A Sense of Purpose

Feeling nostalgic. Grey outside – what day is it? Sunday? Monday? Takes a minute or two to work out if it is still the weekend or the start of the working week – for some. For others it is just another day in lockdown. So, it’s important that I get up, get dressed and take the dog out. In the park I see a mum with her two toddlers, and not only can I remember this time clearly, I can actually feel it. It’s a good feeling – warm and fuzzy and makes me smile.  And it got me thinking about those days which in a way were easier because I knew what were my roles. I was the mother of 3 boys, I was a daughter, I was a sister, I was a wife and I was a journalist. I am still a mother but a different kind of mother. My parents, my brother and my husband are all dead. So now I have to find a new role, a new purpose. A recent survey of almost 7000 adults between the ages of 51 and 61 showed that having a purpose decreases your chance of premature death. And those without a sense of purpose were almost twice as likely to die in the four years of the study. If COVID doesn’t get me than I would hate it to be my lack of purpose that does the deed. graph sense of purpose Izzy was bored with my musing and sat patiently with the ball in her mouth waiting to play.  She looked very grey round the mouth, her jowls drooped,  she was panting and she looked old. Actually, we have a lot in common! “How would you like a little puppy to play with,” I asked. She cocked her head to one side, and I am sure I heard her say, “Really another small thing in the house, a cat is not enough. Stop prevaricating find your purpose?” Izzi is a very intelligent dog  –  a cross between a Belgium Shepherd  and a Collie. Actually she would hate another interloper – it was bad enough when the kitten arrived. Before lockdown I was busy.  I was arranging a wedding which of course didn’t happen. I was already starting to organise the annual Stand Up for London’s Air Ambulance Comedy Night and the second Tod Talk charity event.  I was working with  companies to organise regular donations for the Asylum Drop In that I volunteered with,  did my training with The Felix  Food Bank Project and I had a number of exciting travel trips arranged. Plus, I had my Gym and Bridge.  Now I need to find a purpose that works with my current lockdown status until they find a vaccine which will allow me to get back into the world. I know I am exceedingly fortunate, and I am mindful of those who have to cope with very difficult circumstances. And I am remembering a book a friend gave me a few years ago –  Viktor Frankl’s  Man’s Search for Meaning.  Not an easy read. But an important book. Frankl describes his daily experiences and observations of his life inside the concentration camp in Nazi Germany. It is where he developed his beliefs about how one can sustain a desire to live even under the most inhumane and desperate circumstances.   The inmates who had a sense of purpose were more likely to survive the degrading conditions of the camp. Obviously, my search for a sense of purpose in no way compares with the life these people had in Frankl’s concentration camp, but it does show the importance of finding meaningful goals when life get rough. victor Frankly So, people I am up for suggestions.  Open to all ideas. Message me.

“Let’s be careful out there”

Nostalgia

A walk or shall I say delve into the past. Toby, in search of a project, decided to clean out the loft. OMG You cannot imagine what we found. And just as well really because should something happen to me in these uncertain times, at least the boys won’t be left to make derisory comments as they sort out my families past history.

Mum died 14 years ago and there is still a lot of her stuff in the loft. She was a collector and a hoarder. She loved brick a bac and her prize collection of Capodimonte. Hoarder in that she had enough plastic bags to supply supermarkets shoppers for an entire week. And for some reasons boxes of salt and pepper sachets. She also had the proverbial emergency cupboard full of tin goods just in case…. In fact, this situation is exactly what my mother was predicting. And there would have been a lot of ‘told you so’s’. Mum was great at ‘told you so’s’. She also had the memory of an elephant, until she got dementia. Never forgetting who had wronged her and refusing to forgive them.

I remember her saying when the dementia first started,“I know I don’t like that man but just can’t remember why.” I fear I might have inherited this trait.

So many memories and each with a story attached such as the ‘lady’. It used to sit proudly on our mantelpiece and was very very fragile. Brian and I were forever breaking bits of it off as a ball would accidently get hurled at her and then we would hurriedly try to glue them back on without mum noticing. One time unable to stick the hand back we thought it best to hide it and feign ignorance of where it had gone. Elizabeth the cleaner found it behind the sofa which resulted in a good whacking. From mum not Elizabeth.

Then there was dad’s stuff who died 22 years ago and Brian’s stuff who died 7 years ago, and Tods stuff who died nearly 2 years ago — his motorcycle trousers still smelt of him. Isn’t it wonderful how evocative is smell? I just sat on the floor with my nose buried in his motorcycle trousers. Think Tod would have appreciated that!

Added to this is Zak and Jake’s past contents from their flats, and even past au pair’s things which they promised to return to collect but never did. And most precious my grandmothers, ivory satin wedding dress from 1899, a child’s 18th century little smock dress and clothes from when I was a baby. I won’t bore you any longer, but this is only a fraction of what we uncovered. And did I say that my mother was a hoarder me thinks chip of the old block. I mean how many tea sets does a girl need.

maybe it’s time to throw away the mugs

Somebody pulled me up on the last post when I said that the actions of the female leaders were to be highly commended as they had taken early decisive action which reduced the number of both infections and deaths. Unlike our current male leaders. They thought I was being sexist. So I apologise and I am am sure that had there been the right men in power they too would have taken decisive action and done exactly what the women leaders had done.

So where are all these ‘right men’?

I hate to admit it, but I am failing miserably on the book front. I still find it difficult to focus and remember what I have just read and in fact have any inclination to read at all. I am only on page 85 of Sapiens. And the pile of books by my bred remain untouched.  So I was heartened to read Sophie Vershbow’s article in Vogue I Can’t Read a Book Right Now—And I Am Not Alone.

“It’s as if there’s a fog cast over my brain, preventing the words from seeping in. Over and over I find myself reaching the bottom of the page only to realize I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’ve just read.” I am feeling less like a failure now

https://www.vogue.com/article/why-cant-i-read-books-right-now

I am adjusting to having people back in my life. Because until a month ago I had never lived on my own I hadn’t really noticed people’s energies. For the past 35 years I have been surrounded by quite strong male energy. And none of my 3 sons or husband had a strong female side to them. This was just my norm. So, this last month has been an eye opener for me. The only energy in the house was mine and maybe my female animals. With Toby back the energy in the house has shifted again. I am not complaining it is lovely to have company and to share in his drive to organise the house. He is a great kid – well 26-year-old – but it takes a bit of getting used to.

Without Toby of course, the attic would have remained a dumping ground. Now it is the hallway which has become the dumping ground but at least I have a good few days to sort it out. Bored? me I don’t think so. But there will be a good few tears as I go through numerous cases of old papers, cards, photos, school reports, and so on. I  will keep you posted.

“Let’s be careful out there”