Outcomes

Of the many failings we have in being a part of the human race,  the one where we get attached to  objects, outcomes and feelings is probably the silliest.

Now theres probably nothing wrong with that, excepting for how we go about the attachment.

Starting with things —  take my car for instance.  I’m attached to it, I like it and at times I even love it.  But after all it is a ‘thing’ and cannot love me back — it gets me from A to B whenever I need it to as long as I keep it fuelled, watered and oiled.  I even spring for an occasional service to ensure it keeps going.  Its comfortable with a heater and air conditioner that work really well; the fuel economy is good and theres’ enough power in the engine to get me out of a sticky situation on the road.   I pay the registration to entitle me to drive it on the road, as well as insurance— but in the end it is just a car, it does what it was designed to do and thats that.

Then there is the house I live in. I like it as well, and at times I even love it.  But really it is a roof over my head, somewhere I can store all the other ‘things’ I’ve collected over the years.  Someplace I can cook meals, relax, entertain and tend the garden as I grow vegetables and herbs to use.  Yes, I am nesting, making it a more comfortable place to live in — especially as I spend quite a lot of time here.  For the past nineteen years I’ve made sure that the mortgage that is in mine and Ross’s names is paid on time, that insurance and rates are paid, but I’ve only lived in it for around two and a half years.  So yes I’m attached to it, but I’m not living for it and if I had to walk away from it I could.  Yes, its in a good location and has most of what we need, but it is also part of a breakdown in a family relationship and for that reason alone I won’t become too emotionally attached to it.

A natural part of our make-up is to become attached emotionally to people.  Most of us do.  The first is usually to our family, although some people seem to have no qualms about walking away from that.  Each to his own as the saying goes.

We make friends at school, our workplace and develop our own social life away from home.  Some of those friendships last our lifetime, many move on and are only remembered occasionally, if at all.  Tomorrow we farewell a friend we’ve known for over four decades, and it will be a very somber  occasion at first.  Later we will reminisce over the memories we’ve gathered in that time.  We will probably laugh a lot, and shed a few tears, so sad —but it will be good.

Occasionally we can let our attachments develop into obsessions — being too hung up on the outcome of what we desire to deal with it rationally.  We can become too attached to an outcome to really enjoy life.  Often more concerned about looking good to consider what is vital.

When all is said and done it is the people you have in your life that are the most important — not the possessions.

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Expected, yet sudden.

Death always seems to come suddenly, even when you know it is the expected outcome of a terminal illness.

This morning we are shocked to hear of the death of a dear friend, whose mortal life has ended.  She had suffered for a long time, and her family  along with her.  But in every aspect of her illness, she met the setbacks with simple courage, grace and wisdom.

I didn’t  see her that often but when we met, she never complained, just kept right on living her life to the fullest, tackling the next creative project with vigour.

She will be sorely missed by her family, her husband of forty-five years, her daughters, son-in-laws and her grandchildren.  Then there are her surviving siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and her ever expanding circle of friends.

So at some point in the next few days we will all meet to say our last goodbyes, we’ll listen to eulogies from family and friends, shed tears for our loss and catch up with those we haven’t seen for years.    It will be quite a contrast to the funeral we attended last week for the ninety year old father of friends.  Then we celebrated a life well lived with goals achieved and a simple sadness that we will not see him anymore.

The next funeral we go to will have sadness, raw grief for a life cut short.  A life that still had much to accomplish, as that was her way — to take on more new challenges conquering them before moving on to the next.

So we grieve — those of us left behind, but I’d like to remember — with love, gratitude and thanks for having known her.

And I’d like to imagine that I will have at least a fraction of the courage she showed when faced with death.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.

Love leaves a memory no one can steal. — From an old Irish headstone.

R.I.P Louise.

How many adults do you have??

Kids, little ones, children, nippers, rug rats and so on.  Some of the many names that refer to our offspring.

Another thing that bothers me is when we talk about our daughters and sons  it is usually spoken as sons & daughters.  Whatever happened to ladies before gentlemen?

Perhaps I’m being old fashioned or bloody minded, whatever.  I’m just fresh from a long drawn out phone conversation with one of the big four banks trying to close a credit card without having to pay the annual fee.  I’d already tried at the branch but all they would do is wipe the interest they’d put on the annual fee and acting smug about how good they were to do that.

