Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to lose two days....

This weekend, I lost two days. A decade before, it might have happened because of a Saturday night gone wonderfully right - with merriment and lots of alcohol. I'd have been sitting on my arse, holding my head gingerly, trying to tell myself off. Not this weekend. This weekend, the most fun thing I did was contemplate the inside of my eyelids and hang on to my breakfast.

I know, original party-girl, right?

I have had a couple of migraines before. It's not a regular thing, thank goodness, or I'd be forced to think of amputation. Of all the ailments to have, it's got to be one of the most, frickin' tedious. I've decided of all the ailments I could possibly suffer from, the one that I'm not going to have again is that.

There are good drugs for migraines now. If you take them as they hit, they are supposed to stop it in its tracks. I'm told. If you get them regularly, they must be a God-send. I don't. All I had was my normal drugs and I didn't bother to take them. They wouldn't have hung around too long, so I had to be big and brave and tough it out.

Let me tell you, lying in a dark room with nothing to do, sucks. All of the stuff I like to do if I'm not going to get up and be productive: reading, watching crap tv...hurt. It's boring as fuck. 

My stomach still doesn't like me very much, my head doesn't care for me much either. Ya boo sucks to both of them. I'm so fed up of being fragile. A stiff wind blows and I collapse in a heap. I haven't moved for weeks now. I'm really struggling to do more than the necessary. But ya boo sucks to that too. 

Moving on up. I'm bored with the whinge. I'm missing out on the good stuff. Great opportunities have passed me by and it's not good enough. Onward and upward.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Life as a journey

It's funny, I'm 44, technically (statistically) I'm at the mid-point in my life. I lost the first 20 years of my life growing up, doing school things, leaving home. The last 24 years has been a bit of a mish-mash really as I managed to fly in the face of any kind of life-stage planning. I really did things in a mixed up manner: left home, got a job, got married, had Boy, started a degree, got divorced, finished degree, got a job, hated job, started a degree, got a job.

My work in marketing at Insight has been the longest I've ever worked anywhere and it's fast getting to the point whereby I'll have been there longer than I was married! The only constant in my adult life has been Boy. The flat was a constant for 15 years and I'm not at all sorry to be shot of it. I'm only sorry I didn't get shot of it when I first moved out, I could have used the money to invest in another property. But there you go. It's easy to say that in hindsight. I obviously wasn't ready to let it go at that point. I still had romantic illusions about it as a home. I can't wait for it to be sold. I've been told that's likely to be in 3-4 weeks time. I don't see it myself, but it will go. That's all that matters right now. It will go. 

Driving home today, I realised I'm quite excited about the future. I'm looking forward to next year, even though it's a big, blank sheet of paper. I think that's why I'm so excited. I don't know the way Life will unfold, it's just a bud right now.

2014 sucked arse. It really did. It's got another few weeks before it permanently buggers off, to bite me again, but I'm keeping it on a short leash with a stick close to hand. I think about that amazing New Year party we went to and how I felt...you'd think with such a great start the year would have been awesome. But no. 

On the whole, I have few regrets, remarkably few experiences that make me cringe. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, that's not a bad thing at all. Especially since I'm not going to get a do-over.

I attacked my monobrow this afternoon. The magnifying mirror might be a necessity for tackling the caterpillar above my nose, but it doesn't half show off the wrinkles and parts of my skin that are struggling with gravity. It seems I'm no longer 21. Who'd have thought eh? Hah!

As the years go by, I realise how comfortable I am being me. I don't have a typical Life Path and I certainly couldn't cope with it, even if I'd have had a serious opportunity to do Normal. In fact, I'm not sure what "normal" is anymore. Perhaps there are some "normal" people out there...I bet they don't blog.

Anyway, after having spent the majority of my day writing, I'm going to blitz my soup and see if anyone wants to share. I don't intend to get dressed tomorrow, therefore, if you don't like onesies, don't call round!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Notes from the mid-Life Crisis

These are just a few of the thoughts I've had recently, in no particular order, because that's pretty much the way I think...

