Friday, October 24, 2008

I Am a Glorious Chicken...?

I've been (and still am)suffering from a really irritating old woman's problem which I won't go into here - nothing serious but chronic and distracting. I was in a bookshop yesterday, feeling sorry for myself and pretty desperate about the future when a card in the Edward Monkton section caught my eye:

And it really inspired me. I love Edward Monkton's work. He's done the Madness Hamsters, the Handbag of Glory and the Shoe of Salvation, amongst others. My favourite is my fridge magnet that has the question Are You Normal? and a little person shouting at the top of their voice NO! Pretty much summed up how I've been feeling this last few years and curiously comforting every time I open the door.

And he's done it again. When you've hit fifty and it really really feels as if it's downhill from here, no matter how optimistic and Pollyanna-ish you try to be, the thought that each year you live adds a glorious feather to the Chicken of your Life really bucks you up.

I now have an image of myself as a fabulous mythical phoenix-chicken, with many feathers. Some are long and silky and multi-hued. Some are, frankly, a bit straggly and hardly worthy of the title feather. But each one adds to the unique creation that is me.

It's a helluva better thought than the old one of bits falling off, drooping and breaking down!

(You can buy Edward Monkton stuff here or in loads of shops - I see a lot of them in Waterstones.)

Altogether now...


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nothing Like a Bit of Support

Hello fellow Rosehips

I've been having one or two menopausal irritations recently which have rather spoiled my summer, but I think I am on the mend at last, having had a proper diagnosis at last (only took four goes!).

As you do, I was madly searching the internet for information and support and came across this great website. All the information seems to be good but I am finding the forum particularly useful. I really felt as if I was the only one suffering with these symptoms and all of a sudden I have found dozens of other women who are not just suffering with them but some who have actually recovered and are feeling well again - the joy!

I'm going to put a banner at the top of the page too, so you'll always have somewhere quick to click but here's a link too:

Menopause Matters

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm Back

Hi all

I've been away, I am rather horrified to discover, for two months. The good news is that it has been, on the whole, for positive reasons. I've been sort of building a bit of a new life for myself, or at least, the foundations of one, and I guess I didn't want to risk jinxing it by writing about it here.

Now, don't get too excited, my little rosehips/prunes, I haven't taken any huge leaps. I just kept on taking the baby steps that I've been taking for the last three years. It's just that I found that the last few baby steps took me out of the shadows and into the sunshine.

Grief is a process, the experts tell us. I didn't understand that until recently, when I found that I was moving along this conveyor belt, almost despite myself. Despite myself, because the further you move along it, the further behind you leave the dead person that you loved. But you can't move back, you have to go with it and, at last, after three horrible years, I can say that I feel almost whole.

Things started moving fast forward when I decided to have a go at dating. Not that I have actually succeeded in dating anyone yet but at least the willingness is there. The only thing I was brave enough to try at first was an introduction agency. Felt very brave, and nervous, signing on with them but found pretty quickly that it was too conservative and slow-moving for me. I began to fancy speed dating, and wondered if they did it for old people like me. I was amazed to discover that they did and signed up for an evening before I had time to change my mind.

I was nervous when I went along but amazed to discover when I got there that there were other people much more nervous than I was. I had a great night. I didn't meet the man of my dreams, and I didn't meet anyone I really wanted to date, but I did talk to a dozen guys without sending them screaming from the room. When I drove home the next day (having had to drive south for the event - the Highlands are a dating dead zone) I felt like a new woman. I'd also spent a night in the big city and was impatient at the thought of coming back to the isolation and boredom of life here. By the time I got home I realised that I wanted to work again - now that was a surprise!

So now, a month later, I am working towards opening my own business. When I stop and take a breath, I can scarcely believe that I'm doing it. Back in January, when I was almost suicidal with loneliness and desperation, I couldn't have dreamt that I would be where I am today. It's not perfect, of course. I'm still too isolated. I still panic when something goes wrong round the house. But I have plans now, and modest ambitions. I am living again.