Dumb and Dumber

In my early twenties, I found myself ‘between jobs’ due to a retrenchment. A friend of mine begged me to step in and assist her husband for a few months before applying elsewhere. He had just started a small company in the telecommunication industry, and office work and administration was not either of their strong suits. So I agreed to help out.

In the office was my friend’s husband – late forties; a guy in his late twenties who was our ‘technical wizard’; and two young men showed up to try their hands at sales. They were fresh out of high school, and overly enthusiastic with far too much energy, ha ha! I was only four years older than them… but it felt like a lifetime!
Our tech wizard affectionately called them ‘Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumb-er’!
And whenever the two of them called me, ‘Mommy Meggie’, I’d reply, ”yes, yes, Laurel and Hardy, I care.”
(I’ll name them Jason and Dave for the purposes of this blog post.)

They really did look like Laurel and Hardy!

Photo credit : laurelthemoviewaffler.com

I chose this picture, because even the driving scenario was the same ๐Ÿ˜›

Once there was successful implementation of procedures, I moved on from the job and took another. But we all stayed in touch, and all still were, until circumstances changed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Jason and Dave were actually part of a trio. They talked incessantly about a guy named Thomas. And even though I’d see the other two regularly (we’d meet for lunch, or go out dancing – and I was always only around for my nurturing… their sober driver, and to take care of them when they’d overdone it ๐Ÿ˜› ) I only met number three (Thomas) in 2012. The day I met him, I felt like I already knew him.
Unfortunately, I stopped ‘socialising’ with this trio in 2013. We were just on completely different paths. Jason and I still spoke regularly on the phone though – and he’d often tease that ‘one day when he grew up, he would marry me because I was marriage material’. I’d always laugh and say, ”why on earth would I want to marry you?” and then we would both laugh, because – again – despite the small age gap, I was just plain OLD in comparison!

I don’t know why, but in the year 2015, everything changed as far as staying in touch went. For all of us. Jason and Thomas were housemates, and worked together – but Dave had started moving in a different circle, started his own business – and we were all just ‘busy’.
Before we knew it, the year had almost passed us all by.
And then I got the news. Jason had driven to a ‘famous bridge’ a few hours away, and ended his life. I was shattered.
(Later, I heard the ‘why’/ circumstances – it sounds strange to say, but it helped ‘knowing’.)

On this past Easter weekend, I got another message that almost broke my heart. Dave also took his own life – age 40. I instantly reached out to Thomas – the last one of their trio – because I knew he would not be okay.
A lengthy phone call followed – brokenness, heartache and plenty of tears, from both of us.

Initially, I planned on blogging all this. Then I changed my mind.
But a couple of days ago, I saw an image on Facebook, which I will share at the end of this post, and it was almost as if I was physically nudged to just ‘type the darn post already’!

In that lengthy conversation, something that Thomas kept repeating, every time his voice broke and I could hear he was crying, was this : I’m sorry, Meg. I know I’m supposed to be a man and be strong. But how? I am just so broken!

As I mulled that repeated statement over in my head, I got really cross and upset. I had conversations with my adult son and teenage daughter about it. I also spoke to a couple of other men that I encountered that day about it.
The general reply was this (and this is GENERAL… I am not saying that everyone thinks this way or is this way, so this is in no way a personal attack on ‘every person in society’) :

”Men are expected to be the strong ones, and the definition of that strength seems to be that they are not allowed to feel or have emotion, like women. Crying is a definite no. Being sensitive is also a no. Unless you get permission from ‘your woman’ to be that way. If a man is not hard to the core, he’d better be ready to apologise for failing. And heaven help him if he admits to having mental health issues!”

Well, good grief, ”society”!

I KNOW I am not alone in the saying this…. here’s the image from Facebook….

MEN! YOU ARE LOVED TOO! YOU ARE WORTHY! YOU ARE ALSO STRONG WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE WITH YOUR FEELINGS!

And don’t listen to the naysayers, please!
Find the people who will cry with you, and still appreciate the value within you! โค

*insert Mel Brooks ”Robin Hood : Men In Tights” ๐Ÿ˜‰ musical clip about manly men ๐Ÿ˜› * (To make you smile after a rather heavy post!)

(I probably haven’t done this topic justice… but, simply put, the above is just processing how I feel in an uncomplicated way.)

How I miss her!

Below is an extract of a blog post I wrote a little over two years ago. I will explain a little later why it’s fitting for me to share it today.

”Today, exactly two years ago, I got the news that you had succumbed to the cancer that ravaged your body and you were gone. You were in your early forties. And a part of me broke in a way that nothing has ever broken before.

I type this, and I canโ€™t stop the tears. I have to stop typing every now and then, because my vision is blurred and my nose needs blowing. How is it, that after two years, I can be reduced to this much pain and heartache for a friend?

I found the small tribute I wrote to you that day :

RIP, beautiful Tessie bear. You taught me SO much about grace, peace and unconditional loveโ€ฆnot just during this difficult journey, but every day in the 25 years I knew you. You loved me so much, despite me being me when it was tough for others to โ€˜seeโ€™. You believed in me in a way no one ever did, and ever has since youโ€™ve been gone. Thatโ€™s a gift more precious than any other. So many wonderful memories, so much love and laughter. Iโ€™ll see you again one day, when weโ€™re walking all the dogs in heaven. Till then, precious soul. Love you always, your Meggie.

