The tides of life

D86

Sometimes, just sometimes, life has a way of making itself felt with an almighty slap that sending you tumbling off your feet with no idea of where you will land. My philosophy has always been that sometimes fate just steps in and gives you a push into the direction you were to afraid to take for yourself. Other times perhaps it is simply because we were taking too much for granted and merely needed a sharp reminder to be just that little bit more grateful for the things that we do have. There is no doubt that most of us are guilty of complacency when it comes to our lives and often do not cope well when change upsets our little world and everything in it. 

When i was small it all seemed so easy. I had my life mapped in a fairytale way that only a child can imagine and never at so young an age did it occur to me to think any differently. I may not have liked everything nor been happy with it but since it was all i had ever known i accepted it as a given and never had the thought to even try and change any aspects of it.  As a child, even when things are not perfect, we do not really see nor really register the less than ideal but merely accept it as it is. We simply do not know any different and therefore have no reason to hope for more. Only when exposed to situations more idealistic than our own do we sometimes wonder what life may be like if we were someone else. I never imagined for myself the life that i have now. Never did i imagine going wthout nor sacrificing until you wonder if you have anything left to give. No, for me i imagined a glamorous lifestyle and a handsome husband who adored me. 

As i should have realised, life does not work out in such a fairytale way for most of us and even those we imagine living the perfect lives have their own regrets and unhappiness. Perhaps then it is not merely what you have that makes you happy but your perception of it. Is it enough to have money, esteem and material things or perhaps is it a case of the more that you have, the more you want. Whilst it is a good thing to have things to want and aspire to, to be without dreams makes life not much of a life at all, there comes a point when perhaps the wanting is not merely for ourselves but more to appear credible and successful to others. What hope of happiness when we rely on others to give us some sense of worth, yet will living our lives for others give us the feeling of success we crave? Will it make us happy?  At the end of the day when doors are closed and we are alone, there is only our own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. It is then that perhaps you realise that without a love for yourself and a sense of inner peace, the regard of others does not count for much at all. 

Life is sent to test us. Some of us more than others and whilst the instinct may be to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that which is happening, sometimes the solution is to stand up tall and weather the onslaught the best way we can. Perhaps we will emerge a little battered and we may need to pick ourselves back up from the floor, but sometimes we can rebuild a better stronger version of what was there before. It is easy to be swept along by the tide and overwhelmed the the deluge that life occasionally throws our way but if you do not swim just that little bit harder then it is so easy to be washed away and drown in the tides of life. 

I have lost my focus of late because i forgot to remember to count my blessings. I fell victim to the need to feel sorry for myself when circumstances dealt me a decline in fortunes. So focused was i on what i had lost and what i no longer had that i forgot about those things that i do. In hindsight all i have done is waste months of my life on worry, regret and upset when really i should have stuck out my chin and taken the blow. We never lose everything, there is always something left to cling to even when it seems like we have nothing left at all. It is that one thing we need to hold on to and start building upon it until we have more than we had the day before. Even as i am I am fortunate, i  somehow forgot that along the way, but there is no doubt that i AM fortunate. Whilst i could definitely have more than i do right now there is no doubt i could easily have a lot, lot less. I have been there before and i will try to remember how far i have come. 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Oh yes, i am fortunate. 

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Aside

Wishing for the moon

Come on lets face it when was the last time you sat down, looked around and smiled because you were happy with what you have? How many times have you been guilty of saying i want? Most of us are so guilty of perpetual ‘i want’ ing that we forget to look at what we actually do have we merely spend our times thinking of all the things we do not. For many that long road from where we have been and where we are now is so long that we forget how to look back along it and remember the journey and the achievements along the way and ultimately celebrate them. A recent quote i read was perhaps most apt and fitting at this point merely stating

‘Appreciate what you have, for if you do not then you can be sure somebody else will’

I have been told i am an unusual woman and perhaps this is so since i will never ask anything of anyone that they do not freely give and whilst i have dreams and aspirations like anyone else i am also mindful to be happy with what i have. If it comes down to a choice between pushing for more when it is not freely offered, risking losing everything, or being grateful that i actually have it in the first place then i will always take the latter option. Perhaps the trick is to remember, especially in respect of relationships, how things were before you had that person who means so much to you and ask yourself do i really want to go back to how i was before? Anyone who loves someone would always answer with a resounding no, of course not and why would you.

Yet despite all this so many are so willing to do exactly that and throw away everything that makes them happy just upon that quest to demand more than is already given. I guess for the most part you do not know what you have until it is gone and often once lost it cannot be retrieved. Perhaps then we would all do as well to sometimes remind ourselves of what life would be like without all the things we have. It never hurts to count your blessings every once in a while, even if you forget they are blessings, for one thing you can be sure of is someone else would value and want what you do not.

