Connecting the dots

In the past year I have learned so much – about writing, blogging, social media, about people and about myself. And it couldn’t have been learned in a week, even if I read and wrote 24 hours a day, clocking up the same amount of hours as over the past year. It doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes you need to see a snapshot over time and I feel I am now beginning to connect the dots. What I have learned is that I am not alone in my ups and downs. I experience great highs and lows and unless the entire blogging world of writers are all bipolar, then nor am I! (Actually, don’t answer that). I read and get to experience wonderful highs in others’ posts, words of joy, wisdom, encouragement, faith and now I look on them not with skepticism, knowing that it will crash back at some point, but with love and connection. I read about people’s lows also, interpreting what’s between the lines and only guessing at the depth of pain contained therein.

But my aha moment today is seeing the ebb and flow of it all. Our inner worlds simply can’t remain the same; it’s not possible. I want to get out there and hug every blogger, whether they are at their peak or wondering how they let the joy slip away without noticing and wondering what on earth to write about if they felt their blog should be all joy and roses.

Here is my hug people, whether the sun is shining, your world is simple and the decks are cleared, ready for the fun times ahead to be enjoyed or whether you are wondering why you are bogged down and nothing seems to interest you these days. I truly believe we are ultimately all the same and there is nothing wrong with that. Remember to connect your own dots and see the picture you are creating.

need a hug

need a hug

 

 

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Eternal Newbies

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there – L.P. Harley

rollerskate toddler

So what? I ask myself, things move on and what’s gone is gone, irrelevant isn’t it?

However it is relevant because we learn from past experiences, hoping that this ‘knowledge‘ will serve us well in the future i.e. the here and now. Our brains get wired in this way. Unfortunately many things we’ve learned in the past just would not apply today. I am not even talking about caveman times. The changes in our own lifetimes are astounding. What worked for us 10 years ago or even last year may not get the same results today. And many careers are having to change because of it. I’ve heard that what Uni students learn in first year computer studies, is probably outdated by the time the course ends. It really helps nowadays to learn fast and think on your feet! Continue reading

How to attract the creative

It is better by far to speak with a person than to a person – J.D. Boatwood

Speak with you darling

Ouch! I am guilty of this one. Sometimes I go into warp speed, all excited about my latest subject and off I go, like a cork out of post Grand Prix champagne. There is no ‘with’ about it. The unwitting listener goes through Continue reading

I dare ya!

Skull oil lamp

How do we keep our blogs burning? I spend a lot of time on the blogging world because I read every post of every blog I follow and there are quite a few. Something I have noticed though is that many I am drawn to started within a few months of when I started. Do we have the same level of freshness/enthusiasm/naiveté? Are we on this journey together and how fast do each of us travel? Some have exponential growth in followers, and some none at all. One has only written two posts but I wait with baited breath for the third. Others have years of archives I long to explore.

The other thing I noticed is that some people appear to have stopped writing their blog. I follow a few diet type blogs because my other blog is helping me lose a little weight. What happened to those people who stopped? The last post of one implies that he has fallen off the wagon and started to eat unhealthily again. What are the consequences of stopping a questioning, feel-good type blog like I hope this one is? Could it be that I have become depressed and have nothing in my oil lamp to keep it burning? Would you continue to follow after a year if I didn’t post?

Perhaps I am drawn to the kind of blogs where the humble writers don’t have all the answers and are seeking them, or maybe that describes all of mankind, in some way or another. I have a passing interest in non soul searching blogs such as how to be a blogger and the latest trends and photography. I satisfy my curiosity for the new on Pinterest more now also. But there is no connection there except where the blogger posts comments on my posts and I feel I know them and care about them as people. The information only blogs only attract my attention sporadically. This is why it’s called social media I expect!

So back to you, my wonderful blogging friends. What does your oil consist of? How are you today? How does your mood affect whether you blog or not? Do you take the time to keep putting oil in the lamp, however you enrich your soul, enough to dare to blog? For it is a dare, really, a great act of courage to say anything at all and hit publish. I have looked back at some of my past posts and think ‘what rubbish!’ but the point is the confidence with which we write, not what we actually say. The confidence to hope that one other soul (or our own soul) gets some benefit from it. I applaud every post I have written, rubbish or otherwise and all of yours! You did it!  The lights are on!

Light bulb lamp

Just some random thoughts from a scrambled egg mind. I didn’t think I’d blog today….

