Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Best Laid Schemes

It's been a funny old week. Plans have been made and changed several times and disappointment has ensued. One of them was that I was supposed to pick my sister-in-law up today from the care home where she is staying but it was cancelled last night. Apparantly they have closed the home for four days because some of the residents have contracted the Novovirus. 

As I said, I was disappointed. I'd been looking forward to seeing her and catching up. I've not seen her for various reasons since before Xmas. First we had to cancel because of the snow and now this. I guess in the scheme of things you could consider this unimportant. However, my sister-in-law is in her eighties and small things loom large when your elderly and infections take a bigger toll than when you're young and healthy. We will of course rearrange when she's better. The main thing is that she feels loved and supported.

When I think about it I've wasted a lot of time over the years feeling frustrated when plans didn't come to fruition or arrangements weren't adhered to. I used to feel thwarted. As if I was being got at in some way. When really these things just happen. 

There are various sayings about controlling what you can and accepting what you can't. However, if I'm honest, I'm still practicing. At the same time I do have the hope that I'll get there one day and accept as Burns opined that, 'the best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry'. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Wet Dull Tuesday In January

When I woke up this morning I felt tired and demotivated. I have no idea why apart from the fact that I'm an occasional insomniac and I haven't been sleeping well for the last week or so. I am sure there will be many of you who will empathise. Just skimming over my timeline on Facebook or Twitter reveals quite a few bemoaning the fact that they can't sleep. Anyway there I am feeling jaded and not wanting to move my butt. But I have to because I've arranged to meet a friend for coffee. So I shower, have breakfast and have desultory look at twitter before I leave the house. In one of my exchanges with a tweep she's tells me how lucky I am to be meeting said friend etc but I'm thinking yes well I wish I had something meaningful to do! 

I continue in this vein on my journey into town. I arrive first and order myself an americano. However, I've only just sat down when my friend arrives. We pass a few pleasantries and then as we do normally we get into a really interesting discussion about how easy it is to look at someone else and think they're living or enjoying life more than we do? She was telling me that she felt that I'd got it about right. I was centred at home and I don't need to keep looking for something outside. That I clearly love my spouse and he loves me. That our children and grandchildren seemed  to  enjoy spending time with us. That we adored the pooches and we live in comfortable style. All of which I'm pleased to say is true.

We returned again to the topic of the difference in our lives and those of  our mothers. They worked hard and looked forward to retirement and simple pleasures. We struggle to come to terms with an identity outside of work and feel we're missing out in some way? Now if I'm honest I don't have the energy for work anymore and neither do I want to. However, I do miss the urgency that work brought. I guess I miss the stress so I stress about not being stressed! How contrary is that? 

I told my friend before she sped off to a meeting and I sped of to Marks and Spencer that if I'd been given the choice I probably would have stayed at home this morning. However, in retrospect, I was really pleased I hadn't. That after a couple of hours talking with her I felt alive and rejuvenated. That I can consider myself fortunate because unlike Blanche Dubois I don't have to 'depend on the kindness of strangers'.  I have good friends like her.

Monday, 28 January 2013

A Positive Daily Routine

I watched  an Andy Puddicombe video today. I was trawling the internet looking for relevant snippets for my Facebook Page when I came across it. The video 'All it takes is 10 mindful minutes' is really informative and entertaining.

It is part of the TED Talks series. I don't know whether you've heard about TED but if not check them out. They disseminate some interesting stuff.  The message of this particular talk is that you all you need to do is take ten minutes out of your day to clear your mind and the end result will be increased well being and good mental health.

I have in the past tried meditation. I attended a Buddhist Centre for several weeks some years ago but I didn't find it easy to do. It was winter and I gave up when the weather worsened. I had started to feel a little bit threatened by it if I'm honest. It sounds silly I know, and now I'm writing it down it sounds even sillier. However, I became fearful of letting go and or being brainwashed. So I gave up. I did continue to flirt with it and I have bought various books and meditation CDs. In fact I used to make my own CDs to give to clients. The irony being I could help clients to relax but have always found it difficult myself. 

Over the years I've done a lot of alternative therapy training including EFT, Hypnotherapy, NLP and Reiki but the easiest thing for me personally is Self Reiki.

