Presents for Christmas … for all those on the ‘lovely’ list.

Christmas starts really early here in London.  I mean really, really early.  August had the major superstores reveal their Christmas goodies. August for goodness sake, but the marketing is for tourists who want to take home some ‘genuine’ English goodies.  We begin early.

By October the ‘Love Actually’ nativity plays commence.  Trees to be bought before mid December or you will lose out.  And I held out, looking upwards and sideways until the first of December and then … whoosh … look at the lights mama, look at the baubles, the santas, the sleighs and let’s face it, London does Christmas like crack.  Spectacular high Christmas situation.

Totally on board.  Revelling in it.  Rolling in it.  I am every morning mince pies with coffee ( a la eggnog), till the mandatory Christmas movies at night.  The shop windows ooze Christmas, tinsel everywhere.  Bus drivers with antlers, cash up ladies with sparkles.  We wear them on our nails, put on the Christmas jumpers and still, yes still, take a minute to write Christmas cards. Supporting charities left and right, the homeless, the donkeys, Crisis Christmas.  Bake muffins with Rudolf at the fore, and it’s time to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to those travelling to families in Australia, America, South Africa and beyond.

Christmas advertisements done. Which one won? To the presents.  Ummm ..

What are you planning present wise?  For me, goes like this:

  • One for each that gives back.  A donation to charity.
  • One for each to learn.  A subscription to a worthy education.
  • One for each to use.  Practical stuff.  Coffee machine, mug and such.
  • One for play.  Happy lipstick, nail colour, make-up or cologne.
  • One for remembering.  Candle to light the way from past till now.
  • One for the personal.  A gift that only they will understand.
  • One for love.  The maverick one.  To show how much I love them.

And what do I want in return?

  • Christmas with family.
  • Knowing I have thought of those who will not be with family.
  • Christmas mass and carols in the cold.  With mulled wine.
  • A diary to make plans for time at the beach.
  • Blue eyeshadow to defy those who think I am past blue eyeshadow.
  • Wine for a year.
  • Time in Paris.
  • Cashmere in abundance.
  • Diptique candles for the remembering.
  • Lots and lots and lots of hugging.
  • Sweet whispers from lovers.

Not much actually.

And it is done.  The food will follow and the bellies will groan, I can so overdose on the party food (come on, we do it once a year) and make all those resolutions I am sure to break later.

Some of my loved ones hit the naughty list this year … mmm … what to do about this? Naughty or nice, grinch or Christmas fairy – I am in the mood for forgiving, as one does at Christmas, and so presents for everyone!

Truth be told.  When I really give into the spirit of Christmas, London has given me all the presents I need.  I am a child with light infatuation.  Regent Street, Oxford street, the windows of Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges.  Winter wonderland, ice-rink fantasies.  The reflection of Christmas on the river Thames – cannot describe the wonder of it all.  And I am recipient of all the presents I need, I am with my family in the wonder of Christmas in London.

Two weeks to go – what an explosion of goodwill, love and kindness. Thank you bus driver for wearing your reindeer jumper, the ringing of the bell on the corner, the every shop getting into the spirit.  Magical Christmas, it stuns and elates, heartens and thrills – as my family takes it all in, sings a carol, lights a candle and wishes every friend, every stranger good will, it is a Merry Christmas indeed.  Presents done, all has won, all is good …

Images londontown. pintrest, bjournal

Christmas, dealing with it when you are on your own. And those parties …

It’s Christmas …

Right in the middle of the ‘Christmas Carol’ at this moment, I am.  All the ghosts of past, present and future just swirling and swirling around. Don’t you find Christmas can be the most marvellous, and also the most emotionally profound, all at the same time?  I am such a memory hoarder! Such an emotional button.

Technically not alone, as I have my precious darlings to celebrate with, but technically, and especially when it comes to those umpteen Christmas parties (the office kind) well, it sort of a hit and miss situation at times.  Of course we know this madam is doing about four different jobs (all of which I love) at the moment and that means lots and lots of year end celebrations.

