Charmed by an Ole Charmer

I sat on the Cleveleys prom this afternoon. It was a chilly, but sunny, clear skied afternoon. As I only have a few more days left of being up here I was making the most of the seaside serenity.

A pensioner came and sat beside me striking up a conversation. From asking her, “Have you lived in Cleveleys long?” I learned that her name is May and she is 96 years old; partially sighted, blind in one eye since birth. Despite her years she is very spritely and walks daily, weather permitting; often the long, 4.5mile, walk from Cleveleys to Blackpool, which I often do too; and she sequence dances twice a week. She had moved to Cleveleys in 1974 from Manchester; her first husband died from cancer, just before he was to turn 50. Ten years later she started seeing another chap, whom she married some four years later. Seven years after they moved to Cleveleys, having bought a bungalow together, he too died of cancer. This was now 1981. She’s been on her own ever since, although she has a large family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She lost out on two pensions from the quick and premature deaths of her husbands, such were the circumstances those days; and she nursed her first husband at home for three weeks, through his violently painful and agonising death. They had just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary that year. Although both losses must have been so heartbreakingly sad for her, she said, “I have been lucky. I was blessed with two good husbands.” Sitting with her, listening to her reminisce, agreeing that our lives are mapped out from the moment we are born; hearing the absence of any bitterness or need to grumble despite the incredible emotional and financial struggles she has had, was very humbling.

It is something that I have been thinking about over the last few weeks. I have always said I know how lucky I am, but in truth, I don’t really think I do. It took a recent text from my ex, reminding me of how lucky I am, that struck a cord. Maybe because in comparison to her own life I am indeed lucky. The most I have suffered in my years are from depression or from having my heart broken. I have been in considerable debt in my time, but that was my own doing and a situation I have since rectified. For the most part I think I have been in a constant state of disappointment in life, since my teen years, and this I can only attribute to ridiculous levels of expectation; not only from life, but from myself. My standards are high. I expect far too much from myself and I expect life to provide me with what I feel I deserve. So when I don’t achieve a goal, or life doesn’t send me where I want to be……I get disappointed….and so the downward spiral would begin.

What a fool am I. And it’s taken me 36 years to work that out. Mind you, I was always a late bloomer. 😉

When someone says to you, ‘Count your blessings,’ don’t just hear the words being spoken. Actually listen and take it on board. We should all count our blessings. If life has a plan for us, then we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride; stress less about the things of which we cannot control and only concern ourselves with the things that we can. Positive reinforcements are out there in abundance, but we only fleetingly acknowledge them.

It’s time for me to expect nothing of myself, or of my life and just bloody live it! Because, actually I have been living a charmed life, I just couldn’t see it. At least I’m still young enough for that to have an effect on the rest of my years.

May and I wished eachother a happy new year, as I do to you now. Enjoy your evening; and as of this moment, if you have ever been as guilty as I for placing too much importance on the things you don’t have in your life, concern yourself not with what you feel is lacking and concentrate more on what you do have. That which is meant for you, will come.




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