However, after watching Puddicombe's video I intend to try the ten minute formula. Let's face it there's nothing to lose and much to gain. Ironically I've been so preoccupied today I haven't had the opportunity but as Scarlett O'Hara said, 'tomorrow is another day' 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Happiness Is?

It's been a good weekend with time spent with my favourite people - the kids. To be precise they're mature adults but they are our kids and I love being with them. Yesterday thanks to our daughter Alison looking after our much pampered pooches we were able to spend the night with her brother Alan and our daughter-in-law Liz. They prepared a great meal for us and as always when we're together the wine flowed as did the conversation. One of the things we discussed when we'd finished the family catch up was the subject of happiness and we continued the conversation with Ali when we returned home today. I don't want to break any confidences so I won't divulge what they said but one of the things we all agreed upon was that whilst money makes for a comfortable life, in itself it doesn't make us happy. Ok I know it easier to be miserable with a healthy bank account but through the job I've met lots of miserable moneyed people. Please believe me I am not being flip it's a fact.

One of the ways I used for helping people improve their happiness quotient was to ask them to think about the last four times they'd felt really happy. The idea being if they could identify what generated good feelings they could do more of it. Almost unfailingly they would find it difficult to do. They usually knew what made them miserable, but happy was a different thing. I wonder if you were asked the question what you would say?

The last four times I have felt happy have been this weekend. I've already mentioned being with our offspring so I was happy yesterday and today. I also enjoy walking the dogs and today it was lovely to walk on clear pavements in the sunshine. Being with friends also floats my boat. So on Friday in fact was two in one because watching films makes me happy and as you already know I went to the cinema with my friend Barbara.

The component parts of what makes me happy are being with the people I love and being on my own. I love trips to the theatre and cinema. I find pleasure in reading and discussing what I've read. I  really enjoy being with and walking the dogs. I stick with the golden rules of me time, couple time and family time which means I feel good about me and I have a good relationship. But above all I enjoy my life and most of the time I am able to say I'm happy.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Please Try To Be Considerate

My treat today was a trip to the cinema (yes I know I go a lot) to see The Sessions.  

The Sessions is based on a true story about poet and polio victim Mark O'Brien  and his journey into sensuality with sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen-Greene. The film is incredibly moving. It's also witty and the performances are admirable. But alas, I didn't lose myself in it entirely - not because the film was lacking but because of the insensitivity of a young couple who were sitting behind me.

Perhaps you're not like me but I don't go to the cinema to eat or to chat? I go to see the film. Now ok I guess it's possible to eat and drink your way through some films without detracting from the enjoyment  but, this particular film is about a vulnerable severely disabled man wanting to lose his virginity. I guess with my therapist's hat on I could say that this couple were so afraid of his vulnerability and their own  that they had to drown it out. But if I'm honest this munch your way through a film seems to be the norm these days. As is the propensity for some people to chat to each other throughout.

When I first went to the cinema in the 50's  it was a Distant Voices Still Lives

or a Cinema Paradiso

type experience. The golden rule was that you were quiet so as to engage with the film and because you were required not to spoil someone else's enjoyment. We weren't deprived by this. We were given the opportunity to eat, drink and talk in the interval. The interval was roughly half way through the film at a cliff hanging moment and lasted for about fifteen minutes. It was very much like a theatre visit is today except of course smoking was de rigeur.

I'm not a killjoy but please do try to be considerate. It costs nothing and you'll be contributing to making  society a nicer place.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

It's Not What You Say It's The Way That You Say It!

One of the news stories running today which I posted to my Dump Him Love Facebook page is about the faux pas that Anna Soubry the Public Health Minister made. In this article in The Independent she is quoted as saying, 'when I walk around my constituency you can almost tell somebody’s background by their weight'. Now you don't have to be a public relations type to see that this is not only a silly statement to make but also insulting. So, instead of her important central message about healthy eating being heard, everyone is concentrating on the silliness of her statement. Soubry, was speaking at a food industry conference about the reduction of  fat, sugar and salt in their products. She was there to gee up the manufacturers who seem to be dragging their heels in making their products healthier. However, instead of sticking with that, she fell back on blaming the people themselves and especially the parents. She could have voiced her concern about obesity without citing the poor at all. As the article points out you only have to look at Eric Pickles to deduce weight problems occur in every strata of society. 