Given that these are not careers but jobs new in the making, the Christmas parties are either with many I do not know well, or mostly those a few decades younger than me.  Interesting when it comes to the Secret Santas and I am National Trust when others are party games.  I am the thinking of leaving pronto for my bed and the rest are only just starting the night’s festivities.  For me, a Christmas party is watching the Christmas movies with loads of popcorn and Sauvignon Blanc.  Oh how dated I seem…

Then there is the single situation.  And the commute situation – getting home seems like Hannibal crossing the Alps. Also, and it must be said, having a great night out and walking to the tube past so many homeless sheltering in doorways from the bitter cold, is upsetting.  On the plus side, I am the chipper versus the hungover brigade next morning.

Then there is this:  The shift.  It has happened.  

My gorgeous children want Christmas at their home this year.  No longer Christmas at mum’s.  If I were still in the family home with a dozen Christmas trees in every room and cooking enough to keep the Romans off oysters, I may just sink into the redundant spot of self pity.  This year I am in the transitory living situation so my abode is somewhat cold in hospitality and I am happy to join rather than host.  But it is something to ponder – is this the ghost of the future coming a little too soon? Has it happened to you?

Find myself thinking of Ghost Christmas past and it gets me so teary.  Little people with big eyes and huge expectations at the Barbie/Postman Pat/lego possibility.  Family large in generation, feasts and fondness all around. God, I loved Christmas then.

Ghost Present and small, but significant.  Survival and change.  Micro family, with greater depth and understanding of the fragility of life but equally loving and kind. More appreciate of the essence of family.

Ghost Future.  Oh this is a nasty thought.  Looking forward to the grandchildren and oh, hugging is going to be my favourite pastime, but to the further than that.  The thought of me being sat at a communal table of white haired grumpy people, paper hat on head and warbled voiced ‘Santa’s coming to town’ as the tissues and tears flow, and a box of ‘Celebrations’ as my only reward for staying alive, fills me with dread. The hoping the children will come and visit the death nest and my teeth in a glass, well some know me – not on my itinerary.  Not going to have a Christmas when someone denies me wine and I cannot chew the mince pie.  But I digress …

Back to dealing with Christmas when you are alone.  Truth, never are.  

As depressing as your situation may seem, you have it good.  The need around Christmas time is greater than any other time of the year and you have the ability to make a difference, no matter how small.  Charities are desperate for people like you, for an hour, a chat, a touch of hand upon lined hand, for making food, saying a prayer, simply being there.  You have no excuse not to be part of another’s story at this time of the year.

It is then when I look past the shiny shiny, the glitter, the surge in celebration.  Then I can say, I cannot walk past the homeless and not stop, moan about just about everything and know a mother is struggling.  Someone is lonely, another is grieving.  Alone, no, not alone, rather a little timid at getting out of the comfort box to be a fairy for good.

The thing is.  The other night I lead a tour (in blisteringly cold weather, wind chaffing, fingers numbing cold) of ex-pats joined by a singular company on a Dickensian experience through South London.  There were all – religions, cultures, ages and gender.  What London was like in the earlier centuries when kitchens were unknown and heating was scarce.  We were all different yet all together, far from home, new home and linked.  A little mulled wine, some mince pies and story telling and another Christmas story was written. 

Ending along the ever riveting Thames, Christmas was good.  I had made a difference to their Christmas, in my small way, and that is what it all about.

To Bridget Jones, The Holiday, Love Actually and all the movies that make me cry buckets for Christmas past … to the joy of being able to watch them in Christmas present and again in Christmas future.

Don’t feel alone and stand in the corner at the Christmas parties.  Be yourself and give of that substance that is you, to others.  The gift will be returned.

Images: BBC, history.com and pintrest

 

 

 

 

Are you going to sit it out, or dance?

There is a line from a song that goes’ are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?’ and let’s face it, times our little stars are fading, tarnished and dim.  Youth and our stars are bright with possibilities, and now, we think, forget the stars, just survive. What happened to the glow?  The bright, fierceness we once possessed?  Are we going to start sitting out, or dance? Dance card empty … phew, not even almost.

