Forever is composed of nows

Quote Emily Dickinson

Regularly fridge dwellers will know I’m a huge Disney fan, but the films always seem to stop at the happy ever after part…then what happens? How does the couple make it through, still smiling at the end? Perhaps with a blue bird or two on their shoulders?

Mr F has been part of my universe since about 2005, absorbing my heart fully in 2008 (before we were just friends), having a joint bank account and mortgage since 2009, getting down on one knee in 2011 and living each day side by side.

Monday marks his birthday, another year around the sun, another year he doesn’t want any gifts (I didn’t fall for a material guy), another year he doesn’t want cake (A lesson here ‘always check the small print’ I think the line about birthday cake was missed out and let’s be honest I always want cake), he’s a no fuss, ‘crack on’ kind of guy. So much so he confuses my concept of time, sometimes I feel like we’ve been locked in a tower for a hundred years together and at other times, it seems we’re just beginning the journey and stepping into the carriage.

Close friends will know I describe him as the string to my balloon – My world is made of huge ideas, spontaneous actions and impulses! He grabs my ankles before I float off and grounds me, he reminds me of my priorities, of what I’m trying to achieve and he holds me still…still enough to process my thoughts but he would never pop my balloon. He rarely says no and every time I come back through our front door from an adventure he always asks how my day was. He is extremely good at listening and sucks at knowing where the dishwasher is located and how to use it.

He can’t fold a bath towel but he makes up for that when he cooks! He does the lions share of dog walks and without him she may go unfed…he also feeds the Gecko and runs an awesome bubble bath. *not at the same time. He rarely smiles, but when he does it’s worth the wait.

On Friday I asked him if he’d like to celebrate at the weekend or on the Monday of his actual birthday, he surprised me by suggesting some places he like to go out to eat…I then had to explain that our eight year old had already planned somewhere to go. He smiled and said ‘that’s fine’…he’s relaxed nature is something I’m forever grateful for, particularly when chaos hits. When darkness strikes and our worlds are thrown upside down I turn into a tornado of emotion and extreme, he speaks calmly…takes full control and problem solves like a Jedi warrior. If I’m ever ill, he is practical…he’ll make me a cup of tea, remove the bouncing child and allow me to sleep, what he won’t indulge in is my dramatic list of ‘what if’s’

Emily Dickinson is right, there is no ‘forever’ but just lots of nows. Each moment adding to the depths of forever. Some moments we share are joyful like snuggling on the sofa laughing together over a new streamed series, some I enjoy more than him (like when he brings me tea in bed most mornings), others are mundane like who picks the little dude up from school, some nows have been sad, tragic and complicated…but we have survived and at times thrives.

When you have a baby many people tell you it passes so quickly, whilst I agree, I also think that my own ‘growing up’ is also whizzing past…how the heck did I become the adult in this reality series called my life? Whilst we can’t control time, we can make sure our ‘nows’ make an awesome forever to look back on.

Happy birthday Mr F, you mean the world to us. Thank you for all you do and here’s to another year of nows – hopefully with more happiness, travel and laughs.

P.S the dishwasher is located on the right hand side of the kettle. It looks like a cupboard but don’t let that fool you.

Every moment matters

Quote Anon

I’m not sure how long a moment is? Seconds, milliseconds, fleeting glances, twinkles, sprinkles and winks…they go without much thought and when they make us feel special, it’s like an inner firework display – lightening us up from our toes through our internal system and bursting out of our smile…have you ever experienced a moment that you wanted to freeze, either because it was so wonderful or because it came just before inevitable sadness that you’d like to prevent?

Our lives are made of moments, strung together like fairy lights…at times the batteries fail and we spend time in darkness. Or perhaps (people) light bulbs become a little loose and they need replacing. We get to create our own fairy lights of life…moments of joy, beautiful colours, adventures and laughter with the people we decide are worthy.