I've been mulling this over whilst at the same time shredding loads of old client notes. These are notes I kept as an aid memoir whilst I was working. They had no value to anyone but me. They helped to keep me focussed on the client work and often helped me figure out the dynamics of the relationship and what was happening in the room. As you can imagine improving communication was often high on the agenda. My theory (not mine specifically) was that it's almost possible to say anything if you couch it in the correct language. Now before you jump on me I not saying that it's not possible to be offended even if appropriate language is used but in normal everyday life that's rarely the case. 

Good communication if you want to get your point across is first, say something nice to catch the attention. Then say what you want to say. Then finish saying something nice. So Soubry's could have made her speech using that strategy. She could have ended saying thank you to the manufacturers for the efforts they've made so far. Then perhaps express her concern about them meeting the target whilst stressing her cognisance of their difficulties. Then she could have thanked them in advance for their co-operation in meeting the target on time.

Now because of her clumsy communication she's upset every faction. I was brought up to believe you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. The only thing Soubry caught were headlines she could have done without! 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Everyone Is Entitled to A Point Of View

I have spent some time pondering on what I could write about today. This is not unusual for me. As I commented to a fellow tweep the other day, 'we Geminis are usually in at least two minds'! I think one of the problems for me is that whilst I like to share what I'm thinking and feeling I don't want to appear preachy. I think there are enough people busy telling others what to think and feel. In fact it seems to have become something of a national pastime. Why is that? What is the problem with us holding different opinions? I understand there are some extreme opinions that I would not be able to accept or tolerate but in the main I'm happy for you to think something different to me. So what makes someone want to browbeat others into thinking the same as they do?

My viewpoint is that they are so afraid of being wrong that they have to push to be right. I used to see it regularly in couple counselling. One partner would repeat chapter and verse about some incident. The other would remember it differently and then hostilities would commence. I would then work very hard to help them to see that neither were right or wrong they simply viewed it in a different way and felt differently. There is of course a difference between facts and opinion - for example the fact is that the U.K is in economic trouble but there are different opinions as to how to resolve it. 

In a more general sense holding firm views makes us feel safe. We know what we know and don't have to look any further. Yesterday I had a lovely experience on twitter. I started tweeting with @Oldmanmackie about votes for sixteen year olds. I'm not in favour and he is. By the time we'd finished neither of us had changed our minds but we'd decided to follow each other. As they say, 'a result'. Make friends not enemies and respect each other's opinion.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Am I Blue?

Today is Blue Monday. So called because it is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year according to Dr Cliff Arnall and a survey credited to Cardiff University. However, this article in The Guardian refutes the science and questions whether Arnall was indeed associated with Cardiff University. But true or not it does seem to have entered the annals for mental health. This is evidenced by the Counselling Directory who are quoting it on their blog.

Having said all that I don't know about you but my day has been ok but it hasn't been without it's disappointments. As I told you yesterday we were due to see my sister-in-law but we had a heavy fall of snow during the night which resulted in

and meant we were unable to do that. So instead we spent the morning watching the wonderful Fred Astaire with Leslie Caron in Daddy Long Legs.

The film is not perfect but Fred is sublime. My OH is not a big musical fan. He is very proud of a story he tells of him being on leave from the army. He was at a loose end so he decided to go and see the then big hit South Pacific. 

According to him he walked out of the cinema after about thirty minutes thinking this is complete tosh! So when I say he'll watch any film with Fred Astaire in you'll understand just how special Fred Astaire is. To say we were enthralled by the movie is too strong but we laughed, sang along, joked about the set pieces and were gobsmacked by some of the unconscious racism. By the end of it we were anything but blue in fact we were both beaming from ear to ear.

After lunch we went for a  good walk with the dogs. The pavements were a bit treacherous in places but we enjoyed the exercise. On our return I had a message from Cineworld to say they were refunding me for the tickets I'd had to waste on the 17th because of the bad weather. I was delighted. So there you are it's been quite a good day and not really blue at all.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Simple Sunday

I love Sundays. I know as a retiree you could say every day is a Sunday since I have no regular calls on my time. However, Sunday is still special. Sunday is when I get to see our daughter and my only surviving brother. It's also when I get to chat with our son for longer than two minutes.