  • I like living in the country. I like the silence and the darkness.
  • It's funny, but apart from the deer, I see exactly the same species here, as I saw at home. I prefer being here.
  • I'm not enjoying the commute. 
  • I try to leave the house at 7.30. I am usually not successful. 
  • If I leave 5 minutes late, it adds another 15 minutes to my journey. If I leave at 8 am, I still arrive at work at 9 am. Go figure.
  • My intention is to have that extra half an hour in bed tomorrow.
  • It's been a challenge to figure out how to continue to shop cheaply. The nearest big shop is a Co-op, which adds at least another £10.00 to my weekly shop. 
  • Calling into Lidl, my discount supermarket of choice, after work requires a lot of will power. I'm usually so knackered after my working day.
  • However, if I do that, the traffic has a chance to clear a bit. 

  • I called round the flat. I picked up a few bits. Locked up and left.
  • I don't miss it.
  • I don't regret leaving there.
  • Technically, I'm living in a bungalow.
  • That's like living in a flat on the ground. But with lots more space than I had before.
  • I definitely like it. I didn't think I would like living in a bungalow. But I do. 
  • I'm beginning to think past my year here. Wondering where I'd like to go next. 
  • I'm not sure I'll be ready to move back into Norwich. 
  • However, as I don't know what I'll be feeling like in 11 months time, I'm keeping an open mind about things. 
  • It's good to have options. 

  • I ran the other day. 
  • It was so good to move again.
  • My back has hated me since. It seems I have to work on building up the strength in my muscles before I can go back to running.
  • I look like a bright lemon knob when I run.
  • Don't care. I don't want to be flattened running on country roads.
  • Besides, it's not like I look wonderful when I run anyway.
  • I have started on my 5-a-day diet again. Once I've got that sorted, I'll start upping it. My aim is for 9-a-day. You know I like a challenge.
  • I am also trying to cut down sugar.
  • I had an iced donut at work today. It tasted magnificent, but it left me feeling very weird for hours after. 
  • Fatigue is still dogging my heels. 
  • This weekend, I am starting my fitness routines again.
  • My aim is to start off very gently and build up to my previous levels.
  • I also want to get into meditating regularly. I'm still very sporadic with my meditation practice.
I took a quiz in The Guardian this week. It turns out that I'm neither happy, nor unhappy. Neutral, describes my results. I felt that was pretty accurate. I've lost that awful trapped/claustrophobic feeling. I wake up every morning and feel blessed. I am truly grateful for the life I lead. I've been very lucky. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Some thoughts about living in the country

Here are just a few thoughts I've had over the last couple of weeks living in the country:
  • I really like it, even though I'm not country-folk tough
  • I really like it, even if it means I have to leave the house bang on 7.40 to get to work at 8.30
  • If I am even just 5 mins later than that, the 45 minute commute, turns into an hour + (I shit you not)
  • Poringland is the Hotel California of Norfolk villages. You can drive through, but you can never leave. I didn't leave quick enough one morning, I sat for half an hour creeping through this small village
  • Plumbers are popular men around here. The soonest I could get a plumber was four weeks from my call, i.e. middle of November
  • I ended up calling a large company to sort out the boiler issue and my Norwich plumber for the rest
  • People are really friendly, everyone really does know everyone else
  • It's kind of weird, kind of comforting
  • I've seen a lot of wildlife since being here:

  • Dave noticed this little guy munching his way through the hedge. He took no notice of us tapping the windows or anything
  • He is a muntjack, an import from China that escaped. They are about the size of a large dog or a medium sized goat
  • I've never seen one this close before
  • I've seen several pheasants, jays, magpies, crows, pigeons, deer and lots of cows
  • There's a diary up the road

  • This is the milk they sell and that I have taken to drinking

  • These are the cows the milk I drink came from. Aren't they gorgeous? They were so curious when they saw us standing by the gate
  • I am ridiculously excited by the fact that I've seen the beasts my food comes from and the money I put into the machine to get the milk, goes straight to the farmer
  • The farmer, who I've met and who makes an awesome brie (don't know if it can be called a brie if it's made on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, but you get the picture)

  • I used my workout area for the first time today. It's perfect. For the first time I've got enough space to move in and I can keep all my stuff out
  • I watch my exercise DVDs on my laptop to remind me what to do
  • It was really hard going
  • I still feel really tired
  • I still feel really happy I moved here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Moving on up!

