Waffles and Infectious Smiles

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there is nothing more powerful than a positive mindset. How we choose to feel about things (well, insofar as we are able to make those choices – it’s not an on/off switch, I realise) and approach life, I believe is key to how our life experience turns out. Gosh, I’m sounding a little like a new age hippie, but I truly believe this to be true. Oh, and I do defiantly still wear the nose ring I first got when I was 16 and Kurt Cobain was my world, as well as my belly button piercing. Perhaps both things I should abandon now that I’m approaching 40, but hey. Remnants of younger days maybe, but still part of who I am today and therefore I have kept them.

Every so often, I am blown away by the beauty of human nature and yesterday evening after hanging out with one of my cousins for coffee and waffles in central London, I checked out the handful of new followers on this blog. Mostly I just go on to their bios – as well as feeling very flattered and humbled that anyone might find my ramblings interesting, I also like to know who comes in on here and often I find that those are people I like to follow in return, there are often common denominators.

The bio I read started out all nicely, just like all the rest of them and I smiled like I usually would. She describes herself as a mother, daughter, wife, writer and a survivor. All very nice, and her photo revealed a lovely looking lady with an infectious smile. And then the line that completely floored me. She suffers a rare form of cancer and finished off by stating that she has a beautiful life. I almost felt tearful with joy and admiration at such an amazing way of embracing life and its many challenges. Makes my own “problems” pale and underlines to me what really matters.

While it could be – and often is – so easy to allow ourselves to sink under the weight of what our problems may be, here was a woman after my own heart who reminded me why it is that I wake up each morning and feel so grateful. Of course, I don’t have to fight that kind of battle, but regardless, I do believe we can really change and determine the course our lives take by recognising all the blessings we are given, even in the face of something as terrifying and harrowing as cancer.

A loved one passed away a few years ago after a long battle with the illness. And he amazed me for the same reason this lady did – gruelling treatment, bad news over and over again, yet not once did he let it get him down. He approached each day feeling in his heart that he would overcome it. When his hair fell out and then grew back wavy (it had been straight before), he joked that he’d got a perm especially for me, laughed and put his hand through it in a humorous gesture. When he lost lots of weight and seemed to age so brutally, he still sat at the piano and with the joie de vivre he’d always had, he sang me the same hymns as he did throughout my childhood, occasionally looking over at me with that smile and twinkle in his eye that not even cancer could dull even a fraction.

So I try to live my life that way too – appreciating and feeling grateful for the people in it, for what I have, for my blessings and how lucky I am to be able to recognise all the good stuff.

3 Dec 2014 joy

Having said that, I am an emotional creature, and sometimes I allow anxiety and dark thoughts in. I’m sure we all do. But those never last long. I might occasionally have a nightmare when my son’s not with me, and like last night when B was away for a conference I did indeed wake up in the small hours because I’d turned to put my arm around him, only to wake with a start and feel completely lost without my honey next to me. What all of that does though, is just remind me how fortunate I am to have Monkey and B. Monkey’s back on Friday (only two more sleeps!) and B’s back this evening, so soon my world will be complete again.

Time now to get on with Alice. The editor sent me the marked-up manuscript and I’ve gone through it twice. I know where I’m headed with it and it’s tighter than ever. I’ve figured out how to solve the smaller issues that were a bit muddled before, so time to create John’s amended entrance into Alice’s life.

No time like the present, and I am living by the mantra R taught me:

IN A YEAR FROM NOW, WHAT WILL I WISH I’D DONE TODAY?

I intend to look back with a smile on my face and recall how it was all coming together, how I in December 2014 really got it all together and kept working on the one thing I always wanted to do.

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