A few days ago, I was back in the dark place.  The new normal was not to be but once again change is thrust upon me … and I felt like that little lost star, spinning out of control.  Needed some deep breathing for sure. Yoga was not going to help, meditating not so much, the breathing was fractured, fear installed, panting and shallow.  And then I thought about this star that was spinning …

And turned it into a pirouette.

Let’s face it, living in this time of our lives brings so much change we are caught in the spiral and it can take us down.  Or it can take us up and up is where I am going.  Things are going to change for sure.  Some of us are lucky to have the normal and the continuation of self, relationships, home and family, and then there are some of us, like me, that finds each day a whole new one, in every way.  I think I tend to start again, every single time.

Which is scary, but also good.

It is the making of self.  I know of many woman, and men, at this Silver stage wondering what the hell … how did this happen, what is going to come of it, where to go … despair in the face of the future.  More than that, many of us have children or close friends who we know, look up to us, waiting and hesitant to see how we shall fare.  A little more pressure, a few more smiles and deep within, when the stars turn dim, that is the time to get to the shining.  With dance … may not be centre stage, but it is your stage.

The thing is, the thing is … it is your call.

How you respond to life and its challenges crosses all decades, all ages, but in the mature times, times the mantel gets heavier. And so back to the pirouette …

If you think growing older is growing weaker, think again.  The body failing and flabbing out … only if you want it to.  Strength, still there.  Effort? Takes  little more but totally doable. And please, don’t burden me with talk of ‘getting older’, and the sighs … I don’t do the sighs.  I begin with the music.

The playlists. The not sitting it out playlists and thinking you are old. They are dancing to life playlists. Do you have them?

Mine:

A playlist for early in the morning, upbeat and groove challenging. The kind you hit the sidewalk with and go … got this day? Totally!

The public transport/driving in the car/ getting there playlist.

The workout playlist.  When I go … don’t want to but when the music starts, I am Martha Graham, musical theatre, hit the treadmill type of playlist.

Paris playlist.  Pretending I understand all French and oui, my, of course mon ami.  Perfect for walking the streets of Paris in the evenings before dinner at Chez … of your choice.  Shuffle and dance at the thought of romance. Trés sexy stuff.

London playlist.  Strong, artsy and hip. The strutting stuff to take in the history, the diversity and walk faster than the tourists – bold music to shimmy too, and yes, I am doing the shimmy rather than the close moves. You should see me on the platforms of the tube … moving, not standing. I am the one doing the moves with music in my ears. You may not hear it, I hear it.

Italian playlist.  I have so many songs I dance to in Italian and don’t understand a word, get the meaning, the total immersion of it, if you get my meaning? Love, love dancing to Italian music.

South African playlist.  This is a mixture. Home stuff, Afrikaans country and words of the mountains and beaches and earthiness.  Nostalgic and slow appreciation of being part of the story. Dancing to the beauty of her.

My writing time playlist.  End of the day, calm and nostalgic.  The pattern of my life in music, good and sad. Songs that take me back, fill me with love and romance, inspirational and moving. Goes well with wine and dreaming.

All dancing … never sitting this one out.

As I have said before, dance like EVERYONE is watching! Even in the dark, undecided, unknowing times, dance is the liberation of the spirit. Dance and then dance some more. A little jig, a small shuffle, in public, in the kitchen, in the bedroom… dance and, never sit it out.

Thinking about doing some adult ballet classes again. What about you?

We are not lost stars just yet, and ready to sit it out … no, going to light up the skies and light up the universe. Not caring how it looks, just how it feels.

No matter the moment, the dance will solve it all.  Get up and do it.

Images Pintrest and arts live.ca

A rainy November day. To learn again …

Some may despair when the rain comes down on a November day.  I try to always remember the drought, the longing for rain in my childhood days and for me, rain is good.  It is a mantle of thoughts day – inward day.  A normal but never normal day (for she is never the ordinary good, or bad.)

I love the rain. The enveloping of it all. I love especially, remembering how much I loved the rain whilst at school – it meant, Art days.  Rather than try to compete on the sports fields, Art was the colouring, painting, expression of self time.  Can still smell the craypas – or pastels as we call them now.

