I’m not sure when it started, ….this feeling. … Or why.
All I know is that during a recent trip to Paris and France I realised that it had underpinned lots of things that have happened in my life.
Maybe it had something to do with me being sent to a different school when I was five because of the way my first school treated me when I broke my leg by falling off the helter skelter. For some reason they put me in a taxi and sent me to A&E by myself! Only informing my mother by sending a message with my brother at the end of the school day at 4pm.
( In mitigation, This was the fifties, where a decade earlier it was not thought strange or dangerous to evacuate children to total strangers in the countryside, away from their city homes. )
After weeks in plaster and immobilization I was sent to a different school where all the other children in the reception class had already started the process of making friends and forming groups, so I was the incomer, the stranger, the outsider. Not quite fitting in.
As defence strategy, I can remember playing horses. Galloping around the playground hands behind my back (??) Pretending I was a pony. It was.a game.I could happily loose myself in.
As a result I think I learned that I didn’t need to be part of a group, the crowd, and after a while I think I decided I really didn’t want to be.
Don’t get wrong. I wasn’t.a loner. I had friends. But unlike my friends I would sometimes stay out of the group activities and I really avoided being identified with any sort of clique. I never wanted to be one of the “in crowd”…you know, those girls who were the trend setters. Who set the fashion, who were “cool”.
Actually I often would befriend the loners. The girls my friends avoided for some reason. I thought they were interesting.
So what was this enlightening insight that changed my life? Well quite simply, that I enjoy my own company
…..and that’s OK!
Often we are told we need to be outgoing and sociable, friendly to others, have relationships, to be happy.
Well that’s fine, but I can be just as happy on my own as in a crowd. Does this make me weird? No I don’t think it does. In fact I think it makes me well balanced, that I don’t depend on other people for happiness.
The trouble is, too much solitude and introspection and I start to overthink things. Its all very well to sort things out in my head but then I start wasting time putting the world to rights instead of taking action and being of use to people.
So I will stop writing this blog post and go and help somebody.
The above was written months ago but never published and I’m sure it’s been noticed that I’ve stopped blogging regularly. Somehow I don’t feel the need.
Maybe it’s because I’m probably the most content I’ve been since I was 30. Since I downsized, moved to this modest but lovely apartment, I have everything I need, not necessarily things I might want. As per the downsizing guru Marie Kondo, I have learned only to keep things that “spark joy”
I’ve paid off the mortgage, and learned to live within my means. Which sometimes means I say to myself,”No, you can’t afford that”. Where once I would have used a credit card or overdraft.
Downsizing taught me that for me, happiness does not lie in collecting “stuff” or hanging on to the memories of the past, but living each day as it comes. but most of all made new friends, joined a choir. Even though I can’t sing,). But I would recommend singing in a group as THE BEST antidode to any sort of depression. Being part of creating musicvis so uplifting. After a rehearsal or concert, my adrenaline is flowing and I feel so good . Of course it’s also a good way of meeting new friends
November 2015….well accidentally, this got published, before I finished.
So to conclude
I’ve still not retired, although I’m finding it more and more difficult to be motivated to go to work. I just can’t let go of that insecurity of loosing the salary it brings. I’m trying hard not to spend the salary to prove I can live on my pensions.
Today, I got up and really felt happy. I’ve lounged about all day, because I can.
Life is good!