My son spoke about wanting to be an adult the other day, of how exciting it was going to be – getting to make all of the decisions, earning lots of money and spending it on ‘all of the toys’…inside my brain was turning, wondering how to introduce taxes, bills, mortgages, food and the ever dull cycles that go with responsibilities…I decided to not to bother. Instead we grabbed our coats and headed out for a spontaneous hot chocolate, that 50p extra was a great investment for marshmallows…moments pass and we do get to decide what we do with them. This post isn’t about you not paying your mortgage this month and instead buying marshmallows (wow, that would be a lot of puffs of sugar and air!), of course we need to invest in our homes, putting food on the table, making positive decisions and I believe these things also make for a beautiful set of ‘fairy lights’…how many people would love to be able to know their food bill was taken care of or that a roof over their families head was a given…moments matter.

In the moment we forget what we have, of how bright our fairy light life already is, we sometimes hide our string of lights in a box, we don’t want people to think they are too bright, or not bright enough…in the moment we sometimes care what others think, we sometimes care more about what others think…and in the moment sometimes we don’t think at all. The delightful news is…none of these options are wrong, everyone’s fairy lights are unique and if they’re beautiful to you then that’s all that matters.

Thank you in this moment for choosing to read my blog. It makes me happy to write, to share my whimsical thoughts, my passing ideas and my bizarre obsession with metaphors. I hope that you realise how precious life already is, I hope you can use this moment to reflect on all you already have and I wish whatever state your fairy lights are in you can use the next moments to undo any knots and enjoy them strung up across your soul.

P.s. even fairy lights need new batteries every now and then, so don’t forget to recharge.

Sometimes it ends differently and it’s better that way

Quote Anon

Unless you all know something I don’t, I don’t have a map for life…I don’t even have a guideline and sometimes the rules can blur and you can feel like you’re internal sat nav could do with an MOT.

I also find that if I do make a plan it very often doesn’t work out how I’d imagined? I’m not referring to popping to the local shops, although that often also goes drastically different and my 3 item shop for basic essentials quickly can become ‘please can I have several more bags’ at the checkout. What I’m really referring to are life paths and dreams of the future.

In my big plans for the future my family agree with my vision, wealth is abundant and everything clicks into place. If I reflect on when the pandemic first hit in 2020 I didn’t expect it to allow me relook at my careers, I didn’t think that within several months I’d be walking away from a school building as my job (a career I’d been in for over 16yrs) and working from home. I didn’t think someone would pay my fuel bill for my car (thanks Mrs Employer), I hadn’t considered in my dreams and vision of the small details; time to catch a cuppa with friends, or to hoover at speed between teams calls – leaving me house work free at weekends.

I thought I’d always work from a school building, now I get to visit many but never stay more than a few hours.

Last week I met a friend for dinner and she asked me what my next life goals were. I didn’t know, in fact I don’t think about it? Don’t panic I haven’t stopped dreaming (still currently stalking dream home on rightmove for example) but I’ve let go of the details. I don’t know what my next move will be, I’m not sure how I’ll get there and most importantly I’m ok with that.

Why? Because things often work out better than you’d expected and if they haven’t worked out then they’re still changing and altering as you read this. I believe the universe has my back, that it will all work out in the long run. It always does…not always better than I’ve dreamt, not always as I’d imagined it but often better.

Don’t think this post is about not dreaming and setting goals, I journal daily around my hopes for the future…but by letting go of the hows and when’s I get to enjoy the now a little more. I’ve realign in January 2022 and know there is more work to be done, my intentions are clear but the details of the journey I won’t sweat on, I’ll show up every day, I’ll dare to dream big and that house on rightmove might just become a click away from us moving in from circumstances I hadn’t even thought of. Enjoy the journey and give attention to things that are worthy of your time, energy and love.

We are our choices

Quote from J P Sartre

So we’ve arrived in 2022, most of us a little worst for wear, but we are here. Looking around you have arrived in the lifestyle choices you made last year. Our current body is made from the food and lifestyle choices we make…I am currently a very content ‘cheese and beans jacket potato’ – it was made even more delicious as I really fancied it, it meant stopping off on the way home for large potatoes and then waiting over an hour for it to cook but good decisions aren’t always instant.