As I began the long journey to Ham House, knowing full well that none would want a garden tour in the falling rain, it would be the perfect venue for working in.  Warm Orangerie, cheese scones and tea – the sort of mother comforting day.  Another misunderstanding lay heavy in my heart, we get those, but it matched the mood.  Still, as I walked down the foot paths in heavy rain, the drops from falling oak leaves and puddles before me, it led me to the Petersham.  And there, in the rain, the graves beneath the carpet of leaves were so full of stories, other than my own. I could not help but stand in their moments, some far back, some never back from war, and felt gifted, to just, in silence, pay homage and think, well madam, you are still here.

Perhaps ‘Melancholy walk’ seems more poignant when you are dripping with raindrops and standing before a bench of someone once here, loved it here and now … a name on a bench.  At least they were loved enough to have a bench – will I be rewarded a bench, I think, be rooted to memory in a favourite spot – and where will that spot be, I think and nod to this person, and move on.  I am alone along the river, covered in mist, the boats moored and listless.  Even the horses I pass have their heads low under the dropping, the dropping of rain.

But it is not a sad day.  It is a winsome day. Chatting to Tom in the Orangerie, he is full of dreams of acting and performing and I am lifted by his resolve. Dreams are such good things.  Blow me down, not only am I deep in working, but there stands, waiting, four eskimos ready for the tour. In this weather, me freezing and unequipped?  Strange but true and the tour is muddled around puddles – they are here and I deliver, wishing I were elsewhere instead, like a warm bed, with a great lover and conversations of life.

Pumpkin time is over and somehow the starkness of the garden shows another side to landscaping – the bare structures reveal the bones of her life.  Stark hedges, the kitchen garden with little to offer at this time – menus and diet were seriously compromised a hundred odd years ago.  We are fortunate now to be able to buy fruit and vegetables but then, it meant little people and lots of sickness so lucky us. Don’t ever give up on your Vitamin C!

Surrounded by wonderful stories, the rain continues unabated and the second tour, thank God, is empty.  It’s only two pm but I know that the dark is coming and she does, at four today.  A long walk to Richmond, another bus and this time the stories of today are hustled and closeted in the red bus that takes an hour longer because of the weather.  Oh my, the spirits are failing as a child kicks my seat, another is screaming and I cannot see out of the window for the vapours that are humanity as we move at a snails pace and then ‘your bus terminates here.’ Here! Where! This is nowhere for me!

The romance of the day is gone in the public shuffling to get home.  When I do, cold, soaked as a frail, discarded afterthought, darkness all around, I am still not defeated by the day. It was a up and down day, a day when others were troopers in their heady gear, full of dreams of youth, colouring in day, London winter day filled with history and stories day, I know that in so many hours of this day, I felt hopeless, invigorated, saw history, touched the future and survived public transport too. So many stories to share, to learn from and warm again, it was a good day.  The misunderstanding I shall rectify, the rain is feeding the daffodils and love will survive the seasons.

As for those still wanting the tours in the darkest, rainiest days – bring it on!

 

I’ve got the magic in me.  So how was your day?

 

You were not born to give up easy …

Do you ever think of yourself as a heroine?  Times maybe, often not.  Life just shatters the spell I guess … and we fall and fail and then the music comes again.

I know you dance in the kitchen when no-one is watching.  When the playlist pops up and the rhythm takes hold.  Guess what, that thing about dancing like no-one is watching works sometimes.  We have the moves, do the thing and all of sudden the mountain seems doable don’t it?

So it’s Saturday night and yes, I am with pj’s, face mask and music. Nothing like the days of heading for the night out, but the night in can be just as amazing!  Week done, hard work and who wants to go out to prove ourselves right?  We do our little jig on the quiet, with pleasure and take stock of where we are right now. Great place to be, empowering sometimes, on our own … taking stock of our worth.

Did something different today.  Ascended the heights of a building I don’t like too much, going up many floors I didn’t feel for – its not the height thing, but the thought of too many movies growing up that had Towering Inferno’s and such.  Not a good thought and the Sponge Bob building never on my scale of lovely places in the city. But I did it. I went sky high for a friend, and stood there, gazing at the skyline and thought, another coup. 