The day began as usual with breakfast and The Andrew Marr Show which was hosted today by Jeremy Vine. Vine is not a presenter I'm overly fond of but to be fair he did a good job. After a confab about what we're were doing we decided to visit our daughter and my brother instead of them visiting us. My husband is more experienced in bad weather driving than Alison and we didn't want  Alan, who uses a stick, walking on the icy pavements. We enjoyed seeing them both. We had a lively, interesting chat with Ali who was talking about her bucket list. She had lots to say but in the interests of privacy I won't divulge. I don't know about you but I've never thought of compiling a list and I'm sure my mother didn't. She would have called anything outside her normal life a pipe dream. I know in our aspirational society it is different. We appear to want more than to survive? We seem to want lives rich with things and experience. My intention isn't to be critical but occasionally I think we've lost the plot? When I read articles like this about the poor and disenfranchised I'm convinced of
it. But that isn't the subject of today's post more of a digression.

When we arrived at Alan's the conversation was very different. I had news of my sister-in-law who has dementia. Because of deterioration she is now in respite care and it sounds as if it could become permanent. I was five years old when she met my brother so she's been in my life one way or another for a long time. We all feel very sad about it. Weather permitting we're going to pick her up tomorrow and take her out for lunch so we'll have the opportunity to see how she's coping.

When we returned home hubby settled with The Observer and I decided to watch a DVD. Alan had loaned me a boxed set of old Hollywood Musicals and I chose The Dolly Sisters.

It's a delight. The movies then were so simple and enjoyable. For my part I have no problem with suspending disbelief and I adore musicals. This one was perfect for a Simple Sunday at home. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

It Happens To Us All

I have been thinking about death. Not because I'm ill, depressed or morbid but because I've recently read Death Matters by Sally Petch. It had been brought to my attention by Ceri at Fab After Fifty. She had done a blog post on Petch and it piqued my interest. The book as the title infers is about the importance of death and dying. Her premise is that we need to accept that death is a part of life. She recommends embracing life and the ageing process and accepting that we will die as will our loved ones, our pets and indeed all living things.

Death and dying aren't new ideas to me or even a new preoccupation. When my father died in 1966 I became obsessed by death. My father was a hypochondriac. He had spent years being ill. He'd had various aches and pains which had come to naught. He started to experience pains in his chest and difficulty swallowing. My theory is that because he'd had mystery ailments for years the doctor fobbed him off and by the time he was taken seriously it was too late. They opened and closed him up without removing the cancer which we were told blocked his oesophagus. He never properly came out of the anaesthetic. We were all stunned. We'd laughed and joked by his bedside the night before. He was only supposed to be having a biopsy and he was dead.

As a twenty one year old mother of two it was my first experience of death and I was just devastated. I spent several months thrashing about dealing with it as best I could. I tried various tranquillisers all of which didn't work. I was demonstrating symptoms of anxiety and depression but really I was mourning. I was mourning a father I didn't really know or respect. I did love him but I don't know whether he knew that. I had been brought up to see him as the cause of our family ills and I believed it. It took me years to suss out what was really happening but that's another story.

We didn't talk about death in our family but we talked about it in terms of  a particular person being lost. I did think that was a bit peculiar. It made it sound as if they'd been mislaid? Later when my mother was in her eighties she talked of there being things 'worse than death' or 'having had enough'. I'm afraid I wasn't very sympathetic. I thought she was being dramatic. Now I have more of an understanding.

This morning I suggested to my OH that he create a file with all the relevant papers in and that we should talk about music etc for our funerals. He literally laughed out loud but when I explained my reasoning he's agreed that it's  a job for next week. As I said not morbidity just common sense.

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Things Kids Do

It has been a fairly productive day - walking dogs, clearing snow and doing numerous chores. I had arranged to see one of my friends today but we made the mutual decision to reschedule because of the forecast of heavy snow. I think that was a good decision - no use risking life and limb if it's not necessary and to be fair I've had a week fairly heavy in enjoyment.