I didnโ€™t see you every day. We didnโ€™t talk every day. We didnโ€™t need to.

The amount of โ€˜little thingsโ€™ moments of happiness we shared could fill more than 500 pages. Because we were strange like that.
And the tragedies and difficulties, another 500, Iโ€™m sure.

I remember the time we were mistaken for a couple. We laughed about that for years afterwards. Nothing could be further from the truth with regards to our romantic interests and sexuality.
But if I could have chosen a โ€˜partnerโ€™, without sex and romance, to live the rest of my life out with, I would have chosen you.

You were the first person I ever saw who brewed actual tea and used a strainer to pour us each a cup. (My mother used a teapot all the years, but with teabags.)
I still canโ€™t get my veggie and feta stir fry to taste like yours did. I have followed your recipe exactlyโ€ฆ maybe it truly was you that made the difference.
I am still not persuaded that pink is my colour, just because it was yours ๐Ÿ˜› But I wear those ridiculous pink pyjamas you forced me to buy with pride and a smile as often as I can. (Youโ€™ll be please to know that I bought a pale pink top last year in the weakness of missing you, and made a pink beaded necklace to match it. My wardrobe is no longer all black. I hope youโ€™re happy ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
I still donโ€™t like spending hours on the beach like you did, but every year you made me spend the morning there for your birthday celebration โ€“ breakfast on the beach โ€“ and Iโ€™d go, in my jeans, ha ha ha! I went last year on your birthday โ€“ yes, in my jeans. This year, the beaches are closed ๐Ÿ˜ฅ so I couldnโ€™t go. But because I was outside in my own backyard with my breakfast, celebrating you, you finally got me in a pair of shorts! ๐Ÿ˜‰
The weather outside today is windy and overcast โ€“ youโ€™d think itโ€™s miserable, and I can picture your horrified expression when I tell you once again how much I love it. You always loved the sunshine and heat. Today, it seems even the sun has disappeared in itโ€™s longing for you.
I remember fondly the lengthy visits where no words were exchanged, other than the occasional offer of something to drink, as we sat in the same room, engrossed in the books we were reading.

Coleske; most books (although mostly crime thriller), Midsomer Murders, Chinese food โ€“ as much as possible on our budgets); freshly brewed tea on the veranda in the sunshine; Pharaoh and Age of Empires computer games โ€“ oh my gosh, and the time you got my son addicted to Mall Tycoon!; Camembert, Brie and Cranberry Cheese with crackers as a treat; all the scarves I knitted that we shared; love and devotion to dogs; movie nights with ice cream and popcorn and biltong and cheese, whatever we could afford as much as we could afford โ€“ these are, but a few, of OUR favourite things. (How many times did we watch The Sound of Music together, anyway??!!)

I celebrate you and everything you are to me, and the person you were. There are a lot of smiles and laughter in my memories and I promise I still smile and laugh when I think of you. I know youโ€™d be upset to find me crying, but I canโ€™t help feeling this sad. Youโ€™d understand though. And youโ€™d love me anyway.

To say that I miss you is not adequate.
Thank you for the memories.
I love you always and forever, my Tessie Bear.
Your Meggie

Why do I think this share is fitting for today?
On this day, four years ago, I said my final goodbye to the amazing lady I wrote about above.
I have lost far too many people in the last few years, but none impacted me like Therese did (I called her my Tessie bear, or Tess).
When I think of those I have lost, I feel sad.
Every time, to this day, when I think of the loss of Tess, I don’t just feel sad. It makes me cry all over again.

Here’s what is incredibly weird for me…

My friend was gentle, kind, compassionate. She was non-judgemental in every way. She accepted everyone as they were, without expecting them to be how she wanted them to be. Even in the most dire circumstances she held onto a hope that seemed completely and utterly ridiculous at the time. She was always excessively grateful, even for the smallest of things. She had a warmth about her that drew people to her. She truly connected – even on the internet.
The incredibly weird part for me is that all of the above seems to have intensified within me in the last three years! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
(Again, I am probably a psychologists worst nightmare ๐Ÿ˜› )

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I find myself, every. single. day, pausing and thinking, ”I wonder what Tess would have done/said/thought”. And most times, as I go about my day, I can hear what I heard for so many years when she was alive, ”I’m so proud of you, Meggie.”
It’s not about mimicking her, or actually wanting to be her. It’s about appreciating the abundance of value she brought to life, and striving to continue to shine her light, in my own unique way.

When I first met her, at the age of 14 (ah, youth!), I was so in awe of her, ha ha ha! I remember saying to her, ”You are so cool! I hope I’m like you when I grow up!” (She was already 18/19 at the time – I don’t remember! Age is just a number ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

And I can still only hope that I will continue to adopt her amazingly positive attributes, and live a life that would have made her proud. The funniest part? She was always proud of me, just for being me!

If she could read this right now, she’d probably phone me and say, ”Hello, my Meggie. Great blog post! But you still haven’t written that damn book I said you must write!” ๐Ÿ˜›

Today I will make myself veggie stirfry, with just a sprinkling of feta, while Coleske plays in the background. And tonight I will watch Midsomer Murders in my ridiculous pink pyjamas – but with no snacks, because I have to watch my cholesterol!