We spend so much time climbing don’t we?  We build lives, careers, family dreams and past ‘I wish I could have done this and that’ and we get there, or we don’t, and then we come crashing down at times. Those down times stick … we forget the highs and mud stick is what we become when it’s hard. It is a lonely place.  At times.  At our age, hard is not the word for it. Lost maybe?

Still, I climbed and saw and stood there and then it got me thinking. 

Heroines fly.  They soar and don the cape and bust the world.

Frigging make it happen, despite the odds.

Despite the curve balls, the twists and unforeseen villains who lurk in the shadows.  At the highest point today, rather nervous and timid in the scope of all that was all around me, my life seemed, well small.  Maybe even for a moment, insignificant.  And then it dawned on me – I was part of that history that lay below, my story did count and will if I make take the option to make it.  When you stand so high, so very high, and everything seems so small below you,  your problems do to.

Countless individuals never got to go high.  But you are different.  We have options some never did. Centuries of women just survived and now you may feel like them, but I stood there and I realised … in this time, at this moment, we do not give up easy … we adapt.

Look at the situation and if it’s not so good – go with it.  It will make you grow. There was a time I thought, I cannot go on, and I did, because I had the choice in this modern age to do so.  Everyone struggles, in the past, and now.  But unlike those in the past, we are more able to make the change.  And soar again … believe me, soar again.

On my little balcony, past office of ‘where the hell am I going to go’ and ‘life sucks’, it is now my office of ‘ you were not born to give up easy’. You can make a difference, don the cape and be a superwoman if you want to.

I conquered the fear of height today.  After that, the view was awesome and I realised, I belonged in that view.

Just saying.  To the wonderful woman who wrote saying it seems impossible, I am telling you, dancing in the kitchen, it is. You were never born to give up easy … you were born to make a difference, and most of all, to be the legend you are are.

Go dance in the kitchen. Make your own playlist and dance like EVERYONE is watching! You are worth every move …

Image: Living loving hobart

 

Its not always about us. We have a job to do …

‘Here I am, trying to find my feet and totally forgot those following in my footsteps.’

Struggling is an egocentric occupation.  We are immersed in our own, each grappling with issues at this age that may have been the broken winged dove and though futile at times, let’s just say we have the experience to make a difference from here on, forward.  And we do…

The past few days, oh Lord, help me but I have had this Wilson Phillips song beating a path through my brain – you know the one ‘Hold on’, the catchy, ‘Bridesmaids’ theme – hold on, boom, boom and things’ll go your way. And of course, let’s be honest, the line really pounding away is … You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess … ‘  mmm … really … what gives … mmm.  And we keep going upsticks with some truth and hopefully some solutions.

But, and but is all important here … it is not always about us.  Never before has the younger generation been so stressed, so unable to deal with sadness and global scrutiny as before.  I live in a city with so many young, talented and gifted young people … unable to cope with life.  With the challenges of proving themselves, making their mark, earning well and being happy … and failing on all counts for the stakes now, are so much higher than I remember.

“This is a generation rapidly losing faith in their ability to achieve their goals in life, who are increasingly wary of and disillusioned with the jobs market and at risk of leaving a wealth of untapped potential in their wake’ Telegraph April 2018.

The pressure is immense.  Flashback here to moi, fifties born boomer and that final matric day.  Mother says … ‘darling would you like to go to University?  Get something useful behind you before you marry and have a family of your own?’ Oh yes, for sure.  Of course, what to do with the time in between, a nice job, money for rent, petrol and drinks with friends.  Seems good, think I will study Drama, or Humanities, or Law and then all will be sorted.

Did I do the same with my children?  No. It was, study child, be the best you can be, create your own business, be successful, get that pension in place and when you are a millionaire, maybe then you can buy the restaurant/guest house/ villa in France and so on.  It was the way it was and not apologising for it, but in the stopping and thinking, I believe our children, the Millennials did exactly that – they worked hard, hectic school hours, studying, extra curriculums and for some university … and now our super achievers are in crises. The world is levelling and the dream is crumbling.  The need to achieve and be … be perfect at everything is a burden cloak suffocating rather than letting them fly.