I have just been looking out of the window surveying the snowy road. Whilst contemplating the scene a group of adolescents passed the house throwing snowballs at each other. Then one comedian decided he would throw a snowball at the window. This seemed to fill them with glee and then laughing they scarpered. I guess you could consider it fairly harmless. But is it? Firstly, it's an act of aggression, and they knew it wasn't appropriate or they wouldn't have run away. Secondly, it could have damaged my property. Thirdly, it could have been frightening. Now I don't want to sound like a killjoy. Kids are kids and they are entitled to enjoy their high spirits. I guess what I don't understand it's why it has to be at the expense other people? If I had been able to get my togs on quickly enough I would have gone outside to ask them. As it is I am left wondering about their motive and whether as we grow older it's inevitable that we become the victim of such pranks?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Snow Good This Has To Stop!

I'm all for picturesque snow scenes and I don't mind the dogs getting their jollies frisking about it in but to be frank I find it a pain in the butt.

When I was still working it made me anxious wondering whether clients would be able to make their appointments or, if I was working in surgery, I would be anxious making the drive up the motorway. I am not a particularly confident driver so snow doesn't help the situation.

Today the snow has disrupted my enjoyment. I had been earlier in the day to see Les Miserables for the second time. This time I saw it in IMAX, with my eldest grandson. He did his degree in film so as you can imagine he's quite the enthusiast and is always willing to experience any genre. I felt quite privileged when he said he'd go with me because when I'd suggested it to my OH he told me, 'I was on my own' so it seemed very sweet of my grandson to say yes. Fortunately he enjoyed it as much as I did and he appreciated the individual performances so I didn't have to feel guilty or that I had twisted his arm.

This evening we were due to go and see the NFT production of The Magistrate starring John Lithgow at Cineworld but the snow started earlier than expected and after some deliberation we decided to cancel our trip. That constituted £21 thrown away and lots of disappointment. We have seen quite a few NFT productions this way and they've been excellent.

Still on the being grateful front we are sitting in a cosy room with a hot drink preparing to watch Ken Loach's film Route Irish. I guess you could say life isn't so bad after all!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Anger Has It's Place

How do you feel about anger? Are you someone who feels it's not ok to be angry or are you like me and think anger has it's place? 

When I say anger has it's place I'm not condoning shouting, screaming or physical violence although I have been known to give the odd bellow on occasion. I am talking about experiencing anger  and being able to express it appropriately. I often feel irritated or angry. When I walk down the road and see litter or dog poo. When I go on public transport and someone is being discourteous by shouting and or swearing. When I go shopping and people try to walk through me. When I watch the news or read the paper and see what a cock up this government is making! When I see or hear about injustice. 

I know that there are those who say 'why be angry' it's a wasted emotion and you can't do anything about the things you've mentioned so just let it go, but if we just smile and accept the slow deterioration in the quality of our lives what is the eventual outcome of that. I feel it's good to be angry under these circumstances. We need to feel angry and then perhaps we'll do something about it.

Yesterday  I received a parking ticket.  We had arranged to meet friends to see Life Of Pi but the cinema carpark was full so we left our car on the nearby retail carpark. Apparantly by doing this we parked illegally and we were charged with either paying a £50 fine with a month or £25 if we paid within 14 days. The carpark wasn't full so we appeared not to have prevented anyone spending any money in the shops. We did not see any signs warning us against parking but nevertheless we accept we parked there and have paid up. I was irritated by it because I think these parking companies are making megabucks out of the unsuspecting but I felt under the circumstances it was useless to argue. 

Please don't think I spend my life fulminating because that wouldn't be true; what is true is that I become increasingly worried about where life is going in the UK. I am fearful about the level of apathy and I am angry at a government who seem to target the vulnerable. I would describe this as justifiable anger and as such has it's place.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Guilty Pleasures

Today I fed my gizmos addiction by renewing my mobile contract and changing to the iPhone 5. At the moment I am wondering why I succumbed. I've had the iPhone 4 for about 3 years and it's a perfectly good piece of equipment. So what made me grab onto this shiny new mobile? If I'm honest I don't know. I thought briefly about it and then acted as they say, on impulse.  Any pleasure I felt when I slipped it into my bag was short lived and I've upped my outgoings for the next two years. Let's face it for someone on a fixed income that doesn't make sense. I have to be honest if one of my loved ones had done the same thing I'd have been questioning their ability to reason.