Sometimes we can feel we don’t have choices (like we don’t have any potatoes), stepping back from the situation and reassessing what we can do (buy potatoes) often provides a solution or a pathway around the issue, leading us to our desired choice. The universe often has a way of providing either what we desire or something even better. Very few situations as adults lack choice, they’re either a manifestation of the choices we made to get there or the result of choices that we rushed into and didn’t think about the consequences of.

When children show antisocial behaviour (hitting, kicking or biting) its often because they lack the ability to communicate how they feel, instead they demonstrate it in actions. All of humanities behaviours are simple communications…basic maths will tell you that making choices that are positive, caring and thoughtful, often result in positive outcomes for yourself and those around you. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and it can feel like we don’t have choices, below is a list of ways you can make better choices moving forward:

* listen to your own instinct, it’s got your back and often will steer you in the right direction (unless you over think it)

*don’t overthink it, instead remember knowledge is power and always check your sources are valid and reliable

* balance is the key, so with a healthy dinner and plenty of exercise I can afford to indulge in a less nutritious dessert should I wish.

* make sure the people you surround yourself with are aspiring in the same direction as you, seek advice when needed from trusted souls

* good sleep often helps you to think with clarity

Have a wonderful 2022 and feel your world with choices that make you and those around you smile.

Be someone who makes some else look forward to tomorrow

Quote Anon

The world has gone topsy turvy, the universe is twirly wurly and I’m sitting here unsure of what way is up and not wanted to fall down. Amongst the chaos we can now add Christmas to the mix, so on the prescipus of my forties I thought it appropriate to write a quick note to Father Christmas.

Dear Father Christmas,

I know it’s been a while, but as you oversee the joy of the Christmas season I thought it important to touch base…last year was a quiet one with families not as together as usual, I guess that increased your work load? Anyway, this year isn’t looking that spectacular, rules are changing like a game of snakes and ladders and who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Inevitably, this is the part where I ask you for something…it’s a big one, but necessary. Oh I should probably tell you I’ve been ‘good’ – that’s a little vague, I’ve had my moments but seriously Father C things are bonkers down here, even you would of swapped HO HO HO for something a little more exotic at times.

Anyway, what I’d really like, in fact – to quote Dionne Warwick, ‘what the world needs now is love sweet love’ so whilst your blasting around the chimneys, sliding through radiators and picking up magic keys, if you have any kindness please pass it around. By all means eat the mince pies left out by hopeful little ones, save the carrot for Rudolf and nobodies judging you for the milk and Alcohol consumption that is also left your way (Side note: does milk and brandy mix well when flying?)… we really need a little love, kindness and breathing space for everyone. The human race is heavily opinionated and devicive at present, I guess it’s always had division? My gift that I’d really like to see as we step in to 2022 is kindness…perhaps you could talk to the tooth fairy, see if any of that magic tooth dust enhances kindness? *Please don’t ask the Easter bunny though he’s dealing with diabetes at present and has enough on his plate.

Meanwhile, I’ll do my part to keep my judgements to myself and will look to seize kindness where I can. I’m the princess of gratitude so it makes sense to expand my repetoir to kindness.

Kindest regards and season greetings

Lucy, aged 39 and two thirds.

Don’t watch the clock, do what it does…keep going

Quote by Sam Levenson

We are fast approaching the time of year where New Years resolutions will be made, we reflect on what we have achieved, look down at our ever growing ‘to do’ list and if you’re like me, feel so overwhelmed you’ll need to sit down and indulge in Christmas movies, snacks and hot chocolate. If however, you are Sam Levenson then you’ll probably keep going.

The world is full of distractions, some important and some…like defluffing my hoover, less so. Personally, a little distraction can be a wonderful break from reality but we all know that to reach our goals we will need to commit and like a clock…keep going.

How you keep going is up to you. Personally I’ve never been a sprinter…so when January calls and I make a resolution if I go ‘hardcore’ to complete my goal for several weeks, I’m likely to burn out, fail and make myself ill in the process.

