Happy Birthday Sally!

Happy 10th Birthday Sally dog! 

(Yes I forgot it was her birthday until 8.30 pm today...so this is me making up for it...she will totally appreciate this right?)

I love this dog.

Your face

Last year I lost someone who meant a lot to me.  I feel as if I am beginning to let him go, but ever since I have started to feel this way, I have started to see him in everyone around me.

I see his features in the faces of those around me.  Hear his voice in the tones of others.  Find his mannerisms in the behaviours of others.

This never used to happen, it only began when I started to let go of the memory, the relationship, the past.

Is it that although my conscious mind has begun to feel like letting go is ok, subconsciously I am so unready for this that I am triggering these reminders to prevent myself from taking this step?
Or is it that in letting go I am giving myself the space to find the things that were vital to me in that relationship in other people?  That I have taken what I needed?

I honestly don't know.  All I know is, I see your face, and it hurts me. 

What do we deserve?

Hampton Court...home of those who got more than they deserved?
People often feel like they deserve a lot better from this life than they seem to get.  That life has not treated them fairly.  That they are owed something.  I know I am guilty of this.

A lot of it seems to stem from comparison of our lives to other people's.  There will always be someone who is richer, happier, healthier, more attractive or intelligent or successful than ourselves.

But it seems to go beyond this comparison.  I don't feel the same sense of injustice over the fact that all the other people who are at equal or lower levels of those factors in comparison to me have been treated that way by this world.  It is almost as if on some level I believe that because I am good, or kind, or hardworking or whatever it is, that means I am somehow entitled to a better life.

And of course, that's not true.  But why not?  You could argue that the vast majority of people "deserve" better than what they have got.  That all people are equal.  Or that what you should get from this world is based on how you behave in it - karma.  You could spend millenia deciding (and arguing) over what each individual should or should not deserve.  While perhaps there is nothing inherently wrong with this viewpoint, I think there are better angles from which to approach the question.

To answer the question at a deeper level, we need to look at whether we deserve what we do have at the most very basic level.  I would argue that just in our very existence, we have already received far far more than we could ever deserve.

Whether you believe in any God, no God at all or the Flying Spaghetti Monster himself, no-one can doubt that the fact that they themselves exist is completely mind-blowingly amazing.  Utterly improbable.  Totally miraculous.  To even reach the point where we take our first breath of air, we are so blessed.  To have life, to exist, is far more than any of us could ever deserve.  Before we existed, we had done nothing to deserve life.  And to be honest, very few of us will ever achieve anything remotely significant enough to say on our deathbeds that we deserved life either.

Yes life hurts.  Yes we get sick, people hurt us, times change and we live in a inherently unfair world.  But.  BUT.  But we have been given life, we already have been given far more than we will ever deserve.

Please dont misinterpret what I am trying to say here.  There is nothing wrong with attempting to resolve the injustices of this world, and there is nothing wrong with attempting to better one's own life.  There is, however, something wrong with this attitude of entitlement.  It seems impossible for it to lead to anything but dissatisfaction, anger, selfishness and ultimately greed.  Regardless of how much we succeed at changing the world or our own lives, we will never satiate the feeling that we deserve better. 

When I reach the point (which happens regularly I'm ashamed to say) when I have had the day from Hell and feel as if the whole world has some kind of vendetta against me, or find myself the unfortunate recipient of yet another shockingly bad piece of luck, I find that adopting this attitude of gratitude (boo-ya rhyming morality!) helps.

Suddenly it's not about things not being fair, not about about me deserving more.  When I am grounded in gratitude then all the inequality and unfairness this world holds becomes so much more bearable. I hope that it will become second nature to be constantly conscious of how much more I have already received in comparison to what I deserve.

I'm getting laser eye surgery!

On 11 November, I am getting LASIK Wavefront laser eye surgery on my left eye with Optimax in Manchester.  My vision in my right eye is almost normal, so I get by without glasses for most things, exceptions being driving, watching TV or using computers - as forcing myself to focus for long periods of time without glasses gives me headaches.

So if I can basically see, why am I getting laser surgery?

