“…The world is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper…”
— W. B. Yeats
“…The world is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper…”
— W. B. Yeats
Yesterday was my birthday. I have reached the grand old age of Forty Four. Which scares me just a teeny-weeny little bit. I still don’t know very much and have very little figured out. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still keep waiting for my Fairy Godmother to grant me three wishes.
Yesterday was tougher than I imagined it would be. I wanted to spend the day on my own, like I did last year, but then felt really lonely and sad about being on my own. Quite a few people forgot it even WAS my birthday and that upset me more than I wanted to admit. I felt fat and old and uninteresting and invisible.
To be fair, it’s quite possible I am hormonal (or menopausal!) and just down in the dumps for no real reason. Birthday or no birthday. I think this year crept up on me and I wasn’t ready. I know forty four isn’t old. I know this.
Things I know, now that I am forty-four years old
Life doesn’t get easier. You just get more tired, so your tantrums are less dramatic.
Bingo wings grow all by themselves. They are an unstoppable force. You will spend the rest of your life in three-quarter sleeves. Don’t fight it.
Elastic waist bands are key.
Music now is rubbish. It’s a totally different thing to when your parents used to say it about your music when you were a teenager. TOTALLY different.
You will begin to lose the ability to understand adverts on television. Are they trying to sell you a car or haemorrhoid cream? And why are they so darn loud?
You used to laugh at women who plucked their chin hairs at the traffic lights. Now you give them a thumbs-up signal and yell “Right with ya, sister!” in solidarity.
Cheese is your enemy and your best friend. Don’t turn your back on it.
That lump you’re feeling could be malignant. Or it could just be one of last night’s cornflakes you had for dinner that stuck to you. You know, the one that fell down your top and you couldn’t be bothered fishing it out because you were watching Will and Grace.
Your underwear gets increasingly more “sensible”. They become less floral/pretty/polka-dotty and become more beige.
You will find yourself worrying about fibre content before sugar content.
You will suddenly realise that if you start dating again, it will have to be with men in their 40s and 50s. Which seems kinda icky. But if you were a man, you’d start dating girls in their 20s and 30s. The irony is not lost on you.
Grey hair grows quicker than any other colour of hair. This is a scientific fact. You will go to bed one night a brunette, and wake up the next looking like a badger.
If you go to work without makeup one day, people will repeatedly ask you if you’re ill.
The fact that you’re old enough to remember macrame the first time it became popular, makes you feel like crying.
You will approach spicy food the same way you would approach a barrel full of poisonous spiders – with fear and trepidation.
You will be grateful for everything you have but still have many regrets and coulda-shoulda-wouldas. Which is ok. You may be forty four, but you’re still human.
Wishing you all a happy day (birthday or not). Thank you for visiting 🙂 x
Can you believe it is a New Year’s AGAIN??? Where did 2017 go? Actually, I don’t really care where it went – I just want it gone. It was a pretty dreadful year. Seems like everyone had it tough, in one way or another, and that the Universe was plotting against us by making kooky, crazy, scary and random things happen. To be fair, the Universe does that all the time, but this year it seemed to just say “Ah, to hell with it!’ and just chucked everything it could at us. Probably serves us right – maybe we needed some more wake up calls. Especially me, I always sleep in 🙂
This was, until five seconds ago when I deleted all the text I’d spent ages typing, a very long post about my resolutions for the new year. The usual stuff about losing weight, being more sociable, being a better housekeeper etc. But I am actually feeling that those things are all part of the bigger picture of me just trying to be better than I am now. And the majority of the things I want to change about myself all hinge on one thing, or my lack thereof : bravery.
I’m not very brave. I am basically scared of everything. In some ways, I guess that makes me braver than I think I am, because instead of curling up in my bed and staying there forever (which is what I really want to do pretty much every day lately), I get up and go out into the world. Which is scary for me. Always has been. I don’t understand the world and it doesn’t understand me.
This week was hard. I had to make decisions that were difficult and upsetting and made me feel horrible about myself and my judgements. I don’t like hurting people, but this week I had to do that to someone who was hurting me. And then it made me question whether or not they actually were hurting me, or if my fear and lack of courage was affecting my perception of the situation. But I had to stand up for myself and that was hard. I don’t do it often and it is not a comfortable feeling for me. I am generally more at ease backing down or tolerating things, even if the other person is in the wrong. So instead of feeling good about standing up for myself, I feel horribly sad and guilty and keep wondering if the other person is ok.
I had another situation where I had to be assertive (a man had left his dog in a hot car and he he did not take kindly to me suggesting that he move the car, or preferably the dog, into the shade) and it ended up with me in tears and, frankly, afraid that I was going to get punched in the face. I did not feel victorious or proud of myself. I felt scared and small and again questioned whether I was in the right.