Anyway, registering it and transferring my data and apps has taken most of the evening which has meant that I've neither watched tv or tweeted. However, my day has not been without enjoyment. I went with my granddaughter in the afternoon after my guilty purchase to see Quartet.

It's a sweet, rather sentimental film with great performances and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. 

And on a final note my financial loss is also another's gain since I've gifted my old phone to someone in need. That at least means I can go to sleep with a smile on my face. 

Poor Me

It's Sunday. I have a stinking cold and quite frankly I am feeling a little sorry for myself. As I type this I am aware of how pathetic that sounds. I know that in the discomforts of life it is mini league stuff so why aren't I thinking how lucky I am to just have a cold?

This leads me on to the more interesting question of  what makes me and possibly you catastrophise sometimes? What stops me or you from maintaining a balanced perspective? Is it learned behaviour? It could be. I've never been good at being ill. By that I mean I'm not a good patient. I get irritable and woe betide anyone who crosses me. Another possibility is that sometimes we are dealing with issues and doing ok and then we experience something trivial that derails us. My own feeling is that it can and often is both. 

I don't know about you but I'm good in a crisis and with serious stuff but the small stuff which we're 'supposed not to sweat' often gets me in a tizz! I am the women who joked her way into the operating theatre several times. I dealt with my husband's heart attacks. One of which I witnessed and I had to administer CPR whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive. I was positive and upbeat when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I have spent years helping family, friends and clients through traumatic times and have been commended for my pragmatism. Believe me if you are in trouble I'm your woman. Having said all that a word to the wise - if I develop a cold keep out of my way!

Whilst writing this I read on my timeline that one of the young women I follow has been diagnosed  for the second time with cancer. Sometimes I just need to get a grip!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sorry I Missed You

Sorry I missed you yesterday. I was mega busy. In the morning I attended Book Club. We were discussing A Train In Winter a true story of 230 women in the french resistance who were captured and imprisoned in Auschwitz. It is, I have to say, one of the most depressing books I've read in a long time. Yes it's about friendship and survival. Yes it's incredible the amount of detail the author goes into and the amount of research she has done. However, is was not a pleasure, nor could it be a pleasure in my opinion to read. This of course is my viewpoint. I think the consensus was the book was worth reading and 'should be read' as a testament to all who died in the holocaust. I get this perspective entirely but I prefer my history fictionalised. It is all about personal preference after all. But one of the advantages of a club is that you get to read books you wouldn't normally and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't. 

After Book Club I went with one of my friends to see Les Miserable 

I absolutely love it and she hated it. I came out looking as if I'd been to a funeral she greatly amused at the affect it had had on me. Again what suits one doesn't suit another? If like me you love musicals and musical theatre I would say it's a must see.

After the film we came back to ours for dinner and a chat with our spouses. The menu wasn't exotic just chilli, jackets and garlic bread followed by fresh fruit and yoghurt and a couple of bottles of a decent red.  The evening was pleasant and as usual we spent quite a bit of it discussing politics and the state of the U.K. 

We are all socialist so it will come as no surprise that we are not happy. However, we are not particularly happy with our own party either. We all felt they could be more effective in opposition and that the time has come for the tit for tat aspect of our system to be dropped. 

At one time of course 'politics' would not have been suitable conversation for the dinner table? Today things are different or at least they are in our household. Whilst we were discussing the above one of the things we agreed on was that instead of moaning about the situation what were we going to do about it? I'm happy to march but fear the 'rowdy, trouble causing element' who seem to infiltrate good causes. But to be fair we have seen some good, peaceful marches recently. 

Therefore, my pledge is that I will be to get more involved with my local party and that I will share my views with anyone who is prepared to listen. It goes without saying I will do the same for you.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Today I

'What did you do today', is a question, as I've mentioned before, that I'm asked on a regular basis. It's a question I still find disconcerting. This may surprise you since the question in itself is harmless. However, when someone asks 'what did you do today' I experience a slight sense of panic. Will my answer be interesting enough or will they just think I'm a boring old fart who does nothing in particular except pootle around? What makes me think that? My only answer is that it's me projecting my feelings onto the enquirer. How do I know this? I don't but after years of interpreting other people's thoughts and feelings I'm not without an idea or two! 