Cherish the special friends in your life who impact you in the best ways, my blogging friends. Time is far too short.
Thank you for reading, and for being here โค

A bicycle and a boat

Picture it: a little girl with freckles on her face, her hair in pigtails sporting pink bows (ugh! ๐Ÿ˜› ), pedalling as fast as her little legs will allow along a long straight, on her red BMX bicycle.
Now picture the same little girl, only five years later. Her hair loose in the wind as she ‘tears up the tar’, racing against the two boys who are along for her afternoon bicycle outing.

As I am sure you have guessed, the little girl was me. When I was a child, it was still safe for us to ride our bicycles in the street. And we took advantage of every opportunity to do so! Ha ha!
In the area I grew up, we were a crew of six, when we could all be together. Four boys, two girls. I still remember every side road, every shortcut, and every little bump in the road.

I also remember the tree at the bottom of a small hill when I was nine years old. ๐Ÿ˜›

It was a warm Saturday afternoon, but a gentle, cool breeze prevented it from being too uncomfortable. I had waited out the required 45 minutes after lunch, set by my mother, and had just surfaced from an underwater length of the pool, when another freckled face appeared before me, giving me such a fright. Brown eyes laughed at me as I clutched my little chest, and my friend, Brian, asked, ”Wanna go for a ride?”

We cycled to two other ‘crew members’ houses, but neither one was home. We went past the old couple sitting on their verandah having their tea, but we didn’t stop to chat that day, just waved at them and cruised by ๐Ÿ˜‰ We rode to the park (in those days they still existed and were fully functional, and they were safe too) and see-sawed, had a swinging competition, and ended with trying to see how fast we could make the roundabout go! A few sips of water, and a few biscuits from Brian’s backpack, and we were on the road again, this time home to my place for a quick swim before Brian cycled home to his own house.

We got to the junction of the road with the small hill, and Brian stopped. I stopped next to him, and grinned. I waited as he rode a little further, then turned. Perched on his bicycle, he rubbed his hands together, and then gripped his handlebars tightly. Then his legs pedalled furiously and I whooped as he made it around the bend at the bottom of the hill, skidding to a stop. I clapped my hands in delight, and he beckoned to me that it was my turn.

There’s very little fear in youth, ha ha! I repeated his process. And I have no idea how… but I got a speed wobble (technical term : a quick oscillation of primarily just the steerable wheel of a vehicle). I ended up skidding and falling in a most ungraceful manner, landing against the big tree at the bottom – no bend for me. Brian dropped his bicycle and came running, concern on his face. I looked down at my bloody knee, and the scrapes and blood on my forearm, and had no reaction. Brian lifted me off the ground, and I tested my legs and the mobility in my arms. Then I dusted myself off, and asked him, ”Oh man! Did you see that?” We both burst out laughing. And then we pushed our bicycles back up the hill, and up the road to my house. We didn’t get to swim – my mother was furious, ha ha!

Speed wobbles happen. And so do ’emotional wobbles’.

Life happens, and sometimes there’s that overwhelming moment when it has all happened at once, and it’s all been rather negative, and it causes a bit of a wobbly in our emotions. Not a full on crash… but more of a ‘stop and breathe, think, retreat for a bit’…. and I like to add, ”and if you can find a steady supply of chocolate, it helps!”
Some emotional wobble’s can even leave us feeling like we’re bleeding. Those are the worst kind. Those moments are the ones where it’s important to have someone to step in and lift you off the ground – wait while you dust yourself off, and then remind you what it is to laugh!
Reality is though that sometimes there isn’t anyone to help you get up. And then these next two things are very important to remember :

It is not only okay to have that wobble… it is also okay if you take some time to recover, in whatever way you need to. For some, it is escape into a book or a few movies that distract them from their reality; for others, it might be a long lunch with a group of uplifting friends, where you all ‘don’t talk about it‘, but find laughter in something entirely different.
This is not about ‘ignoring it and maybe it will go away’. It’s just about building strength emotionally so that you can try and deal with it when you’re not feeling so wobbly. (Well, that’s what it is like for me, anyway.)
The other thing to remember is that nothing is permanent… not even the seemingly never-ending issues you might be facing. ”The only thing constant is change”.
Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel may well be another train coming BUT who knows what will come after? ๐Ÿ˜‰

You guessed it! I had a rather serious wobbly the other day, ha ha! I retreated, to try and balance my emotions (by reading a book about black ops specialists and assassins, ha ha ha!). Interestingly enough, it reminded me that life really does seem to be full of plot twists – but experience has shown me that they are not always bad. There cannot be magnificent views from stunning mountain tops, without there also being valleys – some for just plodding along; some with rough terrain and very little sunshine. But if we stop in our tracks in the valley, how will we see the view from the mountain? And how will we get to the next mountain top, which may have an even better view than the one that preceded it?

I’ll close with this image I saw on Facebook :

As I look at the world as a whole, I can see that we’re in one huge storm – but the repercussions differ from country to country.
As do our boats. I found myself so very grateful for my canoe! Yes, sometimes my soul may feel like it’s drowning… but I have a canoe! I get to feel the storms differently to those who have neither a canoe nor a yacht!
Some days it feels like I am stuck at the train station, waiting for my ship to come in ๐Ÿ˜›
BUT AT LEAST I HAVE A CANOE!
It is important for me (and maybe you) to remember that some people don’t even have that! And maybe there isn’t space in my canoe… but I sure can reach out a hand of kindness and clutch theirs, and try and help them stay afloat!

I hope you all have a great week ahead! Thank you for reading!
Meg โค

Memorable Friends

I don’t remember when Facebook introduced the ”Memories” / ”on this day” page. Google says it was in 2015.
What I DO remember is that there were a lot of memes thereafter, basically complaining about it and mostly because people ‘didn’t want to be reminded’.

