From FOMO to FOGO

The end of lockdown is just around the corner.  Data permitting (oh yeah?), we’re going to be released in stages, end of March, mid April, mid summer.  Travel companies have started to beg people to book holidays. People are planning their catch up parties.  It’ll be a summer of celebration. Even writing that paragraph has sent a shudder of buzzy anxiety through my system.  Hang on while I take some deep breaths.  Asking around, it seems this feeling is common. There are some obvious reasons for this growing panic: the [...]

A Crash Course in Responsibility

I pranged the car on Saturday, someone went into the back of me. There’s never an excuse for someone going into the back of you, it’s what brake lights were invented for.  That, in the first nano seconds after that horrible crunchy thud, is what raced through my mind. Blame the other guy. By the time I was getting out of the car to inspect the damage, I knew that was wrong.  I was to blame.  It was my fault. By the time me and the other guy were standing [...]

I can’t be defined by a donkey

One of the ways my daughter made my recent lockdown birthday special was to arrange a surprise breakfast zoom with my sisters; there we all were, croissants, coffee and flowers in three different houses. My sisters had prepared a little game. I had to work out some clues which would lead me to their gifts. The clues related to images, items and icons from my childhood. One of the clues was about my grandparents’ car, another was about push-along donkey, and a third referenced a pair of stilts; all, as [...]

Not drowning but braving

I woke up last Sunday, a mild dose of anxiety making me feel slightly sick – the struggle of lockdown, the crisis in the world and not knowing when it will end.  A dip in the sea, that would do the trick. The high tide was going out.  The water was murky and turbulent; swimmable but with a definite edge and a lot less peaceful than the flat water we enjoyed at the beginning of the month. Normally, I get changed quickly once I’m on the beach, get in, get [...]

Now we are [nearly] six[ty]

I am sixty at the end of this month.  I know lots of people are sixty and some are even older, but it's still ... a bit of a thing. I can’t have a party, which serves me right because I’ve always made a huge fuss about having to have one.  I was going to have a few people round the weekend before; I intended to spend the actual day with my family and I’d planned a holiday with a friend just after.  A perfect triad of low-key celebration, all [...]

How To Not Feel Dread

I am a creature of habit, almost detrimentally so. I never change my running route, I swim at the same time most days, I write my diary, I buy the same things from the supermarket, I have two bicycle circuits. One goes down the big hill then up a short, steep climb to the golf course; the other takes the same roads but the other way around which including a long tough hill on Saddlescombe Road. It’s this second version that I dread, enough to stop me enjoying the entire [...]

The Wrong Jam

There is a pot of jam that has been in my fridge a very long time.  It’s delicious, Bonne Maman.  It’s full flavoured, blue black, firm and smooth.  Blackcurrant jelly.  So why haven't I eaten it? The problem is the label.  The label says it’s Gelée Framboises. There is no way this jam is made from raspberries.  I know I should be able to ignore the label and simply enjoy the taste but instead I find I’m suspicious. I’m not really sure I can trust it. I’ve noticed the same [...]

How to talk to difficult people No 3

I wrote some blogs a few weeks back on how to talk to the difficult people in your household, especially those who find you even more difficult.  I hope that’s been going well, but remember it does take practice. Today I’m going to give some examples of things we say when we mean to be helpful but which never seem to make things better.  I’m going to offer some alternatives. Sentences that start: Why don’t you … If only you would … All I ask is that … ...  hardly [...]

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown No 2

Continuing in my series on how to talk to difficult people, especially those who insist you are the difficult one: In the previous post I talked about the benefits of asking the difficult person how they’re feeling and the importance of listening to the answer; how to check and demonstrate you’ve understood them, and if you haven’t, to listen again until they know they’ve really been heard. All this time, though, you haven’t had a look in. Now it’s your turn. You can’t wait to launch in with your much [...]

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown:

Loads of us are finding ourselves stuck indoors with difficult people who are (most unreasonably) accusing us of being the difficult one.  This could go on for a long time, so over the next week or two I'm going to blog on ways to turn arguments into constructive communication and the difficult person into someone you can manage and even enjoy to be locked down with for as long as this process takes. Step one: asking how someone is feeling and listening to the answer: 1     Before you get [...]

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