So today I told the representative – who had showered me with lots of “My lovelies and Loves” whilst we talked, that she was my last point of call before I went to the Ombudsman.  I also said I’d been reading an article from the front page of The Australian citing that the big four are reaping billions in fees.  So perhaps that had something to do with her co-operation.  Account satisfactorily closed.

But I digress.  Rant over.

I’ve been wondering, and asking a few people why we still call our children ‘children’ — even when they are adults and often bigger than we are?

Even though I’m obviously not a young woman anymore, people still ask ‘How many children you have?’  When they are grown up and adults!  It doesn’t really make sense to me.  I don’t make any decisions for them anymore, nor do I have any responsibility in any way yet they are still referred to as my children.

So, point to ponder — when was the last time you were asked ‘How many adults do you have?’

 

Roadblocks & Detours

Life doesn’t always go as we would like, or as we have planned.  That’s a given.

There are often setbacks along the way that can appear to be total roadblocks.  This can be rather disappointing and even frustrating at times, whilst we figure out what to do next.  Sometimes we might sit at a roadblock for quite some time, not seeing anything but the roadblock, unable to think about how we can move on, go around.

Stuck.

Then come the detours — the often seemingly unrelated detours of life.  Sometimes a detour may take you a long way from where you wanted to go, or thought you wanted to go.  And occasionally a detour will bring you to a destination you didn’t realise you wanted, but it was a good one anyway.

Life has a way of turning out differently and sometimes even better than we could have imagined.  Because sometimes where we end up is really what we wanted, only we didn’t know it at the start.

If we stop and look back on our  lives we will see that there were times things went a little haywire before developing into something that felt just right.  Times when we thought we were settling for second best, but in reality turned out okay — even great.

There is an old adage that says ‘When one door closes, another one always opens.’  However there is an addition to this — ‘When one door closes, we often look longingly at the closed door and miss the one thats just opened!’  Or words to that effect.

Something goes wrong — or appears to, a friend pats you on the back and says “Everything will turn out all right — it was probably for the best anyway.” And you grit your teeth, smile whilst inwardly rolling your eyes.  Then somehow things do work out okay.

So roadblocks don’t always need to be disappointing, because they may lead you to a detour that takes you to a much better place.

 

The Promise of Spring…

Officially we are in the season of Spring.

There is blossom on trees, new leaves and shoots on the roses and the weeds are starting to grow in my veggie garden — well everywhere in the garden.

To me, Spring conjures up visions of sunnier days, warmer  weather — well warmer than Winter at least.  Yet here we are in the second week of the season and we’ve had days of high winds, rain almost daily, hail at times and even snow in places that rarely get it and it’s been bloody cold!

So realistically I know that just because the calendar says it is officially a new season it doesn’t mean that everything changes overnight.  Oh well its summer next and on the first of December it will be warm and sunny and I can wear my sleeveless tops, sandals and lightweight pants and be careful not to get burnt from the hot sun.  Really?

A bit like when it’s my birthday and everything is going to work beautifully for the day — there will be no worries or concerns, the sun will shine and everyone will be nice to me. Not.

How often do you look forward to an event and think that all will be wonderful when that happens, or perhaps things will change because of it?

Life doesn’t seem to happen that way most of the time.  We don’t tend to factor in disappointments, but they happen anyway.  We may think that if ‘x’ happens, then I will feel ‘y’ and all will be well.  Reality has it often being quite the opposite.

Then again, how would life really be if we knew exactly what would happen?

I think it would be rather boring actually if I knew what was going to happen and when.  The concept of anticipation and excitement might fall a little bit flat, whereas now I don’t really know what is going to happen.

Not knowing gives a certain edge or thrill even when I consider how I’d like for things to be, yet understanding that they may not evolve that way.  They may even be better — who knows.

Would we pay for a ticket to the footy if we knew that our team was going to be thrashed or would we get married if we knew it was going to end in divorce?  I don’t think so.

If life was predictable then where is the fun?  How much enjoyment would there be?

No, I’d rather listen to the ‘experts’ who say that there is no way my team can beat that one, and be really happy if they do, or okay if they don’t.   Either way I will choose to enjoy the game and I may end up being thoroughly delighted when they win.

But oh gosh I’d love to see those ‘expert’ commentators proven wrong, so I’m hoping to feel rather smug on Saturday, or maybe I’ll just be resigned to wait until next year.