Yes an unusual woman i may be but also one who has spent a lot of time waiting for things to appreciate to come along. I can see clearly along my road no matter how long it gets and never will i take for granted those happy things  that make me smile. Offer me things freely and i am often wise enough to take them but never will i ask for them for myself. When you have what you’ve always wanted you do not throw it away trying to get something better for the grass is never greener on the other side it is merely a trick of the light. Never be guilty of crying for the moon to the point that you forget to live in the here and now for you might find one day that here and now is exactly where you wish you were.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but all the better when you do not need it. 

10,000 hits!!

Wow i really cannot believe it!! My little world of burble has accumulated 10,000 hits in the 5 months since i started it and still going. I still find it quite amusing that something i started to please my now partner has turned into something i love people to see and i still get excited that people WANT to read it and even sometimes actually like it. 

I had no idea i could write and were it not for the less than subtle nudgings of a certain Vampire i should never have even dreamed of doing so and yes i freely admit i did so to shut him up. As i said long ago, i had imagined that he should read my waffle, cringe politely and then allow me to take it down whilst grudgingly admitting that i could not infact write anything more substantial than a post-it. Okay i guess it helps that i am slightly off the wall and have a rather humorous take on life but i never was cut out to be a sobersides trust me! 

The world according to panda.

So 10,000 hits later i am the one admitting i was wrong ( yes lovely you read that right- i was wrong) and perhaps there is something of a mini writer in me after all. All i know is as long as people are reading this waffle, i shall keep writing it and i am having great fun doing so. I admit there are some days when i panic and think aarrgghh what shall i write?? But now i have learned not to force it and if nothing is there to write, then don’t write it. 

So to my lovely followers and all of the other great people who take the time to read my ramblings, thank-you. Thank-you for sharing in the wonderfully crazy world of Panda, i’m not sure if that makes you as crazy as me but i hope you can live with that. On this note i hear the gym calling and i really must get myself organised( can you believe i can do sit ups now!! – me, sit ups!!) 

Panda over and out 

Finally!!

If you’re a reader of my blog you will without doubt know of my weight loss and gym body journey. Most of you do not know that i started out 10 years ago weighing in at a hefty 284lbs which placed me firmly in the middle of the obese category as regards to BMI and wearing massive uk size 26 clothing.

I make no excuses for this, events i wish to keep private led me to need to be this way at that point in time. That is not to say i liked it, far from it but it served a purpose at the time. In hindsight i wish i had not abused my body so badly, it has taken a lot of hard work to return from that place and an older wiser me would have found a better way to achieve the effect. The plus side is i am so far from that person now as to totally appear to be someone else. These days i am a bit of a gym bunny and i do not care if i work until i throw up (and yes i have done this) but i fully intend to have that gym body and will do whatever it takes to get there. 

I guess the biggest change of all is being able to look in a mirror and not want to cry at the reflection looking back at me. Where once i would need to hide under oversized clothing now i know i am looking pretty good and can only get better and i find i can like the person looking back at me for the first time in my life. Today i weighed in and almost shrieked the house down when the scales settled at my lowest weight since i was 23 years old and more importantly i am now back into the NORMAL category for BMI. Yes me!! I am a normal weight for my 5ft10 height at at last. It seems hard work does pay off (thank-you weight training) and i really did want to scream like crazy and turn cartwheels on the front lawn. It might be a little helpful if i were actually ABLE to perform a cartwheel but you get the idea. Although i”m not sure what the neighbours would make of some crazy woman screeching and turning cartwheels in her pyjamas!!

114lb down since that fat girl 10 years ago and 7 dress sizes down!!

My journey is not over, i have a little way to go and am stepping up the weights and training to get there for i have a vision in my mind of how i want to look( Yes Jessica Ennis i want to look like you) and i WILL get there. But for now i can hop up and down with glee for at last i can shout out I AM HEALTHY!!!!

A Man just like Grandpa

                             Image

When i was young i was never a daddys girl nor yet a mummys girl like most children, right from the off i only had eyes for my paternal grandfather. To me he was grandad although to the world i know he was something else, which makes me sad for i would love to know the man he was and the life he lived. 

But to me he was just grandad.