You can still use the clock and succeed without burn out. It’s called ‘intermittent training’ and it doesn’t just need to apply to training. In training it may mean to walk/run for several minutes at a time in order that you can run further, you then build up the time between running and walking as you progress …perhaps your goal is to declutter your home. To apply this theory rather than say you’ll do a draw or cupboard every day, instead over a 7 day week you commit to 4 draws or cupboards over the week. This gives room for life’s distractions, it also doesn’t matter how you complete the task…you may wish to do a ‘every other day’ approach or you may have a super busy week at work and you may dedicate an afternoon to doing all four in one go…this flexibility I find makes you ‘keep going’ far longer and ultimately you can achieve your goals with a higher success rate.

Time ticking is inevitable and whilst I agree we should all ‘keep going’ being more strategic about how we use our time will be more beneficial than burning out and doing nothing. Whilst the world keeps spinning and time keeps ticking, its what you do with it that really counts.

Do your thing

Quote Anon

As I wrote that quote I could hear my Year 9 English teacher Mrs H saying ‘Don’t use words like ‘stuff or thing’ it’s not specific’…well Mrs H, everyone’s ‘thing’ is different and this covers all bases.

Sometimes in life we forget who we are or what we enjoy simply because we get caught in the flow of life. We crawl through Monday morning as we reluctantly get out of bed, blink and often it’s Saturday afternoon…time flies not just when you’re having fun but when you are caught in the momentum of hum drum life…shower, work, drive, prepare meals, sleep and of course repeat.

Or events throw us off course and sometimes we forget who we were before the event, that can sometimes be a blessing as we are here to grow and thrive, but sometimes we can lose the magical moments of joy that we use to have. I remember about four months into having my son and contemplating returning to work I had to write a list of the things I enjoyed – not us as a family or me as a mother, but Lucy…what did I do before parenting knocked on my door and caught me in a baby led tsunami of nappy changes and baby snuggles?

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to reflect on what you enjoy, the ‘things’ that make you happy – not other people, but hobbies, past times and ‘things’. Make time in the next few days to do some of these; stay true to your morals, values and political beliefs, faith and attitudes and just do you. Don’t also be surprised if you also can’t think of any, adulting has a habit of snatching these from us. You may need to take a few minutes alone, grab a pen and paper and jot them down. All of the ‘things’ may not be available to you in this moment due to finance or your current situation but staying true to your sense of self can mean these can be achieved down the line.

Doing ‘you’ is your superpower and the world needs more of your unique vibe. Stepping into your sense of self, your happy place also makes you a better person when you return to your loved ones. Happiness leads to more moments of joy and don’t we all need a little more of that as we step in to 2022. Well, I’d love to write some more (because writing is another joy of mine) but I’m off to walk in forests, sip tea, light candles and eat cake.

Thankful, grateful and blessed

This morning I was writing in my gratitude journal, something I’ve done for nearly 10 years and I realised that in this moment I’m am blessed.

This doesn’t mean life is perfect, nor am I any where near fulfilling my dreams but I do feel content.

Contentment can be our enemy. It’s like a warm bed…we just don’t want to leave it and so we roll over and hide our nose under the covers to stay warm. It can mean we strive for less and settle for ‘now’ and exist rather than live.

However, I’ve recently discovered that whilst I can strive for more I can also acknowledge that being content is a privilege. Through being thankful for what I do have, the worries I don’t have and choosing to see gratitude in all of my blessings doesn’t mean I don’t want more, but it’s a wonderful place to be!

A feeling of contentment is like a warm hot water bottle, it feels soothing to the soul. It acknowledges that in this moment I am enough. That my basic needs are met, that some dreams may have already come to fruition and that there is still room for growth.

The more I thought about feeling contentment, the more I realised that the world looks down on it, doesn’t give it the credit it deserves…everyone is striving for happiness, to feel euphoric and whilst these feelings are fabulous, they are often short lived. Take a trip to a theme park. The best ride may be over in minutes (the euphoria super excited part) but I may feel content for the entire day…from the moment I’m getting dressed, preparing what to pack, the journey to the park…all the way home to my bed when I’m exhausted from the thrills, spills and excess sugar the day had in store. Contentment can last days, perhaps even weeks, happiness is a perspective that may come and go.

At the beginning of this blog I wrote about the ‘comfy enemy’ that contentment can bring…but if we can get off of the sofa, if we can strive for more but also go to sleep at night blissful for what we already have…surely that’s a wonderful life?