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

One True Friend

In the last couple of weeks, I ran into two people with whom I used to be quite close. One I worked with for a year and a half in a miserable office, run by a miserable man and we found solace in each other. I did anyway. The other was going through something I was going through, for a while there, as well as both of us bringing up three small kids. Both Melinda and Tracey decided to stop calling me for whatever their reasons, amongst many other people in my life. It has long since stopped bothering me. In fact it’s a good thing.

It was brilliant to see them and catch up. I had about ten minutes with each and we all asked the kind of questions that involve summaries, not details, because you both kind of know that you need to cover the big stuff (after about 4 years of not seeing each of them) because you won’t be talking again any time soon. I was so happy to talk to them and hear their news. I am so fond of both of them and my warm hugs for them were genuine.

What made me smile was the ease with which I said goodbye but how they both said ‘We must do coffee/catch up again soon’. I just smiled at them. I wonder if they felt they needed to say that, to make the parting easier, or if there was any guilt on their part. I hope not, because that’s not who I am any more. I’m OK with me, so I am not offended and I hope that if I stop calling someone, because I like my freedom, it doesn’t register for them either. We are all drawn together and apart, depending on the current circumstances and I can still ‘love’ all those people I was once close to, for who they are, without needing to make conversation regularly. They have all touched me, all changed me in some way and left fond memories and understanding about different people. I hope I have done the same for them.

There are so many other awesome people out there waiting to meet me, and I them. Brief encounters are fantastic and I don’t feel the need to hang on to every person like I did when I was younger. You should have seen my Christmas Card list before I stopped sending them!

And who are my true friends? Everyone, all of them. How long does it take to make a connection and appreciate another soul? Sure, I have friends I have known since school, who live on the other side of the world, and we may keep in touch once a year, or occasionally through Facebook, but all are just as precious whether we keep in touch or not. I value the people I meet, for whatever connects us.

And do I get regular calls from friends and go out every week? No, actually and I realise I have cultivated that lifestyle on purpose. Nor do I call anyone. I like my alone time, my pottering and thinking and writing and observing and loneliness does not figure in this life of mine.

So dear friends, I love you all the same and wish you happiness wherever you are and whomever you are or aren’t with, including me. 🙂

Where will you be at 103?

dont compare your beginning to someone else's middle

I could have just used the quote ‘Don’t compare’ and stopped there. Using comparison is a natural way of learning so it sticks with us but it can paralyse us also if we feel insecure and therefore feel a yearning to compete. I once read that the Amish people made incredibly beautiful things because they couldn’t see what else there was in the world and be intimidated by it. So they worked on their own styles, developing their beginnings into middles.

When I started blogging I was afraid to read others’ blogs because I knew I would be intimidated. But I had missed the whole point and therein lay my lesson. Not that my outpourings suck and that I am quite immature compared to other bloggers but that it was needless to compare my beginnings to their middles and of course I could learn so much from other bloggers, like having lots of wise aunties and grandparents, or creative and fun young people around to converse with.

How is your middle looking? Are you a newborn, child, teenager, young adult or oldie in this world of blogging? Have you started just the one, focused blog or had ten previous ones which fell by the wayside as you tried to work out who you were or what you really wanted to write about?

It doesn’t matter what you’ve posted on your blog or where you are now. And nothing you’ve posted in the past needs editing. If you’re blogging, you’re moving. Moving into yourself, taking detours, learning, growing, surprising yourself and learning more than you ever could about life, than from a book or a lecture or a wise person. Writing your blogs teaches you more than reading them. It teaches me about myself, my insecurities, my strengths, on good days anyway, and what I am capable of bearing in feedback from others. It teaches me to keep going, try things anyway, let go of the external outcomes and focus on the internal ones.

Spending time at the computer may seem like a waste but the world is right there at your fingertips. A world of thoughts, images and ideas, memory joggers and fresh views. And as you seek out like minded people or even completely different people if you want something completely new every day, you are still becoming more you. It’s like a case of ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ because you don’t know what you are looking for but this is a much faster way to see it.

So how are your beginnings looking? I feel like I begin anew every day. I have no clue what I will write about. Sometimes what I find inside makes sense to me and sometimes it seems to make more sense to others. Perhaps I am helping you become more you when something I write reinforces a belief of yours, or jogs your memory, or best of all, makes you curious and question your own beliefs.

