Tag Archives: memories

Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

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A-Z of Life – Gratitude

gratitudeGratitude – the quality of being thankful or to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Sometimes in this world the ability to be grateful seems to pass people by.

Rather than being grateful for what they have, they grumble about what they haven’t got.

And even more simple, they just plain forget manners and never say thank you when they receive something, be it someone holding the door open, giving them a present or something more significant like a job!

It’s not difficult to be grateful. I have found that if I start the day by being grateful for what I have then my day starts on an even more positive note and I am grateful for everything that comes into my life that day – good, bad or indifferent, there’s always a reason to be grateful for it.

Here are 10 things that I am always grateful for every day (my list is a lot longer, but I whittled it down to 10 generic things):

  1. I am grateful for my health
  2. I am grateful for my friends
  3. I am grateful for my family’s love and support
  4. I am grateful for the memories
  5. I am grateful for every opportunity thrown at me
  6. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned
  7. I am grateful for SC – he is a blessing in my life
  8. I am grateful for the happiness I find in life
  9. I am grateful for my gifts and talents
  10. I am grateful for today and the wonders that lie in wait for me.

So, what are you grateful for?

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Friday Poem – A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

This week’s poem is “Endymion” by John Keats (1795-1821) an English romantic poet and one of the main figures of the 2nd generation romantic poets alongside Lord butterflyByron and Percy Bysse Shelley.

The first line of this poem is extremely well-known and the poem itself is very descriptive and vivid. The meaning behind the poem is for people to realise true beauty and not just go by outward appearances, and then capture it with memories, photographs and other means, in order to remember for ever what was once.

A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkn’d ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

 

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I Feel Powerless, What Can I Do?

… to stop SC going through the hell I endured courtesy of bullies.

Since SC started school last year there has not been a week gone by where he hasn’t been pushed, shoved, hit, bitten, kicked, called names, etc.

Now I appreciate that some of these could be down to accidents, goodness knows I’m clumsy enough and I know SC takes after me in that respect. If it is there to bump into, we basically turn into Mr Bump. And sometimes he does run around not looking where he is going.

And I’m not the kind of parent that thinks their child is a complete angel – they all have their moments, we all do – but SC is not malicious, or violent, or mean.

But it appears there are 3 children in particular for whom SC is fair game.

So far this week he has been:

  • pushed with force onto the railings and received a lovely bruise to the lower ribcage in return;
  • punched on the jaw, with such force he was knocked to the ground onto the low-rise wall and received a beautiful shiner to the thigh;
  • hit/punched/bitten on the stomach, where there is a red abrasion mark as proof;
  • called names.

No wonder he doesn’t want to go to school.

And the teachers?

Oh well, it seems they never see anything. But if the boot is on the other foot and SC, in clumsy mode, accidentally knocks someone over;

  1. he always puts his hand up and admits liability and apologises immediately, without being told to;
  2. the teachers are always to keen to haul me into class.

 

I am literally at the end of my tether.

I was bullied at secondary school – to the extent I cannot remember anything about it, literally, I have no high school memories.

SC has at least another 10 years to go and these charming, delightful offsprings of the devil will more likely than not follow him through the education system.

I want him to have a happy childhood, full of fun, warm, happy memories. Not drawing a complete blank whenever anyone asks about it, or letting it affect him so he does not fulfill his potential in life.

I could leave him where he his and hope for the best.

I could move him to another school – but chances are there will be similar kids, just with different names and faces.

I just don’t know what to do?

What would you do?

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Top 3 Childhood Memories

What are the things that you fondly remember from your childhood?childhood memories

The thought struck me the other day as I was in the supermarket and saw Soreen Malt Toastie Loaf. Total flashback. I loved this as a child and remember how always, no matter how long you’d kept the loaf in the fridge or bread bin, that when you went to cut a slice the loaf squeezed down to a nanomillimetre square!

So my first childhood memory has to be Soreen Malt Loaf spread with butter. Yes, butter, none of that terribly healthy and good for your cholesterol low-fat spread.

My second memory was helping my mum making cakes and then being able to lick the spoon with the remnants of the unmade cake mixture.

Did it matter one iota that it had a raw egg in? No. The egg scare hadn’t happened then. I wonder what would happen today if children were allowed to do that?

But my favourite childhood memory has to be that of my beloved grandfather’s carrots.

He was a nursery-man and had a garden as long as a football pitch (not as wide though) and every inch of it was dedicated to growing vegetables. You name it, he grew it!

He kept onions in tights in his shed, along with sackfuls of potatoes. Cabbages, cauliflowers and other staple vegetables were plentiful. Picked, cooked and served when required.

But the best thing was always going over and helping him dig carrots out of the ground, washing them under some water and then eating them. Nothing will ever come close to beating that taste.

My dad, has not inherited the gardening genes, and carrots grown in our vegetable plot tend to be very tiny! SC and I on the other hand love getting grubby in the garden and have decided that this year we will take on the vegetable patch and I hope that the gardening genes have only skipped 1 generation!

In this day and age of technology it saddens me to think that some children will not have innocent happy childhood memories to look back on, but I hope I can make some for SC 😉

 

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The Age of Innocence

Childhood is so brief and we are supposed to look back on it with fond memories in our dotage.

So why is society intent on making our children grow up too quickly. Sex & drugs education at 5, careers advice at 7, pregnant at 9 or 10,  in AA at 12 and drug rehab at 15.

Wow! What wonderful childhood memories to look back on. Paints a scary picture though and if things carry on this will be the norm for the next generation.

So how do we stop the rot, so to speak.

Initially parents! The buck stops there.

Whether it be single parents, married (hetero or same-sex), we are responsible for our children’s upbringing. We are their role models and their guides through to adulthood.