I’d love to be able to tell you that my memories of my life as a whole are all amazing and wonderful. But I can’t. I have some really bad memories. (And as I am getting older, I seem to just have a bad memory in general ๐Ÿ˜› – Yes, I know… ”ugh, Meg, just ugh!” ๐Ÿ˜› )

What I have discovered with my Facebook Memories though is this : because I did not use the public platform to vent anger or hurt (other than the odd post from the first three years I was on there), or share things my older self would chastise my younger self for ๐Ÿ˜› , MY Facebook memories actually bring me a lot of joy! Not always, because there ARE memories of a failed marriage, or losing a friend to an illness, along the way etc.. BUT I’d say that 90% of the time, scrolling back through my memories ‘on that day’ in years gone by give me wonderful food for thought, or have me laughing out loud as I remember ‘way back when’.

There is usually a connection somewhere in that memory to something unpleasant. And I find myself sometimes having to be mindful of sticking only to the good parts ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning I had a memory from 14 years ago that had me thinking, ”What were you thinking?” ๐Ÿ˜›

It was a status update and I had said this : ”I am ready to go. Not sure how ready I will be when I get home though.”

Confusion reigned in my mind – what on earth was I talking about!?!? I was relieved to see that there were comments! Perhaps that would shed some light? And it definitely did! Because I found myself (14 years younger than I am now ๐Ÿ˜› ) replying to someone else’s comment and saying this :
”I just got home. Did a 5km walk/jog to the beach and back. Will be repeating tomorrow. And tomorrow I will have a swim too. It’s supposed to be a daily repeat after work each evening… if I CAN still walk in a few days time ๐Ÿ˜› So grateful to have (not their real names) Tina and Paul in my life!”

My heart leapt for joy at the memories that came flooding back! And I suddenly yearned for that couple who were such an active (pun intended ๐Ÿ˜› ) part of my life! โค
(And the days that were a bit safer around here too… sigh.)

Tina was British. I don’t remember if Paul was or not. Tina was simply amazing! Both were about 15 years older than me, and became my closest friends very quickly. Tina had a no nonsense way about her… and she was quite hilarious!
(She’d sometimes read to my daughter if I was still busy changing from work clothes into exercise clothes, to keep my daughter occupied. Tina’s daughter would babysit for me so that we could go exercise! And Tina’s stories were always ‘added to’ versions of old favourites. Example? ”And the Prince found her shoe on the steps.” Tina would then say, as if it was actually written there in the book, ”which was the silliest thing ever because what woman in her right mind leaves a shoe behind?” And she would just continue reading – there was a flow to it all – and every now and then my daughter would accuse me of not reading the story properly because ‘Aunty Tina’ read ‘xyz’ and I had left it out. Ha ha ha!)

Every time I was sad, or upset, or wanted to be miserable, I’d hear, ‘hosh posh, come along then!’ from Tina… and along I’d go, to whatever she was dragging me to ๐Ÿ˜›
She also couldn’t be bothered with gossiping, or judging others. Everyone was beautiful to her. She never got offended. If I remember right, she used the word ‘ridiculous’ a lot. Ha ha!

Paul was the exercise driven one. And he was always around. He was honest, and sometimes I’d say to him, ”You really have no filter, do you?” because he’d have no problem telling me, ”yes, that makes you look fatter” when asked, ha ha ha!

Together, they were just magic! We only had about six months together – then life took us in different directions, and they moved away. I guess life got busy for us all… as so often happens… and we lost touch! I vaguely recall an invitation at the beginning of 2020 that if I was ever in their area, I was to come for a visit. It was a quick post on my Facebook wall, and I don’t even remember if I ever responded!

So… I saw the memory this morning, yearned for them, and then began to go about my day. But they were all I could think about, and an hour later the yearning had intensified! I needed to reach out!
We’re Facebook friends, but I discovered that Tina’s profile seems dormant. I popped off a quick message, but it wasn’t delivered. I don’t give up that easily though ๐Ÿ˜›

I found their daughter’s profile, and sent her a message too! She explained that Tina is not actually on Facebook anymore. So I gave her my email and my cellphone number, and asked her to please ask her Mum to get in touch!
From what I can glean, they’re all in the UK now… which is very far away!

But not far enough that if Tina and I get on a phone call, she will somehow lovingly hit me upside the head despite the distance ๐Ÿ˜› and I get the feeling we’ll be good friends again! (And this time I will make sure that we don’t lose touch again!)

With that in mind, and because I am sometimes patiently impatient ๐Ÿ˜› I wondered if Paul wasn’t maybe still on Facebook. So I took a chance, and popped off a message to him. An hour later, I had an inbox! As a result, I am now communicating with Paul, who has passed on Tina’s number but says she’s quite busy at work and will be in touch later today! I wish later would come sooner! Ha ha ha!

I’m sharing this for two reasons.

One (another pun) some memories can be really great to remember!
and two :

I am appreciating more and more each day how much we lose along the way because, well, life! It seems that as much as we try to slow down, the pace of it doesn’t seem to want to let us! It is so easy, even when we have free time, to be caught up in the busyness of everything around us!
A true, good friend is rare. We should cherish the moments we can! ”Life” should never be so busy that we forget to set aside time for those who are in it with us!

