Age.

The other day the fire alarm went off in work. So down the stairs we went. I sit on the top floor. Taking the elevator back up was pointless, too many people queueing. So up the 6 floors we went once they let us in again. A person next to me was complaining that she was too old for this. I was laughing and saying “Don’t be silly, how old are you anyway?” The answer I got was “34”. I was shocked! This person seriously believed she was “older” and that this was too much. I am 36 and while I am no fan off taking the stairs in work, I also do not think that I am “too old” for it. Just a tad lazy.

This is not the first time that I have heard something like that. I remember a former colleague once going on about “at our age we should not be doing this or that”. She was the same age as me.

Many would argue, maybe correctly so, that society today puts a disproportionate focus on being young (read: 20) and that being young and “beautiful” is all the success you need. I do however also suspect that many use this as an excuse the other way around. “Oh poor me, I am no longer 22 so I cannot do this or that, don’t you understand? At our age (read: 30isch) we have to be careful and keep in mind our bodies cannot take it any more”.

It is a load of bull in my opinion.

Yes, I cannot handle hang-overs as well as I once could. Yes, my back is stiffer now than it was 15 years ago if I just sit around. Yes, I do seem to “heal” a bit slower as well. On the other hand, I am hardly THAT old.

While I sit here on the sofa I do not ache. The minute I stand up I notice that my back is sore, my legs hurt, my neck feels heavy and my throat is scratchy and sore. This is pretty easy to explain. I trained at the club on Thursday and also today. As an added bonus I am getting a cold and therefore have a sore throat.

I also feel great.

I enjoy physical activity better now at 36 than I did 15 years ago. I do not feel that my age is an obstacle any more than I did then.

While age is an inevitable fact and time will take its toll on our bodies, I believe that the biggest danger is our own mental age. Not our physical age. Sometimes the age lurks more in the mind than in the body. How is the old saying  again…. “You are only as old as you feel”… Otherwise we would not have 60-year olds that are perceived as”youthful” or perhaps a 40-something that seems ready for the last rites. Figuratively speaking.

Today I feel like I am 36 years old. I feel great. If this is being old, then it can only get better.

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As you all know I am an avid animal fan. I have two cats that are loved, cherished and spoiled like mad. I also love dogs and really most animal (OK… NOT a fan of spiders). I also understand that not all persons love animals with the same passion I do or even like animals. That is OK. I have no problem with someone saying that they prefer not to have a pet or be around animals. There can be many reasons for it and I can respect that. It is not everyone’s cup of tea.

What I cannot respect, abide or accept are people who are cruel and neglectful to animals. That actually makes me see red. Every day I read about cats and dogs that have been abandoned by their “owners” or mistreated. Sometimes it is a random cruelty acts against an animal that was just passing or has nowhere else to go.

I just read today again about a case where a family moved house and left their two cats behind. Just left. The cats were crying outside the front door to get in but no one opened the door. A neighbour took pity on them and called an animal organisation to find them a home. I am sorry but what is wrong with people?!?

I would love to get my hands on these people and ask them a thing or two…: How can you justify getting an animal and then just leaving them? How can you look yourself and your children in the eyes and say that it was the right thing to do? Was it too much of a bother to go to a cat shelter or try to find them a home if you are unable to take care of them? Will you try to justify it by saying that ah well they will be fine…? They will not be fine. They are domestic animals. Not a wild animal used to living outside. Instead you condemned them to starvation, illness and death in the cold. Maybe that is what you should explain to your children and then try to justify why you could not be bothered.

My own cat has this very history. He was abandoned and left when his family moved house. Left to fend for himself which is something he would be unprepared for and unable to do in reality. A neighbour saw him every day trying to get inside, to a home that no longer existed. He was brought to the DSPCA in the end and after 5 months there I was lucky enough to find him. I have never had a more grateful cat.

People who kick dogs and cats, throw stones after them and do worse things should have the same treatment done to them. I am sorry but that is my opinion. If you cannot respect the life of an innocent animal, if you hurt an animal out of pure spite then you are not a person worthy of pity, regard or sympathy. People like these are what makes human nature ugly. For me this is just as evil as mistreating children and your fellow-man. If you can hurt an animal you’ve already shown that you have no compassion. You have shown what you are capable of and it is ugly.

