The Middle Ages

Dear Reader, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will have seen the luscious red velvet cupcake I posted a few days ago, to mark my turning a year older. Not wiser, or funnier, just older. One year short of I-think-I-might-be-grown-up-now.

Being the research ninja I am, I thought looking into the mid-life information on the interwebs might give me some pointers as to how best to blow through this next stage of life. Boy, was that a bad idea! It’s all insomnia and dipping oestrogen levels and visceral fat around organs and reduced muscle mass and bone loss and depression. Seriously?!

How about joy – I’ve finally got my head together (somewhat!)? Joy that I can share my wisdom (stop snickering!) with my daughter. Joy that I have more in my bank account now, than in my twenties, to buy all the books and drink all the coffee. Joy that I can afford all the nice gel insoles to support my falling arches and depleted knee joints. I’ve still got about thirty years of several careers to try out. Or I could just keep doing what I do, because I do it well. I love being a mentor. I’ve found my rhythm. I’m excited that DD is old enough for us to travel together and enjoy these years before she heads off to live her life.

IMG_20170422_132637_755So while I’m sure my oestrogen levels are going to drop, and I’m going to get crankier, and my widening middle is more down to my age than garment manufacturers ganging up against me, I still think I’ve got more fun to look forward to than behind me.

Like more red velvet cake. Nom nom nom.

Shoes to conquer the world

Supposedly, Marilyn Monroe said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

wp-image-1355870192jpg.jpgI’m inclined to agree with that. Up to about ten years ago, my shoes were vertiginous, multitudinous and splendorous. Seriously, I used to store most of them at work in a cupboard that was supposed to be dedicated to files (no guesses why my team was the first one to go paperless!).

But then my back started to give out. And then I tore my hip flexors twice. And then my spine started leaking fluid. And I wasn’t working in a fancy office any more, I was mostly working on a laptop from my fancy living room. So the fanciful shoes went, slowly but surely. They were replaced by many Converse variants (good for the school run), and wellies, and ankle boots with good arch support.

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Sole sisters (#mumjoke)

Approaching almost-forty, I don’t know if conquering the world is still on the menu (it sounds like a lot of work), but DD keeps ‘borrowing’ my shoes (permanently), which makes me think that perhaps it’s not the shoes, but the attitude with which you wear ’em.

 

We are OK

Blogger friends, thanks for checking on social media. Husband, DD and I are all safe. Although we do go via Westminster at least twice a day four days a week, we were not there during the attack today. 

The Metropolitan police are amazing and are handling the situation. It is being treated as a terrorist incident.

Edited 7.46pm: I am awed and humbled by the service of the metropolitan police, including a good friend’s  husband, the first responders and everyone who is working to contain and stabilize London tonight. Traffic is moving, people are using the Tube. London stands together and we march on, even when we’re scared. 

Brain Dumping

The crazy in my life has been ramping up again. It goes in cycles and given my love of analytics, you think I’d have a chart or plan or something to prepare myself, but no, I just have lists. And lists of lists. And reminders that beep. And a brain that won’t quiet, so even when I’m sleeping, I’m doing things. Working through things. Making plans.

DD has been invited to dance with the degree level, pre-professional ballet dancers for the next 12 weeks, and then perform with them. It’s a huge deal. Ginormous. So of course she accepted. Which means she is now dancing 5 days a week and yours truly will be schlepping her across town. Tweak, adjust, diarise. Did I mention one of these days is Saturday? Who needs a life? I’m happy for her, so damn happy, but I’m so damn tired, too. And I only have one child. How do people do this with multiples?

The Brexit situation is still making me anxious, even though I know I’m not at risk. But how can I be quiet and smug when other dual citizenship families are? What kind of a person would that make me? So I tweet, and sign petitions, and find information, and share it. And stay emotionally involved, which is draining.

So here’s my challenge to myself today:

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An Apple A Day…

I went for a health screen the other week. I have a new life insurance plan which encourages me to engage with it; being fit and healthy drives down my premiums. Now given the fact that I live in central London, don’t have a car, and walk or bicycle everywhere, I like to think I’m pretty fit. However, I didn’t reckon with the utterly medieval height-weight-BMI calculation at the health screen.

Ya see, all that walking and biking builds muscle mass, so even though I am the same clothing size I was at 18 (granted, after childbirth, not all the pieces stack together neatly), the computer (and therefore, insurance company) now thinks I’m overweight. So until I get a Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) done, to measure the ratio of fat to lean body mass, that number sticks. It’s on my file. All these years spent focusing on how I feel, how I’m managing my auto-immune condition, my PTSD – all meant nothing in light of that stupid number. But just for a second.

