Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Meditations On A Rainy Day - I

Twenty minutes to five and quite dark outside. It is a filthy afternoon of biting winds forcing thin draughts of cold air through tiny cracks in the frames of well insulated doors and windows. All the same, the house is warm and cosy and the wind-flung rain spattering the window glass makes me glad I am indoors and there is no need to leave the house this evening. Millie must take her chances and use the garden tonight. I will neither take her nor chase her out in this weather.
No season to hedge
Get beetle and wedge
Cleave logs now all
For kitchen and hall.

It’s perfect musing weather. With the year drawing towards its end I have been doing a lot of this lately,  a habit I indulge in at the close of most years. But this year something is different: I feel at peace with myself. No self-recriminations, no desperate desire to improve myself, my attitudes, no futile promises to do better, do more, get organised. No, I see no need for major change. Hubris, do you think? Coming before a fall? Yes, possibly.

It’s also possible that this is something to do with age. The period between the childishness of youth - with some people it can reach well into their late thirties - and the onset of second childhood

When all my days are ending
And I have no song to sing,
I think that I shall not be too old
To stare at everything;

and the foolishness of old age can be a wonderful time. One feels adult, not driven by the opinions of others. On Helen’s couch this morning, waiting for her to start ministrations on my face, we got to talking about how good it feels to turn ones back on hurts and offensive remarks. “You know when someone says something or does something and you say to yourself ‘Right, I don’t want this to upset me, don’t want to let it get to me, just let it go, but you know full well that it will anyway, if not now then later?” she asked. “So when the time comes and you really don’t care, when you know that some people cannot help themselves but behave unpleasantly and for years you have been trying to ignore them and their barbs and criticisms, and then suddenly you do ignore them and shrug your shoulders?”

“When you’re in control and not always looking over your shoulder to see how what you do or say goes down with someone else?”
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

We were agreed that the journey to self-confidence has many obstacles.  Helen is a good 25 years younger than me, if she has already reached the blissful state of indifference in the face of baleful mischief-making, she has done well. It took me many more years.

All things considered, 2014 hasn’t been altogether fruitless. Beloved and I were having a conversation along similar lines last night; it’s seasonal, it seems. The word ‘passion’ was mentioned . . . . . . .



  1. This was a lovely, thought provoking post.

    I wish you peace, joy and love this holiday season.


  2. "I want what she's having" -- please. Wonderful, thoughtful, insightful. :-)

  3. It's a blissful state, that. I reach it intermittently, then it passes off. Your words are encouraging--and remind me that, when the outdoor weather is baleful (as ours is, too), indoor musing is not such a bad thing, after all.

  4. That would be a time of bliss... to see others hurtful words as a fault of theirs and not necessarily something that we should allow to evoke pain. It's a good state of mind to practice.

  5. I call those people that are mean and criticize "baby souls". We know all about "old souls", those people that are wise and bring comfort to all those around them. If there are old souls there must be baby souls as well. People that have a lo to learn and hurt those people around them. It helps me deal with the pain they bring.

  6. I so enjoy our talks. Thank You, U

    ALOHA from Honolulu

  7. Ahhh - the time of old age when I have nothing to prove and find little that disagrees because I just walk away? Glad you've arrived, Friko - I've made a space for you.

  8. I have never given two penn'orth of cold gin what other people think of me...I yam what I yam.
    But I note it when there is an intention to hurt and while I can (eventually) forgive I do not forget. I am not a walker away....nor yet do I let it dominate my life.
    Mark you, let anyone try to hurt or upset my husband and they'll find they have Grendel's mother with whom to contend.

  9. Arriving at maturity or some such thing, we discover that we like ourselves and find that life is much easier. I like this post as it covers some really important things in life. I look forward to Part II.

  10. How delightful. I love the one about being too old and stare at anything. So true of some in nursing homes.

  11. ha. hey i am all for passion...
    it keeps you warm this time of year as well...

    that is a wonderful part of aging,
    that we no longer are bothered by many of the petty
    self questions...