Without the animal welfare organisation that are out there many more animals would suffer. They see the worst of it all but they still go on and they make a difference. I admire these persons – day in and day out they see animals suffer and day in and day out they help and carry on. They are worth every penny and all the help that they can get.

Thankfully I also know many regular persons who make a difference and help in their own way. They feed strays, help finding owners when needed, protect these furry companions from those with evil intent. I know people who would not necessarily want to have a dog or a cat but that still would help. They would not abide seeing an animal being made to suffer. They would interfere and they would act. Because they are just decent human beings.

This is something I had to write because I do feel very strongly about this. I am sick of hearing of animal abuse. Our society should be better than this.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandi

Do you ever get that almost euphoric feeling when your chest expands and life feels so full of potential that you do not know where to turn or where to start?

When there is so much you could do but yet you have no idea whatsoever what it is that you want to do?

I think that feeling, that expanding emotion – that is what life is. That is what it mean to feel alive. To feel THAT is what makes getting up worth it.

This is the feeling that some might feel when jumping out of a plane or seeing their new-born for the first time or perhaps it comes to those that feel they have found their inner Zen. And no, I am not talking about getting high. Even though I am sure some would claim that they get that feeling. I would not know, I can’t smoke for my life.

All that I do know is that it is a feeling that I have started to experience again for the first time in quite some time. And boy, does it feel good! I have not jumped out of an airplane (heaven forbid!) nor have I become a mother and trust me; I have not found my inner Zen… but I do feel that life is full of potential. I have no particular new reason for this feeling really.

My circumstances have not changed terribly much. Still skint (surprise, surprise) but maybe I have accepted it better and even though I feel like I have a non-existing social life I still have quality time with the people I care about, be they locally or not. My credit card is still not paid off… will it ever… but I try (emphasis on try!) not to use it too much and put a long-term plan to pay it of little by little and most importantly relax about it a bit. I still do not have a high-flying high-earning job but I did change roles and there is potential for the future even though I will never be on any high-earners list. I am still single and will not mention how long it is since I had sex (let’s not go there) but I am cool with being single and … ok … the sex bit is a bit of a drag but hey, it is not like I have been looking either so that is cool.

Maybe it is just very simple. Not much has changed for me but little things have and the one major thing that has changed is just me. How I look at myself and my life. A good friend of mine once said something like; when you are walking in a dark, deep valley you will eventually climb the mountain and reach the crest. I did not necessarily understand it fully. Because I was still stumbling around amongst the rocks at the bottom. At some stage I stopped stumbling. I do not know when and I do not know why. It is not like all the sudden things were great. There were things happening that did not make me feel great. Events that made me sad or frustrated. Somehow though, I started to see the potentials of things instead of letting them drag me down. I started climbing.

I have a new role in work that could possibly lead forward. It is not perfect but then what job is? However maybe just maybe I can, through hard work, actually make enough money to do something that really does make me feel happy – visit and spend time with people who I care about. If I can do that and get by in my daily life, paying my bills and hopefully be saving some money at some stage – then what else do I really need?

I am still not the size I would like or most importantly not in the physical shape I would like to be. This may be the most frustrating part because I am very impatient and not all that good with the whole self-discipline but I am getting better at it. Another thing as well – the more I go to the club and the gym the more I want to do it. So there is hope yet.

Being single is actually pretty cool. It suits me as well right now. I can do whatever, whenever and however I want. God knows I have zero time or patience to be dating. Just the thought of it alone gets me stressed. So that will just have to wait. Yes, it would be nice to share my life with someone at some stage. But right now I am actually feeling way too selfish to be doing so.

I still have an apartment that is fab but where they really did forget to insulate the bedroom so yes, it is bloody freezing but I also got the cosiest PJ’s ever. Yet another good thing about being single, I can indulge in wearing whatever I like. And I do have a thing for checkered flannel PJ’s.

