wasn’t always so. I ¬†used to cope on two hours a night, without any daytime naps either ! ¬†I was totally unable to sleep. ¬†I hate using sleeping tablets so read all that I could about sleep deprivation & have implemented a lot of the suggestions that struck a chord with me. Now, as I said, I normally sleep well. Unfortunately this hasn’t helped me wake any more refreshed but I try to get up as soon as I wake, that is until recently!

Yesterday was a really enjoyable day & my head was buzzing with what I had learnt at my writing class so I found myself still writing at silly o’clock , even then having ¬†to force myself to retire. ¬†Finally I crawled into bed, head throbbing from eye strain, legs hardly able to carry me the few paces to my bedroom. I literally fell into bed & went out like a light, stopping just long enough to realise that I didn’t have any commitments today, so I could sleep as long as I needed.

Nobody told my cat!

A couple of hours after collapsing into the world of dreams, Chi ( my cat) decided that it was time to get up. ¬†NO! ¬† After a difference of opinion he accepted that he wasn’t able to win, so we both went back to sleep. ¬†Only to be rudely awoken by a speeding cat, bouncing across my body in his haste to hide away from the person who was ringing the doorbell! ¬† It’s extremely difficult to pretend that you are still asleep, with the trail of blood from cats claws crossing my body. ¬†Too bleary eyed to read the clock, I expected it to be the postmen. I pulled on my dressing gown, bare feet, with hair that would have been a credit to a scarecrow, I dragged myself to the door.

“Good morning, can I come in & fit you new intercom.” ¬† I mumbled yes but my mind was certainly not using that word! ¬†Being a lady, I will not tell your what I wanted to say, but it wasn’t very polite! ¬† By now my cat was sat under the chair, growling at the workmen, glaring at him for daring to disrupt the morning rituals. ¬†As for me – I ¬†wasn’t ¬†sure if I was even in the land of the living, ¬†but my need to use the bathroom told me that I was. ¬†However I couldn’t use it because the man was working there ( I should point out that there are emergency pull cords throughout the flat, not that I need to answer the door via the bathroomūüėĄ) ¬† A second workman came in, cat flew elsewhere, I shuffled uncomfortably , needing the bathroom, needing a cuppa, needing to dress, but above all, wanting to go back to sleep……….

Eventually of course, the job was done & normal day should have been resumed, but no, I dragged myself around, as if I was weighed down, legs like lead weights. My head was pounding, I couldn’t snap out of it at all. ¬†Poor cat wanted to play, I wanted to make cat kebabs! ¬† He was safe – I’m vegan. ¬† I bent to pick up his food bowl & lost my balance, reached out to find support, which unfortunately came in the form of a glass dish, ¬†which smashed into a million pieces. ¬†Grrr! ¬† Not what I needed today! ¬† ¬†Once I had cleaned up the glass, fed the cat & my fish, I couldn’t face feeding me. ¬†I decided that today was going to be a right off. ¬†I trudged towards my bedroom & caught sight of myself! ¬†What a pathetic sight! ¬† I looked so sorry for myself, it was ridiculous! ¬† I had a frown so deep that I hardly recognised myself. ¬†I stared at my reflection, ¬†Chi was staring at me. ¬†Suddenly the absurdity of it all struck me. ¬† I burst into laughter. ¬†Chi came over to see if I was okay. ¬† No I wasn’t, but I soon would be.

Now approaching lunchtime, I finally got myself washed & dressed, followed by a deep & meaningful conversation with my deity through prayer. After which I gave myself a long relaxing Reiki session.  I had intended to get some pain killers but of course found that I no longer needed them.  I turned on the radio & began to sing along.      Cat purred.  We played.   I forgot breakfast & went straight onto lunch.  Tiredness gone,  I did a lot of de cluttering, letting go of many possessions that I had been reluctant to give away.  Finally, exhausted but excillerated,   I collapsed onto my sofa in the late afternoon.  I began to think about my day.  It had been such a strange day yet turned from negative into positive, simply because of the absurdity of my reflection.

There is certainly a lesson there for me. ¬†No matter how rubbish I feel, allowing myself to wallow is a disastrous move. ¬†I know that if I take a step back, ¬†take a ¬†quiet time in prayer &/or meditation, All negativity dissolves. ¬†Every problem ¬†doesn’t disappear, but they stay in their right context. ¬† I had stayed up far too late, ¬†I had woken badly, ¬† ¬† I ¬†had smashed ¬†a dish, ¬† I had a very bad headache. ¬† And? ¬† And nothing! ¬† ¬†Nothing dreadful happened, ¬†the world didn’t fall apart, in fact I ended up having a very good day. ¬† ¬† ¬†All because of those few peaceful moments.

It’s now midnight, I have some writing practice to do. ¬†Goodnight to one & all.

Rosie x

 

 

Reason to re-evaluate

Recently my health has been a lot worse than usual & I have lost a tremendous amount of weight. This weight loss has been a double edged sword, although totally delighted by the new ‘slim line’ me, deep down I have been concerned because I was sure that there was something very wrong. Eventually I knew that I needed to visit the GP, only to hear what I had expected – that there was a very real chance that I have got cancer……..

