Island Blog 179 Loose Change

working together

The days are now lengthening which sounds very positive, but with this lengthening thingy comes the cold.  The winter sets in, into our lives, our very bones.  We have months yet before we can go back to lightweight cardies and no socks and I can feel my gears changing.  Up to Christmas nothing matters much beyond Christmas, but, after that it seems we are faced with self-control and diets and bare trees and winds with teeth, floodings and the very real chance of arriving at playgroup, work, the supermarket or school soaked to the skin.

I remember standing at a bus stop out in the open (bus shelters were yet to be invented) with my toes turning to wood, and painfully.   My mother fixed me into clod-hopping, steel hard lace-ups with round toes and room for growth, as there was in my regulation coat, closely resembling a small and chilly gnome, standing there, waiting for the school bus.  I remember my toes remained frozen for most of the day so that if I ran along with the others whose mothers chose softer and warmer footwear I invariably made a great impression on the gritty scree of the courtyard, and little on my classmates.

I recognise a gear shift when it comes.  It’s the same when the weather warms up in late Spring, which for us is May at the earliest, more likely well into June.  I am way too hot and yet unwilling, it seems to bring out the thinner tops.  I resist the change initially until the very real threat of internally combusting forces me to adapt, and I must needs peel back multi-layers and expose my ashen and unwilling skin to the shock of sunlight  It thinks me about change.  I say that I welcome it, but I now think that I welcome change that suits me, and am as resistant as the next woman when it does not.  Change seems to sneak up and bite my bum and I will do anything to fend off what niggles and bothers me for as long as possible.

What I seem to want is no change at all once I’m in step with life.  I like routine, even though I say I don’t.  What I know is what I want, not that other uncomfortable thing about which I know nothing, or can remember little, and which looms like a spectre with dark shadows and siren threats and a change of clothing.  And yet, Life herself changes daily, so why the resistance when I know it to be true?

I don’t need routine to keep me upright and smiling, I need change.  I don’t need routine to give me a sense of self or of place, for I am complete all by myself. Nor do I need to control any change when it requires something of me, although it might be nice to get a warning email a month or so before it arrives.  What I need is an open mind, an ability to move quickquick if I need to or slowslow if that is a better option.  I need to loosen up my grip on what I know, ready to let go, ready to grab on to the next set of circumstances, for it is the truth that most change comes unbidden and unsought.

My own little world is very small.  And yet the world itself is huge, littered with people and homes and lives.  Looking out of my window, stepping out of my world and learning more about others, talking, sharing, helping…..these are the ways I learn to accept change in my own life. This is the way I stop thinking about myself, and, as I step out more, my own world expands.  Conversations lift me, I learn new truths, and I find things I can alter or accept inside my own little world.  None of that happens if I stay home, boiling or freezing in my stubborn resistance to change.

This is the season for visits and laughs about runny noses and frozen toes.  This is the time to work together, to pick each other up, to slog through the mud and cold of it all, for we need each other in order to understand who we are.  This is how we define ourselves with stories and songs and cheer-ups and cough drops, and, in defining ourselves we can work more flexibly with change when it comes, sans warning email.

In short, we remember how to laugh and mostly, at ourselves.


2015 in review

Thanks from my heart to all who read and commented on my blog during 2015.  I always hope, in my honest look at life, to give encouragement, as other wise writers do for me.  We are a team, after all.  Below are the stats for last year, ones I wanted to share with you.  Bring on 2016 with all its suprises and delights and please stick with me for I need you all.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Island Blog 178 A Date with Cheese

cheese board

Today is an ordinary day with an ordinary name, Sunday, and just saying it chucks me into no mans land where I land with a bump, looking round me for a mark on my year map.   I feel momentarily aberrated because I am uncertain of the date and there are as many possible options as there are leftover cheeses on the Mouse Man board.  I search the caverns of my mind for epiphanies – that AHA! (loud whoosh of relief) thing that happens nowadays when, without recourse to laptop, diary, Iphone, wall calendar or radio, me and my brain find the answer.  It is never a big deal sort of question like ‘Should I cut here or there to put a stent in the patient’s neck artery?’ because I could Google the answer to most of my piddling queries in seconds.  What is important to me is that I tap my own resource supply before seeking help, and, in doing so, I take hold of my power.

