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It ain’t all bad …

November 11, 2017

I have been retired for seven months; while I not out of the woods there is a glimmer of light.  The isolation I felt at home at first came as a shock.  Even though I wanted to finish full time paid employment, I was looking forward to being a fulltime unpaid artist.  I had a well-equipped studio and press and ready to go. While I worked several hours most days I listened to my favourite radio station, made time to go regularly to London and Oxford, did more courses and met new and exciting people. I walked and cycled here there and everywhere.  I created more than enough new work for a successful exhibition last month and already negotiating the terms and conditions for 3 next year!

I was, I am living the dream … and grateful

So why the distress? This is much to do with my much-discussed psychological condition which at work it seems I was better at keeping under ‘control.’ Needs must; I suppose.

However, at out of work one assumes being ‘yourself’ is easier and it is, of course surrounded by the comforts of home and family.  Being oneself is OK.  Sadly, I had hidden ‘it,’ the performance in the workplace to be a good and loyal employee made me into a robot; conditioned by my boss and vital pay-packet.  Being alone with this thing 24/7 was not pleasant.

So, as I relaxed as I surely did, so, I discovered this 17-year-old girl. Ill-equipped for the outside world and going to work, vulnerable, afraid and worse; eager to please.

Here she was a scrawny girl, and a war-torn bully, no wonder the last seven months have been difficult.  The little Helen and the old woman had daily battles, the little one wept and doubles under the pressure, the beast became less entrenched in her methods of control; the timekeeping, good housekeeping, eye for detail and even good manners things that had served as ways to give her strength now went out the window (slowly but surely) making space for some playfulness and joy.

While I do understand that I am who I am, the old crone and the teenager we will remain I think in a healthy and happy relationship and when it becomes toxic and it will no doubt we will turn the radio up and dance a while.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. ami811 permalink
    November 11, 2017 3:14 pm

    Today is my 71st birthday and I’m feeling your waffling everyday. I have had quite a different life, always full of travel, new adventures, horizons and people. That is happening much less now; my husband is 92, in good health for his age, takes care of himself, dressing, eating, still does some work on our two acre property, BUT I am the basic caregiver, organizer. I do it all and I really don’t want to….so life feels kind of dead and I don’t know how to get out of this hole. I did not intend a diatribe here, but your post on 11/11 moved me. Bless you always. I said before, when I first happened on your blog, that I want you in my life…..I feel you inside me. Even though you are in England and I in Northern California, we are not worlds apart.

    • November 12, 2017 8:56 am

      I send good wishes to you and all beings who are as you say ‘ caring and organising’ for others when we should be doing it for ourslelves … we (you) are precious

  2. November 11, 2017 11:16 pm

    Autumn is the time for memories. They come tumbling into my mind like the leaves that fall from trees, and possessed of as many colours, shades and shapes.

    I celebrated my 80th birthday last year and gained an honours degree from the Open University. Reading and writing keep my mind busy, while a very large house and garden ensure that would-be idle fingers are kept busy too.

    My husband would have been 94, but died 28 years ago. We may slow down as we reach the twilight years but the simple joys that are to be got from still being able to decide your own path through life are indeed precious when I consider the restrictions imposed upon some old and dear friends by increasingly fragile minds and bodies.

    • November 12, 2017 8:53 am

      Thank your Maureen not only for these kind thoughts but your continued support (like a sister) I wish you well and may celebrate more birthdays and academic honours in fact may we all be honoured … all beings xxx

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