Moonshine magic.

Maybe it’s because it’s almost a full moon and the tides are turning.  Maybe it’s because the sun is trying to poke out through the bubbling clouds.  Maybe it’s because I’m listening to some nostalgic old school songs and they’re making me feel pretty darn happy.  Whatever it is, right now is good.  Seems like things are on the up.  Small victories perhaps, but victories nonetheless.

Sometimes you have to take the little wins- the fact that a parking ticket got cancelled, that you managed to track down a small indpendent shop the other side of the world and they were willing to send a replacement for a hat that had been lost, that the dog has seen the vet and will be fine!  Hurrah!  It all adds up and so I’m feeling productive and positive.

Perhaps it’s just because there’s one more week at work until a holiday week… always helps!  😉

 

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But it’s just a party…

So, I’m engaged, have been since last Christmas.  It only took 34 years to find Mr Right, then another 4 to get to where we are now (a lot later than some, but if this is something you think about perhaps this is a it’s never too late story…).  Most of my friends are already married with 2.4 children, I’ve attended a fair share of weddings- some peers already on their second marriage before I even got a hint of a proposal!  That doesn’t matter though, being married doesn’t define who you are, not to me.  In fact I was always rather anti marriage, stating that it is just a very expensive piece of paper.  It really is.  But one that I’m now ready and willing (and excited) to buy.  Recently I’ve been planning the wedding, having always thought- well, it’s just a big party, right?  Hell, no- had no idea how complicated it can get!

We’re trying to do it on a budget, but I can see how easily costs spiral out of control.  I believe you can spend a lot less than we are and still have an amazing day, but somehow the ideas in my head started taking a grip and only x would do for the ceremony and the reception venue had to be y.  This was all after a considerable amount of research- flitting from getting married abroad with a select few, to eloping by ourselves, to eventually deciding actually we’d like our friends and family to celebrate with us- and now it is all coming together, the date is set for next year and I just really hope it will be a fun and relaxed day.

My main concern isn’t about the venue or anything like that though, but other people.  Everyone always says it is your day, do what you want- hard to do that when you’re really trying not to offend anyone or leave anyone out (when in reality they probably couldn’t give a rats).  So I’m inviting people I haven’t spoken to you for several years because we were friends at school (yes, why?!), picked a specific date so people with children could get babysitters more easily (yes I have drawn the line at bringing children, even this has been a bone of contention in my head, though in fact I think most of my friends are pleased to have a night off) and generally tried to plan to please everyone.  Impossible!

I do have some very wise friends who’ve been here and done it already and they assure me that the people that count will attend, and if not then it’s their loss.  They will be missing a party after all!

I just hope that, when the day rolls around, all these little stresses will melt away, that I’ll wonder why on earth I was getting het up, and that we’ll just enjoy the entire day, along with everyone that turns up!  I do, I do, I do!

Under the surface.

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Outwardly we all appear similar, underneath we are all bubbling with idiosyncrasies and memories unique to our very own short stints on this Earth.  Scratch away at the top layers and, if a person is willing, you can discover what’s underneath.  Sometimes it’s better not to know.

But for each and every one of us there lies some magical long hidden memories that might only be triggered into consciousness because we hear a song, or smell a certain scent, see a particular object… and right there in the midst of everything we can vividly remember moments of joy.  And despair.  (But I’d rather focus on the positive.)  What was once a rippled, faded and distorted image comes sharply into focus as you travel back in time, even if just for a few seconds.  Recalling events that have moulded us and made us into who we are, that can carry us forward, give us inspiration, hope, comfort.

I’m listening to some music and suddenly I’m 14 and at Wembley Stadium, the artist is about to come on stage, there’s a surge in the crowd as everyone clamours to get closer to the front… I start to go forwards with everyone else until I feel a hand on my neckline hoiking me back- my big brother!  Looking after me, making sure we don’t get separated, then viewing together what is still the best concert I’ve ever seen, with the best brother anyone could ask for.

Memories of experiences like that bring a smile to my face and remind me of who I once was and that the excitable little girl still lives on inside of me, somewhere, under the surface.

 

Luxury of time

Luxury of time

I’m thinking about what luxury is.  The immediate images that spring to mind are things like 5 star hotels, holidays in the Seychelles, movie star lifestyles… things that most of us can only dream about.  Extreme luxury.

To some luxury might just be a chocolate bar.  A bed to sleep on.  A trip to the seaside.  Things that we might take for granted.

It depends where you’re coming from as to what luxury is.  Sometimes maybe it’s better being near the bottom of the heap because any slight perk seems like a luxury, you can be much more appreciative.  But to struggle is not the goal, not for anyone.  And no matter where you are in life, gratitude is always important.

I have time on my hands.  Some would say this is  luxury.  It can be both a blessing and a curse.  Feels like time has slowed down, as I watch the clock waiting for midday when I can leave the office and go waste an hour somewhere else.  Doing nothing makes the brain tick though, even if the clock doesn’t seem to be.  No distractions, just thoughts bubbling away.  Is this it?  Why am I doing this?  What else can I do?  Is it better than before?  And can I do this for x number of years, until my time is up… is it just time wasted??  WHAT CAN I DO???  What should I be doing…

When you’ve got lots to do, doing nothing is a joy.  When you’ve got nothing to do, doing nothing is tiresome.  I thought when you grew up these sorts of dilemmas went away, that you knew what your aims were and that’s it, you get on.  I still feel lost.  And in reality, time is slipping away.

 

Making the unstoppable stoppable.

