Who else tries to limit themselves to 10 minutes max on the Daily Mail Online? And who else fails miserably, winding up goggly eyed, scrolling through stories about which Z-list celebs have just secured a £10,000,000,000,000 contract to be the Face of Flatulence or whatever new perfume/makeup/clothing line is hoping to be the next Kardashian inspired money making hit? I really hope I’m not alone here! Now, apart from the reality TV tripe, there is often a story or two that catches my eye, like the recent one by extremely talented novelist, Raffaella Barker, where she writes about feeling invisible at times and imparts the ways she has helped overcome that. So, my question to you is: Do you ever feel invisible?
What even is midlife anymore? As a little girl, I thought 40 was middle aged, but now I’m 50 and I think…am I there yet? The ageing goalposts have definitely moved and I think, overall, it’s a good thing. We are now supposed to be a nation of pro-agers and being ageist is just not tolerated anymore…is it?
As a child, I used to look up to my mum as if she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen – I still do! The waft of her Rive Gauche fragrance as she glammed up at her dressing table, ready to go out on the town with dad, the perfect roast dinners she made on a Sunday and her health and beauty rituals such as massaging in a face-full of cold cream before sleeping and the sharing out of spoonfuls of Cod Liver Oil with the family.
Since I gave up competitive swimming at 16 – I was a National champion and had a TV appearance on Tomorrow’s World and Grandstand (yeah, I know!) – my super speedy athlete’s metabolism, used to the 5am swimming sessions and healthy lifestyle, was abruptly sabotaged by late night partying, mid-day rising, junk food and dry Martini and lemondes. Within a few months of no pool action, my hard earned six pack had deflated and my thighs expanded and I found it hard to deal with. The body that had been a treasured temple was quickly becoming a flabby bedsit and I didn’t know then, but that excess weight that engulfed my body and that I’d never had before, was going to plague me for years and years to come…
I always remember my lovely Nanny Ciss saying ‘You should be grateful’ when I turned my nose up at something, whether it was a ‘nice bit of liver’ for dinner *shudders* or when I came second in the swimming club gala. Grateful? But I wanted sausages and chips and I wanted to win the trophy. I didn’t get what I wanted, so as far as I could tell there was nothing to be grateful for. As I grew up though, I realised, clever old Nanny Ciss knew a thing or two about leading a happy life and being thankful for what she had.
When I think about being grateful now, as an adult, I understand it all much better. While I was having a bit of a crappy day recently, it only took five minutes for me to switch my mood from yuck to yay and this is what helped…
The dog. Of course, I was going to say that first 🙂 My big, shiny, loveable Labrador Troy. It doesn’t matter that I’m being grumpy or shouting at Stressed Husband or one of the kids, my dumpling dog always forgives my moods and brings me a sock or pair of pants from the utility room as if to say ‘cheer up mum, here’s a present’. Awww. dirty socks? Nice – not. But I’m just grateful for him ‘presenting’ me with something – it’s his way of telling me he cares!
My house. It took a while to get the building work out of the way with lots of stress, dust and family arguments, and even though it still isn’t finished exactly how I would’ve liked it and it smells of damp dog, it has lots going for it: It overlooks the river, it’s big enough for my 3 big kids and their gaggle of friends and the parties. I guess I’m feeling a bit sad now that we’ve got it on the market (news updates to follow) but for now, it’s home and I’m grateful!
Friends and family. Of course, they’re top of the list, but today, I think Troy was the winner and got top mention as he managed to bring me not just one pair of socks and a lovely pair of unwashed boxer shorts, but a pair of slippers today too. And all, I might add, were in his mouth at the same time! Still, it only took me a quick scroll through my texts and a peek on Facebook to see how many lovely friends I have (and I don’t mean just ‘Facebook’ friends but real ‘if you’re down, I’ll listen to you moan and cheer you up’ type friends.) I’m well aware that not everybody is lucky enough to have such wonderful friends and family and so I am always grateful for that!
Being healthy. What more can I say? I moan about my aching hips – but will never give up swinging them about while I’m dancing! I grumble about my dizziness and other menopausal type symptoms which get on my tits (and talking of tits – they’re getting droopier by the minute so I’ve got to moan about those too) but all in all, I’m so, so grateful to be healthy.
So there we have it. My reasons to be grateful today and I’d like to say a big thank you to Nanny Ciss, God rest her soul, for instilling in me that I really ‘should be grateful’ instead of moaning about stuff that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Love you nan.
What are your reasons to be grateful?
I felt compelled to write a quick post on self esteem to the women or girls out there who might be feeling crappy about themselves because of the hurtful and ignorant words of Loose Women’s Jamelia. In case you don’t know, she said plus size clothes shouldn’t be available on the high street and women should be made uncomfortable when they go in a clothes shop and can’t find their size! Really. She said that.