 

 

I am not a robot

For some time now I’ve been exploring ways of promoting the book Coping With Suicide.   I’m now doing things on social media I’d never imagined doing, and I’m having fun doing them. #copingwithsuicide

I’ve also participated in a public speaking workshop to help me improve my presentation, and part of that was to craft a ten minute talk.  So I’ve been working on my talk, getting to the point where I don’t need my notes, but rather remembering the key points and then elaborating on those.  I then started looking for situations where I would be able to present my talk.

So last night I presented this particular talk for the first time.  I wasn’t nervous, I was well and truly ready to do it.  I’d had a little bit of anxiety earlier in the day, but really nothing much.

When the time came for me to talk I walked to the front of the room, took a deep breath and began.  I found myself struggling to get the words out — not because I couldn’t remember them, but because I suddenly became emotional.

Now I’ve been able to talk about Kelly’s death, the book and all that is related to that quite easily for some years now.  Of course there is the occasional time that the tears come, but those are rare now that we are seventeen years on.  Or so I thought.

I didn’t shed any tears last night, but my throat just seemed very tight and it was hard to get those first few sentences out.  Once I’d done them, it all flowed reasonably well.  Of course I did forget a few things, but nobody else knows what they were.  I warmed to the occasion and by the end of my ten minutes felt quite comfortable.

It was a strange feeling, because although I wasn’t nervous it probably looked like I was.  Maybe it was just because I was sharing in public some very personal things.  It is rather different from actually writing them down and having them published — you are quite removed from the words as opposed to standing and speaking them.

Still, overall I was happy with the talk even though I need more practice I can only improve — I hope.

Last night I discovered another one of my vulnerabilities and found that I am not a robot — that even though Kelly has been gone for seventeen years, there is still a lot of rawness  associated with her death.

And now I know that there always will be.

So I’m human after all.

 

Feeling Inadequate

I’m guessing that most of us have feelings of inadequacy at some stage — or even at many stages of our lives.

For me, it seems to be when I’m in the throes of learning something new and I find it difficult to remember all that I need to.  Then I seem to go into overwhelm and from there to inadequacy.  After that I beat myself up for not knowing what I deem that I should, and make myself wrong.

Sound familiar?

I recently decided that I really needed to step up my work on marketing the book, as I’ve not done it the justice it deserves.  With the help of a friend who is really savvy with social media, we mapped out a plan.  However that involves me doing quite a lot more on my social media than I’ve ever done before — overwhelm plus plus.

Now I’m reasonably competent in posting an occasional post on Facebook or Instagram, but as for getting involved promoting my book — which is also promoting me, I’m feeling more than a little bit inadequate.

I talk to someone younger than me and ask a tentative question and they rattle off how you do something and I get lost.  Deer in the headlights lost.

Still, I’m determined to master or at the very least improve on the basic level that I’m currently at, and like any new thing it takes practice.

As I see it, with practice comes confidence, and the more confident you are then there should be much less time spent feeling inadequate.

Well, on paper that’s how it looks.

Take writing a blog for instance, when I first started — and it took me a long time to actually start because I didn’t know what to do— I felt quite anxious about my ability to produce.  Now that I’ve been doing it for almost a year, I feel much more comfortable and confident, although I realise that I have much more to learn about it.

Perhaps it’s  somewhat like learning to drive a car. At first you can’t imagine being able to change gears, use the clutch, accelerate and actually move the car forward without kangaroo hopping.  After many hours of driving, looking back it can be difficult to remember the inadequacies of being a learner driver.  I get into my car now and it is all done without thought, I just do it and I’m driving.

So I’m hoping that in a few months I will be at ease with posting book promotions, and I may even get to the stage of doing a live video or two!

I guess it all comes down to my ‘Why’.  Why do what I’m doing, making myself feel uncomfortable and inadequate?

Well, it’s because I lost a daughter to suicide and I wrote a book to raise awareness around the subject.  To get more and more people involved in the prevention of suicide.  I remind myself why I went through the agonies of writing the story when it kept bringing up memories that were so hard to recall.  It was to honour the life of a young woman who got hopelessly lost and had so much to contribute to this world.

So I’m setting myself some big tasks over the next few weeks, and hopefully some of those feelings of inadequacy will dissipate or even disappear.  Realistically I understand that there will always be something new that will have me feeling inadequate, but I comfort myself with the belief that I am not the only one experiencing it.