Thursday, 31 December 2015

Things I have learnt this year... #375

And so we say goodnight and goodbye to 2015. How was it for you?

Bizarrely, although 2014 was infinitely more financially challenging - it just radiated brilliance. Surprise trips and a summer of sunshine made it memorable, with 2015 somehow trailing in it's wake. And yet, I made more in roads in my career than I had ever hoped for; I shared many brilliant moments with people I love and I had the joy for being able to be much more present for my kids than in any other year before.

What I have leant without question is that whilst money doesn't make you happy - it sure is lovely not to have worry over every single pound. That whilst eating well and exercising do no harm to the body - the place they help the most is the mind. That opportunities abound - if you start to create them for yourself. Most of all, I have realised - take no one for granted - even yourself and your health.

What else?

- I have also learnt that I am no baker - but that is why Waitrose make fairy cakes that you can add a topping to and a choc button and voila! Home baking CM stylee.

- That you are lucky with kids to get 5 minutes to yourself. Which is why next year I must step away from more social media and go for long walks instead. Headspace is an underestimated joy....

- South Cross is the best gin I have ever had the joy to taste - and if you ever wonder what to buy me - look no further than it....

- That a trip home to Ireland and a walk by the sea sorts out any head...

- That letting go of hate makes you lighter than any diet...

- A spirilizer creates endless possibilities... as long as you like courgettes...

- Most folk who are wealthy are simply so because they never buy a round...

- That if you can't quite do it - FAKE it until you MAKE it...

- There are no friendlier folk on earth than the Irish - but sure, you knew that anyway...

- Series 2 of The Affair was even better than series 1

- Most of all listen to your gut - if it don't feel right, it aint.

So, I must away and start swallowing gin like prohibition starts at midnight - and all that is left to do is wish you all a wonderful, inspiring, challenging and enlightening 2016.

Keep her lit!

CM xx

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

New box

Every time in my life I've had to tick one of those damn boxes: are you '25-29' '30-34' '35-39' '40 - 44' etc I've just ticked and not really given it much thought. A friend on my 30th kindly pointed out I was 'in a new box' but it didn't phase me - age is just a number.

Really, in my case it has been. Often I find myself shocked to wake up and discover I am responsible for two other lives on this planet; I read my 17 year old diaries and feel exactly the same sentiments; I  go for prosecco with the 23 year old Uni graduate next door and think we have loads in common... And yet, in the past month I feel I have entered a new box. A new zone.

I can put it down to 2 things - the first being my upcoming hysterectomy. Yes, everyone else gets a new year hangover and I get a hysterectomy. Yay me! The hospital sent me the leaflets and on the cover are all these grey haired older ladies laughing - obviously just tickled pink at the thought of being womb-less, and I thought 'Christ, is that me now?' My Mother had the same op when I was 11 and I remember thinking it was for OLDER women - like REALLY old - and yet, she was younger than me when she had it. Similarly my Aunt had one aged 41. So here I am, in the era of untenable periods and gynaecological surgeries.

Obviously I'm thrilled about no longer having to suffer for 3 weeks of every month - but there is a part of me that mourns my fertility. That though I don't want any more children, I'm saddened that the child bearing years are over. That I'm done. There is something so finite about it all - that is hard to swallow. Most of all, the knowledge that that era has passed... and the new one makes me... old(er).

The other reason is a sadder one: in the past month I have had so many friends lose their parents or receive devastating news about their health. This Xmas, as I sat next to my Mother as she drove around Ireland, shopping for her perfect Xmas, I looked at her with new eyes - simply grateful to have her in my life. I'll confess I take my parents for granted, expect them always to be around - have only in the past few years put my childhood grievances to bed, and embraced this new dynamic.

Are we really here - at an age where our parents are not the robust over-bearing energetic folk that we once knew? Even, are we?

This Xmas, though it is far from my favourite holiday (too much stress and pressure and expectation for the good of anyone's health) I jumped head first into the celebration pool - made time for all my family, flew home to Ireland, though it was far from the easy option. Rather than eating out as I preferred, I respected that my Mum loves a home cooked turkey instead. It's time for me to be less selfish - to just accept my folks for who they are and relish what I have.

Because of the new box. The box that says I'm not 23 any more, and make up isn't going to hide the morning after the night before sins. That I no longer paint the town red, but cosy up inside friend's houses with all our children running feral way past bedtime. That conversations with my 17 year old niece suggest I am the older tragic adult who thinks they are still cool but is far removed from the word as is possible. That exercise isn't a choice any more, but a necessity. That a size 4/8 may no longer be within my grasp - and that is OK. For the first time in my life, I'm in a new box. But I'm here and that is all that matters.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Planets colliding

Rarely if ever do I find myself looking for astrological guidance - but today I googled Astrology zone just to see WTF is up with them there planets.

Why? Because since mid November things have been turbulent to say the least. There was the operation that never was - or rather it was an op, but just not the one I thought I was going to have. Followed by the news I have to have another, more serious one. NO SMILEY FACE HERE.

Then after that it all went a bit tits up really: people misconstruing things I've said and taking it all wrong; people I thought I knew well behaving in a wildly different manner; and all and sundry having horrifically bad news. Not a day has gone by in this past week where I have not heard a tragic story - it seems the world has gone a little cray cray.

Sadly I could find no rhyme nor reason to all this presumed celestial angst. Perhaps it is also the loom of bloody Xmas and all the exhausting expectation it demands - not to mention exhausting efforts. Every year I swear I will be on a plane for the next one - and at last in Dec 2016 I think it will be so - as we finally head to Aussie shores, for my Husband's return - a first in 15 years...

I don't know, I thought life got LESS complicated the older we get - not MORE. And yet, it seems as if so much more is at stake. Plus, in this digital ace - when we communicate by text, snapchat, email and Facebook - the nuances in our sentences, the tone - the meaning is all but lost. People read into our words as if we had never written them. The room for misinterpretation is enormous - and the result? EVEN more emails and texts and snapchat and Facebook conversations to resolve them. *Sighs and yearns for a simpler time*

I've even been misinterpreting things myself: on a night out in London last week, with a group of amazing drunkards women, after consuming a lot of fizz and jagarbombs and shots and dark and stormies - we all had to make like Cinders to jump into our waiting carriage minibus. I arrived at said bus and then remembered I had left my nice scarf behind in the club. So I dashed back and retrieved it (after almost coming to blows with a doorman who was about to refuse me entrance - see what I mean about everything being difficult??). then I came out - and... No bus. The had left without me. I paced along Camden, verging on tears, with no coat, no phone, no money - nothing - panicking at what to do. I searched along the street, screaming for my group - when about 15 minutes later - a LONG 15 minutes I add - one of them called to me. I jumped into the bus and raged at the crew - 'I am so fecked off with you lot! You left me! Deserted me! In Camden! How could you have???!!!  I then leant my head on the window and tried to keep awake on the journey home.

Once home, I dropped my spare jeans in the street (my daughter found them the next day) and stormed drunkenly into my house. Only later did the ladies tell me, the bus had never moved. I however had walked in try wrong direction and in my state had been unable to find them. Where they stayed, waiting patiently and wondering where the feck I had got to.


Planets, hurry up and speed up and stop this retrograde nonsense I tell you. Roll on 2016....