Now anyone who knows me well would be able to tell you that death holds no fear for me. In past years I have tried so desperately to bring about my own demise, that I have faced any fears that I may have had. However since I have been able to turn my life around, my outlook has changed. I am still not in the slightest bit worried about dying, but – and it’s a very BIG BUT- I now feel that I have far too much that I want to do before I go, so the possibility of my life being cut short has caused me to re- evaluate how I am living my life, albeit in an unexpected way…….

I try to live my life to the full, still trying to make up for all of the years that I wasted, wallowing in depression and self imposed isolation. I am acutely aware that I cannot make up the 17 years that¬†I ¬†lost through agoraphobia – but I’m certainly trying!

My mind buzzes with ideas & inspirations, to such an extent that I find myself actually wasting my potential, trying to find ways of fitting in more challenges & attempting to¬† cram 30 hours into each & every day,¬†8 days a week!¬† This has the unfortunate effect of actually acheiving far less than I really am able to.¬† Also of course, due to my fibromyalgia, M.E & assorted other health issues, I push myself far too far, with the resulting physical energy crash.¬† It really is stupidity! ¬†So in a way I have a lot to thank this possible ‘big C’ for.¬† Because I have no way of knowing if my time could be cut short, I realise that I need¬† to prioritise (& organise) my use of time.

One of the things that have hit home has been my lack of happy memories, of course there have been some, but most have been over shadowed by bad ones.     Simple things have been foremost in my mind, memories of taking my children blackberry picking, walking on the moor, making cakes & pies by the score!  Kite flying, bulding snowmen, rummaging at jumble sales,taking my goat for a walk and being dragged on my bottom down the hill when he decided he was heading for home! That memory in particular still makes me smile!   As  I said, simple pleasures. Life was hard in those days, there was no money,but there was lots of hope, tomorrow was always going to be a new day. Unfortunately the new day tended to be filled with problems, but I coped because I had my little brood Рmy 5 sons. As long as I had them, I felt safe, fulfilled.   But life moves on, as did my children, my dreams faded, the harshness of life cut like a knife.   For so many years I felt totally at odds with the world, but mostly with myself & my bad life choices.  Maybe there were happy memories, but they have become assigned to the trash can of my mind, some were probably deleted, maybe even unintentionally, but self protection causes us to do strange things!

Nowadays I try very hard to live in the here & now, no longer dwelling in the past recesses of my mind. My possible illness has made me  realise what is important to me -now.

I need fulfillment, I need happy memories to warm my heart if it feels chilly, I need to feel proud of my acheivements, but that will be impossible if I don’t actually do something positive & make steps toward my goals – so I have started.

For too long I have wasted time & money as a reaction to having been controlled previously. I have no real use for money, nor for possessions, but never the less I buy, just for the sake of it, then give it away through guilt at my wastefullness.¬† Well, no more!¬† Okay maybe that’s a bit idealistic – I have promised myself to try to change my ways.

I have a few challenges to myself – I want to write a book, or two, or more..¬† I want to lead others to find happiness,¬†¬†¬† I want to gain qualifications,¬† I want to be able to look at my life & be proud of what I’ve done but to do that, I have to start…………….

To gain new happy memories, I have booked a few short breaks away with a friend and have decided that lack of money, or confidence shouldn’t be a stumbling block.¬†¬† I am going to book onto a short trip to Iceland next year, I’ve no idea who with, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve always wanted to look for the Northern lights, so I¬† am going to go & try. It doesn’t matter if I don’t see them – I’ll know I’ve looked! as far as affording it, well I have plenty of unneeded items that I can sell!

My dream of becoming an author has long bothered me. although writing is a passion, I lack a lot of know how, so yesterday booked onto a creative writing course & a publishing workshop. again I may not ever get published, but I am improving my chances by increasing my knowledge.

Helping lead others has taken an unexpected direction.¬† I always believed that I would earn my reputation through my Tarot card reading, or laterly through healing ( Reiki, Crystal & energy healing are incredibly important to me)¬† But I realise that although these things may happen, my path is through teaching, inspiring & generally making people happy. Because being with vulnerable people gives me a sense of purpose & exercise helps me cope, I have decided to combine both ideals & use my new found skills as a flexercise leader & become an older persons’ party organisor ( mad possibly, but exciting prospect!)

I have also decided to enrole in a Tai Chi tutor course Рsomething I had to give up a while ago when lack of confidence got the better of me! This time I WILL complete it! Even if I never use the skills, I will have the qualification & the choice.     My choice!

Finally & maybe most importantly I have offered¬†to help out at the local community college,volunteering with a group of people with learning difficulties, doing whatever I can to assist them. I need to help others & can’t think of a better way!

As for my diagnosis, I am going to Hospital in a couple of days for tests, but really it is not important.¬† Whatever the outcome, I intend to fill my time doing what I can to improve my life.¬† I don’t need to live my life filled with regrets. Of course there is a lot that I would have preferred not to have happened, but it did, I can’t change that.¬† I can’t even change the future, because it’s not yet here to be able to change, but I can change ME. I can live everyday fully, not punishing myself, being kind to myself, being mindful & aiming to fulfil my dreams & find contentment.

I will shoot my arrows of intent at the targets of my dreams¬† –¬† ¬†& if they fall short of the target?

At least I will have had the courage to try.