It is done. I have moved. Or rather, it would be more true to say, I have been moved. Frankly, from here on in, that's the only way I'm going to move, unless everything fits into the back of my car. The most stressful thing about the entire experience of moving, was waiting for the removal men. 

I got most of my boxes unpacked the weekend after the move. It has very quickly gone from The Cottage to feeling like home. The rooms are large and airy, with all our things in them, it's so comfy and cosy. I love opening the curtains in the morning. I never know what I'll see. Granted on the days I work in Norwich, I don't see very much at all because it's dark. But this morning there were two hen pheasants perched on my fence looking a bit disgruntled at my interrupting their chat. 

Living out in the Sticks, there's a lot to get used to. The nearest shop is over a mile away. I will have to go even further afield for my larger weekly shops. I've been told there is a Morrisons and Tescos in Beccles, which isn't that far from here. I'm going to have to do a bit of research to see if I can get my hair, nails and eyebrow seen to locally, rather than have to troop up to Norwich just for that. 

The most challenging thing was lack of internet. I'm not bothered about television and haven't missed that at all. No Facebook? OMG! How did I cope?

Actually, the break from my online life was good for me as well. It made me re-think my morning routine and I realised how much time I spent on social media, when I started being far more productive round the house. Nevertheless, I really missed it.

Yesterday, I came home to find my new kit waiting here for me. I expected it to be incredibly complicated to set up. Hell no. The most complicated part of the whole process has been figuring out the best place to put the router. Happily, the xbox can connect wirelessly, so no more cable trailing across the floor and it's not like I'm gaming online so I need to eek out every extra millibyte of speed. 

This morning, I unpacked four more boxes and set up my study. That makes me especially happy, I have to say. I've got the last three boxes of books to go, but they can wait until tomorrow. Right now, I'm enjoying sitting at my desk, staring at the hedge laden with rose-hips and the field beyond it. I may indulge in an afternoon nap. 

That's the one thing I haven't enjoyed about the experience - the weariness. I'm bone tired. I've got dark marks under my eyes and I've got that lovely grey tinge to my complexion at the moment. I am just so tired. Having said that, I'm sleeping better. And as the days pass and I enjoy the routine at work and come back to my new abode, I feel lighter. Much lighter.

I'm so glad I did this. It was such a good thing to do. I'm so incredibly lucky to have the friendship and support from Z, who's been such a star. Boy came home last weekend. He seems far more comfortable here. He couldn't wait to take Z's dog out for a walk and explore. I'm really looking forward to him coming home for the festive season. It's going to be so much fun. 

All in all, I'm doing okay. Less strung out, chilling out more. In fact...I think it's time for a quick nap...

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Existential Angst/Mid-life Crisis

Yes, it's true. I am having a mid-life crisis. I have come to hard realisation of two important things:

1. Life is Meaningless. We are born, we are taxed and then we die. Therefore, the only meaning in Life is that which we create.
2. While I every major thing I have every wanted has been denied to me, I have actually had a pretty awesome time considering.

These two truths along with some other things, have meant that since August I've been wrestling with both the Big and the Little Pictures.

The flat where I thought I'd die in, over the last 8 weeks became my prison. I hate being here, I can't abide being in Norwich anymore. I've lived here since 1996. In fact, I'm moving out pretty much 18 years to the day. I am having a Don McLean moment.

