on stepping back and taking a breath

this week has been a whirl of thinking, planning, looking at properties, wondering about future plans, it has been a bit full on.  Now hubby is on the mend, it seemed a good time to think about our future, to begin to take control of a world that so far has been happening to us, rather than us driving anything.

Turns out this is not an easy thing to do.  It is fair to say both of our heads are a bit scrambled with choices and there is simply no way to make a decision.  Do we want a house?  A flat?  Where shall we live, do we buy or rent?  Too, too many things to think about.  So we have decided, to stop.

This is the summer break, a time when in previous years we have spent holidays in the sun, eaten meals outside, walked in the countryside with rest and relaxation on the agenda.  We need to make this happen now.

I have been reminded today of a time when I was young and carefree, when I spent a summer camping on a beach, drunk on life and sunshine, and it has to be said, cheap wine and beer.  That young woman, who loved that summer is still here.  She has somehow hidden herself under responsibilities, dealing with grown up life, she may have also actually forgotten how being free really feels.  In the mirror a different face looks back, but inside she is still here.

Today, she, I, have decided to remember, to go out and find the joy in simply being.  Living in the moment, not thinking about tomorrow.  That is my new plan for this summer.  Yes, we have big stuff going on, hospital appointments where we will learn just how unbroken hubby’s heart now is, and eventually decisions on where we shall live will need our attention.  But mostly the next five weeks are about being free, about living and loving life and celebrating the sunshine, that just a few months ago, I thought hubby may never see.

So, time with friends is planned.  An escape to an island in the sunshine with my gorgeous girl, will give me a taste of her life, we will swim in the sea and each cheese and drink wine.  We will laugh and I will remember the joy of simply living.  Something it is so easy to forget.  Hubby and I will spend time doing things we love with people who love us, what better plan in the world is there than that?

Autumn will arrive, as it does, bringing the promise of cosy nights and glorious colour, Winter will follow, and somewhere along the way the decisions will be made, changes will happen.  Until then I will be found sitting in the sunshine, letting life happen. Making the most of every moment.

new beginnings?

it has been quite a year. I never for a moment thought this would be a permanent thing. A year ago we were going to have summer by the sea while looking for a new home in the hills.  So much has changed.

When you get to my sort of age, you think you have it all sorted.  Children, born, raised and off into the world, living lives you may have only dreamt about.  Belongings, gathered over decades form a home.  Bills are paid and there is space and time to enjoy this thing called life.

We were luckier than most, we also had a holiday home, somewhere to escape to, close to the coast with a garden to make beautiful.  How lucky were we?  Never, in a thousand thoughts would I have believed that this tin box would be where would we live.  Where we would cram the most precious belongings in, keeping them safe with us, while the rest of our possessions stay waiting for us in a storage unit.

So many things have happened.  We have learned so much. It has been the hardest year of my life.  Harder than nursing poorly parents at the same time I was having babies.  Harder than baby years, no sleep and exhaustion. Harder than single Mum life, days when the responsibility for four small people was all mine.  Harder than all of that put together.  It is no wonder I am feeling tired.

My Mum had a saying, one of those old messages so common in my childhood.  She would say ‘You never know what is in the pot boiling for you’.  A year on, I am thinking it is a good thing I had no clue what was about to happen. I doubt I would have had the strength to face it.

All my life I have considered myself a bit of a rolling stone.  Never quite settling for anything.  Change was always my friend.  New starts, I was good at them.  New houses, new places, it was what I enjoyed.  Twenty years in the hills and I finally felt at home.  I knew that place, I felt I fitted in the town, with grown up children close by and our darling granddaughter popping in daily, I felt at last I had found my forever home.

As I am typing this, unexpected tears are falling, the pain of distance still simmers under the surface of emotions, not yet completely accepting of our new life. Yet a new life is what we are going to have.

There have been times this last year when I feared I would be facing the future on my own.  That my tall, strong husband would not be by my side.  When I think of this, well, everything else is of little significance.  He is recovering and slowly but surely I am seeing him returning to some sort of normal.  It is time gently begin to think about the future, time to consider big decisions.

Putting aside the pain and worry of the past twelve months, we now need a plan.  It feels good to be driving this process for once, we are being proactive and not simply responding to what is coming our way.  We are starting to understand that it is up to us to make choices, about not only where we will live, but how we shall live.