                                      Image

Memories of cuddles, cheek pressed against the scratchy wool of the waffle knit cardigans he wore as i sat cuddled up on his lap toying with the wood effect buttons that held it together. Never from Grandad came the scold not to pull at them because i would pull them off. No, never from him. Strange after all these years i remember his car so well, a bright yellow Hillman Hunter rapidly filled by my brother, sister and i as we piled into the back for another adventure with Grandad. ”come on then girls sing me a song” he would say and my sister and i would so happily oblige, squawking out our own rendition of Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs’ in the way that only children can. Grandad never cared if we were off key, i bet if you’d asked him back then he would confess he never noticed

                                       Image

Yes we loved to sing for Grandad but just as much we loved him to sing to us for he was funny in a way that tickled us immensely and always wise to when a little girl needed to smile. We would beg him to sing as he drove around the hills speeding up over them so that our tummies flew up into our mouths as we descended the other side and we would shriek with glee and beg for more. All things bright and beautiful, this was grandads song although i doubt the vicar ever heard it sung so in church. Every time he came to the word ALL it would be sung in a really high pitched voice totally out of character with the rest of the song and guaranteed to have us in fits of giggles and i confess to this day i cannot hear that song without hearing his rendition in my head.

Oh if there were ever a hero of any little girls childhood then my Grandad was mine, my refuge, my rock and the best man i have ever known. Never did i need to explain for he always knew and hindsight makes me wish i had told him so whilst he was alive. But something tells me that if he did not know it then he most definitely does now. Sadly my Grandad died when i was in my early teens and somehow i knew long before my parents told me that he was gone. I remember well the startled look on my parents faces as i blurted out ”Grandads dead isnt he” before they had even said a word. They consoled themselves that i had overheard but i hadn’t, some things you just know. I have but one photograph of my grandad and it hangs on my living room wall where he smiles his gentle smile down upon me. And i know he is there, smiling as my hand reaches for the Radox bath salts that i buy just because he did and i feel him nod his approval as he always did.

                            Image

Yes my Grandad was the best of men and maybe someday i will find out his story and if i ever meet another someone i hope with all my heart that he is a man just like Grandpa. 

Sometimes still waters really do run deep

                                                         ”Isn’t that a little dark for you?”

 

This was the comment from a friend this morning when i replied to the standard ”what are you up to?” question with the reply that i was doing my housework listening the new Linkin Park album i bought earlier. Now i totally love Linkin Park, that pure raw emotion that comes from such a great vocalist and many a time when having a bad day i have cranked up the volume on my ipod and selected Linkin Park and speed walked until i feel better. Great rage music..try it and see!! 

But this comment tickled me, for although i am well aware of how people perceive me i take great delight in being a contradiction. This does not mean i am fake, no, i am me and nothing but me but i find it is more down to how much of me i want on display as my public face. Mary Poppins, i have been called this before many times and perhaps it is a very apt description of me, i am sickeningly affable to everyone just because it is in my nature to be so, i am extremely laid back, extremely slow to anger and admit although i dislike many things i will never be driven to hate which is the most ugly of emotions. 

I guess the truth is, a conversation with my best friend made me think about emotions and the displaying of them and having been in a relationship that was so totally devoid of any whether positive or negative i wondered how much i was guilty of this myself. Sure i know on the positive side of things i’m very open, warm, affectionate and giving ( i have been told this so often although the word ‘nice’ makes me want to vomit and i refuse to use it) but the negatives? Mary Poppins or no even i cannot pretend that i do not have them and yet when i examined them in a curiously detached way that i am so good at, i was actually was quite disconcerted to  discover that i never cry. Oh i dont mean in a movie kind of way for put the slightest emotional part in any movie or tv show and i will cry until i sail myself out of the room. That kind of crying i do most freely but otherwise i could not in the last 5 years remember a single time i have really let myself cry, nor yet could i remember a single time when i really lost my temper. I do get mildly angry yes but far from exploding i become very cold and quiet and i am excellent at sarcastically scathing remarks. Lowest form of wit it may be but designed to hurt the most when appropriate although again for me this is extremely rare as i dont often get angry either and i never EVER shout. But really really getting furiously angry? No i find i dont do that either. Yet i have always considered myself to be emotional, when it comes to feelings i really do think i feel them very strongly and passionately. If i love you then i REALLY heart and soul love you, no half measures and if i dislike you then equally i REALLY dislike you for i find there is little point in doing these emotions if you cannot do them properly.

 

Maybe this friend had a point in his deduction that Linkin Park might be a little dark for the me he knows, i suppose you wouldn’t really expect to see Mary Poppins stamping along yowling ‘In The End’ at the top of her voice would you? Yet this thought tickles me for it makes me wonder what Mary really was like underneath and strangely it does not bother me that few people do really know me. Perhaps i am the most strange of women in the fact that i do not actually WANT them to know me, yet i am not entirely sure why. Perhaps it is the appeal of being an enigma, perhaps just simply that it makes it just that little bit more special and meaningful when that odd person does actually know you. I do not know if i am alone in this, whether it is just in my nature and others are more open in revealing who they are  and this is just some oddity unique to me.