That said, I am truly grateful for my fellow bloggers, who not only give me great reading material ๐Ÿ˜‰ but likes and comments on my mishaps and motivations too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yours, counting down the hours, ๐Ÿ˜›

Meg x

Rubber Band Potential

I am currently busy putting together a โ€˜โ€™Survival Kit for Lifeโ€™โ€™ for a friend. Itโ€™s not going to be anything fancy, and I have focused more on the odds and ends I have about my house for its contents.
It is a โ€˜helpful gratitudeโ€™ gift for her. Helpful, because the little reminders will make her smile when sheโ€™s facing a tough time. Gratitude because she has truly gone out of her way to be of great encouragement these last few weeks.

And I know that that is what friends do, and the way it should be. But part of who I am is to pause and mutter, โ€˜โ€™may I never take it for grantedโ€™โ€™, and so this small gift – while it will cost me very little in monetary value – is an expression of the gratitude I feel when she sends me encouraging picture messages, or pauses for a quick chat!

One of the suggestions I found was to include a rubber band in the package, with the wording, โ€˜โ€™Stretch yourself beyond your limits.โ€™โ€™

And I shook my head and said, โ€˜โ€™No.โ€™โ€™

Reading that took me back to one of the motivational talks my children and I watched a few years back. It was a brilliant talk โ€“ a man addressing a bunch of students, and so very applicable to my two who were both still in school and studying. But there was one thing that he said that I just could not agree with. And I told them both, when the clip was done, โ€˜โ€™do not do that!โ€™โ€™ It surprised me when both of them told ME why it was a bad idea, instead of me telling them. Although they both ended with, โ€˜โ€™youโ€™ve told us this before. See? We do sometimes listen!โ€™โ€™ ๐Ÿ˜›

It was that concept of โ€˜work hard, sleep lessโ€™. ย 

For me, it comes back to โ€˜โ€™KNOW THYSELFโ€™โ€™. (And by extension, know thy kids ๐Ÿ˜› )

If youโ€™re the kind of person who can sleep for a few hours and still be fully functional, then yes! Thatโ€™s great! Do it! Work hard instead of sleeping.

But I know myself! I need 7-8 hours sleep a night. Strange, but true! Occasionally, I can manage a night where I get only 5 or so hours. Sometimes even two of those nights in a row. But then! Oh my! A third night added to that, and the next day even my coffee needs coffee โ€“ my brain is lethargic, and I can forget about remembering, or focusing!
I often wish it was different. I know I am not young anymore ๐Ÿ˜› but sometimes I feel like I โ€˜sleep too much and let life pass me by!โ€™ This may seem silly, but I still have a friend or two who will message me at 8:30pm in the evening and ask me what I am doing, and do I want to meet up?
They already know my answer… Iโ€™m either on my way to have a quick shower and get into bed, or Iโ€™m already in bed ๐Ÿ˜› And they tease, ”Okay, old woman, sweet dreams!”
I get up at 5am, every morning. Early riser means early bedtime, ha ha!

There are plenty of things I want to achieve. And I probably could.
But โ€˜working harder and sacrificing my sleepโ€™ isnโ€™t going to help me. Not one bit!

And… bless my kids and their precious selves… it wonโ€™t help them either! Entirely my fault, I suspect. Iโ€™ve wired them like me ๐Ÿ˜› Except they seem to get by quite well on 6-7 hours. But oh my goodness gracious, I can definitely tell when theyโ€™ve struggled to sleep the night before!

Which takes me back to the rubber band….

There was someone who once told me, โ€˜โ€™You think you know your limits, but you can actually stretch yourself beyond them.โ€™โ€™
And so I tried. I pushed myself harder and ended up stretching so much that I nearly broke โ€“ that rubber/elastic just got too thin! (and at that point, so did I! A delightful side effect, but not ideal, since my brain pretty much stopped working!)

I had misunderstood the concept completely! Instead of taking it to mean that there is actually great potential within me, and I need to be willing to explore that (stretch my mind) because I AM actually capable of more than I think I am, I almost made myself ill by โ€˜stretching myself thinโ€™!

And so, in order to help others avoid the mistake I made, my rubber band note will say this :

โ€˜โ€™A rubber band to remind you that life holds so many great possibilities, and if you are willing to stretch your mind a bit, you may discover great potential in yourself that you didnโ€™t know existed!โ€™โ€™

Maybe even that isnโ€™t the right way to put it? But I like it ๐Ÿ˜‰  

Ladders and Leaning

Many of us have heard of ‘Wednesday Wisdom’- it’s a popular hashtag.

And it always makes me smile, because one of the things that I find myself desiring the most is wisdom. Someone once commented to me in my early thirties, ”Well, my girl, wisdom comes with age”. I found myself denying the ‘laws of womanhood’, and becoming excited about getting older! ๐Ÿ˜›
Do I like my laugh lines (wrinkles ๐Ÿ˜› )? Not particularly, no.
Do I like that some days I get up and everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t seem to want to work properly? ๐Ÿ˜› Gosh, no!
Do I like that my childhood punishment of having to take a nap is something I now find myself thinking of and desperately desiring to do? NOPE!
But if all those things mean that I am growing a little wiser with each passing day? Well then, YES PLEASE!

