Thursday, 2 June 2011
Happeee!! [Warning this post contains severe "Pollyanna" content and may cause nausea]
It seems that there are a lot of bloggers around going through stressful times (and I'm one of them) but it occurred to me that, at the same time, I'm actually really happy. Genuinely smiley, chilled and happy. I know that a few of my recent blog posts have been a bit serious, talking about tricky matters in my life, my family and friends, trying to sell my old house and former marriage. There are a lot of pressure points in my life; it’s definitely not all hunky-dory, but that doesn’t seem to affect my overall contentment.
So, why do things which would previously have had me crying, waking up in the middle of the night, eating, hiding from life and either being depressed or plastering a fake layer of joie de vivre over my fears in an effort to try not to be depressed, no longer cause such grief?
I think it is a combination of a few things:
Growing up, perhaps (somewhat belatedly at 40 plus). Learning to stand on my own 2 feet and take responsibility for myself. Having faith that I can take care of myself and can do the tasks which previously frightened me.
Feeling loved and accepted. Knowing that even if I do fall flat on my face from time to time or need a hand, that there are people out there willing to help me and Richard is at the front of the queue. Knowing that that love and friendship is unconditional, not linked to how I look, what I weigh, what I ate for my last meal, how I behaved in the pub, what I can give to or do for the person in question etc etc
Being in love with a loving, kind man. It's just gorgeous. I feel so lucky. (What was it Lovecat would say at this point?? Oh yes - "boake"!)
The knowledge that “the worst” has happened and the world did not fall in on its axis. I survived leaving D. Ok, maybe I lost a few friends along the way but I know now who I can rely on, who is worth caring about. I think I used to hide in the crowd of my friends. They were essential to my life because they enabled me to avoid thinking about the emptiness of the rest of my life. Now my friendships are more genuine. I don’t “need” them in the same way but enjoy them more. Having been tested, I suppose, what is left is stronger and more worthwhile.
Fun. Keeping active, doing new things and having fun. I feel as though I’m packing so much into every month. Keeping fit stuff, walking/training, dogs, dancing, football, golf, music gigs/theatre/cinema, nights out with friends, family, french class, weekend trips, quiz/darts and dominos, pub, gardening…. It can be a bit tiring if you miscalculate and overdo it but generally it’s great. But I also love the fact that a quiet night in with Rich is just as good. I look forward to those as much as all the activities. A night in used to be me, alone, sitting on the sofa wondering if there was something better happening somewhere without me. Now, it’s the only place we want to be and we both guard them jealously.
Work. Because I felt so off-balance before, my confidence in my abilities at work were shaky. At times I felt good about it but often I felt as though I was just clinging on. I started treating work like my relationship - something to be appeased; I always volunteered to do things, took everything on and was always apologising and making excuses thus putting myself on the back foot. Now, partly because I'm in a much happier place personally and partly because, having survived the re-structure, I have actual proof of how much I'm valued, I recognise what I can and can't do. I'm less apologetic and more upfront and realistic with people rather than always saying yes. And that seems to work better for me and my colleagues. As with my weight issues, I have stopped attributing a moral element to my work. Being good at my work is important and I love it but missing the odd deadline (most of which are fake anyway) does not make a "bad" person or lazy/selfish/a failure etc etc
Freedom from the fear of food or of gaining weight. I don’t mean I can stop trying or that I don’t have to be vigilant. But the whole weight issue is no longer imbued with a moral element. I don’t feel like a bad person/failure/greedy cow if I don’t go running or if I slip up foodwise. And for that I can thank Steve Peters and that TV show and also Rich’s love and acceptance as mentioned above. Now weight, diet and exercise is about health, taste, fitness and what my body can do and can look like not about whether or not what I eat or do makes me a good or bad person. As it should be.
So, now, nearly all of the time, I am light-hearted and positive and I often find myself on top of a hill in the sunshine, grinning inanely and hugging to myself the knowledge of just how lucky I feel.