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. ūüėČ

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.




The ‘D’ Word

Depression.   It is a terrible affliction.  Some suffer it as a one off, perhaps after a traumatic life event, or series of events; others return to it time and again; seemingly with just a simple shift in their chemical balance a person can be thrown to the floor, emotionally speaking.  Whatever the cause, it is debilitating, soul destroying and a right royal pain in the arse.

I have more than known my fair share of low moods. I have never seen a Doctor about it (I am anti GPs, on the whole, and even more anti-pills) so I have no formal diagnosis of depression, I refuse to acknowledge it as such.¬† I have never had a clinical depression, whereby I am physically unable to remove myself from bed, let alone the house.¬† Despite any amount of lows/depressions, I have never let it stop me from doing day to day activities; I have worked through a broken heart, carried on when loved ones died; but that’s what should happen isn’t it?¬† Life goes on, despite the tears and absence of joy or any facial expression remotely resembling a smile.¬† You fight.

Despite considering myself a strong woman, there is only so much¬†I can take before cracks appear.¬† These weaknesses, these cracks, let the inner light escape so that all that is left on the inside is darkness; and inner darkness is extremely scary.¬† It’s like being in a moonless field at night, you walk but you see nothing; no ground, no sky, no horizon.¬† Eyes wide open, but no light to even depict a shape.¬† The emotions accompanying this metaphoric visual loss are equally as eviscerating; loneliness, sadness, worthlessness, pointlessness, eventually culminating in a desperate longing for it to all be over with.

Life is horrific enough; there is more than enough tragedy in the world, more than enough untimely deaths; so to feel like you don’t want to go on living seems an inordinate shame.¬† Why do negative life events make some¬†turn to thoughts of disappearing off this mortal coil, while others to just a momentary stop-gap of tears before dusting off and carrying on?¬† It’s a difference that¬†I find fascinating.¬† Ultimately, we are all worth so much more than to fall foul of despair.¬† It is that feeling in itself that is pointless, not the reasons that led us there.

I made a conscious decision, a few years ago, to not¬†be dogged by my own negativity and insecurities of old.¬† I had had enough of sobbing with regard to my own self perpetuated inadequacies and ‘oh the injustice of it all;’ vowing to¬†invite positivity into my life, and that’s precisely what I did.¬† The world turns regardless, so why continue to waste precious time living a half life?¬† And truly, from a point of desperation (a night I remember vividly) I changed my outlook on life.¬† Until recently.

It took a failed relationship to put me back in that dark place.  From a decision to leave, which I believed to be for the best at the time, my world slowly cracked and collapsed under the weight of every inadequacy I could pertain to my existence; the job I hate; the weight I carry; the love I give; the things I seem to have to sacrifice constantly; the isolation my life choices have brought.  Before I knew it, all sense of rationality had gone, my light snuffed out yet again.  Climbing up the walls erected around you to find clarity on the surface of life is an enormous challenge, especially if it is made a continuous task.  It is exhausting, actually.

Despite all this intense negativity, I wouldn’t change the way I have been.¬† I would never choose to have not experienced such crippling, illogical lows because there is so much positivity to be gained from them.¬† When you are so used to the¬†idea of your own mortality, you have far less to fear.¬† It makes you care more for what is important in life.¬† It gives you an understanding that people come and go and that is okay.¬† More importantly than anything it gives you a greater appreciation of the good times, when they come.

Depression seems a frustrating waste of one’s time, but to overcome it, even if having to overcome it is a regular occurrence in your life, makes you far stronger and a far better person than you were before it.¬† When it comes, ride it out, claw your way through it.¬† Life will never be the same, you will never be the same……consider yourself upgraded. xx