Friday, 1 April 2011

Letting Go is hard to do...

While in London, I've spent a few days and evenings with a younger friend who is struggling with the loss of a significant relationship alongside a tough time at work and undertaking an intense therapeutic journey. I've been struck by how exhausting it all is - and how much of that minute self examination I no longer do.

It's not that I think it's not important. It's just so tiring maintaining such a high level of closely monitored misery - surely letting some of it slide wouldn't hurt?

Do what you wanna do... Go where you wanna go...
I remember years ago telling another, also younger friend, that I never did anything I didn't want to do - and it sparked the most catastrophic row I've ever had in any friendship. In fact it ended it, such was the fury and passion of my friend who was outraged at what he saw as my arrogance and selfishness.

If I'm honest the statement wasn't entirely true, but back then, once committed to a position I would argue it fiercely - like Crane Dog once said 'Form an opinion quickly and stick to it!'. So I started by arguing a point I didn't fully live by - but the more entrenched I became - the more sense I was making to myself.

By the time our argument was done, so was our friendship, but as hard won as the insight was, I remain grateful for it. I learnt something important about myself and my boundaries. In my 30s and early 40s I used a lot of trickery, deception and skullduggery to protect my time and I felt guilty about it too - not much but some. I avoided family gatherings, special birthday parties, friends with problems, calls at inconvenient times, shopping, excercise and even work on the odd occasion. (Oh bite me - you've done it too).

Fibbing is an artform
Now I'm much more relaxed about being up-front with my decline and if the person I'm turning down is too fragile, insistent or distant a pal to take a truthful 'no ta' for an answer then I'm completely happy to fib. Yup you got that right. Fibbety fib fib fib...

I've been described as a 'truth missile' in the past but that's just a perception - the truth is, it really  is worth letting go of some of the stuff that doesn't matter all that much - and focus on what really does and you need to practice being dilligent about it too.

Stop doing what you keep doing
Stop doing things you don't want to do, it wastes so much time. You waste time thinking about it too much, then you squander some more doing it and resenting it, then  how about dropping some on feeling guilty and or cross and no doubt you'll waste yours and someone elses time talking about how much you don't/didn't want to do it. When if you'd just said no - and let it go.

You'd be doing something worth the thinking and the doing and the sharing.
Hooray for you!

So make a list of all the things you plan to do that you don't want to do this week.


Miraculously you now have some time to do something you do want to do. Paint, read, clean out a cupboard, go see a friend, walk the hills, take a singing lesson, maybe just stare out of the window for an hour - it doesn't matter, as long as it is something you really want to do.

Oh and if you don't want to be sitting around snotting up hankies and feeling sorry for yourself - then that's the perfect time to stop it and go and do something else.

But if you do...want to spend some more miserable time feeling blue, then do it and fuck it and for heaven sake don't call me about it because I er... I've lost my phone, yes that's it! - terrible thing, really inconvenient...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Time is a strict mistress ...

For the last few weeks I have been schlepping up to London on the coach, bundling along the motorway, lost in between the pages of a posh mag wondering if at just 5ft 4in I could really get away with polka dot palazzo pants and clashy, mismatchy florals - or exhausting the tiny weeny battery capacity of my 'not so blinking smart' smart phone while I try to tweet funny, invariably missing and sounding carpy or cross.

I could use the time to write, but I don't. I berate myself with thoughts of the uber talented Adele who by 21 has now eclipsed the achievments of Madgeonner. A feat I'll bet, she didn't manage by sitting at home craving chocolate and twiddling the knobs on her washing machine.

I treat myself unfairly by over committing to everything. I even over commit by buying too many books in the charity shop. Now I've got piles of them - random titles from a clutch of old Nick Hornby novels to a mustard yellow copy of  Harold S. Kushner's on Conquering Fear - sub titled 'Living Boldly in an Uncertain World'.

We're justified and we're ancient ...
Seems to me when you get to a certain age, it's easy to overschedule - just to feel justified. By the time you've finished your full beauty routine, coiffed your hair, smoothed on your ginger and twig body cream to avoid cellulumps and done a few early morning pilates stretches to wake up the system - it's getting late and time's a ticking past the optimum breakfast opportunity.

Now you have to skip the full 'all over' dowing session, and go straight to a type-skype with Australia. Friends are important. I'm always saying that. Why am I always saying that? Well because they are. Hmm they are, but the bugger of it is that good friendships, real genuine, heartfelt - 'there for you always, you know that' friendships - well they take a lot of time. Don't they?

Then there's time for me, time to think, time for work, time for chores, time to pop out to get some food for himself, so he doesn't starve while I am taking time to go up to London to spend more time working in a cupboard. Time for more stretching so my back doesn't bloody give out on the bus up to London. Just enough time to write this before it's time to go...

Time can be folded apparently - not in my house it can't. No-one picks it up off the floor, let alone folds it up and puts it away. Time wouldn't stand a chance at number 44. Nope. Time is in an untidy pile under the bed of a grumpy teen.

And even as I type this as fast as I can, so I won't be late for the bus - that track from Ghost is playing out on the radio - Unchained Melody and time seems to be mocking me. Really Time? What are you telling me? That my face will wrinkle with or without jolly expensive creams or the tender touch of a facialist. That my back twinges are because I'm bloody old - so there! Oh lord as Mr Righteous hits those high notes I'm beginning to realise - I am Time's pathetic plaything.

So if I can't beat Time - I plan to stop wasting it ...
  • no more anti wrinkle anything | I accept
  • up when I'm awake, to bed when I'm sleepy | I accept
  • eat when I'm hungry | I accept
  • shop online always unless I feel like it | I accept
  • turn off my phone | I accept
  • drink coffee slowly with relish | I accept