Think back to your childhood would your parents have let you stay up ’til all hours, or watch inappropriate films/television. If the answer is no, then ask yourself why it is now appropriate to let your children do this.

How angry would your parents have been if you hadn’t said please, or thank you? Why is it now the norm for children not to say this. ‘Thank you’ – those two little words carry such weight.

What would your parents have done if you had been rude to a teacher at school? Why do we now hear so many stories of teachers being abused by pupils, or teachers disciplining children only to have the parents turn on the teacher instead of backing them up?

So parents (and I do appreciate it’s not everyone) take responsiblity for your children. It is not the school’s fault if they don’t teach your children discipline and manners – it’s yours. It’s not society’s fault that your children don’t know right from wrong – it’s yours. It’s not the computer games company’s fault that they sell inappropriate games – it’s yours for buying it.

It’s up to us to instill a sense of decency into the next generation and the only people who can do that for our children is us as parents.

The next on the list is the media.

Children’s programmes and there are a lot of good ones out there, but they should be appropriate.

There are far too many where, again children never say please or thank you and are shown to be self-centred.

Do we need cartoons where the ‘bad guy’ is drawn in an unpleasant way – the character comes from the voice. Bullying starts because people are different – if young children are exposed to bad guys being different then they will assume all people who look different are bad. That might not make sense to you as an adult, but think about it with child logic!

Sketch shows should have age appropriate humour. Slapstick is great but it is not suitable for a show aimed at preschoolers/infants to show someone failing to get into a cannon (with the intent of being fired out) and then having the cannon explode on his face!

After children’s programmes come adverts – yes Milkshake! I’m talking about you. How suitable is it to show trailers for 12+ movies during a break when it is obvious that preschoolers will be watching – ditto 18+ computer games.

Adverts should, again be age appropriate – and gosh, can’t you tell Christmas is upon us. How lovely it was to have a few adverts before September (again totally irrelevant to children’s programmes – life insurance, washing machines, etc) between programmes, whereas now each programme is separated by a good 5 minutes of adverts. But I digress…

I think the worst  advert for a toy I have seen, again on Channel 5, during Milkshake, is something called a blade spinner. Now I’m not blaming the television company for this one but the toy manufacturer. How intelligent is it in this day and age when teenagers are being knifed left, right and centre to produce a toy called “blade spinner” where the object, a car, is aimed towards this monster who has “knife-like” claws and spins around trying to whack the car out-of-the-way. I’m sorry, I just find it irresponsible.

Finally on adverts – Lalli-Kalli. Love the shoes, but is it really necessary to give away free make-up to 5 year olds!

Let’s grow up a  bit and leave pre-school behind. Teenagers – bless ’em. We were all one once, but were we really that scary that when an older person came across a group of us they crossed the street?

Note to teenagers – being a celebrity is not a career option!

Why do so many teenagers go out and get drunk? Because it’s cool? Because there’s nothing else to do?

I think it’s partly to look cool – but believe me there is nothing cool about being so drunk you end up either in casualty having your stomach pumped, or you spend several hours staring down a toilet bowl!

Would I be right in assuming boredom plays a big part?

If it’s boredom, as the old saying goes “go out and find something less boring to do instead”.

OK, so I know youth clubs and scouting are not perceived as “cool” any more – so make it, or anything else cool. Channel your bored energy and find a ‘hobby’ – who knows it could turn into a job??

Talking of jobs and teenagers – soap producers take note – why do no teenage soap characters on British television ever seem to have any career ambition. They all seem to drop out, or leave school at 16 with no idea what to do and so they drift.

So I say to everyone – parents, media and society – STOP! THINK! And let our children enjoy being children for as long as possible

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Dreams -v- Reality (A Fairy Story)

“You’re all the same, you girls” said the rather over-worked Fairy Godmother, as she came across Princess Rosie looking rather subdued.

“You all dream about a fairytale with a happy ever after, my life is no fairytale I can assure you of that! What’s wrong then my dear?”

“I’m so confused,” answered Princess Rosie, “he said he loved me and then in the next breath said I should find someone better!”

“Oh!” said her Fairy Godmother, “then, my dear he does not deserve you.”

“But I miss him,” Princess Rosie whispered.

“Mmmm. Do you miss him, or just the thought of him?”

Princess Rosie thought for a while.

“I miss him,” she said.

“Really?” asked her Fairy Godmother.

“Yes! I know I only knew him for a short while Fairy Godmother, but I miss his quirky sense of humour. I miss his smile. I miss the sound of his feet scuffing along the pavement as he walks. I miss the bad cups of tea he made and I miss the notes he used to send me about nothing in particular.”

“I know it’s hard, my dear,” replied her Fairy Godmother, “but these feelings will pass. We have to have 2 boxes of past events to close. One for the memories and one for the feelings and emotions. The memory box is always much easier to shut than the feeling box. Trust me though, it does get easier.”

“Was everything he told me just lies then?” asked Princess Rosie.

“That is something we will never know, my dear. I’m too long in the tooth for my head to be full of romantic notions of hearts and flowers. My guess is he isn’t even giving you a second thought, and even if he is, my advice would be to believe it all as lies – it will make the feelings box easier to close.”

“You know what,” said Princess Rosie, “I had this silly idea that he would come back. Just a small thought at the back of my mind. But a glimmer of hope at least. What an idiot I am?”

“No, not an idiot,” replied the Fairy Godmother, “just a little foolish and naive in believing that fairytales really do exist.”

“Why is it fairy Godmother,” sobbed Princess Rosie, “that dreams are so much rosier than reality?”

“Because, my dear,” answered the old Fairy slowly, “in our dreams we have hope, but when we wake up to the cold light of reality we realise we have nothing.”

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