Aside

Five Wonderful Grandchildren!

I’ve been away in Scotland for the last couple of weeks – my new baby granddaughter is thankfully born safe and well, and both she and her mummy are doing fine.

To have had two new precious grandchildren born in the space of only twelve weeks has been an amazing experience, and I’m so appreciative of the privilege of being invited to spend such a truly magical time together with both daughters and all five of my lovely grandchildren – I love them all so much ❤

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Over-thinking and Under-playing…

I think I have a tendency to over-think things too much. A lifetime’s history of recurring depression and therapy and medication has left me hyper-vigilant to any warning signs of yet another potential depressive episode, to the extent that my constantly guarded concern gets in the way of the rest of life, clouding my judgement and darkening my horizons unnecessarily. Being so hyper-vigilant to attack all the time is quite frankly exhausting – it drains all the fun out of life, turning me into being a wizened, dried-up old stick-in-the-mud before my time.

I can see that what I really need to do is to loosen up, lighten up – let go a bit more, enjoying the good things in life as they come to me, and just have some fun while I can. Unfortunately, though, it seems that for me the other side of over-thinking the bad stuff is a tendency to under-play all the good stuff.

It’s not that I don’t see it as good as such, more that I just don’t always rate it as important to focus on – I don’t value it highly enough for it to register as meaningful on my internal radar. I’m always on the look-out for potential trouble in all things, so anything positive I see is automatically tainted with inherently negative threat, keeping me wary – a bit like the potential threat of being caught in friendly-fire in a front-line battle-zone. And that, too, is draining the life out of me.

So I feel that it’s way past time for me to move on from holding that persistently precarious position. Perhaps if I were deliberately to allow my blog to become only a positively creative space in which to explore the possibilities of having fun in life, playing both with words and pictures in whatever way I see fit, then that might help me break the bad habit of incessant doom-mongering. After all my real life is full enough of fretting and worrying without having (inadvertently) added another outlet for indulging the inevitable negativity that goes along with it.

It’s not so much a wholesale change of blog direction I’m looking for as a much-needed tightening up of remit – I can still be as randomly meandering as I like, just as long as each post radiates positive creativity overall rather than negatively draining the energy from the page. Part of my problem to date seems to be that I don’t associate a positive mind-set with being genuinely ‘me’ – but I feel it’s time that association changed for the better, allowing me to find a happier future, not only for me but also by extension for my long-suffering family… 🙂

Drifting, Not Meandering…

My blog no longer feels as if it’s meandering comfortably with me through life – instead I feel as if I’m just drifting aimlessly from one post to the next, unsure of why I’m even still trying to keep it up.

I sometimes worry that I’m using blogging as a form of instant gratification to force myself to feel better about life – I post something, people like it or comment on it, and I feel better for a bit. I tell myself – see, you’re still taking photographs, still writing haiku, still holding an online conversation and making sense, so on the surface you must be alright.

But underneath it all, I have to ask myself – am I?

I know it doesn’t ever take much to knock me off-course in life; I feel as if I’m always balanced on a knife-edge looking steadfastly forwards with courage and hope that this time the equilibrium will last. Then some little insignificant thing causes me to take my eye off the future for a moment and suddenly I have no idea where I am, or even why I am?

Have you ever watched Runaway Bride, with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? That moment on their first, would-be wedding day when Julia Roberts’ character is walking up the aisle towards Richard Gere with her eyes fixed firmly to his. Then her dad takes a photograph, and the camera flash dazzles her, breaking her eye contact, and suddenly she panics and bolts yet again.

That’s how tenuous my grip on any meaningful positive reality feels sometimes. I can be feeling relatively up-beat, and then in a flash of something or nothing, it’s all gone, just like that. So I know right now I need to get myself back on track before I seriously start to lose my way again; gently work through why I suddenly feel so lost, apparently out of the blue.

I guess the bottom line is I just want to feel like Mad Meandering Me again, not Desperately Drifting Depressive…

Everything will be alright…

When my three beautiful children were small, I could generally solve their problems for them. When they were hungry, I fed them. When they were tired, I soothed them to sleep. When they needed a hug, I held them close, told them I loved them and promised them that everything would be alright. And with that naturally-given parental reassurance they felt comforted and secure, as did I.

