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Appreciate family friendship

True To Self

My local park 1st August 2022

I love walking round my local park, though I realised how easy it was to just go into auto pilot and not notice things so now I am making sure I say focused and present. I take my phone so I can take photos. I now don’t just love it I appreciate and enjoy it too.

Anyway as a follow on from the last post, what I had written got me thinking deeper. about being who we are not who we are not. For instance Princess Leia could not be anything other than she was. Even when we get to know Luke Skywalker we know from that opening scene that all he wanted to do was be a star-ship pilot not a farmer. It was in his blood to be something more than.

I have been reading “My Fourth Time, We Drowned” by Sally Hayden and as well as feeling angry at what is going with the UN and the refugees in Africa, I also feel pretty inadequate. Here is a woman publishing stories that should shock the world with the inhumanity of privileged humans to vulnerable humans, and of what trauma does to people. But then I had to realise that I could not be a Sally Hayden. I can only be a Diane Woodrow. I cannot be what I am not.

If you watch a lot of Pixar and Disney as I do one of the key themes is the main character trying to be something they are not. It is a reoccurring theme and often, no actually always, makes me cry. I cry because too often we push others into being what they are not, or are pushed ourselves. It happens too often yet we either let it happen or do it to others.

Going back to the marriage theme from the last post – as well as sometimes grieving the changes that happen to us in marriage the that we are not the younger people we were when we first met, I think sometimes we try to manipulate that other person into being what we would like them to be. And depending on how they responded to that as a child how they then respond to that as a spouse.

We do all do it a little bit with our friends to fit in with them. We allow ourselves to be what they would like us to be, but then we get frustrated and angry, or accept that mold and forget who we really are.

So I started this post with a photo of my regular dog walk and of how I am trying to be more present there, trying to see it more as it is rather than ignoring it. I am also trying to do this with my friends and family. I am trying to accept and be present with who they are and enjoying them for what they are and not for what I think they should be. I am also learning to be more “me”, doing more of what I want, being more of who I want to be.

Hopefully from this I can appreciate, enjoy and love my friends and family more and more.

Categories
2020 accepting Covid-19 different Jesus Listening lockdown mental health issues privilege

Privileged?

Photo by myself – Reykjavik Iceland early morning Oct 2016

One of the big things that is taught about how to look after your mental health is not to compare yourself to others because your trauma, your issues, your situation, is yours and it is hard for you. It may appear easier than someone else’s but that doesn’t matter. As lockdown has eased there have been more articles appearing about how those born from about 1990’s are struggling with lockdown and those born before 1965 are wondering what all the fuss is about.

I have been trying to write a blog post about rights and privileges but it hasn’t been coming. I did do one just after the Brexit vote which flowed but this one was not coming. Lots of drafts but nothing that made sense to what I wanted to write. Then, after receiving a forwarded article from a friend from her local vicar, and going for a long walk on the beach with the dog, it all fell into place.

In this article, from my friend’s vicar, he talks of all the major historic events that happened for those born in 1900 compared to those born in 2000. And yes those born this century have not had to deal with 2 world wars, plus 2 minor wars that the West was involved in, major economic crashes, and the Spanish flu, amongst other things. And yes those things are horrendous and are not comparable to not being able to go to school, not being able to hang out with friends, not knowing if you can go abroad on holiday, of having to wear masks, of being confined at home, miss out on growing and developing as an adult at university. No they do not compare but they are the issues that young people are having to walk through and it does not make them any less traumatic.

As another retired friend of mine said that even though she misses her friends and her clubs, etc, she has had a life that she can look back on when she’s at home on her own. There is the phone to call people and she’s getting the hang of video calling too. But as she says, she’s had her life. Even for myself, I missed seeing people for those first couple of months but now I can go visiting and am even off to England to see family. I’m even restarting horse riding today. I have reached a stage in my life where I don’t want much but that is because I have done things, travelled, partied, had freedom to come and go as I like, in my teens, 20s and 30s.

Also I believe our media has spent that this century pumping anxiety into us from climate change to Brexit to terrorism. We live in fear and are constantly in flight or fight mode but can do nothing to change it. So our young people have been born into this high anxiety media storm with social media and image over riding so much. So no it isn’t a World War pr any of the things listed above, but this lockdown is riding on the back of traumas, anxieties and much more. As well as the media portraying the pandemic as possibly never ending.

So let us be kind to those who look at some of things that we might see as privileges as their right. Let us try and understand why they feel this way and not just tell them that “it was harder in my day“. That really isn’t helpful. That piles on the guilt which makes anxieties even stronger. It becomes not just “what is wrong with the world” but “what is wrong with me“.

I’m sure Jesus would have listened to both the young and the old and all those in between without judgement or condemnation. Shall we give it a go?

Categories
accepting Brexit grief privilege rights Women's hour

Privilege or Right?

I was listening to some comments on Women’s Hour on Radio 4 yesterday about Brexit. What I noticed was that people seemed to see being about to go to and fro in Europe as a right. EG – it is my right that my elderly parents should be able to live in Greece and thenwomens hour be able to fly back to UK for treatment as and when they like; it is my right that I can live in France when I want to retire and still get my pension from UK and be able to vote even though I have not been in the country for 17 years; it is my right that as a European I should be able to live in England for as long as I like and not have to worry about visas, etc; and so it seemed to go on.

I think we often get confused and for get that things are for a period of time. Have you ever tried getting in to the USA? A very different story. But people don’t see it as a right to be able to come and go into the USA as they please, even though it until two hundred or so years ago it was part of Britain. It is seen as a privilege to be able to live and work there, as it is in many other countries.

I am not saying whether I am a leave or remain person but what I am saying is that for the last forty years or so I have had the privilege of coming and going into Europe to live, work, holiday as I have wanted with no hassle. Once in Europe, for a long time now, the currency has been the same so I will not starve if I cross borders after the banks have closed. [Yes one time I nearly starved in Belgium because we got stuck there, between France and Holland on a weekend!!] I see this as aDSCF1039.JPG privilege.

I wonder if we saw the last few years of being part of Europe as a privilege for a season whether we could enter the debate with a different heart? If I see something as my right I get upset if it is taken away. If I see something as a privilege to enjoy for a period of time then even if I am sad when it goes I have not held it so tightly.

On reading Dan Held Evan’s quote after his wife Rachel died suddenly at 37 it read as if, even though his grieve was huge, he still held his time with her as a privilege he had enjoy and as a right that should never be taken from him. There is a lovely man in our church who was married to his wife for just over 59 years before she died of cancer who, even though his grief is open and he often cried in church, says he still looks at the time they had together as a privilege to cherish.

I believe we cherish privileges but cling to rights.