I had a choice: to let that number suddenly define me and erode years of hard work and body love, or reject it for what it is. A number. Just a number. A static snapshot of me on a particular day. I chose not to assign it any value in my life.

1461333_10202047343696158_6242111199162529909_nBecause I define my health by the overall picture – mind and body in tandem. How calm I am. How able I am to deal with stress at work. How long my auto-immune condition stays in remission. How mild the flare ups are. How much sleep I’m getting. How much my hip hurts. And so far, I’m winning. I feel good.

I choose this quote by Anne Lamott over that number every single day!

Wisdom from JRR Tolkien

​seen on a friend’s friend’s facebook page today…

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

-J.R.R Tolkien

#WhyIMarch Part 2

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We came. We roared. We cheered.

And we brought London to a standstill.

After rallying for hours in Trafalgar Square, I took away some action points from the march: to find someone I can nominate for the #AskHerToStand campaign (DD’s too young!), to find out if I can join the Women’s Equality Party as a non-voting resident, and figure out how best I can support Women’s Aid, an incredible charity supporting women and children escape and rebuild their lives after domestic abuse. My aim is to find a local section of the organisation, so I can volunteer time and effort, too, if needed.

Did you march, too? How did it go? Where were you? Let me know in the comments!

#whyimarch #womensmarchlondon #womensmarch

 

#WhyIMarch

Today is the second anniversary of this blog. And once again, I’m astounded I’m still here. Still writing. Still ranting. Not as much as I thought I would be, but recently, that has been a conscious choice.

I’ve taken a step away from my social media feed, which is starting to sound dangerously like an echo chamber. 2016 was the year for fun and games with the memes and the GIFs and the snappy comebacks, but the reality is, today, 20 days into 2017, across the pond, a strong nation, a great nation, unleashes upon itself a man and his cohort who believe they have a legitimate right to infringe upon human rights and freedoms in a way that I never thought possible in my lifetime. Here, in the UK, the Prime Minister performs an interesting dance between adviser and dictator, careening through the extrication of the UK from the EU with no real visible plan, just the conviction that ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

The real work of challenging these new realities is still to come. And it needs real talk and real action. I still don’t know how to engage with those who celebrate and support the politics of hate and fear and separation. I don’t know how I can understand or influence people so radically different to me in thought and belief. But I do know I can climb off the Pyramid of Hate.

whyimarchSo tomorrow, I march with DD. Because I have the glorious freedom to do so. Because I am not indifferent. Because I refuse to normalise wrong. Because silence never got us anywhere. Onwards and upwards!

#whyImarch #womensmarchlondon

Seeking Success

DD has been going through the rigmarole of senior school entrance tests. Each one tougher, more challenging. The beauty of living in London is all its opportunities. Including going up against the brightest and sharpest 10 and 11-year-olds the city has to offer. DD has two parents who never chose the path of least resistance, so why would she? She seems to be taking all this in her stride, but I honestly wonder, when does this end? To what end, all these tests? What life is she carving out for herself?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my child to succeed. Succeed at being content. Healthy. With stable, supportive relationships. Enough money in the bank not to worry about paying the bills. Don’t we all want this for our children?

These lines by William Martin struck a particular chord with me:

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

What do you think?

I got 99 First World problems…

‘Tis the season for over-indulgence, as Husband and I were discussing the other day. We’re trying to get ski-fit for our holiday later this month, but Christmas parties keep getting in the way. Which made us think of how lucky we are, because we’re trying not to eat too much, as opposed to scrabbling for food and safety. Gives you pause, doesn’t it?

IMAG0415_1On the ski front, there is no snow yet where we’re going (France). After the freak cold front, we’ve had a freak warm front , and it looks like any hope I have of cross-country skiing are going out the window rather sharpish. So it looks like we’re just going to have to ice-skate and hang out and do family things. Ewwwwwww 😀 Perhaps now is a good time to teach DD to play poker?

And back in London, the Icelandic Yule lads are making their way down the mountain; the first one brought DD a fantastic new helmet – ya know, for all that snowboarding she’s probably not going to be doing? Perhaps she can invent a new sport? Riding the chair lift and coming back downhill on a cafeteria tray?

See what I mean about 99 first world problems?

How’s your holiday season panning out?