Tag Archives: living

I Am Not Old

“I will most definitely be outrageous, difficult and undignified,
but not until I am old.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, Mother, Sister, Grandmother and friend.
1938 –
I make no secret of my vast age. I know how very lucky I am to have had such a long and interesting life. Many don’t have the good fortune to reach this age.
I have bored you with this on several earlier posts.
I compared myself to a classic car in Vintage?  “I too am kept in a warm dry house (rather than a garage) away from the vagaries of the weather.  I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services, hairdressers, facials, manicures, pedicures, dentists and the occasional visit to the GP”
I gave you fair warning that I wasn’t going to age gracefully ” So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple”
And again in Rambling with an OctogenarianI mused on growing old along with others and said  “When I think of old I imagine an old person sitting in a chair doing nothing active. I don’t want to be that person. I have said in the past that I want to hike into my old age. “
And of course, we all know that Strange Old Lady who seems to inhabit all our houses as we get older – “Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I looked in the mirror and saw this Old Woman looking out at me.” 

Granny on computer

(sigh….. bet that strange old lady is on “her” puter too!) What’s a body to do??????

Then today when noodling around the internet with coffee in hand, I came across this:

I am not old … she said … I am rare.

I am the standing ovation

At the end of the play.

I am the retrospective
Of my life as art

I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense

I am the fullness
Of existing.

You think I am waiting to die …
But I am waiting to be found

I am a treasure.
I am a map.

And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey

Ask me anything.

~~ Samantha Reynolds’

I find that Samantha h Reynolds is the Founder and President of Echo Storytelling Agency. She is based in Vancouver, BC and says -“I help great people tell great stories. I also talk on the phone a lot and write ideas on scraps of paper when stopped at red lights.”

Six Word Saturday

 

Friendship Is the rainbow between two hearts
Judith Baxter, friend, confidante, mother, sister and grandmother
1938 – 

 

                        A  DISASTER, RUINED POT, NOW WHAT?DISASTEDISASTER, RUINED POT, SO NOW WHAT?

image_36d65fa7-6823-48da-8eea-c2b705c39272.img_1265

Many years ago I bought my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) a cast iron pot. He was a cook and he loved and cared for that pot.  Wherever we lived, the pot was always too big to go into a cupboard and so it proudly sat on the stove, in full view to be admired.

Unfortunately, the pot didn’t survive my cooking attempts. One day, I put on the pot with apples to stew and forgot about it. Disaster. Apples stuck to the bottom of the pot. Several attempts were made to bring the pot back to its original state without success. And in cleaning it I removed some of the coating so it can no longer be used as a cooking vessel.

Tears,  as I thought about how my husband had looked after the pot. Then I thought of how it could still be used and admired again. It now sits outside the french window in full view in its new function as a planter, and happily sits with three cyclamens in the sunshine.

So Recycled, Reused and Redeemed, I am happy once again.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain,
comedy and tragedy, humour and hurt.”
Erma Bombeck, American Humourist,
1927-1996

 

I really hope you are all coping in this time of turbulence, trouble and tragedy. Did my lighthearted post brighten your day just a little?

 

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NOTE – I published this about two hours ago but somehow it got lost in the ether and so I had to write it again. So if you got the original before the ether took it and notice some errors, apologies. Blame WordPress or the Ether or whoever, but never the writer. Haha!

 

Bright Orange Balloons

“But there are other words for privacy and independence.
They are isolation and loneliness”.     
Megan Whalen Turner, American writer of
fantasy fiction for young adults.

 

OK, so we are now on Day 15 of our nationwide lockdown. And how are we surviving?

Oh, I miss coffee mornings with friends; I miss the camaraderie of the new friends I meet on the courses I run; lunch alone doesn’t have the same excitement or interest as lunch with friends; drinks on Facetime somehow don’t fill the need for interaction and on and on.