Let’s face it – no-one expected us to be perfect by thirty. A millionaire with a trust fund and five figure salary, with future children in the rights schools, a mortgage paid off at fifty and a seventeen hour work day. How did this happen?  Did we take our own failure and insecurities at this age to project it all on our children?  Did we find ourselves incomplete and expect them to be so before they turned forty?  Do we want our incomplete dreams to be their complete ones?  We lived in small enclosures of life, they live with global comparisons – and happiness comes second to success it seems, and in that we look behind to find sad young people, who strive, and fail and feel that in the failing, they are half of what they should be.

They were watching us.  They still are.  They thought us perfect and when the dream shattered and mothers, fathers and others stumbled in the path, they were there.  Mine, well, they were the catchers of mom, the consolers of hurt and carers, for which I will be forever grateful and so this is what I am saying …

Maybe it was good that we, at this age, get lost.  The picture perfect person has cracks too.  Maybe it is good that they know that we are human.  For maybe, in the human mess that is us at times, we also teach them that it’s ok to just be … well human.  That it is not all about achieving but living .. with good times and bad times and in the end, good times again.  That by falling, and standing up again, we are showing them that it is fine to be fallible, weak and lost at times.  Not all perfect all the time.  Maybe life is not about the success, but the road to saying, even we, with all our experience and knowledge, still have a lot to learn.

I don’t want to live in a world where young people are stressed and afraid.

Where the job is everything and success is a stamp that means nothing.

Thinking now… maybe the best lesson I can teach my children, and those young, beautiful young and stressed people, is that life gives us highs, and abject lows, and then the highs come again, not with success, with money or status, but with love as the thread that goes through it all.  Love your job, love your place, if you want more, let it be because you love it, go further because you love it and when you finally, pause, remember that all the little things you do, the people, the hobbies, the home, the garden and the small moments are those you can love.  Fail, yes, falter, yes, we did too … and if we can inspire you, let it be because we were human, young and still young at heart.  We need to inspire our followers at our feet that the ground will be sandy, rocky, steep at times … but always worth it.

If I can inspire these stressed, striving and beautiful young people through my example, it is to not be ashamed of my story, but proud that in my small way, love got me up from the floor, out of the shadows, stepping behind the wings and when it all comes to the light … I loved growing, more than being the best, but being the best one can be. Holding on is great when you realise it.

We have a job to do.  Knowing we are being watched, let’s inspire the younger ones to know that life may bring baskets of lemons, but lemons are the most beautiful fruit in the orchard.

Image: Pintrest.

Working harder than I ever had before, and others are thinking of retirement at this stage … what gives?

If I must start somewhere, right here and now is the best place imaginable.   

Richelle. E. Goodrich

Tell you what gives.  I just added to the CV list. Right now I can claim to have at least four different jobs. That’s what gives.  And more so … I’m telling you it’s possible.

To the little bit of backtracking.  Life did not work out the way I planned. But perhaps … in hindsight … ah well, it didn’t and is that bad thing, a good thing or just a life happens thing?  I don’t regret it, am sorry it changed, wish it better and making it so.

Finding myself, at this Silver Street stage, on my own and beginning again, and in this transformation, getting out there again, working harder than I ever thought I would have to, hustling and loving it/hating it and just doing it. A year or so ago, I was almost homeless, aloneness, desperate and wallowing. Unable to see the future or even make the first move in dealing with it.  And then I thought, it really is up to me, which for someone who had, well, almost it all .. was a very scary situation to be in.  I had a sort of career which I still love but it was always a hobby and not a full time earning situation.  Worked from home, and those walls began to close, tight and claustrophobic at times. I needed to engage, outside of the walls.

Then something interesting happened.

I took a chance.

Seeing an ad in the window of a local coffee shop, I offered my services.  At first they thought I was enquiring for someone else … no … me, and of course the job was open so they had to take the chance on me, and me on becoming a, do they still call it a waitress, or waitron, not sure, but I had committed to a job in a cafe.  The first few months was me, at this age, trying to keep up.  Broken body, tired feet, forgetting orders, but what I did have was experience in engaging.  Being more than just behind the counter, but chatting, remembering tastes, names and conversations.  So what if I messed up the order, we at this age, well, we just say sorry and how is your new puppy? A year and half later, this job, though menial to some has given me a new community and I welcome each morning I enter to fresh croissants and fabulous coffee. Love it, despite the odd ‘what is this poor old woman doing working in a coffee shop? sort of staring. I have found another family, work hard and earn little but gain much.