So for those interested today, I went shopping early and then onto meet an old work colleague now friend for coffee. Actually, I finished having peppermint tea because after the dash to M & S and Sainsbury's, poor old dear that I am, I was feeling mildly dyspeptic! Chris got the drinks while I grabbed a table and before you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious we were chatting away and laughing. 

It's surprising isn't it how connecting with someone else can quickly lift the spirits? Not, I hasten to add, that mine needed lifting because I seem to be on a roll. As usual we had lots to say. We're often on the same page and today we shared our experiences of Xmas and New Year. If you chat to me on twitter you'll probably know this, if not it may come as a surprise for you to hear that I don't really enjoy the 'festive season'. I think one of the reasons is that I eat, drink and am reasonably merry all the time. The emphasis placed on that week being 'special'  means I'm looking for something extra which for me really doesn't exist but which nevertheless fosters disappointment. 

We're odd creatures aren't we, or am I being presumptuous and it's just me who's odd? Please answer honestly I won't be offended 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Me Time

It feels as if I've been banging on for years about me time. The message being that me time is important for our emotional and mental well being. We need to do something positive for ourselves at least once a week and if it's possible to take an hour each day so much the better in my opinion.

Now you may think that as a retiree I would have no problem in having me time but that isn't the case. I have over the past year found it exceedingly difficult to have time on my own. The reason being my OH is also retired and we have become something of a double act. I think this happens for a lot of couples. Please don't misunderstand. I like being with my spouse and we enjoy ourselves. But apart from when he goes fishing, and that's mainly in good weather, we spend most of our time together. I'm not sure why we've found ourselves in this situation especially since we've always resisted being joined at the hip but we have. So I decided that I needed to resurrect my me time starting today.

After some deliberation I chose to go to the cinema to see The Impossible. The film is about the tsunami that hit Thailand on Boxing Day 2004 and focuses on one family and their survival. The Impossible is epic but I didn't really enjoy it. I think it was because it was a dramatised version of a disaster. The film has lots of look away moments. The cinematography is fantastic, the performances are good and yet it didn't do it for me. My friend went with someone else to see it and she thought it was wonderful so? Anyway I accomplished what I set out to do I had some me time and it felt good to sit in the dark on my own.

On the gratitude front I am grateful I have a car which I could use to go to the cinema. I am also grateful I have the funds to pay for the seat and, I am grateful I have the time to savour the movie.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Starting Again

I haven't posted since April of last year. I could go into the reasons but there doesn't seem to be any mileage in that. Suffice it to say that I lost my confidence and motivation.

I had originally started blogging as an antidote to retirement. I was one of those lucky people who enjoyed their job. I was, however, getting long in the tooth and my peer group were retiring and it seemed as if I should follow suit. This was a mistake. My advice to anyone would be if you have a choice think long and hard before you make the decision.

Anyhow in the first instance the blogging went fine. I enjoyed it and I got some good feedback. I did have a hiccough when a then friend of mine took umbrage at something I wrote but that relationship bit the dust and that was that. Then I started to think that by writing about relationships I wasn't really moving on. I needed something else to talk about and it was there dear reader I hit the wall. After a lifetime of being considered over opinionated it seems I had nothing to say that couldn't be said better by somebody else and so I withdrew. Since then I have been wondering in the wilderness thinking I would if only I could.

I have been reading recently about forgiveness and gratitude. I can't say I've read anything I didn't already know but it has served to highlight that the key to being happy is to forgive ourselves and other people and to be grateful for what we've got. This all sounds pretty simple, and it is, but it is not necessarily easy. I have much to be grateful for believe me but sad to say I lost sight of it. 

I have always had a facility for criticism. I have always found it easier to see what was lacking and not what was achieved. I think many of you will share the same trait. It does not foster happiness. My challenge to myself is to take time out every day to log the things I have reason to be grateful for. On that note I will say I am grateful today to have found the confidence to start blogging again