So i may surprise you yet then as i turn up the volume and carry myself away to the strains of ‘Leave out all the rest’ , Mary Poppins hat firmly in place and a tendency to keep breaking out into such a delighted grin for it pleases me greatly to be so unexpected. 

                                                           Sometimes still waters really do run deep

Just Singing in the Rain

I’ve always had a saying, one i invented myself but pretty much sums up the way i see the world…

‘LIFE HAS A FUNNY WAY OF WORKING OUT EXACTLY HOW ITS MEANT TO NO MATTER WHAT WE TRY AND DO ABOUT IT’

Do i believe it? Yes of course i do. Call me optimistic, unrealistic, whatever you choose for i shall not mind at all. Yes i have been told i have a Pollyanna attitude to life but i have always had a steadfast refusal to be anything less than positive and so far this has served me pretty well. 

I remember a year ago, one very grey stormy day when the rain fell in sheets and raindrops bounced upon the pavement looking for all the world like they were trying to get back where they came from. I waited and waited hoping that it would ease and i could make a mad dash on an unavoidable errand but it didn’t stop. It rained and rained and rained. It pretty much summed it all up when i peered out of my window and saw a small duck sheltering under the tree at the bottom of my garden.

Regardless of this i had no choice but to leave the warm dry comfort of my home and battle the weather but then i stopped and thought that hey, i had no choice so i could either smile and make the best of it or be miserable and make the whole thing ten times worse. 

Half an hour later with most colourful umbrella twirling around over my head i was skipping through the puddles humming ‘Singing in the Rain’  watching all the unsmiling faces huddled into coats, head down against the rain and i had to smile and shake my head for i actually wasn’t minding it so much at that point. Yes my socks were wet and yes a stray raindrop was trickling down my nose but it made me laugh and i shook my wet head crazily much in the manner of a very soggy puppy. 

Humming my way through the puddles i was slightly startled out of my skip and sing routine, which amazingly for me was rather in tune, by a hand on my arm and i splashed to a stop . An elderly gentleman clutched my sleeve,rain running down his cap and disappearing into his collar, and smiled at me. ”Do you know” he said to me ”yours is the only smiling face i have seen today and you’ve made my day”. Of course i beamed at him and explained my philosophy and he chuckled and thanked me.

As he shuffled off i stood and listened for as he walked i could faintly hear him humming…Singing in the Rain.

I often remember that elderly gentleman and i feel glad that i made him smile for had i given in to instinct i could so easily have been yet another gloomy face in an already gloomy sky. 

I may be a Pollyanna, but strangely i do not find this an insult but instead much of a compliment. And whenever lifes skies are grey i shall twirl my colourful umbrella, hum my little tune and smile at those that pass me by. For i have found that often that little ray of sunshine is just enough to lighten someones rainstorm and who knows you may just, if you’re lucky, make someones day. 

                                                 I’m singing in the rain
                                                Just singing in the rain
                                                 What a glorious feelin’
                                                     I’m happy again
                                               I’m laughing at clouds
                                                So dark up above
                                              The sun’s in my heart
                                              And I’m ready for love
                                         Let the stormy clouds chase
                                            Everyone from the place
                                             Come on with the rain
                                            I’ve a smile on my face
                                              I walk down the lane
                                              With a happy refrain
                                                   Just singin’,
                                              Singin’ in the rain

 

Lyrics courtesy of Arthur Freed

The simple fact of waking up

Well another early morning and I was up long before anyone else, except for some small bird not some distance from my window who is quite gleefully and merrily singing his heart out oblivious to anything except his desire to sing. Perhaps the joy of having such a simple unfettered life was too much for him to contain and so he had to share it with the world, whatever his efforts have not gone unnoticed and I cannot help but smile and feel a lightness of heart. Sometimes i’m so tempted to do much the same and throw open my windows and shout ‘hello world I’m alive’ although i doubt my neighbours would thank me very much for it, more likely they would imagine i had gone quite mad and I would be the subject of discussion for the rest of the day.  I’ve come to find that something so simple as waking up in a morning was something i took for granted, indeed I confess to never having given it a passing thought until these recent months. Working in elderly care has perhaps altered my perception of life and mortality and made me aware of the fact that I may not, as I so naively used to announce, manage to live untainted by age and die in my own bed at the ripe old age of 103. I have no idea why I decided I was going to live to 103, as usual I expect it was some whimsical fancy of mine plucked from obscurity without any real thought behind it but now I find I’m daily faced with the stark reality of becoming older and can’t help but feel a certain trepidation that makes me certainly appreciate the golden years I’m living right now. So yes although i refrain from shouting this out loud, i cant help but want to say ‘hello world I’m alive’ 

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