So to all you curious bloggers out there, enjoy your beginnings, be proud of your middles and may we all end up together, still blogging until we have to blog in whatever way we can. I will try voice recognition software one day! May I get to blog about incontinence and retirement and dating the only centenarian for miles. Or maybe make up stories and live in a fantasy world completely removed from the trappings of being 90.

That would be an awesome way to spend my ‘old’ age! Surrounded by a world of friends of all types and ages on the internet, I can continue to evolve and become the real me. Might take me till I’m 103…..

Will you still be at it?

Get Along Go

If you want to get along, go along – Sam Rayburn

When I am short of time, I quickly choose the first quote which seems simple and easily explained. I don’t have to write pages. This is my outburst, I can do what I like. What on earth could I expand on this with?

The main premise of this I believe is that in order to build relationships you have to spend time with people. Seems obvious really. When I first read it, I thought of my work colleagues. We work in a unique place where the thing everyone seems to love most about working there is the relationships we form. It is full of the nicest people! My theory on that (and of course I have one) is that everyone is inherently nice. People are wonderful! No one thinks of themselves as not being a good person. No one, not even that unbelievably cranky woman you may have come across at x, y and z. We can all be that cranky person. I behave badly sometimes and hopefully I see it, can work out why I behaved badly, forgive myself, apologise to the person involved, forget it and move on. What makes us into not nice people temporarily, and behave badly, is being under pressure and feeling insecure about it. It can be from the outside – a demanding boss,  or it can be internally – I must make this perfect cake for my daughter’s birthday before morning. Silly pressure. Anyway, the company I work for give us time and space to be nice people. They create ways for us to mingle and form these relationships. They value the niceness and say that they employ primarily by personality and fit with the culture and then look at work skills. This culture means that as we like each other we socialise outside work also.

Unfortunately this is where I can come unstuck. I am uncomfortable driving to new places. My satellite navigation system helps for the most part but can also get things wrong and the stress really builds. This means that sometimes when my fellow customer service team go to trivia nights in far away places, I tend not to go. By not going along, I can’t join in the fun chat about it the next day. I love them all and have know them for 3 years, but those little extra bonds are formed without me.

How easy is it for us to agree to go somewhere and do something and then on the day feel lazy or tired or blah and bail out? Actually this is something I rarely do now, if ever! I have seen it over and over again where the person creating the event goes to so much time and effort to ‘give’, in order that we receive and enjoy.  If you might be feeling too unmotivated to show up on that day, imagine the host not being in the mood either but having to do all the work anyway!!

When I was in my early 20s, a lovely girl I met invited me to a lunch party. I had no car and was stressed about getting there and called to make my excuses. As I cannot lie (guilt, blushing etc etc) I said i just wasn’t up to it and she quite rightly persuaded me to pull my head in and come. So I went along! Not only had she created this amazing gourmet feast (I had no idea anyone in their early 20s was so generous, talented and motivated) but she had decorated her whole house.  Only about 6 people showed up! We felt bad for her but we made up for it by having a ball and staying till very late. I even met my next boyfriend there. I went along and I got along. Relationships can also be ruined by now showing up.

My conclusion is that if you really have no excuse but laziness, nine times out of ten you should show up to whatever it is – a play, outing, picnic. It will certainly help you get along with the host and form new relationships by actually being face to face with the people you meet there. How much is learned from smiles, body language etc that you just can’t see on a phone call, email, text or some other form of social media?

Anyway I digress. This expression could also refer to something else. Get along might mean get along in life, get promoted etc, not get along with people. I imagine it works that way also of course. I am sure many employees will lose half their weekend to golf with the boss or some such activity in the name of promotion. Just doing your work isn’t all that’s required of most jobs now because we work best as teams. We cannot work in isolation. The result is greater than the sum of its parts etc etc. Goodness, a few more quotes popped into my mind just then on that subject. Do I live by quotes now? Why do I remember so many? Probably because they can put into a few words what I take 3 pages to explain 🙂

Anyway, what I am coming to learn from today’s outburst is the importance of socialising; of actually being in the same space and interacting with other people. Especially your kids. And it’s lovely to socialise with your work colleagues. It takes trust to let others know the real us, but if we did, we would have more tolerance for each other when small flare ups inevitably occur as a result of work pressure.

Once we start to accept everyone we work with, well everyone we meet in fact, as the complete package and probably more like us, simply by dint of being human beings, this ‘getting along’ could take us a long, long way.  Sting sang back in the 80’s ‘Don’t the Russians love their children too?’ – we are all essential the same. So go along and get along!