We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are

Quote by Max Depree

I can’t marry Tom Hardy if I stay on my sofa every evening, unless Tom starts a part time job for our local pizza company, the chances of us meeting remain remote, although the love affair is guaranteed once he seems me in my fluffy pjs and messy bun.

I remember being pregnant for the first time and looking down at my watermelon belly thinking the laws of physics may mean that what went in may never come out? But I couldn’t begin the awesome journey of parenthood without something giving…like all my internal organs, sanity and abdominal muscles.

Sometimes if we want to marry Tom, have a baby, cut the lawn or change career – we need to take action. I know you’re already thinking, wow Lucy is going deep today but I’m watching humanity go insane but doing the exact opposite – shouting at drivers and then not given way to other drivers, being derogatory about ex partners and then giving that person brain space, moaning about excessive weight gain whilst walking over to the biscuit tin…people need to wake up.

What do we need to do? Firstly, we need to take 2 actions…well maybe three?

Action one: Decide what you really want. For example whilst marrying Tom Hardy may appear delightful, it could get a little awkward with Mr F who I really do adore, plus I might actually have to leave my sofa. If I’m honest I’m not sure I really want this, I mean if he’s reading this – then call me Tom and we can’t work something out, but ultimately without that call…I’m not sure I’m fully dedicated to the outcome. Once you do find what you truly desire things become much easier and the battle to get off of the sofa can even become enjoyable.

Action two: Hold yourself accountable. That means don’t buy the biscuits, reduce the alcohol consumption…take the steps that bring you nearer to your goal. *secret: anyone can do this, it doesn’t take commitment or celebrity status, it often saves money and can be time efficient as you improves your wellbeing…it simply means setting a goal and take one small step to towards your goal. Why then do so many people fail? Either because the goal doesn’t really mean much to them (sorry Tom) or they listen to the negative settings in their brain and let themselves sabotage their own progress. When dead, surgeons completing autopsies don’t write down ‘Matthew had a heart failure and his resilience was low’ nor do they operate in life to increase dedication or self esteem. You can’t get fillers to top up your perspective, or pills to enhance your motivation and there aren’t injections for will power… whilst frustrating this comes with a huge positive – all these things from resilience to willpower are free and available to all! All you have to do is decide in the morning when you wake that you won’t do the thing you shouldn’t (or will do the thing you should)…and you make that decision daily. Repeat process each morning, small steps to a better you.

Action three: I guess this isn’t an actual action but rather a reminder…you are worthy of Tom Hardy, a freshly cut lawn, a healthier body, laughter, joy and all the very best life has to offer. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, you can leave your sofa and so can I…well, the *lawns not going to cut itself.

*note: whilst hopefully inspiring when I say cut the lawn, I interpreted this as ask the Mr to do it for me, I’ve never actually cut the lawn in my life and this is not an ‘action one’ I’m looking to achieve. I guess sometimes we need the support of others to support us and that can work out wonderfully too.

Silence is an answer

Original quote from fridgesays

Over the last few weeks I haven’t posted, not because I didn’t want to write, simply because it seems like the world was too noisy and everyone has an opinion…I’m partial to an opinion or two but not on everything. Just when I thought we were making tiny steps of progress to move out of the most bizarre pandemic ever, we have a media induced panic on purchasing petrol in the UK. Beyond ridiculous…

As Autumn also waved hello, I’ve decided to consciously live a little smaller, quieter and much like our pet Tortoise, hibernation seems to be the key to success for surviving the winter months ahead of us. I’m not interested in socialising and I’m tired. Joy at this present moment comes from simplicity; cups of tea, close family, walks in nature and candles.

Listening to what you need is a real skill that can enhance your mental and physical well-being. Often when we crave foods our body is searching for a particular nutrient. When we do things we aren’t committed to, they end in chaos or fall away. BUT when we serve our body, give it a duvet day of rest (without a guilt trip) we can avoid poor health or in my case, live an introvert existence – we come out better connected with ourselves and in turn this serves those around us moving forward.

Silence is an answer, the world doesn’t always need a response and remember sometimes there is just as much power in not responding.