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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Time to stop self doubt

Although I have been seriously writing for well over a year now ( blogging even longer), I’ve always introduced myself s an aspiring author, or would be writer. A short time ago someone took me to task over this. I’ve had several short articles published, as well as numerous letters, I also produce a monthly column in the local paper. That makes me a writer! Just because I have yet to win any competitions or get a publishing contract doesn’t alter the fact that I am a writer. Although yet to earn any money from it, I am a writer. I write everyday in some form or another, run a creative writing group as well as a writing for wellbeing one. Finally I accepted the title. However I was still slightly apologetic, almost sidled in, hoping that no one would ask about my qualifications. Why?

I left school at just 15 with no qualifications. I didn’t stay to take any exam. I was expected to go to work, which I duly did. I didn’t mind at the time, exam certificates didn’t mean much in the world of hairdressing, back in the 60s.
As my family came along, I began to regret not having anything behind me but told myself that I could do evening classes when I had time. It didn’t happen. By then, although I regretted it, it no longer seemed important.
Less than two years ago, being retired & living alone, I decided to take a creative writing class, then another followed by various workshops. I was hooked. I took a further class where grammar was high on the agenda. A stroke many years ago has erased most of my ability to put the correct names & terms for grammatical correctness. The teacher, although inspirational unintentionally caused me to feel inadequate. I already felt an outsider when friends discussed literature, my knowledge, by comparison was very limited. I enrolled on a Grammar course.
As I began the coursework, I realised that I knew what I was doing, knew how to use the correct formulation of sentences etc. Why was I doing this? At school I had always been an A+ English language & literature student, who was I doing this qualification for?
I decided to drop out. I have far more important things to do with my time. I was doing it to wave a piece of paper & say
” look, I’m as good as you now.”
I didn’t need to do that.

Of course there are gaps in my knowledge but nothing that I can’t get around. The stroke can’t be undone. Is it vital for me to remember what the correct terms are?
I write because I love it. I didn’t want it to become a burden.
Shortly afterwards I set up a creative writing group. I stressed at the outset that it was non teaching. I simply wanted to encourage others to have a go, to have fun. It has been an overwhelming success. Occasionally I get lost when some members discuss the classics or talk about writing styles, but I refuse to pretend to be anything or anyone that I’m not. Generally people appreciate my honesty, even if they don’t understand my reasoning.

One problem though, I still was an aspiring writer only, playing at it, not really serious. Except that by then I was.
I needed a change of mindset. When I’d begun, I had no intention of using it for anything other than pleasure/ therapy. Now I felt very differently about it. I intend to write for the rest of my life, to be successful too. A would be, will remain a would be. As a believer in affirmations & the power of positive thought, I decided to ‘rebrand’ myself.
I updated my Facebook profile photo, showing me writing. I introduce myself as a writer. I think in a totally different way.
I am shortly going to produce a collection of writing from my creative writing group, which we are going to sell for Children In Need. I am entering the NanoWriMo challenge to produce a 50000 word novel within the next month. I will, without question get some of my work into print. Whether I have to self fund, self publish or get a publisher, who knows? It’s not vital for me to know. One thing’s for certain – You’ll be hearing more about me in the coming years. I may never reach the heavy heights of a number one best seller, but I will definitely be producing some worthwhile work.
My name is Rosie – I’m a writer.

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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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

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!ūüėČ

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

Refinding the feel good factor

Last weekend, while I was discussing the viability of a vulnerable friend volunteering in a local charity shop, I did something that surprised myself!

The charity shop in question was unable to accept my friend, as they had no vacancies in their sorting room ( my friend is uncomfortable around people.) Me being me, a conversation ¬†ensued, with the Manageress explaining how they were in need of till staff. ¬†I heard myself asking if they would consider taking me on!!! ¬†I certainly hadn’t had any intention of volunteering there, especially as my role has been as a flexercise leader with older people. I recently had to withdraw from my voluntary job, as it had become too physically challenging for me , which really upset me. I’ve been trying to decide what to do, I like feeling useful but my health has to be taken into consideration. ¬†Hence the reason why my offering my services that day had taken me so much by surprise.

As a total believer in following where the Universe leads me, I realised that this had happened for a reason, so duly filled out the application forms before self doubt got the better of me. I should mention that this shop is one of the busiest in our City, so it would be anything but a quiet job!

At 12.30 today I got a call to ask if I was able to start this afternoon -at 1pm, as somebody had called in sick. Talk about shock! ¬†It was actually wonderful, I didn’t have chance to doubt myself, or my abilities. ¬†I am very aware that I can be clumsy, forgetful & tongue-tied, yet my head told me that I was more than capable. Most of my self doubt has been cultivated through years of depression & anxiety, now thankfully long conquered.

Newly found confidence allowed me to say that I would be a little late, as I needed to have lunch first, which I did. Then without panic or fear, I headed to town. There was no hesitation, I entered the shop, telling myself that I am as capable as anyone else. And I think that I proved it!

It was a really enjoyable afternoon. The staff were welcoming & after introducing me to the wonders of the kitchen & toilet ( vital!) I was left with an experienced volunteer. Thankfully the shop was quiet at first, although got manic later. I have been allowed to take things at my own pace , so haven’t yet used the touch screen till or taken credit cards, but it isn’t much different than using a touch screen computer. I loved it! I am a people person anyway & found a natural affinity with the shoppers, finding it so easy to chat naturally with them all. I was surprised that I managed to sell several of the more expensive items in the locked cabinet – I didn’t really try! ¬†Our sales figure was good, the Manageress was delighted & I felt like I’d been working there for ages!

Where were the nerves? ¬†It was great because I was able to remain seated between customers, so didn’t get too exhausted, met several friends that I hadn’t seen for ages & shockingly wasn’t tempted to buy anything myself! Absolute Win, Win!

I am so glad that I followed where I was being guided & trusted enough, not to try & talk myself out of it. ¬†I have never worked in retail before, although have lots of market & boot sale experience. The job entailed me doing several things that were alien to me, yet there was no mistakes or panic at all! I don’t doubt that mistakes will happen, after all, I’m human, however I can’t wait to go again. Nowadays I am eager to learn new things, life is far too short to shy away from them. 17 years of agoraphobia have taught me that!

The absolutely amazing thing is that all of this, the new courage, the enjoyment of challenges & more, only really came to fruition one year ago when I undertook a sponsored walk for charity. Until then I had always thought that I wasn’t capable. That walk was a catalyst! My life continues to improve day upon day.

Retirement has been the opening up of my life & oh boy am I enjoying it!

Thankyou for sharing my journey,

until next time, take care.

Rosie xūüėä

 

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