I hate sausages. There, I said it. The food item is what I am talking about. I buy a sausage roll to eat the pastry and discard the meat, I buy a sausage in a roll (a different thing to sausage roll) just so that I can have a warm bun and ketchup and throw the sausages away. To be fair, the cheaper the sausage the better it taste but the less you want to think about the contents. I eat sausages at home because it is cheap food and we are still of the pile it high sell it cheap variety right now at this phase of our lives. I could never enjoy living in Germany or Poland, purely because of the culinary choices. But I surely hate sausages.
I turn over and look at the clock. I turn back and avoid the clock.
2hrs 15 minutes is the average time I’ve been spending in bed in the mornings, awake, trying to gee myself up to be enthusiastic about the day and everything I should have completed the day before which carries over to today and how todays actions are piling up too, compounding the problem. Waking before the alarm is not something to which I am accustomed. Laying there staring at the pillow beside me until the very last second is not something I want to make a permanent part of my life. I sigh. I turn over and look at the clock. I turn back and avoid the clock. I just breathe and try not to think. I am well slept but weary. The weariness never abates. It’ll get better.
If all your peace of mind is gone, and is replaced by hypothetical money worries, you need to speak with your friends.
Don’t you love friends who talk you down from the emotional ledge? (The correct answer is yes, yes we do love those friends). I’ve been using much of my spare time to ponder next steps now that we are in the privileged position of being in credit for the first time in almost ever, and for the first time since becoming a fully fledged adult taking care of adult responsibilities. For clarity, it’s not much in credit but there is a plus sign not minus on the ol’ bank account and that’s a good enough start for me.
When I was working toward bringing credit agreements down to a zero balance, there was a definite goal, a specific figure had to be reached for that to be successful, there was a stopping point. While the task was immensely difficult, the actual ability to quantify the required outcome was simple. Keep paying for stuff until there is no more to pay. Reducing to a nought. Simple to keep straight, eh. If there was more than a nought on the balance of the credit agreement, I wasn’t there yet and had to keep going. Simple.
What has had me vexed is the next step. The next baby step. It has kept my mind occupied while I pondered, cogitated, and strategized.
Now that the little number is increasing there is no ceiling, no natural end goal. Numbers go up to infinity plus one as any clued up 8 year old will tell you. It vexes me because there is no way to know how much is enough. How much will we need to have set aside to get by in the next month, year, few years, decade, until retirement or until the end of my natural life. There is no figure. It will always be too little. It will always be more than we had.
With no natural end result my mind has been in a spin. It has in actuality been quite a little more difficult than dealing with paying down credit. At least if we had almost nothing we knew what we could do with our little porridge pot. At least if the money ran out we knew or at least hoped that we had food storage and petrol in the car and the bills were paid. Although awfully difficult, there were specifics and I am a lady who loves specifics. I need to know the end from the beginning and if I don’t then all merry emotional hell breaks loose. Uncertainty does not sit well with me, never has, likely never will.
So, all merry emotional hell has been breaking loose as a consequence of feeling somewhat untethered. Which is ridiculous. How can success make a person uneasy? It’s daft. I felt like a fool. I’d met a target, a stretch target as we like to say at work, and yet I was managing feelings larger than before I started.
Anyway, with a sky’s the limit, no end in sight, don’t know how much is enough mind-set I wasn’t feeling very settled. Until in walks a buddy called Sinead, who herself was hot on the heels of a friend called Mel.
When I was in a tailspin and worrying out loud “what if the roof falls off?”, Mel had quizzically looked at me and said “you have house insurance”. I slapped my forehead, of course I have insurance, of course if there is a disaster at the home not of my doing and that I cannot fix myself I can rest well knowing we are covered. It soothed my troubled heart. That worked for a few days.
Then I went on to fretting on the topic of “how much is enough to have set aside and when do I need to have it by?” because bills have due dates, don’t you know! I was and still am in a due date mentality.
After confiding in Sinead in the corridor at Church between classes (sorry, missus!) who had only congratulated us on getting to where we were, she came up with the plan of having an account with a specific goal or figure in mind, like £500 for example, and when that is achieved, that is full. I’ll have done it, it would be completed. Then open another goal with a slightly increased figure in mind, work toward that and when that reaches the pre-determined figure, I’ve succeeded in that too, and it is done. Then do it again and so on. Effectively, we cannot determine the future but we can set goals and work toward them and tick them off when they are completed. Is this making any sense? Add a finite factor to an infinite problem.
It had the immediate impact of settling my troubled heart. How simple. How insightful of her to realise I wasn’t faux-probleming and that this really was a big deal to my family. To both these ladies I doff my hat and say thank you in writing as well as in person. Complex worries had simple solutions, these ladies comprehended the worries and helped by suggesting ways through. How beautifully hearted of them. Aren’t they lovely?
I was told a few years ago that someone perceived me to be a Solution Oriented Optimist. Someone who could see the genuine problem, review, decide, act and stay positive when possible and even stay positive when highly improbable but never deluded. Their opinion of my was a surprise because I knew what went round in my head at pace to get to the Solution they saw in front of them. I think this experience over the past couple of weeks has fallen in to this category, without my friends I couldn’t see the solution. They helped me peep through the fog of worry. A fog which was of my own making but real to me none the less. A solution has been formatted and we are making great headway. Thanks for listening while I got this out of my head and on to electronic paper so to speak.