It’s Friday.  Good feelings are therefore emanating through my body.  2 glorious days ahead away from the desk, but this weekend is a special one because the time has come for my 10k race.  My first, quite possibly my last!  I’m not a natural runner.  I’ve spent the last 4 months trying to train though, and although I’m probably not as fit as I could be I’m a hell of a lot better than when I first started.  I know I’m not going to be fast, I know I probably won’t be able to go the whole way without the odd bit of walking to catch my breath- but I WILL do it and I am doing it because my friend is ill, currently undergoing treatment, and these funds I’m raising will go towards helping her and millions of others suffering from insatiable cancer.  Maybe the research will help make the seemingly unstoppable stoppable.

It’s difficult when you feel helpless, there’s nothing you can do to make it ok for your friends and loved ones.  So this was something I could do, albeit small.  It’s something.  And thanks to my amazing supporters I will have raised over £500 which is fantastic, way more than I expected.

On Sunday I hope I am feeling unstoppable.  I love my friend very much, running 6.2 miles won’t make her better, but if it helps fund medicine that can then it’s worth it.

Crisis- it’s personal.

It’s been about 8 months since I left teaching behind and started my new ‘career’.  Once again I’m thinking about change, or how to change…to do… something.  I don’t want to go back to teaching.  I want to move forwards, but at the moment I feel a bit stuck.  My job is fine, it’s just not really full time.  I mean, it technically is, but really I could be here just a few days a week and get everything done.  The rest of the time I’m surfing the net, trying to look busy (which is harder than you’d think) and clock watching.  There have been days which have flown by in busy periods, where I’ve even left at the end of the day with a list of tasks still to be completed.  It’s merely that it doesn’t happen often.  Sounds like a dream, right?  But actually I was reading about boredom at work and how it can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.  I can believe it.  It’s almost as though I’ve gone back to my post-Uni temp days- but not quite as terrible (as I pretty much had stapling for a job… just stapling)!  Where are the inbetween jobs- ones that aren’t so stressful they have you nearing nervous breakdown, but also aren’t so mind numbingly dull and simple?  To be fair, I do have challenges at work and I have learnt a lot.  I do like where I am, I like the people.  Yet still feel a little underwhelmed and invisible.

On a tangent- I’m not good at making friends; too shy, too introverted, too busy thinking people won’t be interested in what I have to say…  Other newbies have started at work and they all go out for lunch together.  I go on my own.  I just don’t know how to ingratiate myself.  Sometimes I like being on my own.  I need to be on my own.  But I’d like if people sometimes came to talk to me, like they do the others.  Before you say ‘why don’t you go to them?’, I do.  It’s rarely reciprocated, they have people in their office to talk to, I don’t as I’m sat on my own.  Pros and cons though, pros and cons.

I was looking today at houses for sale in a completely different area to my current home town.  Maybe next year I will move away and start again.  Again.  I’ll have 2 years experience in a different field, that should count for something.  There’s the whole moving further afield from friends and family, but honestly my friends are all living in different areas anyway, they all have children keeping them busy (I have a dog, that’s all I want), so I don’t exactly see them often anyway.  I don’t know what’s stopping me from taking the plunge.  Perhaps the fear of feeling even more isolated, further away from loved ones.  I will be married though, by then.  See- I’m not that bad, someone wants to marry me!  I won’t be on my own.  It could be great for us, you don’t know unless you try right?  I have a while to consider anyway, nothing will happen until after the wedding and my contract here is finished.  Until then these personal crises will go round and round in my head until I figure out what it is I need to do.

For now, I will try to be content with all the lovely things I do have, spend time with people I love and go for long strolls with my pup in some beautiful places!

The in/significance.

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Lately I’ve been contemplating things as they stand.  You know sometimes you just have those days where you question everything, things that you thought you’d resolved or come to terms with creep back into your mind and the carousel spins on.  The doubts about what you’re doing, or where you’re going… if anywhere.

Yesterday was the anniversary of a death of a close friend, inevitably there were posts on facebook remembering him (he himself would never have gone on facebook!)  He was very much loved and an inspirational character.  Someone wondered if he would be proud of them and what they’re doing, which got me thinking about my own situation.  And comparing it to everyone else.  Social benchmarking- never a good idea.  I’ve been told I’m not good at just being content; by more than one person, at completely different times in my life.  They’ve said I always want something else, used grass is greener analogies and commented that not everyone is in professions they love… that in fact most people aren’t.  I tend to feel like I’m a failure intermittently (regardless of whether I am or not), yesterday was one of those days.  I left a profession which is sometimes deemed as worthwhile, virtuous perhaps, to sit in an office and sometimes do very little indeed.  Same sector, completely different job.  So there I was thinking what am I doing?  Is this it?  I’m not wildly successful, not following my dreams (I’m not entirely sure what they are at the moment), not highly paid, not anything…  But then I was reminded- I have a job.  I get paid.  I have my flat.  I have a wonderful fiancé and a soppy dog who I love crazy amounts.  I have achieved things, travelled, taught for 10 years and had the courage to leave because it wasn’t for me.  Who’s to say this is failing?  Could I do more?  Perhaps.  I’m training for a 10k run.  I visit friends and family, I like to think I’m there for them when they need me.  If I could change something, more than wanting a fantastic job, it’s that I wish I saw more of my friends.  I’ve come to realise that personal happiness is more important to me than having an amazing career.  For some people the two might be linked.  But I spent years working every hour God sends and feeling that however much I did it was never enough, it just wasn’t enjoyable.  I feel like now I have more balance and that has to be a good thing.

You often read articles about how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.  It’s true.  It’s not to say our lives don’t matter, they do to us and to our loved ones, but we’re a speck on the horizon shortly to be out of sight and gone forever.  Perhaps we should stop giving ourselves such a hard time, stop comparing our lives to those around us- what is great for one person is dastardly for another.  Time to appreciate what I have, while I have it and be grateful for it all.