I had to assert myself at work too – in front of a bunch of colleagues – and that was very difficult also. Again, I was in the right, but it felt very wrong to stand there and say “Excuse me, but that is my responsibility I have to ask you to let me handle that”. I ended up apologising to the person afterwards because I felt so rotten about it, even though I was only stating what was true and defending my own job.
So, if I am to pick one resolution for this year, it is to be brave. And to stop apologising for having feelings and opinions and ideas of my own. And to make the hard decisions when I have to, and stand by them. And not let my fear of losing people stop me from standing up for myself and my own needs and values. And, most importantly, to embrace change and not fear it. I feel like this year is going to be a year of change and I have to be ready for that, one way or the other.
So, here’s to bravery and self-belief. And to standing up for what you believe in. And to not letting someone else tell you how you should live your life.
Thank you for reading – Happy New Year to you all. May 2018 bless you with many wonderful experiences, and the courage to embrace them all. Be kind to one another and yourselves this year.
I wrote the following just before I went on leave last month :
…I have some leave coming up very shortly and it feels like it’s been a long time coming. Well, it has. I haven’t had a break for over a year. And I’m a bit tired and over everything so I need to have some time off. This is difficult because I don’t have anyone to cover me at my job. It’s a drama getting one day off for illness, let alone a full fortnight of annual leave. Luckily, an ex co-worker has agreed to come back and babysit the library for me while I am away. Hooray!
14 days is not a lot of time to achieve a great deal. But, of course, I have many plans for the time and am hoping that I will succeed in achieving at least half of my goals. Ok, maybe a quarter. Five things. Look, at least one of the things on my list, ok?
Ideally, I would like to lose 10 pounds, become super fit and healthy, decorate my entire house, create a fabulous garden, write a business plan, organise my life and secure my financial future, all in the space of two weeks. But, unless I also turn into someone else in that time, these things are possibly not really realistic. So, I am aiming for a few smaller achievements. Things I should have already achieved, to be honest….
Now, several weeks later, I can predictably say I did not achieve all of these things. I tried, really I did. But two weeks is actually not a very long time. And things get pushed aside for other, more fun, things. I did clean my house and it is fit for visitors and doesn’t embarrass me now. I am doing my dishes every night (well, almost) and I put my laundry items away as soon as they’re off the line. I even did a basket of ironing the other night! Crazy! But good-crazy.
I did cull a lot of my wardrobe. Skirts that were too short or tight – gone! Pants I can’t button up – gone! Jumpers that are just plain ugly and make me look like some sort of sack creature – gone, gone, gone! I also turfed (ie donated to charity) shoes I can’t walk in and belts I can’t wear unless I refrain from breathing. I filled my car with bags and bags of stuff, including bed linens and blankets, pyjamas and underwear (un-used, let me just say). It felt good, but I know I could have culled more if I was less of a hoarder.
Sleeping – hmm, well, I have done a bit better on that front. I have been going to bed a bit earlier some nights and I am definitely getting up better in the morning. I now put my alarm so far away from my bed that it is practically in another room. I HAVE to get up and out of bed in order to switch it off. This works 90% of the time. Other days, I still hit that snooze button and go back to bed. But not as often as before. I have been having horrible nightmares again and so I am not sleeping well but, on the whole, I am doing the best I can to get a good night’s sleep.
Catching up with people – I achieved this one. I went out for coffee and walkies and had people over to my (newly-cleaned) house. It felt good to catch up with friends and family – I need to make more of an effort to not let the time slip by in between seeing them all. And I need to stop being such a damn hermit. I’ve even agreed to go out with members of the opposite sex. Not on “dates” as such (Lord knows I am nowhere near ready for THAT) but just coffee catch-ups etc. So I can get better at being in the company of blokes again and not be so anxious about it. And just be out there. Like a normal, healthy, adult human being. Instead of some kind of spinster/loner/weirdo/hermit hybrid.
My finances are ok and the wolf at the door is having a little rest and looking less savage. I just need to not provoke him by overspending or being unprepared for things. Christmas is tricky because I really love to buy gifts for people and it is difficult to rein it in a little. But I have kept to my lists and not strayed into gifting overload.
Exercise. Um…..next! I am a big slug.
Paperwork. Erm. Fail. Actually, I did start culling it and sorting it out a bit but there is still loads of it and I can’t face it right now. It scares me. So it is just sitting there in piles, quietly mocking me.
Garden. We are still dealing with a Children of the Corn scenario. There could be anything living in there. Tramps. Herds of wildebeest. Lost civilisations. Who knows? All I know is that it still looks bad and now the weather is heating up, I am even more inclined to just ignore it and hope it dies off by itself. I repotted plants and got rid of some that were really not going to make it. I did do a little bit of weeding but it was a bit pathetic and half-hearted, to be honest. Lots of sighing and whinging about my aching back. I’m sure you can picture it. Let’s move on.