Now they are all adults, two with growing families of their own, it’s just not that simple. Their very grown-up problems are no longer so easy to deal with; my thirty-something offspring are all decidedly in charge of their own destiny and it is no longer my call to try to solve all of life’s ills for them. But thankfully there are still times when all they want is a reassuring hug, for me to tell them not to worry, to soothe them with that old parental promise that everything will be alright because I love them and I won’t let anything bad happen to them.

We all know deep down I can’t realistically do anything more than give unending emotional support and encourage them always to do the best they can in life with whatever hand they are dealt. But nevertheless I love feeling that old mutual reassurance that comes from knowing that however old we all get, however complicated our lives become, at heart I’ll still always be their mum… ❤

21 Things That Make Me Happy…

Suzie from Suzie81speaks has today posted a list of 21 things that make her happy – what a lovely idea, so I thought I’d do the same.

As ever I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now, some good, some bad, some big, some small, including several ongoing complicated issues not easily resolved.

But whatever else is going on in life I realise there are always things to be thankful for, so here is my list of 21 things that make me happy, spilled out onto the page in the weird and wonderful order they came to me…

1. To be alive… I’ve suffered from depression on and off throughout my life, but having survived an overdose at the age of 24, I can honestly say I’m just glad to be alive, to feel everything there is to feel, to embrace it all and remember how lucky I am to still be here…

2. To have a family to love, who love me too… we’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but I’d still far rather have my family than not…

3. To have good friends… friends are different from family, but equally as important. Of course, the best people can count as both, with one foot in each camp…

4. To be married to my best friend… even though we’ll only be celebrating our third wedding anniversary this year, we’ve been together as a couple for 15 years, and friends for 42 (since I was 10 and he was 12)…

5. To be growing older… sometimes I look in the mirror and feel old in a bad way, with my saggy flesh and greying hair and wrinkling skin and hooded eyes. But then I think of friends and family who died so much younger than expected, and I remember that growing old is a privilege denied to many…

6. To still have all five senses… to be able see, hear, smell, touch, taste life and all it has to offer – because I’ve always had them I can sometimes take them for granted, so it’s good to remind myself of that from time to time…

7. Hugs… it’s probably the one thing you can’t give yourself, a hug, which to me makes them so much more special…

8. Reading… a love of words has always been a large part of my life, I inhale the words of others as naturally as breathing…

9. Writing… to be able to express myself clearly helps me understand myself better, lets me exhale my own thoughts out into the world…

10. Photography… I love making photographs as well as taking them, expressing myself in images as well as words…

11. Blogging… my blog is my own space to be me, and I love it…

12. Cooking… cooking for me is a kind of alchemy, taking the individual elements – ingredients – and turning them into compounds of something else. And I also enjoy the comforting repetition of chopping, whisking, sieving, or whatever the particular action may be…

13. Chocolate… I eat way too much of it, but I do love it…

14. Walking… there’s just something about consciously putting one foot in front of the other and moving myself along under my own steam that just never fails to lift my spirits…

15. Trees… particularly old trees. I love their age, and the fact that they grow from the inside out so that the tree surface you touch has been there throughout its entire history – it makes me wonder who else has touched that same spot over the years…

16. The beauty of nature… it’s just breath-taking, and I never tire of looking at it, photographing it, walking in it, just being in it…

17. Beaches… liminal spaces draw me in, those thresholds that are neither fully one thing nor the other – beaches are neither land nor sea but are also both all at the same time, and I find them magical spaces…

18. The smell of sea air… perhaps because I grew up on the coast (and being a small island we have a lot of coast here in the UK) I just love the blustery ozone smell of sea air…

19. The smell of babies heads… it maybe sounds weird, but most parents I know agree with me on this one…

20. Human reproduction… not just the sex part – although that makes me happy too – but the physical growing inside you and pushing out of a new human being that is half you and half somebody else is just an amazing feat of nature…

21. Curiosity… I was going to write learning, as I like to know new stuff about lots of things, but I realise that behind my insatiable desire to learn is the curiosity that makes me want to find out about new things in the first place… 🙂