I KNOW I can’t go wrong with seeking wisdom in all things. Living a life where every minute of every day is spent being sensible and focusing on wise thinking, and being experienced and knowledgeable enough to always practice good judgement? Well then every day would be utterly incredible in the most wonderful ways! And if we could all be like that, not only would we be the very definition of perfection, but this world would be too.
At the same time, I am also fully aware that being this way every minute of every day is probably unachievable.
But if I focus on at least TRYING to be, then surely I’ll get it right more often than not?
Well, that is what I hope anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

Positive encouragement and inspiration are, for me, wisdom nuggets to be added to my memory bank. There are little things along the way that I manage to store, and so when faced with a particular situation, I am able to recall them, and put them into practice in order to make a ‘wise choice’.
I am also a big believer in sharing positive encouragement and inspiration – nugget worthy reminders – because maybe something plants itself in your mind, and perhaps is able to ‘come to your rescue’ when you find yourself having to make a difficult choice, or help somebody else.

So here is a nugget I picked up on this morning. It will probably mean something different to you than what it means to me, because we’re all different, and our circumstances and choices that we are perhaps faced with are unique. But I thought I would share it anyway, because it left me with a lot to think about.
I saw the following quote :
โ€œPeople may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.โ€ – Thomas Merton

As we all know, the definition of success is a rather personal one, because it comes down to what you think it is. Hence the impact of this quote will have a different meaning to all of us.
But this quote stirred something within me, and so I spent a little time ‘investigating’ it.
And in my ‘investigation’ I found an article that I suppose could be classified as a ‘business point of view’ but there were things in there that spoke to me in a personal way too.
SO… in the spirit of Wednesday Wisdom and imparting nuggets for others to store ๐Ÿ˜‰ …..
I will end with a quote from the article – and if you click on it, it will take you to the full article if you wish to read it.
Here’s to being wise ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sometimes, we get where we always wanted to go & then realize that what we needed was there at the bottom of the ladder the whole time – and we didn’t bring them along. That may be family, that may be friends, faith, health, whatever speaks to you.”

Follow up post – matters!

I started writing this post yesterday. And then, due to a chain of events beyond my control, I had to stop. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was just too exhausted to ‘be present’, and so here I am…. editing as I go…. finishing what I started ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Wednesday morning, I wrote and published this post.
By lunchtime, in my mind, there was so much that could be added to it, so much more that needed explaining properly, the realisation that I had probably not expressed myself correctly.
And as I lay in bed in the dark, trying to still my mind and drift off to the place where all my dreams come true, ( gee, I wonder why ๐Ÿ˜› ) I concluded that the post should probably be deleted, for a multitude of reasons.

It wasn’t written properly – my posts are very seldom what could be called well-researched though : most of the time, I just speak from my heart.
It would probably be misunderstood because it may have come across as a contradiction to the other things I say.
It probably wasn’t ‘clear enough’ in general – no one would relate in any way, and the lack of clarity (and seeming contradictions) would probably unleash quiet judgements and disappointments in me/my character.

I woke in the morning, determined to log on and delete the post – hoping that those who had already read it would still visit my blog again sometime.
But first, I needed coffee. And I needed to attend to the ‘Mom’ side of life – so I got my daughter going, got myself ready, took the girls to school (my daughter and her friend), put a load of washing on and gave the dogs their breakfast.

I logged on to WordPress, and found a comment on my post that had me reeling, in a good way. From a regular reader whose blog can be found here.
Read. Love. Livethe above is why your words meant so very much to me.
AND…
Your words reminded me of something that has become so very special to me in the last few months – words from another dear friend and blogger :
If you helped one person from their brokenness and despair to the place where they realise their potential your life would be a life well lived.”
(I actually have this printed out and stuck on my bedside cabinet so that it is the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning.)
Those words have come to mean so much more to me though than just ‘brokenness and despair”.

They are a constant reminder to me that I cannot change ‘the world’ for everyone, but I might be able to help make it a little easier for at least one person!
That I may not be able to make a difference to a multitude, but I can make a difference to someone, and that matters!

And so my post remained, because Read. Love. Live commented – and the real shocker for me was that they found it the most relatable post thus far!
I probably could have deleted it… because I had my ONE person. But I decided to let it stay, just in case there was someone else… and there was. And then I thought, ”Well, who knows… maybe in a few months someone else will stumble upon it and need it, so I’ll just leave it right where it is.”

Some feedback on all the ”perhaps” parts of the original post :

I reached out to two of my ‘close circle’ – who both live about twenty minutes away from me, but I don’t get to see them very often because our schedules seldom coincide. Ha ha ha! (And of course, there’s currently a pandemic!)

But I reached out to them realistically.
I knew neither one could actually practically help me. I also knew that they probably couldn’t help offer solutions simply because the things I have going on have not been a part of their own personal life experiences.
So there was no expectation that if they responded, things would magically disappear or change.
And I also didn’t expect ‘proper’ responses – because I understand ‘life happens’, being busy with commitments happens and has no reflection on whether or not they are ‘making time for me and love me’.