  1. I want to be comfortable driving long distances without getting headaches or sore eyes.
  2. I am terrible at breaking my glasses.  My travels are going to be taking me places where a new pair may not always be easy to get hold of.  But I still need to be able to drive safely.
  3. I am going to see the world.  What is the point of getting out there and not being able to see clearly?
  4. It is cheaper!  My surgery will cost me £1295 and I shouldn't need glasses again until I am in my 40s.  £1295 probably wouldnt cover my glasses and opticians appointments up until that point.
 So I'm going for it.  I'm scared...and excited.  It's nowhere near as much of a big deal for me as it would be for someone who has 2 really short-sighted eyes though.  I cant even imagine what it would be like to wake up and see clearly for the first time.
Review of Optimax to follow post-surgery!


So I have had an idea for my next sewing project for the van...a car seat tidy.  I saw one in a shop the other day - and was like "Yes! That's what I need for the van!"  But the ones you can buy tend to be much smaller than what I could have (and I do not want to waste any potential storage space!) and the pockets often dont look that great a size.  They are made for nice little things like sunglasses, whereas I want nice big pockets I can stuff with things. 

I am planning on doing 2 different sized ones.  On the driver's side, the organiser can come right down to the floor as the seat will not be swivelling.  As this will be right next to the bed, this can basically act as a bedside cabinet (yay for having normal-people furniture!).  Then the one on the passenger side will be shorter in length, as this seat will be swivelling.  I can't decide whether to make pretty patchwork pockets or just stick to plain ones.  I guess I'll see what Mum's fabric cupboard has to offer!

Unfortunately this project is going to have to wait a while, as Im currently on lockdown in revision mode.  Exams are the bane of my existence.

The kitchen is in! (kind of)

So my oh-so-awesome partner in crime on the van front is now back in action following a couple of months away due to a cycling accident...and the result is - the kitchen is now in progress! The basic structure is in and Im so pleased with it.  Here is a picture of what I have so far which shows what else is to be added in.
 I have also finished painting the wardrobe, so the only thing left to do on that is put in the rail.  So you can really get an idea now of what the space is going to feel like when it is complete.  This is the view from the back of the van...

3 out of 4 blinds for the back are now finished, though I have found that my supposedly "allpurpose" glue is in fact not all purpose as it does not attach the velcro to the metal.  Looks like I need to find some glue designed for metal.  But this is what the blinds look like when they are rolled back...

...and when they are rolled out...

It's been a productive weekend!

Remember last time

"You shouldn't get involved in that.  Remember last time."

Those words are from my mother, and they cut me to the bone. 

To me, the "last time" she was referring to wasn't a situation I regretted, wasn't an action I viewed as a failure, wasn't a decision I felt I got wrong.  It hurt that the woman whose opinion matters most on me looks at part of my life as failures, especially when I dont share the same view.

To me, the "last time" was in fact, entirely different from "this time". It left me feeling lost that someone I am so close to still cannot see the world through my eyes.

And even if "this time" were the same as "last time", it hurt that someone I regard as my best friend doesn't trust my intelligence to not make the same mistake twice.

10 years ago, that comment would have sent me into a screaming rage.  5 years ago it would have turned me into a depressed ball of misery.  1 year ago, that comment would have left me feeling compelled to debate the point until she shared (or at least pretended to share) my point of view.  But today, I just let the comment pass.  Why?

Sure, I felt the pain, the shock, the betrayal of trust.  But not the need to react.  I would say I have learnt that sometimes the health of the relationship is worth much more than the health of my ego, more than my desire to express my opinion, more than the need for understanding.  So much more.

And beyond this insult, this relationship, this reaction, I am rapidly learning that the further away I take my life choices from the choices that the majority of people make, the more often I am going to get reactions like this.  And you know what?  That's ok.  Just because I may not share someone's opinion, doesn't mean they are not entitled to it.  And it doesn't mean their opinions, views or choices are not equally valid, even if that might hurt me.   

But it doesn't have to define me either, and it certainly doesn't have to prevent me from acting out of love.

Interestingly, this theme of isolation in life seems to be running wild at the moment, from my post on relationships, to Tynan's awesome post on lifestyle and Sebastian's post on understanding.

More Rilke

I know, I know, I know...I have gushed with love and admiration for the awesome blog A Year with Rilke before.

But this post....this is something else...

"Never, not for a single day, do we let
the space before us be so unbounded
that the blooming of one flower is forever.

From the Eighth Duino Elegy
Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.  Perfection!

If I ever...

...get a tattoo...then I will get a design based on this gorgeous stunning surreal dragon...

It was love at first sight.

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