Busy mind needs help

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The new year always brings new plans, and I do like that aspect of the new year.  In January I started thinking about what challenges I could do – what marathons or swims or other physical challenges.  And then my little voice chipped in – you know the one that sits on your shoulder and whispers its wisdom in the early hours – ‘sort your mind out’

I’ve been writing this blog for 2 years and when I read back I see so much soul searching and guilt on the need to produce and be meaningful.  Two years on, my mind is still racing around, pit stopping at the guilt feelings and generally going at full pelt to get nowhere. Living in the moment and feeling contented are fleeting moments in my head and I would really really like them to stay around a little longer and take root.

Last month I realised the extent of my busy mental processes.  I’ve been doing some CPD for counselling and we were role playing to practise talking to clients about unhelpful thinking styles and patterns.  I was in the role of client and so shared a recent event that entailed my husband not responding in a rapid manner to a text message.  Within hours I had imagined that a) the dog had come to harm b) my husband had fallen down the stairs or c) both of the above.  Apparently, the Wi-Fi was off.  It dawned on me that my unhelpful thinking style is quite clearly on the catastrophizing spectrum.  Not a surprise to some who know me, but still one of those ‘ta da’ moments for me and a realisation of how unhelpful my thinking can be.

I need to do something, the challenge for 2017 is laid down –  I need to find some new methods of being in the moment and finding contentment and stopping the wild thoughts.  I have no idea how this might work.  Physically I can help by not chasing any PB’s and letting go of the need to prove anything to myself physically and give my mind a chance to catch up. Stop running away from my mind.

Meditation is another obvious tool – so I’m trying to challenge myself to giving this a good go.  I’ve tried twice and my mind is rebelling, but I didn’t think this would be easy and I’ll persevere.  Finding my steady mental pace is going to be a whole lot harder than finding my marathon one.

 

Welcome to Middle Muddlings….

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Welcome Middle Muddlers

Carol's Hosta

I’m a cliché – I’m almost 50 and wondering what it’s all about –and writing about it.  Welcome to my muddlings.

I know most people probably freak a bit when it comes up to their 50th – it seems such a defining time.   People talk about life begins at 50 (or is it 30 or 40 or 60), and of a calmer less stressful middle age.  But this image of middle age is based on a different era, when jobs were for life, pensions fat, lifestyles sedate and retirement looming as a long round of golf. But that isn’t true in 2014, it’s not the world I live in, where retirement age is increasing, pensions aren’t fat and thankfully many middle-aged lifestyles are the opposite of sedate. So what does it mean to be 50, middle aged today – what do we fear, question or strive towards?

I am often kept awake at night by an overwhelming fear of running out of time. Although I have no idea for what – It’s not like I had planned to be an Olympic gymnast and suddenly realised I’m too old, it’s just this underlining feeling that I should have been someone (and so could anyone) and ‘done’ something by now.   What impact have I had, should I have done more? (of what??). What about all those things I was meant to do – I don’t mean just the big stuff, the change the world sort of stuff, but just the small things, you know the sort of things you keep saying ‘ oh I must do that sometime’ – but when is that sometime?  When do you get A Round Tuit? Why haven’t I got one of those yet?

Round Tuit(As an aside did you know the first appearance of the ‘Round Tuit’ was at the 1964 World’s Fair at Queens, New York – 1964 – see I’ve had 50 years to get a Round Tuit…my point exactly.)

I look around at others of my age and wonder if they are all feeling the fear and not doing anything anyway?  Are you?  What ‘should’ you be doing? Have we already done it and not realised? Does it matter in the great scheme of life and family?

I wonder too about the impact of being the generation that supposedly had it all – we benefitted from Women’s lib didn’t we?  We had choices our mum’s didn’t.  Is this part of the fear of letting the side down, of having these opportunities and still living an ordinary life?    I don’t think you can underestimate the heritage  this can have on women of a certain age today.  I never really believed we could have it all – but there is a legacy of being able to have quite a lot.

So is an ordinary life OK? Well of course it is, most of us have one – so why the fear that there needs to be more? Suddenly I’m heading towards an age where my impact will diminish, but perhaps that’s also an assumption that needs to be explored.  How do ordinary women find direction and peace in these middle years?  What we do now will be setting us up for our proper older age – so not much time to waste and so much to explore.

How have we been shaped by our politics, society and where do we go now?  What new things should we be trying? What are our limitations? Are there any limitations? How do we make an impact in our lives, with our families, friends and peers? How can we be role models for the younger generations?  How can we start doing the things we said we might like to do but haven’t got around to? How can we defy the stereotype of middle age that was set in an era that is not our own?

I want to explore these ideas – this blog may go all over the place, from politics, social history, new fitness trends to try, health, nature, cake….. maybe it’s just a record of my exploration of middle age, or my fight against it – but I think it’s time to start exploring  the impact of the past, the reality of the present and making the most of that future.

PS – Hostas are my favourite plants – they are real survivors, despite the snail and slug attacks, they come back and try again every year.  I once forgot I had planted one and put a big paving slab over the earth, forgot about it for a year, then when I removed the slab the Hosta had grown, completely flat to the earth, but it had grown and survived, how amazing.