But these are not problems.  I can overcome each of them and all the others. But what of folks whose lives are set in and defined by schedules. Those who can’t understand why their world has to change in such a way. “Why can’t I go to school?” “Why can’t Jason come to play?” “Why aren’t we going to church?” they cry.

There are many in our midst who suffer this way, either for themselves or through their children. One such is Luke’s Mum. Luke’s Mum lives with this 15-year old’s autism, bravely and well, I might say. She is worthy of our support so please go over to her blog to see how well she is doing in Bright Orange Balloons. 

Found on Pinterest.A

And while I haven’t yet been bored; there’s plenty to keep this aged mind active, and involved,  I have no intention of falling into the trap of complaining about self-isolation.

Another day in the life of

Yesterday here in Aotearoa was a beautiful autumn day, warm, bright sunshine and all was well with my world.

We welcomed Gabriella Isabel into this world and I celebrated with a proud grandmother.

At the end of the day, the news was not so good. I was no longer celebrating. A friend had succumbed at last to the cancer that was invading all parts of her body. She originally had breast cancer at about the same time as I had mine; I had radiation therapy, she had chemo.  A not unexpected death,  but hurt and grief nonetheless.

Next, I heard from a friend who is in the hospice for a few days while they sort out her medications. This is a woman whom I met following my misadventure in 2016 and who became a friend as we tried to get back into the real world. Unfortunately, her results were not as good as mine and were exacerbated when cancer was detected.

I mused deep and long on two friends, both of whom had the same problems I had but with such different results. And once again I thank whichever god is looking after me. Thanks for this fine body that knows how to heal and allows me to continue along this long journey we call life.

But then, my heart was lifted when I had dinner with my daughter, her friend and my number three grandson and girlfriend. Dinner was lovingly prepared for us by the young ones and much talk and laughter surrounded us for the next hour or so as we shared thoughts and told tales to each other. A perfect panacea.

So the day started and ended with joy. Then reading this post from my friend and sister-of-choice, Chris at Bridgesburning, (obviously written after I shared my day with her), I realised that this was indeed, a day perfectly depicting life.

So today’s another day. A day for meeting friends, sharing thoughts and rejoicing in the fact we are alive. And again more thanks for family and friends who help at times of loss and on whom I depend.

“To live in this world you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go.”
Mary Oliver

Remembering

 

”When one person is missing
the whole world seems empty.”
Pat Schweibert, American Author

Twenty-one years ago today, the light went out of my world. My DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) had died. There are no words to tell how I felt for the next few months. Nothing and nobody could fill the void.

I was lucky that there were three young grandsons around to cheer me up. The eldest, three-year-old James, said “Granma, when it stops raining, will you stop crying?’ and ‘Look Granma, the sky is crying because Grampa is dead”.

Of course, he was far too young, as were the others, to understand the devastation that had crept /crashed into my life.

At that time I didn’t know how I was going to go on with the rest of my life;  but it doesn’t come with a choice. One just has to go on living.

I had no friends or family who had suffered such a loss, and while they were all very supportive, I really was on my own on this journey.

But through this, I found a reason for being. I became a Life Coach and directed my energy towards others who were grieving and attempting to survive. My volunteering was (and still is) in a hospice where people were struggling with their loved ones imminent end of life. How quickly I realised I wasn’t the only one on this survival journey.

I wrote a small book Suddenly Single and gave it to my clients and then friends who found themselves in this situation.

And I found I could go on with my life. Even without the person with whom I had grown up, and who was most supportive of everything I did, and eventually, I realised that life could be good again.

Later, I started blogging and through this medium, I met others who had survived and who became friends.

And now, twenty-one years on, I have made a happy life for myself. There were a couple of major hiccups along the way – the death of the Architect in 2015 followed by my disastrous misadventure in 2016 – but in all life has been good to me.

I know that some of you are just starting on this journey, or are new to it. Please believe me when I say there is a way out of this storm of grief and everybody’s journey is different. If you are suffering, please contact me. I should like to send you a copy of the newest version of my book. This edition is called Stepping Stones.