The job gave me my self confidence back from a broken road.

The people I meet have seen more in me than just the apron.

I am a master of the latte.

I find customers have become friends.

It’s a very long way from my past life but my children are proud of me.

So, I was now travel consultant, event planner and latte thrower.

Last week, I added to my CV once again.  Contacted by a friend, who had a client who was seeking just the right person to join her company.  Thought of me, a lovely meeting and I am now a tour guide in London. Fits in perfectly with the cafe, the early morning and late evening at home travel business and best of all, gives me flexibility in my working life to enhance my personal life.  Having so many different jobs, is possible. I love the different schedules, the challenges they bring, the people I meet and the diary that is mine.  Working harder than ever before … at this age!  When others are thinking of retirement.  Interesting not so? Am willing to put in the hours, do the research, compartmentalise each job and give each true dedication.

How long will it last?  Who knows.  The body is not what it used to be, the future is still vague to say the least, but what I am trying to say is … if you are at that sticky point, that Oh my, I don’t know what is to become of me, I have no confidence or doubt my ability to grow … this random fifty year old something is getting up and out there.

And you can too.  The job may not be what you thought you would do, it may not be the life you had, or wished you still have, but if the lemons came at you big time, at any stage of your life, starting small, doing the small stuff and making your days busy, filled and purposeful, you will find a new kind of empowerment. Just enough to get you planning again, out there with people again, knowing you worked harder than you ever have before and you are doing it for yourself this time.

Pride.  Interesting thought. In the mistakes, the losses, the loving and the losing, it’s not about pride … it’s about working hard to get that back.  The you back. And it is possible. That’s when pride comes … when you take the fall and stand up again, in any way you can.

We all struggle, at any age. This one, just a little more taxing.

Gosh, starting again at this age is tough, but it is possible. Believe me.

Images Pintrest, Greenorc

 

Gone too soon: Michael Jackson on your 60th birthday.

I grew up with Micheal Jackson. I remember with such clarity the day he died.  Was in Paris in 2009, beginning a lovely trip through the continent and heard the news, and something in me died too that day.

Not sure what it was, but it haunted me. Despite the tabloids and drama that became his life, I suddenly felt bereft that some of the music that measured my life here on earth, was going to be silent.  Another case of a sad death in my time. From the Jackson Five, the ‘Puppy love’ to ‘Thriller’ it was the background to, well me. The loss seemed a wasted life of another icon at the time.

Tend to measure my life in music.  Songs that take me back, take me high, strutting to, songs to be sad to.  The personification of the 70″s, 80’s and so on.  From the LP days to the streaming that is now, I cannot imagine my life without music, the theme song to my own small existence. And he would have turned 60 today, a milestone birthday that looms before me.

Just wanted to say, miss him.  Heartfelt him and thank you, up there, wherever you are, safe I guess from it all – you were a teacher to me.

Gone too soon.

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me.

Gone too soon and Happy Birthday.

Image Evening Standard

 

To childhood friends. Bless them and keep them.

And Fox is saying hello this evening. ‘Hello’ I whisper.

I have written before about my true blessing of having childhood friends still with me at this time. For over fifty years of life, a pocket full of friends who shared the early times, the grazed knees and bicycle jaunts, still remain, and it is to them I return for validation when life gets just a little too much.

To find more are spilling into my life. Thank you Facebook for today, whilst planning my trip home, a message from a friend I grew up with, wanting to say ‘hi’ again. The swimming forever friend who, and I did not know, has been through much, and meeting up with her again when I go ‘home’.

What was interesting was her message.  She is happy, fulfilled, and yet longs too for the connections of those who knew, not only her, but her family.  Parents passed. I have not seen her for nearly thirty years and the connection is as strong as ever.  And I am keen to hear it all … the journey.  Like mine.  Those days of whispering about who we will marry (had to be dreamy) , how many children we will have, how successful we shall be – and now, bless us, how much we just want to return to the roots.

Believe me, it is not about missing.  Not about being disappointed in how things turned out, how life has handed us love and lemons.  About the halcyon days of wonder is what we reach for.  The clean slate days. We want to connect for we remember the parents, the childhood homes, schooldays and all that.  We want to be close to purity. Our purity in childhood. And talk about life in-between. Be proud of what we have become, the children we have raised, relationships we had, the paths followed, to in a sense, bring us together again to say ‘ we did ok’ and have someone else say ‘wow’ you did ALL that and good on you.

To talk of our parents.  Of Sunday afternoons in a small town. Of sports days and how terrible we were at hurdles. First crushes and surfboard necklaces that meant we were going steady. Of nuns on bicycles and those awful matric dance dresses. We want to remember stealing peaches from the neighbours, swimming in rivers and Gatsy themed birthday parties. Television crush idols. When just breathing was enough. Just being was enough.

I did not know she had lost a sister. One I remember and life let me forget.

Did the ballet lessons pay off?

Did the education pay off?

Did love happen?

Did we become the people we thought we would?

Doesn’t matter.  We lived.  We loved. We are still the same, deep down and we want to know.  We want to connect.  We are blessed if we can.

Growing up in a small town does this.  We had nothing else but each other and when life and times move us into different places, into other avenues, it is really good to go back and just say ‘you knew me’ and perhaps, just perhaps, those are the friends we have to be with at this stage. Friends who sang the songs, danced in the living room, wrote in the diaries and went to the drive in. To dream of better.

And perhaps we did get ‘the better’.  We did live the dream.  And old friends, childhood friends are the validation that we came from that to this, and make us proud.

Childhood friends have a bond that transcends to lifetime friends.  And I am so blessed to still be able to say .. you knew me well, and you are still here.

Images: smartgirlsgroup, relationsmatters

Mama Mia, here we go again …

‘I don’t know how, but I suddenly lose control, there’s a fire within my soul.’

 

To the island of Vis. The film location of ‘Mama Mia, here we go again‘ want to go and live there, Vis. Third time watching the movie that has, all of us, and I mean all of us, wanting. Happy, sad, on the edge, by the sea-side, all about love wanting to live there. It is one fantastic, piece of entertainment.  I found myself singing, crying uncontrollably (it’s the mother thing) and determined to move to such a place, so much so that I came home and googled Vis. Croatia tourism board in supreme delight. I wonder how many are googling properties in Vis with the hope of being Donna?

Dare I say, escapism is good. Grand in fact for the soul.  Should be more than that. Removes us from the daily grind and should the tempest of escapism lay there, it may ignite some soul searching, with the music of course, into the doing.  For there are times we lament our lives, and circumstances and just wish for beach and gorgeous decor, complete with friends and love in the deal.

Sitting in the cinema with our popcorn, we are transported.  We don’t think about the reality of child care, school bullies, tax accountants and those months of winter when these idyllic places are empty. We only think of vistas and decor, sublime meals and evenings with passion. And then we leave to the gum lined streets and the tube. Okay by me, because in that moment, in that one and a half hours of going somewhere else, we were back in the seventies, with the fashion and careless wanderings. I am crazy about the fashion!

Is it so bad to just let go? To stop worrying about the house, the material things, the heaviness of life and pack a little suitcase and just go … no matter where, but just go?  Would I do it, would you do it? I wonder.

This ‘Dancing Queen’ was my era!  I do believe I need to dance to this song and skip down towards a beach rather soon …

So what am I trying to say here?  Everyone is embracing the movie – the flash back to the seventies and getting all inspired by it. Should I find the dungarees and do the same?  Should I be inspired enough to take the gist of the whole thing and go … there is a world out there for me, one I know but never really had the confidence to explore? Can we, in Silver Street, still take a chance?

Got to get me some dungarees …

 

Thank you for the music.

Mama Mia, here I go again … my, my I could never let you go.

Never …

Images: The bbc and daily mail.