Category Archives: Hitting my sixties

Can you hear me mother?

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I have just discovered I have a second cousin I knew nothing about. He lives in Ireland on the west coast I think, which is somewhere I have wanted to visit ever since I watched Ryan`s Daughter, it is such beautiful countryside and coast.  Looking at his posts on Facebook, it has been interesting to see that although we have led entirely different lives, our politics are definitely on the same page.  So I`m nicking all his posts, as you do, thanks Paul.

Going to visit Ireland is on my bucket list. Having survived the dreaded banana last year, I can`t wait now to retire and start seeing some of the places I have always wanted to travel to.  Especially as life delivered me a bit of a blow yesterday. It all started so innocently……..

I went to get my ears checked at hospital. I`​ve had to wear hearing aids for a year or so as my colleagues had made so many jokes out of my misunderstanding stuff they had said to me, here`s an example;

Colleague: “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Me: “Tuesday at ten thirty.”

The doctor checked my ear. He wasn`t gifted in being pleasant or engaging, actually I have encountered paving slabs with more people skills so when the words slipped out from his tongue, I was somewhat unprepared.  “I need you to have a brain scan,” he said. I enquired why. “Because there may be something going on in your brain that is placing pressure on your middle ear and creating the feeling of your ear being blocked.”

“Like a tumour?”

“Yes, it`s very rare but we cannot rule it out.”

Now this man was unaware of my recent experience, so I said, “I had cancer last year.” I don`t even know why I told him to be honest because all he said was, “What kind?” and I said, “Breast cancer,” and he said, “Oh.” Then he told me I would have to wait 6 to 8 weeks for an MRI scan.

I drove home feeling absolutely shattered. I stopped at Aldi and bought a gigantic steak, (I haven`t eaten meat in weeks, I am sorry cow) and a bottle of wine and went home and got quietly plastered.

In the new light of Saturday I went to see my brother Al, who has also been deaf for a long time. He had the exact same experience a number of years ago and had to wait months for his scan so he put it all into perspective for me, thanks Al.  But it has led me to pondering life, the universe and everything again and realising how tenuous it all is and as Alan Rickman commented shortly before his recent death, “we are but a moment in the chair.” So yes, I am going to Ireland and yes I am going back to India and yes I am going to return to Oz and say hello to Darwin again and yes I am going to spend every day in the present moment and cherish it.  None of us can predict what is going to happen as last night`s events in London – awful, awful stuff, so clearly demonstrate.

So second cousin Paul, put the kettle on, get me some of that seaweed that tastes like bacon would you please and see you in the not too distant future.  What?  Pardon?

Tuesday at ten thirty I think………..

 

 

 

I`m going like Elsie.

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There are few feelings so sad and so difficult to manage as the awful ones we experience when the love of our life falls out of love with us.  It can take years to recover and our hearts remain forever wounded by the past. It`s a struggle to place aside the time when the relationship was still real and images of our lost love appear unsolicited again and again in our thoughts and our dreams.  It`s enough to drive you over the edge and in my case, it very nearly did.  I wanted to write this piece to offer some hope for those of us who are struggling, I`m still here in spite of the madness that engulfed my every moment of every day when I lost my love and to reassure anyone who may be in the place where I was a decade ago, that it`s possible to survive and move on with your life.   It hits me again from time to time and I have to employ all I have learned over the years, not to indulge or I would surely drive myself crazy. So that`s my first suggestion; do not drown yourself in thinking about the past!

Easier said than done.

Having spent some months gradually dying from the emotional fallout, I woke up one morning and thought,  “I must do something about this.”  I purchased a book by Paul McKenna called `I can Mend Your Broken Heart` which helped tremendously.  It`s full of exercises that help to change the way that you think. It taught me how to stop dwelling on my lost love and honestly, it was a life saver so thank you for that Mr. McKenna.  Once I was on a more even keel, I joined a dating site, Plenty of Fish.  I met plenty, many of them shocking liars. I dated a few, became friends with two one of whom was to the far right but I think I educated him. Slept with several, I have enough stories I am writing the book. Can you imagine being in bed with someone who keeps repeating, “oh dear, oh dear.”?  I did. Or getting in to bed with someone who looks like Jabba the Hut?  I did.  Or watching someone pumping up their erection with a plastic contraption because he has cardio vascular disease? I did. For a short while I became a charity fuck.  Some of the men I met were truly sad and some were wonderful, as in “Hello it`s only me.”  A man who liked to dress up as a Viking and who wanted me to be his wench, a lovely man but I am no man`s wench.  I learned aromatherapy and a few men from POF regularly came to my house for their free massage. I really enjoyed that and there was no sex involved but the neighbours must have thought I was running a knocking shop. Not that I care.  And then I met a man who I really liked and moved in with him. Hey ho, it didn`t work out but it doesn`t matter because when we finally parted ways, we parted amicably which is by far the best way.

I`m 62 now and I don`t know if I will meet anyone who will ever return to me the passion, the insanity, the beautiful intimacy or the depth of love that I felt then but I`ve had a lot of laughs and a few tears on my way to finding out so do not despair. I reckon there are two ways in which we might leave this life, the first is Peggy Lee singing “ Is that all there is?”   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sWTnsemkIs

The second is Liza Minelli singing Cabaret

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moOamKxW844

So it`s up to you dear reader if you are feeling sad. I know which way I`m going.  I`m going like Elsie.

On being sixty one…..

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I hit my sixties nearly two years ago and unlike previous decades, the best of which was definitely my fifties, I am really beginning to feel my age and I am becoming increasingly aware of my mortality as in, “shit – only another twenty odd years left, where the hell did that go?”

My body is falling apart – the proverbial has finally hit the fan.

When I get up in the mornings, my ankles hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt and until I get going I struggle down my steep stairs to the kitchen feeling more like I am ninety five never mind sixty one. Ibuprofen has become my BFF still – at least my friends have stopped telling me I`m a hypochondriac. When I walk my dog, my back hurts. Thank God for park benches.

A friend I hadn`t seen for a long time recently asked me how I was. I said, “Well – apart from the high blood pressure, arthritis, cataract, increasing deafness, tinnitus, carpel tunnel syndrome and a tendency to store water in my body which eventually results in my feet looking like cartoon feet, I`m bloody great thanks, how are you?”

My age has defined me by the changes I have made to my choices. I no longer feel the urge to break the speed limit when I am driving, I don`t hang out of the car window anymore and shout, “you stupid wanker!” to stranger drivers who have cut me up. Having been single for two years I find to my surprise that I can actually survive reasonably happily without sex in my life, something I never would have accepted even a few years ago. (I can live without sex but not without my Kindle, ha ha ha.)

Now it doesn`t bother me so much that I remain overweight and I buy clothes and shoes that are comfortable rather than fashionable. I don`t care if my lumps and bumps show. Hey – that`s me you`re looking at.

I do a lot of word searching, I say things like, “you know, thingummybob, what`sisface, oh it`s on the tip of my tongue, if I don`t think about it it`ll drop into my mind….. ”

I suppose there are some benefits to being in my sixties, for example, I can invite my friends round for a dinner party and I don`t have to knock on my neighbours` door and say, “we`ll be turning the music down at twelve.” I can say “no thanks” to invites and events that I don`t wish to attend and when anyone asks me why I can say, “because I don`t want to go. I`m getting old!” Hah!

My daughter recently brought it home to me that I am in my sixties when she sent me a text at 9:30pm which read, “mum are you still up?”

Party on.