  12. When I turned 30, I felt relieved. It suddenly did not matter anymore whether I was "cool" or not. And then, 11 years later, when the biggest and most sudden change in my life occurred with Steve's death, I was able to handle that in a manner that most people found surprising. All those tiny little needle pricks of daily life couldn't bother me anymore, and still can't (to an extent - I still like complaining about the bad regional train service in the Stuttgart region). I muse a lot, mostly when out walking. And the older I get, the better I feel about myself. About two years ago, I truly felt that I have now arrived in my life.
    Does that make sense?
    Wise words, from Helen and from you.

  13. I find it's not so much a matter of not needing to look for self-improvement as perhaps there being no point, the older I get. Who else is going to notice or care? As my mother used to say of so many slightly worn and battered objects around the house "Oh well, it'll see me out."

    But on the other hand, I look at the state of the wider world and society with that much greater anxiety. Plenty of room for improvement and reconstruction there.

  14. I have seen over my many years how cruel people can be with words and actions. It took me a while to get over the same and then I grew - I have not stopped growing. I want to be the "funny lady", the "kind person", the one you can count on in a pinch. That I have become. Today, there is not that mousy little girl that shied away and hid with uncontrollable tears. There is always room for improvement, because the world and people keep changing. I like me just the way I am, I am happy, content, have done everything I wanted to do and still there is a list :) of things I would still like to do. I'll have to win the lottery to do those. So, "So when the time comes and you really don’t care, when you know that some people cannot help themselves but behave unpleasantly and for years you have been trying to ignore them and their barbs and criticisms, and then suddenly you do ignore them and shrug your shoulders?” Well written Friko and you know what. Bravo and most of us have "moved on". Wonderful Post. I smiled at the "passion" part - you cutey, you slipped that in there and I smiled. Have a wonderful day.

  15. I have noticed that even though I have gotten old, I can still grow.

    It is a blessing that in our senior years, we can say that what bothered us too much in our youth, breeze by us now without a nod. It could have to do though with us not hearing everything that is said.

  16. When we are not distracted by work or illness, I think elderly folks ponder a lot! This is why we are characterized as wise ones..

  17. May you have many more rainy and stormy days, so we can enjoy your musings and meditations ...

  18. The only people's opinions I truly care about are those of the people I love and respect. And those people know I walk my own path so they rarely have anything negative to say, as I don't to them. Other people...well, I consider the source. Unless I truly respect that person and their opinion--water off a duck's back. We don't truly know each other. Most times we are judging the continent by a glimpse of the shoreline, you know. Tip of the iceberg. Each person has great depths we cannot possibly see at a they darker or lighter. And we all have both--darkness and light.

    I do love cold days when you are glad to be safe and warm inside...musing. :) And that's a fantastic tree photo!

  19. Like this post
    and your words.
    I am better
    then I use to be
    but not quite arrived.
    Too sensitive I am :)

  20. Wisdom is the blessing that comes with old age. Have a special peaceful Christmas.

  21. You are leaving us hanging, but you knew that.

    I do not mind this stage of life in many ways either. It is refreshing not to get all bound up in what others think of me. So refreshing.

  22. I don't usually do any soul searching towards year's end but I totally get what you are saying. knowing who you are and being OK with it is a gift of age.

  23. Hi Frik - acceptance with oneself and one's actions ... seems a good position to be in .. and glad Beloved feels the same way ... the windy storms have certainly been around and getting colder ... cheers to you and your red Aga! Hilary

  24. David and I seldom speak of these things anymore. Our conversations are usually along some line most would consider trivial. He simply cannot remember the things I remember, and I suspect he remembers things I don't. Just this morning, he told me for the hundredth time about his high school teacher who called him Pop. Seems he's always been old for his age. Also girls, now old ladies have found him on the web and are writing him notes. So of us never grow up it seems while others are never young.

  25. Now and then I bump into discussions or questions about happiness. I grew up wanting to be happy, and now I am content. I'm not sure how to describe the difference, but it is there. Other words and phrases come to mind: companionable silence, ordinary days, being comfortable in the world. The beauty of it all is this: when the striving ceases, the real gifts often make an appearance. Perhaps that's why the old ones smile so.

  26. A wonderful post, Friko. I'm with you on being content now with who I am. My remaining time is too short for constant self-improvement and also for holding onto past hurts and unkindnesses.


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