The funny thing is that these are things that I have known about and could say all along. But I could not feel it. I would say the words but it felt empty. They were just words that I knew were right but that felt so far from what I was feeling that I might just as well have speaking of winning the lotto and moving to Tahiti – hmm I do speak of those things as well but you’ll hopefully get my drift.

Now however I do feel the impact of these positive things and it feels good. Whenever I feel a bit down and bitch about something (god knows that happens) then I sometimes just need a reality check. Because let’s face it – I have a job that is new, challenging and with a bit of luck can make my life a little easier. I have friends that mean very much to me. I have two furry companions that greet me and cuddle every day. And I have two pairs of checkered flannel PJ’s – what else could a girl want??

So yeah, I do get that feeling when my chest expands and all feels good. When I feel there is so much I want to do and I have no idea where to go first. That is because there is so much that I could do and little by little – I will do just so.

Now it is high time to climb into bed wearing my lovely PJ’s. Now THAT is Zen!

I am back to work now the last two weeks. Easing Stumbling back into everyday life… – funny how that happens so fast again even after almost three weeks off.

I had a lovely two weeks in Sweden visiting family. We have a few new family members this year and it was fun meeting everyone though I am not 100% sure of what they thought about meeting their “great-aunt”… lord, am I really a great-aunt!? Scary!

The two weeks were pretty hectic, seems like there were 50 people around most of the time. Not to mention several dogs, horses and cats. Even with all the visiting and seeing everyone; it was great. So much laughter and catching up.

I started in Copenhagen in Denmark and then went up the east coast of Sweden to my parents for a few days. I could only stay for a few days as they have a smaller apartment and with three adults, two cats and one dog it does get crowded. Not to mention that although I love my parents to bits; I can only take that many days before I go slightly mad. We then drove to my brother’s place which is inland. Well, I drove. I persuaded my Dad to let me drive his car. He was notably nervous as I mainly drive on the left hand side these days (he frequently reminded me every time we came to a roundabout…). Well let’s face it, I was not going to travel 200km at 60km/hour due to my Dad’s regrettably slightly diminished eyesight.

I stayed a good few days at my brother’s place. They live in the middle of nowhere. It is fab. So quiet at night. Surrounded by forest, horses, big dogs and seemingly a constant stream of people. Most days there were at least eight of us. I helped out a bit on the farm and loved it. Though I was less fond of those blasted horse flies and mosquitoes that took a liking to me. I did not understand why they were biting me like never before until I realized that they seemed to like the body-butter I used. So hint, hint… Body Shop’s Body Butter is great but avoid in the vicinity of horse flies. Though everyone else was grateful…

My sister and her partner (or maybe I should say boyfriend.. though can you really say boyfriend if someone is over 45?? Haven’t figured it out) arrived on her birthday so we had a great birthday celebration. I laughed until my belly hurt.

Then I left with my sister to go and see my nephew who lives in the most gorgeous idyllic place, in a place that is the essence of the county where I am from; Småland. He and his family live in this gorgeous red wooden house with white corners built in the 1600’s. They are surrounded by lakes, cows and more dogs and cats (seems to be an ongoing theme in my family).

Then as my last stop I stayed with my sister on the west coast of Sweden. Shopping, a bit of sunbathing (when the sun decided to actually make an appearance), a round of mini-golf (which I suck at ), lots of chats and laughter and meeting everyone else (and again some more dogs and cats).

The weather was not great unfortunately during my two weeks but I had so many laughs that it did no matter. Not to mention all the absolutely fantastic food. I normally do not have a second helping but during these two weeks I ate until I was stuffed til bursting point. Best food ever! Oh a few beers, cocktails and wine found its way to me as well…

Then it was back to Dublin for a few days of chilling. I rounded off my holiday with a long (20km) walk along the coast of Dublin with a good friend. The sun was shining (for once) and it was fabulous.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures. Hope you all had a lovely July as well!!

All quiet in the hood:

Småland:

Then there was a bit of time for just pure chilling as well:

The bonds between friends, family and lovers are like intricate threads shifting in the wind. Sparkling with all the colors of the rainbow. Like shimmering gossamer in the sun. If we could but see them.