I propose to publish it and put it on Amazon but until then, I’m happy to give you a copy.

End of misery post. Tomorrow I shall be back to normal. As my children always say – Pollyanna is alive and well and living in Wellington, New Zealand.

And for now, as Shirley MacLaine says:

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play
that I’ve written for myself and so my purpose is

to have the utmost fun playing my part.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Year Begins

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel,
stride down there and light the
bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson – From Strength to Strength

Did you make resolutions on January 1?  I didn’t because I know that they won’t last even until the end of January. But I do like these resolutions from Bridget Jones Dairy.

“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds.
Number two:  Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important will find a sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following:
alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic’s, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. And especially will not fantasise about a particular person who embodies all these things”

I began to look back at the posts from January in past years. I started blogging in March 2011, so the first January was in 2012.  During that month I posted about reaching my first milestone of 100 followers. How excited I was on that day. I wrote about crop circles, Friday the thirteenth, the Madman who was actively engaged in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary. At that time I was posting a blog a day and so there are 31 posts in that January. “All I Need to Know” is probably my favourite post of that January.

By January 2013 I was no longer posting every day and so there are far fewer to choose from. In a meandering post, I took a trip down memory lane and wrote about growing up in the East End of London (again). And in that month I posed the question what would you do “If Today Were Your Last”?

January 2014 and I had just returned from my sojourn/adventure in Florence. That month saw only one post – The Kiwi Bach

January 2015  and I was enjoying life with my Late Love, The Architect and wrote about our peaceful corner of the world comparing it to the mayhem and confusion caused by terrorists in other parts of the world.

By January 2016, my life had changed again. Now The Architect was no longer alive and I was moving on alone. I like to think I was going from strength to strength following the path trod by Sara Henderson. Most of the month was taken up with my story about Sandy and the woman who claimed to be her daughter. Those posts were fun to write. Maybe, someday I’ll go back to them.

So to January 2017. By now I was used to living alone again and had completely recovered from my misadventure of the year before. How very glad I was to leave 2016 behind. I wrote about friendship and how much easier it is now to keep in touch through Skype, email and of course the blogosphere. And I compared myself to a vintage car. I too have to be maintained. I’m cleaned, polished and primped.  I have regular services from hairdressers, manicurists, dentists etc, So at my vast age I know I am vintage.

January 2018 found this aged mind taking off in a variety of directions. On the first, I looked back on the year that had just gone and looked ahead to the year about to start. I wrote about “Talking into the Future” with my friends Chris in Ontario and Joss in Cuenca and we marvelled at how lucky we are.

And that brings us to January 2019. Years have passed since I started this blogging journey/adventure. New friends have been made, some friends have died or moved on, Unfortunately, my Late Love was among those that died.  But what a great time I have had over these years. I have visited new places, have proved that you are never too old to dream another dream or set another goal and so I move into 2019 with a joyful, grateful heart. Best wishes to you all and thanks for being my friends.

Waterfall

“And as the water continues in its downhill rush over rocks
and the thoughts continue to tumble around in my brain
with no defined pattern or path,
they eventually find and settle into a safe place
and the void is suddenly filled
and my mind is active once again.”
Judith Baxter, survivor, blogger and friend

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Into 2018

“Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

About this time of the year, I look back on what has gone before and set some goals for the next 12 months.   Not Resolutions as I know that for me they don’t last through the first two months and are usually dead before the end of January.

I use as my guide what I learned from the story of Noah and the Ark.  I first wrote about this in January 2012 and then used it again in December 2014.  The following year, 2015 was not great, my Late Love the Architect died and 2016 was hardly any better.  I had my misadventure in April and then my contretemps with a chair and a rug in December, so I was glad to see the back of that year.

And now it’s 2018 and I am looking back on 2017.  So what did I learn?