So, a house, maybe a flat, within walking distance of the sand and sea, that is what we want.  To enjoy summer, and as it ends to return to a job I am beginning to love, with a plan for our new forever home.

The day our possessions are delivered from the storage unit, that will be the day.  We shall sit once again on our lovely sofas, and look around us.  We will know that everything can and will change, without notice, but we will know, beyond all doubt that we can cope with this.  That together we can and will face whatever this universe throws our way.

We remain hopeful that the pot has peace and stability boiling for us this time.

on fundraising, buffets, and booking adventures, it’s the start of summer

so, finally I have finished my first term working in my new job.  Seven weeks of learning new systems, making new friends, getting to know a team and meeting some amazing young people.  Just seven Monday mornings, seven Friday afternoons and we are done for the summer break.  Six long weeks ahead to spend as I wish.  We are going to look for a new home, somewhere near the coast with the mountains behind us, it is really exciting.  We also have hospital appointments, and hopefully hubby’s journey towards full health is coming to it’s end.  From wheelchair and weak, he is walking tall, and looking stronger everyday.  We have much to celebrate.

I am however, exhausted.  The strains of the past twelve months, the anxiety of the last few months and a new job have all taken their toll.  I need a holiday.  Hubby is not yet wanting to travel far from home, but is totally in favour of me going off on an adventure.  I think he is secretly relieved that I won’t be organising his life for the whole six weeks.  I want to have fun and to challenge myself to do something a little different, so taking my lead from my gorgeous girl, I have booked us both tickets to an island in the sun, and beds in a shared dorm, a hostel near the beach, where for very little money I shall see the world through her eyes.  What is not to like?  Lots of new people to meet, blue seas to swim in and fresh fish to eat.  It will be amazing, at least I hope it will be.

Meanwhile I have been busy helping a friend fund raise for a cause dear to his heart, and arguing with those supposed to help him, they are not helping, so we will.  It is going well and I think he will get the job done.  Once again the power of ordinary people coming together to make things better cheers me.

So, how do you begin to end your first term and celebrate the start of summer?  Well this team do it with a buffet, I do love a buffet.  We all gather together sharing food, laughing and enjoying the company.  It made me happy to be working alongside people who are open and friendly and do a great job.  So happy I didn’t even care that as I left for the summer break, the first rain in six weeks was falling fast.

It really feels like today may well be the first day of the rest of my life.

it’s coming home

I have never been a football fan, yes, I like it when Liverpool win, and shamefully rejoice when Manchester United lose, but really, I am not a fan.  However this year it is different.  For a start the World Cup has been on constantly in our house.  Hubby is thankfully recovering well from his surgery and enjoying convalescing in the Summer sun with footie as the soundtrack to his return to wellness.

This actually was quite annoying at first, until I noticed what was happening all around me.  Social media posts showing friends and their children watching the beautiful game and for once it seems England is winning. The smiles and laughter of the children, all of whom believe that their team can win, well it is quite magical. Then I watch the after match interviews, so much less stressful than actually watching a match and I notice that not only are they winning, they are doing it with good grace and humility, not to mention smart waistcoats.  Gone, it seems, are the egos, the big men who have always put me off the sport.  Those days it seems are done.  Now we have a team, no one more is important than another, and for that I thank them all.  Win or lose to showcase kindness,  team spirit and friendship on the world stage is impressive.  These guys are role models, and for once our children, girls and boys alike have people who are decent and honest to look up to.  No matter what happens next it has been worth it.

As the excitement of today’s match dwindles, and talk turns to the next one, this time a real chance to do something wonderful, I am thinking of another football team.  Young men and boys, passionate for their sport, together as a team on a day out.  A young manager, keen to give them fun experiences led them into a cave, two weeks ago, and they are still there today.  Thankfully brave rescuers have found them and are working hard to bring them home.  It is a tricky task, deep under ground with waters rising, this team literally are in peril.

So, as we hear our countrymen and women singing the Three Lions song, I will be hoping that another team on the other side of the world will soon be coming home, that parents and loved ones will be able to hug them and scold them and then, quietly get on with the rest of their lives.

Let’s all hope that Football really is coming home soon.