Across the universe threads drift, connecting every living being together. Some loosing an all too light connection. Some ripping apart. Some holding on forever.

With every being we meet and seek; a new thread is created.

Those illusive threads that stay strong have knots that could tell a tale of rife, of sorrow, of forgiveness, of understanding and an unyielding strength – if only we knew how to read them.

These are the threads we knit together with those we love.

In the fiercest gale the threads are stretched taut but do not break. In the darkest night they glimmer to show us the way. In the farthest distance they reach our hearts.

These are the threads we knit together with those we love.

A little hiatus

Posted: July 2, 2012 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , , , ,

In less than 24 hours I will have some time of work. Away from work for 2.5 weeks. I look forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in some time, to just chill out and with a little help from the weather gods I hope to catch some sunny rays. Am hoping that there will be a few sunny days so that I can sit on my balcony with a glass of wine.

I will most likely not be able to post much during this time. I promise I will be back though and update the blog after my break.

I found this today. I like the Irish band the Coronas. This is their song “Heroes and Ghosts” but this is the Gaeilige version (Irish version) of the same song.

Enjoy and have a lovely July wherever you are!

OK Bob… this is for you. You tagged me and here are my answers. I am sacrificing an early nights sleep in order to write this post. This statement clearly has nothing to with me feeling guilty that I have not gotten around to do this ages ago…

1. What’s  your favorite colour and why?  (Memories, associations, ect.)

I go through phases with colours so this changes frequently. The one colour that has stayed with me a lot is blue. It is my favorite ink – I prefer writing with a blue pen. I looove blue jeans. My first bicycle was blue. My favorite necklace is blue as well.

2. What’s the most memorable thing you’ve done in a car?

Have not done anything scandalous in a car. The most cherished memory I have is driving my first car on my own and totally falling in love in driving down the road in the sun with good music on and the windows down. Simple thing but pretty brilliant.

3. Explain the happiest day of your life.

Ohhh, I cannot pinpoint any particular day. A day when the sun is shining, hanging with a good friend/friends and sharing many laughs makes a happy day for me.

4. Explain the a hardest day of your life.  Not necessarily worst but hardest.

Well, had a few like most people. One particular hard one was the day (many years ago) when I lost my job, found out a loan application fell through, didn’t get a travel visa I wanted and fell out with my best friend all within 24 hours.

5. If you had to leave the country that you live in short notice where would you go and what one thing would you bring with you.  Think Zombie apocalypse.

Tahiti? Well, on short notice I’d say I would make my way to continental Europe and just see where in which country I end up in. I would bring my cats though they are not a thing (would bring them anyway) so the one thing I would bring would be my mobile phone… yes I am that sad.

6. Are you a people person?

Yes. I am not someone who loves to mingle and meet new people all the time. I can be quite reserved at first but once I get to know someone and am comfortable in a group, then I never shut up (or so I have been told…). I like people. I still have faith in them.

7. Given a time machine where would you go and what would you do?

Now this one I can never really answer… I love history so I would for example love to go back to Ancient Greek times and see all the buildings and temples when they were new. I also love science fiction and I am a very curious person so I would love to go far ahead in time and see if we actually ever really make it out into space properly. Beam me up!

8. Do you believe in ghosts?

There are too many things out there that we have no real explanation for. So yes, I believe in ghosts but I detest the whole ghost exploration/Derek Acorah nonsense.

9. Are you a prude? Explain.

I would never join a nudist colony but I have no major issues with nudity etc per se. Living in Ireland has probably made me more of a prude than I was when I moved here but I do not see myself as a prude.

10. What are your thoughts on the socioeconomic ramifications of the possible collapse of the European Union?

Bring on the gold buillons? If it would collapse (which I doubt) then we would deal with the mess and then get on with things one country at a time. Hopefully a little bit wiser and a little less greedy (or so one can hope).

11. What’s your favorite movie theater memory?

Watching the “Santa Clause” movie in 1985 with my sister and her then fella. In this particular cinema you where not allowed to bring in food (no idea why) but my sister’s fella smuggled in a few cans of coca cola and sweets and I was very impressed. And I loved the movie.

Right folks, that is all!