Practicing my drawing and writing skills. Um, no. This did not happen. Another fail.
Decluttering. I actually did get some stuff out of the house, which is an achievement for Miss Hoardypants. I had to think “Will I ever use this? Does it fit in with my life/house/values/décor? Will I miss the darn thing if I get rid of it?” And, more often than not, the answer was a resounding “No”. But it is still hard though.
It’s funny how most people have time off of work and they think about travel and relaxing and maybe seeing some movies or doing lots of shopping. Me, I use my time for mundane things like folding towels and repotting my plants. But hey, that’s ok, right?
Hope you are having a happy, uncluttered day – thank you for stopping by 🙂
What kind of person are you? Do you lean towards being introspective and introverted? Or are you outgoing and energetic, motivated by contact with other people and new activities? Personality tests can be a fun thing to do (when you probably should be doing something else but need five minutes distraction) and are often quite insightful. They can help you to understand yourself a bit better and even point you in the right direction in regards to careers and life goals. Or, from another viewpoint, they are a load of codswallop and have no real merit. But sometimes it’s nice to have something vaguely scientific explaining the way you feel, act, and interact with others. Even if you have to accept some unwanted truths about yourself.
Either way, they can be enjoyable to do. Unless you get a result that tells you you’re a psychopath or something. That’s probably not ideal. You probably just answered a question incorrectly. Don’t worry about it.
I have done the Myers-Briggs Personality Test a few times over the years and always get the same result. I am an INFJ (The Advocate), which means I am (apparently) “typically compassionate, idealistic as well as imaginative and visionary. They are also sensitive and reserved” but also prone to stress, exhaustion and over-zealousness. I am also “quiet and mystical”. Ha ha. Why don’t they just say I’m weird and be done with it?
INFJs also tend to “internalise conflict into their bodies and experience health problems when stressed”. Yep – that’s me alright. Spot on.
I share my weird personality traits with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Alanis Morisette, Carrie Fisher, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa, so I am not in bad company. Fairly sure they have some other secret superpower though. Like, I dunno, awesomeness, talent and courage in the face of adversity. I still need to learn those things so it might be a while before anyone names me a saint or screen-prints my face onto a t-shirt. I can wait.
You can take take a version of the test HERE
“…People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway…”
— Mother Teresa
Another day, another collage… I am just continuing with the cuttin’ and pastin’ at the moment, as that’s what I am in the mood to do. I have learnt to not fight these moods and just go with it. I finished this piece in record time, even though it was a larger canvas (8 x8″) and a much larger image than I am used to working with. I was a bit nervous drawing those antennae in…a steady hand was required and a steady hand I do not possess. However – deep breath held – I managed to do them (in permanent marker no less – scary!)) and I am kinda pleased with the way they look. Silly how something as tiny as a symmetrical, even and non-wonky pair of antennae can make you happy 🙂
I struggled for ages (as per usual) to find the right word for this fellow but then I came across “changeling” and it seemed to fit. Not exactly a faerie baby swapped at birth for a human bub, but still…the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is magical in itself. Besides, one of my favourite books is “The Stolen Child” by Keith Donohue, and that’s about changelings and, well, that has nothing to do with this picture whatsoever, but I am going to reference here it anyway, so there!
Back to work tomorrow, where I become a different kind of changeling. One who has to swap their magical, delightful, pyjama-wearing, tea-drinking world of art-making for their less than thrilling “proper” job. Sigh… But one must pay for art supplies (and tea), so jobs are a necessity. And a blessing, if you take into account the tough economic times we are in. I do try to remember that, but it’s hard some days when I would rather be up to my eyeballs in art materials than over due library books.
This week I am trying to make some changes though. I’ve started a meditation course (literally just started it last night – I will sitting cross-legged on the floor omming before you know it!), I’m determined to try and get up earlier (or at least on time), and I am going to work very hard on reducing my stress. After a series of medical tests showed there was no physical reason why I should be having some of the health issues I’m experiencing, I have to accept that I allow stress to effect my life too much. I have to take charge and be responsible for my own well-being. Which is tricky. But I’m going to try. And keep trying. And trying even when I don’t feel like it. Which, I fear, will be most of the time. Because change is hard, and even something unpleasant like being stressed-out all the time can be a hard habit to break. It will mean I have to start worrying less about everyone (difficult) and learning to say NO sometimes (nearly impossible) and being less critical of myself (completely impossible). But I gotta try.
I don’t think I will become a butterfly overnight, but maybe I can slowly-but-surely break out of my cosy anxiety/stress/worry cocoon and give those crumpled-up wings a bit of an airing. And who knows? Once I’m out, maybe my antennae will be less wonky than I imagine them to be 🙂