I catch myself, sometimes, calling across the room, mid sentence to ask for the spelling of a word, when right beside me sits a dictionnary.  I still have to look up the word, to be sure I write it down correctly, but in rifling through the pages to find what I’m looking for, I am probably employing about 35 muscles, all of which would have remained in a sleepy stupor, had the answer I sought flown across the beig carpet with the worn patches and into my shell-like.

I tend away from ‘lazy’ although it tempts me at times, I do confess and it receives a rap on its knuckles.  I know the importance of personal independence in this life, and once a life gets a bit long in the tooth, it is even more valuable.   It’s so easy to stop bothering, and yet not bothering always brings gloom because we are not built for sitting about all day, and, if we do it, our bodies complain; stiff limbs, skin irritations and loss of muscle strength to name but a few.  All of these lead to indulgent gloomery.

There was not much sleeping going on last night.  As I dressed, long before cock crow, in the weirdest combination of warm clothing, by torchlight, I considered how I would present this very disturbed night when asked How Did You Sleep?  Possible responses are

a) Long face, strained voice, a theatrical sigh and much eye rubbing ‘Hardly slept a wink.’

b)  Brave face.  A tiny outpuff of downward sloping breath.  A slightly faltering, but determined voice through a strained smile  ‘Not very good really, but it’s okay, I can doze later….maybe, if I get through my chores.’ Theatrical stare into space.

c) Upbeat, bright-eyed, elevated voice….’Weird night, very wakeful – so many words inside my head, all jostling to get out and nowhere to lay them down.  I wrote a story, a blog, and began a book all inside my head and could not find sleep anywhere! Must be the cheese!’ Genuine sounding belly laugh, midriff bouncing from too much cheese.

First two, whiney, needy, attention-seeking, heavy with gloom and the expectation that sympathy will arise and enfold me in strong arms for the rest of the day.  In a word, pathetic.  The third response is the truth.  Speaking it out tells me that this day, whatever date it may have attached to it, holds promise, fun, opportunity,excitement.  There is only poor little me in the first two, so why would I ever employ either of them?  I have done, of course I have, even knowing that sympathy has a short attention span.  I think it is that I hold out hope for a sympathy that decides to go along with my drama, and I believe I am not alone in this.  It’s a perfectly normal human need to be intelligently loved but if it is dressed up in the wrong clothes and employed as a form of manipulation it always presents as melodrama and all it ever achieves is a long and tiring day. By pulling someone else down just because I am down, I am poisoning their day too, and what can any of us do with such a day beyond waiting for it to run out?

So this thing I do, this mindful consideration of how I present myself even when almost no-one is looking, is critical, to my health and the health of the home. It dictates the mood and the mood directly affects the flow of good energy.  This positive energy is like a drug, despite sleep deprivation, although that deprivation word bothers me for it suggests that sleep is given or withheld at the whim of some capricious god.  This positive energy will affect others, confounding their attempts (most of the time) to explain in detail their current state of collapse, which is what most people get around to once the weather  and the family visit have been exhausted.  This positive energy will laugh me all the way to evening and all those I meet will be infected by it, as will I all over again, and that is the strangest thing of all.  If I speak out either of the first two responses, I am doomed, I tell you, doomed and so are you if you get in my way, but by choosing option c I lift all of us into fresh air.

It may have been the cheese of course, sampled from the Mouse Man board and taken just before bedtime that kept me alert till 5.30 am but I think it was the words in my head, jabbering away, bumping into each other, shouting and yelling at me to let them out, to lay them down, to write and write and write some more.  Now what could be more positive than that?

That’s what I’ll say, if anyone asks.