These two friends are a mother and daughter. They have been in my life for 24 years now. And yes, we have that friendship where we can go a month without talking, and you’d never say it when we do get together, or get to chat – other than the amount of time we spend together because hey, a lot happens in a month! ๐Ÿ˜›

The ‘mother’ friend is in her early sixties. She’s been like a mother to me, but most of all, like a friend. She’s young for her age ๐Ÿ˜‰ In fact, I often ‘forget’ how old she really is, until things happen with her health, or in the case of the pandemic, and someone has to remind me that it’s ‘because she is older now, you know’. On the odd occasion when we get to catch up, she’ll leave her house at 10am, telling her husband she is coming to me… and he’ll ask, ”What is there for supper, because I KNOW you won’t be home in time!” HA HA HA! And he’s right…. she usually leaves at about 8pm that night!
I sent her a message asking if she was free for a call, and she ended up calling me instead of replying. We spoke for just under two hours. We were apparently both on downhills, and we were both cross with each other for not letting the other one know ๐Ÿ˜› Neither of us could help each other with the issues at hand in any way, other than this : genuine sadness about each other’s situations, and then a brief trip down memory lane with a good few giggles.
And the agreement at the end of our chat was that we both felt like we had just had a great big hug.

The ‘daughter’ friend is in her late twenties now – I met her when she was just five years old! Now she’s married, and has a little three year old boy of her own, who my teenage daughter adores. The ‘daughter’ friend is like the sister I never had – and like me, has two much older brothers and so she feels the same way about me. She’s my baby sister, and I am her big sister – I don’t think I ever fully appreciated my role in that until a month ago when she phoned me for advice, and I gave her my honest opinion based on personal experience, and she replied with, ”Well then that just confirms for me what I already knew – thank you. You are someone whose opinion I really value, and I know I can trust what you are saying. It’s so nice having a big sister to talk to!”
I had NOT reached out to her, because she was at work. Her mom got to her first, and that evening I got a surprise voice note from her! It made me laugh out loud :
”If Blake wasn’t sick at the moment, I’d have stopped at your house on my way home and slapped you upside the head! WHY haven’t you told me everything that has been going on? Mom filled me in, and I know I can’t help with the issues, but what CAN I do?”
A few voice notes later, reminding me of things from the past that had ‘worked out’, and made me a better person, and how hope truly never leaves this silly old heart of mine which is something she admires, and well? It helped me get off my butt on that downhill so that at least I was standing! โค

And those conversations were exactly what I needed for yesterday’s chain of events when I got knocked down – because I just got straight back up again ๐Ÿ˜‰
(In my mind there is a medley right now…. ”I get knocked down; I’m still standing; I will survive) ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

Interestingly enough, the song I Will Survive was originally released a couple of months after I was born ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I just copied the link and the last three letters in it are my short version for MY name! meg! (I’m still processing that little titbit! ๐Ÿ˜› )

I’ll end with these words that I have read a few times in the last few days, by a lady named Rachel Martin :

”Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to have meaning!
Showing up matters
Giving matters
Trying matters
Loving matters
Being there matters
Perfection doesn’t matter
YOU MATTER.”

News Headlines

I don’t like typing on my cellphone. I just don’t. I can’t say I am particularly fond of sending voice notes either – but I still prefer them to sitting and trying to type a lengthy message on my phone. If I am not at my laptop, and a Facebook message or email comes through? I will write a long reply in my head… and that’s where it stays until I AM at my laptop. I don’t know why… but I just don’t like typing long messages on my phone.

Today has actually been a relatively lazy Sunday, compared to what is ‘normal’ for me. I have spent a good few hours, wistfully reminiscing about some of the time I spent in the UK and journeying there in my mind to feed the swans again ๐Ÿ˜‰ I finally came back to reality, and replied to a beloved friends email and then opened up WordPress to write a blog post. But the page stayed blank.

A notification on my cellphone distracted me – a message was waiting in Messenger. So I did it… I opened up a tab on my laptop and popped on to Facebook to reply. And then of course, I thought I would just take a quick look at my newsfeed. And twenty minutes later, I was still scrolling.

Because today is one of those days where I actually have so many ideas flicking light switches in my head, that it’s just too bright in here and my brain doesn’t know what to write! ๐Ÿ˜›
But in my mindless scrolling on the ever-distracting Facebook newsfeed, I saw an image I have not seen before. It would appear it is relatively popular though, as the caption was, ”Even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth reading it again”.

And my brain screamed, ”THAT! SHARE THAT!”

So here it is….

I don’t know about you, but I am all for writing my OWN headlines this week!
I’ve reached a point where I no longer read or watch the news like I used to – I’ll do a few minutes refresher of top stories, but that’s about all I can take. When I scroll on social media, I am picky. Even though I do it ‘mindlessly’ I can still sometimes find myself distracted by terrible things, and so there are very few things that I pause to read these days, because it really has become ‘disturbing’.

I am excited about the week ahead. Each day I want to continue to notice it all – even the broken and sad. But the headlines I want to focus on are the ones that ‘LOVE BIG’ – that will warm my heart, and fuel the fire of hope that burns within me.
And I will continue to strive to ‘be a big love’ for the broken and the sad.

May you all have the most splendid week, with the happiest of headlines โค

referring time…

I have referred, more than once, to posts written by Wic, at Letters To Pogue.

It’s not just because sometimes I find them amusing (and he shares some good music every now and then), or because they are well written (and for the large part, well researched) but also because most of the time I find them to be incredibly thought provoking. And I guess I am a girl who likes to think – especially if it sometimes means being able to avoid doing the dishes ๐Ÿ˜›

Now… I have to say… unfortunately there are times where doing the dishes becomes a ‘priority’. And usually it’s because I open the cupboard and there isn’t a single plate to use – only to discover, after washing and packing away, that half the dishes are still missing… and can usually be found in my teenage daughters bedroom! FORK! No, I am not swearing… just reiterating that I also usually find where all my forks have gone too! ๐Ÿ˜›
Anyway…
So dishes become a ‘priority’ – but not one by choice, more out of necessity. Which I guess turns them into a commitment/responsibility?
Please stay with me here… the point is coming – like the full fork drawer ๐Ÿ˜›

Wic offers up a ‘Monday Musing’ post which is always worth checking out ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yesterday’s post was definitely worth ME reading. (Might be helpful to the rest of the world out there too.)