  • I did listen to the voice within when deciding to remain in my little apartment in my daughter’s house.
  • I followed my intuition that I would be safe here
  • I hadn’t made my preparations in advance as originally, this was to be a  stop-gap while I found somewhere else to live.
  • My life was built on strong foundations and those foundations are my two very supportive children and daughter-in-law, and the four large grandsons who are growing into fine young men.
  • My possessions were brought from storage and some fitted well into my new little abode.  The rest found new homes via the Salvation Army.  A win-win situation.
  • Once again, I chose my companions well and cut the few toxic people out of my life
  • I still love my companions and fellow travellers.
  • And some of these travellers aka my children I set free once again to return as and when they wish or if they are needed.
  • Yes, I did listen to other people’s opinions but always made my own decisions.
  • I learned that living in a house with two teenage Grandsons is never boring.
  • I make time for quiet meditation which nurtures my soul.
  • I embraced many new experiences since writing the original posts.
  • I was brought up in England and have always loved the feel of the gentle rain on my face.
  • And I also love the sunshine and notice how differently people behave when the sun is shining.
  • I volunteered at another Hospice; the one where my Late Love died and continue to believe I got more from the experience than anyone at the Hospice does.
  • I have learned to accept the assistance offered by others – I hope this acceptance has been gracious.
  • I know that there will be hard times interspersed with the sunshine and light.
  • I have known for a long time that we share this planet with a myriad of other creatures both large and small, and we don’t must share the bounties with them
  • I continue to nurture an attitude of gratitude.  I am very aware of how very lucky I have been all my life.
  • I know that one woman with a strong belief in herself can overcome just about anything life can throw at her.

So with a cheerful heart and a desire to see what this New Year will bring this aged adventurer, I am ready for 2018.

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself,
and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.” 

Shirley Maclaine –  American actress, singer, dancer, activist, and author
1934 – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Can Survive

On re-reading some of the articles I had published on Ezine Articles I came across this one from December 2010.  During that time I was wearing my life coach hat and most of my clients were grieving as was I.   I thought it worth reposting 7 years later just as it appeared.

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When we lose someone we think that we will never get over the loss. We are in the depths of despair and can see no way out of it. We might fall into depression, caring little about what we eat or how we look. In some cases, if this goes on for a long time professional help will be needed.

But for most of us, with the help of family and friends and somebody who has been where you are now, we can survive. We can come through these days of despair and learn to live again albeit in a different world.

When I was first alone after 41 years of being married, I didn’t know how I would go on. I had grown up with my soul mate and was absolutely bereft at his passing.

For several weeks I wallowed in my misery but then I realised that he would not wish that for me. We had talked in a general manner of what to do if one or other of us died. But obviously, these talks were very general and didn’t touch on the actual day-to-day living alone.

I went through all the stages of grief. Resentment, anger and frustration that this should have happened to me (note the me inserted there when in fact it had happened to him); I then became immobilized and couldn’t think, I was fearful and wanted to hide. My family and friends were great support to me through these trying times. How lucky I was to have them.

Then I went through the blocking mechanisms stage. Some people employ alcohol, drugs, sex, excessive spending for me I turned to work. I worked all hours so as not to have time to think of what had happened. I fell into bed every night absolutely exhausted. Of course, much of this was nervous exhaustion.

After a length of time and with the help of friends and family again, finally I could recognise how lucky I was to have had the years with my love, to acknowledge and accept that this awful thing had happened and that I was strong enough to move on with my life.

There is no defined time for ‘a length of time’. It may be weeks, months or in some cases, years after the actual loss. And accepting in no way minimises your feelings of grief and loss. You can go on grieving (as I did) long after you accept the fact that this has happened and now you have to live the rest of your life without that special someone.

If you are suffering through loss and grief I empathise with you. I have been there. When I was first alone I was fortunate in having close friends and supportive family to help me acknowledge and cope with my devastating loss.