I had a pot luck lucky dip for a movie the other night.
I plugged in the DVD player the other day and hit play for the first time in a long time. On the screen popped up the opening credits to Frozen, the Disney Movie. I was so tired I let it play. I did not secretly enjoy the show, nor did I go to the kitchen and pop popcorn, clearly that would be juvenile. I did not sing along under my breath. I did not emotionally high five everyone that told the brunette that knowing somebody for 6 minutes was not long enough to plan a life together. Clearly, that would have meant I was paying attention or becoming emotionally invested in the plot, and I am far to mature to do that. Clearly.
I have an amusing and embarrassing concern. Sometimes I think “It can’t just be me, surely!”
I have a choice to make. A lovely, and to me quite funny choice.
The past two months have been energetic and I seem to have dropped a dress size without trying which is blooming awesome. There are plenty more dress sizes I’m keeping as spares, no risk of wasting away. However, it’s not just dresses that have been dropped. I have spent the day puffing out my tummy in an attempt to keep my “foundation” clothing in situ!!! Basically, my underwear is now too big and if I don’t puff out my tummy and/or walk funny it threatens to fall down!
I think I need to stop off at a store this evening and make an appropriate purchase in smaller sizes to prevent this minor debacle resuming tomorrow. It is making me giggle and go cross eyed with concentration all at the same time. Is it just me that thinks this is a hoot?
The resolve of British folks to make hay while the sun shines should be their defining characteristic. It’s magnificent.
I love the old saying “make hay while the sun shines”. It harkens back to the days of manual agriculture with large teams of men scything hay in the fields but waiting until the warm and hot days of summer to cut and stack the crop lest it turn damp and rot away. Without accurate weather forecasting it would have been a harvest which was anticipated and hoped for but couldn’t be planned specifically until conditions were perfect. The farmer and the labourers wouldn’t know weather was perfect until they woke on the day itself. In my minds eye I see people calling to each other, drop your plans, today it is hay day, get a move on, pack a lunch, we’re heading to the fields, hurry up this is urgent, move it, got your kit, right, let’s go. Then the shire horse would trundle into the field pulling the cart which would receive the harvest and the men folk and maybe some women would begin and finish while she sun shone. It all rested on being ready to go as soon as the call came through and being willing to throw your back in to the work.
The British tolerate changeable weather for much of the year. The location of the British Isles falls under the convergence of several weather systems. There could be clear and blue skied days in the deepest part of winter, there could be hazy cloud cover on summer days. Rarely is there a predictable weather pattern where snow or sun could be accurately anticipated. The Brits wake each day and look out the window.
Brits make hay while the sun shines. It is their defining characteristic. I have never seen nor heard of towns and cities coming alive so quickly as a British town experiencing a surprise warm spell or a snow flurry. It is comparable to flowers blooming in the desert after rain. It is extraordinary, exciting and beautiful. Plans are hastily made, friends visit with friends, people go out for al fresco lunch, laughter can be heard all around. British people endure tepid weather well in the hope and anticipation of a hay making week here or there and when it happens they really go for it, they completely go to town. These occasional weeks or days here and there are enough to tide them over until the next time they can be overtly joyful. While not perhaps being the first thing one thinks of when considering the attributes of British folks, I think this quiet resolve to enjoy where they are despite the conditions and to be joyful when the conditions finally become temporarily perfect is something which should be noted and held dear.
16 year old kids are ready to leave school, I however am not ready. I am a hot mess.
OK, so I might have been a hot mess last night. I might have managed to keep my “I am so pleased for you, congratulations sweetie” composure as Missy dropped the news that she leaves school officially on Wednesday lunchtime. The penny dropped. I suddenly twigged that my little curly afro haired baby who’d been wearing a school uniform for over a decade would be finished with uniforms as she enters study leave for her exams. My curly haired baby who looked at me so doe eyed in those first days of school was now laughing at me getting misty eyed as she talked about the final ever classes with her favourite teachers and how they were taking pictures with the students and giving them pep talks. My child is a child to me. Sure, the world sees a 5′ 10″ young woman who is capable and confident but I see my baby fresh out the hospital or in her oversized polo shirt with a logo. They see someone doing really well in the sciences and I see Chip and Biff early reader books. They see someone who stands her ground and I see someone who needed defending.
She is ready, I am not.
After this summer, adulthood looms. She is going to be magnificent and rock everything she sets her mind to. I will have to continue letting her move away and acclimatise into opportunity and responsibility. My whole mandate for 16 years has been to let her be free enough to be a child, safe and loved. Now my mandate is changing and it is happening so quickly that it is difficult keeping up but I will get there. She still has two more years of school but is more like junior college where they’re more autonomous. My baby is no longer a baby and it has come as a surprise.
I am often behind the emotional curve, this is nothing new, no major surprises. I am very pleased with the woman she is becoming and look forward to standing back and observing her in adulthood in a few years, but not yet. I need a little more time.