I am pretty sure it was a personal dig at me ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› Have you ever done that? Identified so much with something that you stop and go, ”hey, should I be offended? I’m sure they mean me!” I am laughing here, because it’s ridiculous! But is it? Here’s the thing – sometimes we identify with something so much because it was exactly what we needed to ‘hear’… and perhaps there are changes we need to make. And some are more drastic than others – and not so pleasant. In this case (and maybe I missed the point – or maybe it is just different for me – or maybe my mind is still processing and avoiding dishes ๐Ÿ˜› ) it was very much an ‘adjust your thought pattern and watch what you say and how you say it’ moment.

I am not particularly fond of the word ‘priority’. It’s defined as ‘the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important than others’. It’s no wonder so many people get offended by it!

And it’s no wonder we are often made to feel guilty and ashamed of what we have ‘chosen’ to do with our time.

By the same token, perhaps we also need to practice a little more understanding and compassion with others regarding theirs?

Not everyone who says to us, ”Sorry, I can’t, I just don’t have time”, is trying to tell us that we have no importance in their lives.
Personally? I would prefer that they keep their job, or give their attention to their children/husband, or spend some time refilling their soul.
It doesn’t mean that I am not important to them, or that I have ‘less value’ in their life. It just means that they have other commitments and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

Time is also the one thing we can never get back once it has gone. And I was reminded that I personally need to remember to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ when someone shares a piece of theirs with me. So a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my own ‘personal musings’- sorry, Wic ๐Ÿ˜‰

So those are just my thoughts on that… and in closing, I found this, which was very appropriate ๐Ÿ˜›

And in case you are wondering… I have TWO dogs ๐Ÿ˜›

Because some days…

These last couple of weeks, I have had many challenges thrown my way. Life is not handing me lemons, its not even throwing them at me. I am sure it has switched to brightly coloured yellow cricket balls instead! ๐Ÿ˜› The challenges have come by way of every aspect of my life – family, health, friends, financial. The truly difficult part for me is that although I keep having them thrown at me, every single one is at the point of a ‘stale mate’.

There are decisions to be made (some that are VERY important) and I can’t make them.
Because I am waiting.
I am waiting on other people to provide me with concrete answers so that the decisions in some of the situations can be informed ones. In other situations, I am waiting for other people to make choices that will affect the decisions that I then need to make – my heart is with them, no matter what they decide, always… but I can only ‘be of service’ if they are willing and open to it.

In all of this, every moment of the day, I have just felt drained. (The endless hours of back and forth phone calls where no one can give me a straight answer is possibly a big part of that!)

I cannot control any of it. And I can’t help but smile. Because the small challenges along the way in the past year have actually prepared me for THIS time now… where things are coming at me from all angles.
The past year, as I slowly accepted the learning and growing process, I came to a point where I was finally able to say : I will not allow the things I can’t control to afford me unnecessary stress. I need to truly accept that I can’t control them, and find a way to ‘let it go’. I need to focus on what I CAN control, and take it from there.

And no… it’s not as easy, or as simple, as we often make it sound. It’s hard work. And I am willing to do it and keep striving for the ‘unexplainable peace and ability to still have joy’ that exists within me despite all these circumstances surrounding me.

But (such is life) I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times where negative emotions DO make their appearance.

The other day, after an extremely emotionally driven phone call where MY calmness was very much required, I eventually got to hang up the phone… and I just burst into tears.
This would have been fine if I was at home… it was rather embarrassing that it happened while I was sitting in my car, outside of the studio my daughter dances at. Even worse, another mom pulled up and hopped out of her car to come and say ‘hi’.
We chatted very briefly, and she completely understood what I meant when I said, ”If I could tell you, I would. But I just can’t seem to find my words right now to even begin to explain.”
She squeezed my hand encouragingly, and we both chuckled as I whipped out my sanitiser and sprayed both our hands. And then her phone rang, and she needed to rush off again…. but she said to me, ”There is a message you sent me a few months ago. I still have it. I am going to find it and send it to you. Hang in there, girl, you’ve got this!”
And off she went.

I spent the next forty five minutes fighting off tears and sobs, trying to distract myself from my earlier phone call. I felt like I was losing a battle I hadn’t had time to prepare for. And then her message appeared on my phone. A screenshot of my message to her :

”I know you’re feeling sad, so I won’t tell you to try and be happy. I am not going to tell you to ‘go and do things that make you happy’. I am not going to ask you to be a warrior woman of strength and faith (even though I know you are). What I AM going to tell you to do… ask you to do… for now, in this moment of sadness : please eat something, please take a hot shower or bath, please put on some nice comfy clothes. Do the physical stuff that will keep you alive. I don’t know how or when it will get better… but I do know that it will. In the meantime, please just keep trying to stay alive. The rest will follow eventually. I am here, if you need me.”

Dear readers, bloggers, friends… what we put out in this world DEFINITELY comes back to us, and most times the good things come when we need them the most. So keep putting the good stuff out there, and my hope for you is that you will ALWAYS experience the returns on that when YOU need them the most! โค