Now there is a program to help you do just that.Brittany Watkins has been where you are and will guide you step by step through the healing process.

This amazing program is called Move from Grief to Joy [http://www.griefandlosssupport.com]. It is full of ways to help you move through the stages of grief and live a normal, interactive life again. With this program [http://www.griefandlosssupport.com] grief becomes manageable and you can survive.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Judith_Baxter/221670

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5595313

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voices

“and there was a new voice which you slowly
recognized as your own, that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do —
determined to save the only life you could save.”

 

Today I read this post “I Have aVoice “from Joss at Depth of a Woman.  I immediately responded in the comments section – Another good post and as Mary Oliver says in The Journey “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice “

The quote above is also part of the same poem by Mary Oliver.  As Joss says, we are all held up at some time in our life by these voices, whether from friends, acquaintances or others, or even that voice in our own subconscious.  These voices choose to manipulate us and it’s only once we recognise that, that we are able to move forward.

So today I urge you to ignore those voices and take the first or the next, step on your journey.  Only you can determine where you are going.

OK Life Coach hat off for the day!

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And today the sun is shining here so no excuses for not getting out and walking or maybe even doing some work in the garden.  Since last year’s adventure, I have had a team of people who come in every 4 weeks to weed, mow the lawn, clip hedges etc.  They also plant for me.  But though I am in no way a gardener, I miss doing some of these things.  So today I am going to pot the plants I bought yesterday (in the pouring rain) and then after a visit to the audiologists (one result from the adventure) I shall return to sit in the garden with my book and a cup of tea.  How’s that for a good plan for the day.

 

It’s a Small World Indeed.

I have written before about my friendship with blogging friends around the world and in particular, Chris at Bridges Burning with whom I have a Skype visit each Friday.  We talk about anything and everything and yesterday we talked about her latest post.  If you read it you will see that while doing her research into Orphan Annie, she mentioned that this ancestor had been born in Hackney in the East End of London.  Well, this is where I was born and brought up.  She knew the address of the children’s home into which Annie had been placed and I offered the help of my sister who lives in the UK and who visits Hackney regularly to meet her family members who still live there.

Marianne, my sister was happy to help and photos and messages were exchanged so another friendship was formed.

Yesterday, when talking about serendipity, as surely this was such a case, we talked about other such happenings.  I told her about a woman I met recently who had arrived from Montreal and had lived in the same suburb as we had many years earlier.  I told about the woman I spoke to on a bus going to Oxford some years ago.  She had a brother living in New Zealand.  Did I know Wellington?  Well, yes I live there.  Did I know Scots College? Well, yes my son and grandsons went there.  Her brother was the Headmaster of Scots.  And there have been many more such experiences.

But the strangest of all was some 30 years ago.  I had a friend with whom I worked.  One day she said she had a school friend, now living in Majorca, coming to visit.  Her friend was Scottish and Addison, my friend thought we should meet.  On the day, with DYS out at sport, the two women duly arrived for afternoon tea.  During the course of conversation, I was asked by Addison’s friend where my husband came from in Scotland.  I replied Dunoon to which her reply was she had lived in a small village beside Dunoon.  “Well, I said, it was really Kirn but it was such a small place that I never expect anyone to know of it”  Her response was that in fact, she came from Kirn.  Imagine my surprise then when I found out she was the daughter of the local dentist whose house my Father-in-Law had purchased when he remarried.

So imagine.  Two young girls meet at school in Colchester, England.  Then each goes their own way while keeping in touch.  One went to Majorca with her husband, the other to Wellington, New Zealand with hers,  Some 30 years later, two other women meet in Wellington and become friends.  The second woman is married to a Scotsman who comes from a small village on Scotland’s West Coast.  Years later the three women meet and surprise, surprise the woman from Majorca was born and bred in the same small village as the Scotsman and what’s more, lived in the house now being lived in by the Scotsman’s father.  Small world indeed.

“Friendship … is born at the moment when
one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves