Where are you now?

 

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I came across a similar quote to this quote a few years ago. Today I found this quote and it resonated with me.

Personal growth is so important but not something that perhaps we put enough effort into. Life happens and we can get caught up in the minute of everyday living. That is grand.

However, there is a need to give time and space for ourselves and for our growth. Assessing where we are at, and perhaps finding that one is in  the exact same spot as a year ago can be very demoralising.

Now I am not talking about monumental changes but changes that aid our personal well-being both mental and physical. There is a need to take stock. In my very first blog post I wrote about my five-year  clear out. It has been very cathartic. However the need to look at me personally needed a yearly “look at”.

Like  Kerry over in http://fabuliciousfifty.com who has written about “Word of the Year” I also used to choose a word for the year. However Kerry has brought it to a higher level. http://fabuliciousfifty.com/category/word-of-the-year/

For the last few years I have chosen my word of the year and the first day of each journal begins with the word for that year. The words have ranged from courage to smile, from start to accomplish. and so many other words in between.

By focusing on one word I have found that I have developed on a personal level. I can honestly say that the above quote is not me anymore. I am definitely not in the place I was this time last year nor this time 10 years ago.

Having the courage to change and the stamina to go with that change is incredibly empowering and once started on this journey there is no turning back.

 

Forward Planning

 

Do you have that friend or acquaintance who just oozes confidence.  Nothing fazes her (of course it could be him but for convenience I am going to stick with her).  She has a presence.  She is able to articulate herself and nothing seems to throw her off her stride.

I know someone who just epitomizes the word confidence and I met her for coffee recently.  After catching up on what had been happening in our own lives and our families lives we turned our attention to our working life.

She told me that my recent post “A Change of Title”, which discussed the feeling of being invisible, really resonated with her.  Since she has become a retiree she has totally lost her way.  She had started to withdraw from social activities as it was less stressful.

I realised, that yes, I hadn’t seen her as much in the last year to eighteen months but had never realised that this was due to a lack of confidence.  I was flabbergasted.  Here was a woman who a few years ago would have chaired meetings, talked in front of a hundred delegates and never once believed she couldn’t achieve things.

Since becoming a retiree she had begun to realise that without her job she felt useless and that gradually her confidence had been eroded.  She had no sense of identity.  She had gradually withdrawn from social events.  She had become an avid reader and was a weekly visitor of her local library.

It is so easy to lose one’s identity whether it is on retiring, becoming a mother or father, loosing a job, or a myriad of other reasons.  The effect is still the same.  One’s self-confidence begins to disappear.

As our conversation developed we each admitted to being very apprehensive about forthcoming events which each of us had to attend.  Suddenly I had a buddy who wanted to help me and at the same time I wanted to ease the social evening for her.

Angela never moves without her tablet so, as I had to attend a large meeting she checked Luas time-table to see how long it would take me.  Then Angela suggested googling the hotel where the event was being held.  A large percentage of hotels now have virtual tours so one can get an idea of the various function rooms.  Now that is a tip I will keep in mind for future reference.  We also discussed where I would sit.  An aisle seat would suit as I was giving myself permission to leave at any time while at the same time I wouldn’t be disturbing anyone.

Next we looked at Anne’s social night, where she would know the hosts but no one else. Again we checked out the venue then we looked at conversation topics which Anne could read up on in advance.  Then we looked at outfits.  By the time we had finished, both of us while not being excited about the forth coming events, found we were no longer totally apprehensive about them.

Definitely, a little bit of forward planning was going to make  the experience far less daunting and it is something I would totally recommend to anyone who is apprehensive about a forth coming event. It will ease the situation and more importantly ease the stress levels.

A Change of Title

For a long time, I had felt invisible but in the last few years it had become even more noticeable how I had become invisible to others.

A few years ago, I read an article about Sinead Keane, a marathon runner, who happens to have impaired vision.  In 2015 the organisers of the Women’s Mini Marathon, which is held annually in Dublin, would not let her running guide take part as he was male.  She challenged that decision and won.  A sentence in the interview with her kept reverberating in my head It’s about making invisible visible

This led me to remembering three Dunne’s stores workers who went on strike  in 1984 in Dublin after  refusing to handle south African produce due to Apartheid. When I spoke to them at the time, they talked about supporting  women in South Africa who were invisible.

While researching further into the whole idea on invisibility I came across many organisations who work for those who are invisible in our societies.  From those who are homeless, to those who use the law to secure equality and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide.

Initially I was going to call this blog Dear Invisible but after my research I found I couldn’t.  There are many who are truly invisible.

However, that doesn’t take away the fact that many a person feels invisible. I initially believed that it was only as one got older that one felt invisible.  With the onset of wrinkles, grey hair, sagging chins, and other parts of the body, that then the sense of being invisible really manifests itself.

However, is this really so?  Or is it perhaps that one learns to feel invisible?  Perhaps we allow ourselves and give ourselves permission to be invisible? I don’t believe this.  I think the feeling of being invisible is linked to confidence or the lack of it.

It is amazing how over a number of years on one can loose self confidence or the feeling of self worth for whatever reason.  Regaining self-confidence is difficult and requires courage.  It is an ongoing process but once one starts it is an intoxicating feeling.

Taking on board Sinead Keane’s quote “it’s about making invisible visible” moving from a lack of self confidence to gaining in confidence enables the feeling of being invisible gradually disappear.  Like anything which is important it requires work and it needs constant help but it is so worth it.

It takes courage to stop feeling invisible.  In order to regain self-confidence, one has to move outside one’s comfort zone.  Even if it only baby steps one takes it taking that first step is that is important.

Feel empowered.  If you start to feel it, then your voice will be heard and you will never go back Mary Robinson.  This quote is so true and so inspiring.  Finding and feeling good about oneself is a very powerful feeling. i keep this quote with me where ever I go. I put it on the first page of each journal.

