Last weekend I was at a 50th birthday celebration; this weekend I’ll be at a 30th birthday celebration. A few weeks ago there were numerous photos of children finishing school years, and especially those who were finishing schools, and of course university graduations.
We will often take extra time and effort to commemorate birthdays with a 0 (after 18 that is), similarly with wedding anniversaries.
There are other things that we commemorate, that we consider to be milestones. Birth, leaving school, learning to drive, marriage/relationships, first home and others that I honestly can’t think of at the moment.
Why is this?
Why do we commemorate and celebrate certain things, as opposed to recognising the joy of each day and how fortunate we are to experience it? By having certain milestones it can bring about negative feelings for people if they haven’t achieved everything that they feel might be expected of them or even if they don’t reach some milestones in the first place.
I’m not sure where this is leading, but I guess if I’m wondering it doesn’t really need to?
As a brummy it may not come as a surprise to you that i am writing abput competition and pride this week. I have never heard Birmingham spoken sbout so much, and spoken about so nicely as it has been over the last week with the hosting of the Commonwealth games. We had the pleasure of being a part of it, watching a couple of netball matches earlier in the week.
Competition and Pride can often be conceived with negative connotations BUT what I’ve experienced this week is the pride that those local to Birmingham are showing; I know that personally I am amazed at the way the games have been put together and how welcoming the city has been. I have had much ridicule for having come from Birmingham, but I really am proud of the city, but also for being a Brummy.
Watching the netball, but also the other sports it is clear how proud the participants are to represent their countries. That comes out in the competition, they give it their absolute all, even when they know they are not the favourite, they want to do the best they can do and appreciate the opportunity to compete against some of the worlds best.
Yes competition can be nasty, pride can come before a fall, but competition can also bring the best out of us and gives us the opportunity to be proud of what we have achieved.
Art was not my strongest of subjects at school. Most of my group of friends took the subject to at least A-level whereas I dropped it before GCSE. I have learned over time that I’m not the most creative of beings, I can follow directions to play music or produce cross stitch, but actually creating my own – not so much. Anywho, I digress. During my 3 years of art in secondary school I achieved 2 A grades. One of these was for a trio of gargoyles (all the same but made of different materials) , I enjoyed this task, ans pleased with the result and my grade, but of course Gargoyles are famously mishapen and ugly. The other A grade was for a load of circles. I created a pattern of circles using a compass.
We often talk about vicious circles, but I will often think about this piece of work to remind myself that circles aren’t necessarily vicious but can actually be positive.
Why do we talk about vicious circles? It is because of the idea that circles don’t end and that bad things can lead to bad things and you end up doing the same things over and over. From personal example, feeling low means I don’t want to go out and do exercise or meet with people, which then means I continue to feel low.
Circles can be vicious but as my art work showed it is possible to move from one circle to a different circle, where I go out, get some exercise, meet some people, start to feel better, and go out more.
Please dont get me wrong, I am no expert at this AT ALL, and I’ve been going round a circle for what feels like forever. I know there are other circles I can move to, I’ve done it before, but as with so many things, it is making that first step, exiting the seemingly neverending circle, and seeing where it takes you.
This week I’ve made a couple of steps, they were small, but they were steps. Hopefully I’ll be able to share with you where I’ve made it to and what the next circle looks like.
Well… there are 3 ladies who are my go to contacts. Both when something out of the ordinary happens (good or bad) but also for the more mundane or everyday life. They’re ALL away this week – and I’m trying to respect that by not contacting them as usual – bizarrely difficult in this modern age!
Anywho, they would usually be the ones I would be contacting to seek advice or guidance. Asking them their thoughts before I made a decision for myself. They will often agree with me, but they built up my confidence.
What I’ve started to wonder about this week is whether we need to have people around us to build our confidence; or whether we need to try and ensure there is an element within ourselves that gives us confidence for ourselves when we can’t depend on others.
I don’t think there is anything wrong about getting confidence builders from those around us; and the community around us; however it is good to have an element of confidence for ourselves to help us when we’re in new situations.
I’ve been watching a few sports competitions recently: tennis, football, athletics. What all of the competitors have in common is that when they go out to compete they have to be confident in themselves, they may have had plenty of training and coaching; there may be huge crowds cheering them on. But in the competition they are on their own/in the team remembering their training and focussing on the match/race.
I think this is similar for all of us. It’s great to be surrounded by people who allow us to have confidence in who we are and what we are doing, but that we can then go out and be who we are on our own.
This week I’ve been walking into town on a couple of occasions and I passed numerous people, mainly elderly men, who were clearly on their way up St. Lawrence’s for a day of watching cricket. My thoughts automatically went to my dad.
Today would have been his 76th birthday, and had he been with us he probably would have been watching the cricket.
This is one of my favourite photos of him because he was passionate about Warwickshire and spent many a day at Edgbaston with my brother watching Warwickshire play, as well as many an hour watching test matches and other matches on the TV. He wore the top with pride, and the cap, and any other clothing he was given!
It’s not one of the passions I have taken on, however I know that I support Warwickshire, and I do have a vague understanding of the game thanks to watching matches and asking why he got frustrated with certain things – also from watching (and scoring) many a match of my brothers.
I don’t know what he would make of the new ‘hundred’ leagues but it was something I got into last year – and was about the right length for me to cope with! It also helped to feel like I had that link with him which I felt when I saw the men heading to their matches this week as well.
Last night I faced a fear; I felt ridiculous for how happy I was but my friend H said it was momentous and the husband gave me a big hug and told me how proud he was. What did I do?
I cooked a meal!
I told you it sounds ridiculous but I cannot remember the last time I cooked a meal by myself. I love cooking but I haven’t felt I’ve been able to and have been scared about doing it, even scared about going in to the kitchen.
Over the last few years there have been more times where I have dropped plates, or spilt drinks due to the epilepsy that I got to the point that I wouldn’t cook. I definitely think that there is some truth behind but that it was also a vicious cycle where I convinced myself I couldn’t and the more I didn’t the less confidence I had to even attempt it, and the more confident I was that I couldn’t go in to the kitchen.
The events of the last few years have not helped; having seizures where I have ended up in roads or severing my ear and even when it’s suggested by others that I am limited by my epilepsy that just builds on my own negativity and lack of confidence.
Yesterday morning I asked the husband if I could make him a pasta dish in the evening. I also asked if he would stand with me in the kitchen whilst I was making it. The thought came to me in the morning and I was able to ask him straight away. I think had he not been there I would have managed to talk myself out of it and come up with reasons why I couldn’t. However, I faced my fear of cutting and cooking and I embraced it head on.
As I’ve mentioned in numerous other blogs it’s going to take time and small steps. At least those small steps over time will mean I’m making more progress than not making the steps at all.
This morning the husband and I went out for a lovely brunch. It was so nice; not just the meal but the time spent with the husband as well. Over recent weeks, as part of a therapy I’ve been taking part in, I’ve been considering how I have been spending my time and how it makes me feel. My conclusion has been that when I have spent time with people I have generally felt better. Therefore I am wondering about the importance of making time to spend time with other people.
Why is it so difficult to make time to spend time with others? I think there are a number of factors; if we are at work then although we are with people we may not actually be able to spend time with them, or it may not be a positive relationship; if we’re not at work then it is incredibly easy to stay at home and bury ourselves in our own lives; in our families even though we may seem to spend a lot of time with each other – are we actually?
What was so different about brunch with the husband this morning? We were sat at a table; there wasn’t a TV on; we were actually in a conversation with each other. I was able to share what had been going on with me and listen to him as well.
It’s so easy to get caught up with everything else and what we need to do that we can forget to make time for others. However I think that if we try to regularly make time to spend with others then we will feel better and others will as well.
I have to admit I felt rather like this tortoise today. Moving slowly following a seizure two days ago and also possibly looking vacant. Then I had a realisation that I should be writing a blog today, and I couldn’t really think of any focus, I’m still struggling.
So instead I’ve decided to write briefly about the importance of wondering in the first place. I love to find out new things, and I really do enjoy learning. I think it’s really important that we all try to explore new things and that we open our minds to new ideas.
It’s hard to explain why this is so important, all I know from experience is that it is.
My challenge for my readers is to share your thoughts of what could wonder about and I’ll consider those as my challenge and the opening of new doors over the next few weeks – or however long it takes.
We live in a busy world; quite often we’re try to be the quickest or trying to rush somewhere. Finding the shortest queue at the supermarket, or going to self checkout; next day delivery; high speed trains. I imagine it’s something we’re all guilty of, and we can probably all think of plenty of examples.
On Monday I was with mum and we stopped off at Hatton locks inWarwickshire. It was a beautiful day and the area was stunning and still! After some lunch there was some movement with a few boats going in different directions. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched canal boats and I find it absolutely fascinating!
The thing I love about canal boats is that you have to go slow; having to take time when you reach the locks; and having to work with others.
We could learn a lot about how to take it slow in life from life on a canal boat!
How often do you say thank you? I know that I try to make sure I always say thank you to the bus driver or to someone who has served me in a shop, restaurant or pub.
Saying thank you to a person is one we can acknowledge the impact that someone has had on our lives. That small and simple action can have a profound affect. If we can see that what we have done has been recognised by someone else then we are given the drive to continue or maybe even to do better.
Sometimes it is through acknowledging problems that we can take a step forward to dealing with whatever that problem is. In fact it is often the case that unless we acknowledge the problem then we won’t be able to move on.
Whether we are acknowledging the good that someone has done or we are acknowledging the issues we face the action of acknowledgement is important and helpful in all sorts of ways.