This midlife crises leaves no relationship, no belief or activity unquestioned. This process hasn't even come close to finishing yet. I'd go so far as to say, I've only just begun.

Tomorrow, I move. I am being packed up and I am running away to the country. I've been offered sanctuary by the most lovely Z. It's only for as long as it takes her to sort through her own stuff and then I'll have to move again. Where to after, I can't say. I can't say, because I don't know. I honestly don't know.

To deal with the first issue. What is the meaning I want to create in my Life? 

I'm going to do an Introduction to Counselling course in the New Year and after that, I will have more options. Or not.

I've started a course at the Norwich Buddhist Centre. I haven't been a pagan magical practitioner for a good few years now. Not because I don't believe magic doesn't work, but because I believe it does. I no longer believe I have any answers to Life's dilemmas/questions. I would rather take each step as it comes and trust the outcome is as it needs to be. 

Which kind of leads on to #2. The times I didn't get what I so very dearly wanted and craved were hard. Really hard. But I learnt some very valuable lessons. And pretty much, without exception, although I wanted a different outcome, in hindsight it was such a good thing. Relationships that I wanted to succeed and failed spectacularly, even though I tried so hard - they would have destroyed my soul. Work situations that would have crushed me in the long term, despite the excellent potential for enormous salaries and career progress.

The little I've learnt about Buddhism matches up to my experiences so far. I will never be Christian again and I am no longer a magical practitioner, but my belief in spirituality remains unshaken. I've had too many weird things happen to me, to believe otherwise. 

But I digress; tomorrow I move.

Tomorrow, I pack up and leave the flat where I've lived on and off over 16 years. It was supposed to be our haven and it hasn't been. It's not big enough for me to live in the way I need to. 

I've been laughing with friends today about the fact that in my 20s I did a BA in Development Studies, in my 30s I did a BA in Creative Writing, now in my 40s I'm looking for more learning. I think I will do a counselling course, though what flavour, I don't know yet. Or indeed, I might do something completely different. Who knows? If someone up there does, they haven't made me privy to that info. 

In a couple of weeks, Boy is coming home for the weekend. He's going to hold my hand as I have my first tattoo done to mark the occasion. I'm really looking forward to it.

Ultimately, I could have continued to pretend that everything was alright. I'm sure I could have had a stab at ignoring how I feel. Instead, I've decided to embrace this. Whatever "this" turns out to be. Wherever "this" takes me, at least I know I will have stood up and met the challenge head on.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Fond Farewell to the Pink, Fluffy, Dressing Gown

Ladies and Gentlemen it is the end of an era. After much thought and a little bit of sadness, I have decided to retire the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown.
Drinking Coffee in the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown circa 2007

For many years, the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown has meant hours spent drinking coffee, indulging myself on social media, post-midday breakfasts, smoking outside in the middle of the night, recovering from the night before. The Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown has become synonymous with idleness and time wasting. I remember ardently defending my right to be dressed only thus at 2 pm. The PFDG became a phenomena, an institutions. Had I been canny it could have had its own twitter feed and Facebook page. 

As Bob sang, times they are a changin'.

In the PFDG last year

I put the PFDG on a couple of days ago and it felt wrong. I was uncomfortable wearing it. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have outgrown it. I am no longer that lazy, layabout the PFDG used to know and love. I no longer while away my days, planning what to, eventually getting dressed and then perhaps doing something. 

In the PDFG earlier this year

My days now have two 5.45s in them. I actually have an active gym membership. I am working really hard to be strong and fit enough so I can go running and lift weights again. When I glance to my right, I've got a dead cup of green tea hanging out with my partially finished fruit, veg and protein smoothie. 

It's Sunday morning and I've already unpacked the dishwasher, put a load of laundry on, got myself clean, fed and out the house to get some house stuff. I would have left the house before 12 o'clock, but it was absolutely pissing it down outside and I really didn't need my new lampshades that much.

So raise your glasses and join me in wishing the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown well. Thanks for the memories. It was fun while it lasted.