Taking those first steps and rewarding oneself is essential.  Recently I attended a course knowing absolutely no one.  A year ago, I would not have even contemplated attending.  But by preparing in advance I did attend.  What gave me the confidence was that I went to the venue in advance and knew exactly where I was going.  I googled the key note speaker.  I emailed the organiser with questions I had.  On the morning of the course I was able to walk in with confidence and attend.  It was still difficult especially when it came to coffee breaks but I made myself talk with two other attendees.

By putting into place things which helped me to feel confiden, allowed me to attend the conference and enabled me to speak.  I was visible and although at times the feeling of being invisible started to creap in. However,  I stopped the feeling from developing.  It was exhausting day but so worth it.

I found a saying recently I am currently under construction and that is me at the moment.

 

Generations

I was sent a short video to mark International  Women’s Day and it showed three young women who basically blamed all their ills on the previous generation. It was brilliantly put together and very funny.

However it set me thinking. Was this the way, that women who gave up paid employment in order to look after their family full-time were in fact being judged?

Since becoming one of those women back in the 1990’s, I found that society but to a greater extent working women saw me as something to be derided, belittled or totally ignored. I was told that “I was a pariah on society, taking without giving” .

I have been privileged to have met so many women mainly in the 50 plus age limit who are strong women. These women cared for elderly relatives, reared children, were and some still are active in their churches, started voluntary bodies which have since been taken over by state bodies, supported schools and worked unpaid for all their adult lives.

They have enabled others to have choices and they are still supporting their families with many of them taking on the childminding roles for the next generation. Some are finding  a new source of education through the next generation.

I was talking with a seventy year old lady recently. Dympna was inspired by a young twenty year old woman who communicated, read, interacted all through her mobile phone. Dympna now uses her mobile for everything from emails, to bill paying to basic phone calls. In turn she is now teaching it.

I am firmly of the opinion that there is so much to learn from every generation. No one generation is better than another but just think what can be done when the minds of different generations come together with respect.

 

 

 

 

Fountain Pen + Notebook =

Have you ever realised that having a pen and paper can be very rewarding?

It is amazing what is to be seen or heard and having that pen just enables me to remember those moments.   I have always thought of writing as being very solitary but I have learnt otherwise.

I was sitting recently in a restaurant waiting for my order to be served, took out a lovely small brown leather-bound notebook.  A great present from my son, as it holds my new fountain pen snugly in the spine and they both fit into my pocket.  Christl thanks for the fountain pen which goes everywhere with me.

My coffee arrived in a large bulbous mug.   The mug was so apt for a coffee.   It invited me just to wrap my hands around it and to savour that little moment.   And yes, the coffee lived up to expectations.

I drew my notebook to me and started to write just snippets, random thoughts.   I was soon lost to my writing and the thoughts which had been buzzing around my head.   I like to use word pictures as a quick way to get my ideas down before I totally forget.   Forgetting ideas seems to be happening more and more.

The coffee shop had got busier while I had been occupied and soon I was joined by two young ladies who turned out to be from Michigan in the USA.   After a brief conversation I returned to my scribblings but felt I was being watched.   It’s a feeling I don’t like so I quickly looked up to find one of these ladies staring intently at my fountain pen.  IMAG0940[1]

It turned out this young lady, had never seen a fountain pen.  She had heard about them but had never actually seen one.   Talk about being amazed.   I mean I know I was born in the last century but not to have seen a fountain pen!  Soon there was an engaging conversation on ordinary useful objects which had become obsolete or if not obsolete very seldom used.

To see their faces when they googled fax machines, 1970 computers, early mobile phones, telex,  their faces were a picture of total astonishment.   As for the Teas Maid the shrieks of laughter drew glances from a few other customers.

One never knows just where a pen, paper and a mug can lead one and what stories emerge never mind the memories which can be created or rekindled.  A simple fountain pen brought different generations together for a short while amidst much lughter.

Warmth, Vanity or Just

“Baby it’s cold outside” as the song goes and today it is bitter.  We have had an unusally cold winter here in Ireland.  Perhaps in comparison to other countries it is not bad but for us it has been cold.

At the moment there is a severe orange warning for the country with below zero temperatures and snow forecast.  I am sure two of my friends one in Greenland and one in Germany are finding this very funny.  Especially when I think of the temperatures they both endure and the volume of snow that recently enveloped Greenland.

There is however a plus side to this weather.  Clothes shopping I see as a necessary chore.  In fact give me house work any day.  Now there are exceptions to any rule and for me hats, bags and occasionally shoes break that shopping chore.

While in Boston many years ago I splurged on a “Dr. Zhivago” type hat.  Then a few years ago I had hat made for me by Sarah McGahan, milliner,  in sheepskin.  Prior to this winter these hats were just too warm but now I have a choice of what hat to wear.

It is amazing how a hat can make one feel.  It is similar to that feeling one has while wearing those special shoes.  Suddenly I walk with a straight back, feel as if I can conquer the world and generally feel good.

 

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With my Dr. Zhivago on  I am on top of the world.  My red Finish hat and I want to laugh and smile.  My Sarah Mc Gahan hat and I am an explorer heading out looking for adventure.  My blue closh hat and thanks to Úna I feel like a lady from the Art Nouveau period.

Being 60 has empowered me to wear the hats I love, even though to many hats are a thing of the past.  Together with the change in climate my love of hats can develop even further.

 

 

 

 

 

Smile

 

I came across this beautiful picture but unfortunately could find no refernce to the artist. So if anyone can direct me it would be great.

 

I also came across a quote ” when others rain upon your parade open an umbrella and carry on”..unknown

What a powerful uplifting message.

Have a good day and follow your dreams.