Saturday, 12 December 2015

2 am and counting . . . . .

It’s 2 am and sleep remains elusive, in spite of having taken two sleeping pills.  It’s almost like I don’t want to go to sleep, there are too many thoughts chasing each other in my head. Not unpleasant ones, just everyday kind of thoughts; the kind which may appear trivial during the day but assume great importance at night. At night these thoughts matter and make sense. I have a suspicion that my subconscious welcomes them.

I have made up my mind that I won’t live longer than 80, if I get that far. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t, we have a good number of nonagenarians  in the valley, so why not octogenarians. Right now, old age doesn’t raise the same terrors as it does during a day of assorted aches and pains. Still, 80 is probably enough.

I have several wardrobes full of clothes, some of them totally unsuitable for a lady well-travelled down life's highways and byways, with a few experiences under her belt. Some of the items in the wardrobes suit different ages, lifestyles, shapes, and purposes no longer relevant to me. I even still have work clothes. A clear-out is imminent.

Still, during the years I’ll allow myself to live I shall wear clothes to suit my mood; bright and unusually colourful clothes, just a touch out of the ordinary, without causing others to point  fingers at me and snigger behind hands. I am not a beige or greige person, I must have something more suited to my personality and attitude. Actually, I no longer care what people find acceptable; a wonderful perk that comes with advancing years. I might don Mum’s fur hats and maybe even Aunt Josephine’s mink coat on very cold days.

Then there are the shoes, My daughter called me “the Imelda Marcus of Hertfordshire when we lived there, - you have to be a ripe old age to remember Imelda - when she could still bring herself to speak to me, that is, my daughter, not Imelda. I’ve never spoken with Imelda. I  have scores of  boxes of shoes, most of them hardly worn and therefore still pinching. I will take them out of their boxes, give the ones I no longer like to charity, and wear the others; at first in the house to wear them in a bit, then outside. It’s a great pity that wherever I go in Valley’s End I meet mud, soggy fields, and narrow roads bordered by deep ruts and puddles. Realistically speaking, wellies are the most suitable footwear round here, but when I die, I shall leave some really posh and expensive shoes behind. Enough to make me ask for some to be buried with me. I daresay I shall still be buying shoes when I’m in a wheelchair. I recently gave some black and gold satin shoes to Dee, my daughter-in-law.  She takes a smaller size than I do, but she loved them enough to wear them with a bit of padding.

And then there’s yoga. Several years ago I broke my leg and ankle in several places, needing the insertion of a collection of metal plates, nails and screws. Recovery took a long time and at the end of it I had a stiff ankle which would not bend in the required yoga contortions. Ever since then I have given up on yoga which was really of great benefit to me before the accident.  I must start again, somehow, either by myself or with the friendly yoga teacher who lives in the village. Because of my panicky fear of driving up steep hills and down again (only here in Valley’s End) I shall have to walk up to her house above the village, a fair climb, which I might manage after some initial difficulties. I will have to take frequent breathers and admire the view.

And blogging: I will do more of it and make new friends too. It’s such a pleasure when I put my mind to it and find something to write about. Comparing daily life with others on other continents is informative as well as fun; how else would I have got to know some of you who give me insights into your days. Besides, I enjoy writing, something else I’ve almost given up completely. So many writing projects require completion. A friend, who reads this blog, spontaneously said : You write very well, I do so enjoy your blog. You really should write more again. Somebody else asked me to write regular book reviews for a local news sheet. I’ve already turned her down.

Come to think of it, I will try and make friends elsewhere too. I have so few, in spite of many invitations to join groups. Beloved and I were talking today about loneliness; neither of us is at all capable of nurturing a friendship. I have an inkling why that is so: we are sufficient unto each other. Sadly, that may not be for very long, and the quality of our sufficiency has changed. It’s hard to keep each other stimulated after years of marriage, particularly when one of you is fading in mind and body; luckily dementia and/or Alzheimer’s are still a way off but age brings a slowing down of the faculties of even the sharpest and most agile brain that roamed the earth in company with the dinosaur. Yes, that long ago.

So here we go, friends have to be found. I shall make a very careful selection of suitably like-minded people and throw myself on their mercy. But I’ll draw the line at the Senior Citizen’s Club. And the Women’s Institute.

I actually wrote this collection of thoughts between 2 and 3 am. I’ve reread it and corrected many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, otherwise it’s what came into my head unprompted.

Conscious thought: Isn’t the management of life easy in that state between fully awake and semi-consciousness.


  1. Sometimes my best writing thoughts come to me in the middle of the night. But i don't usually get up and write then, I'm still wanting that sleep to come. It usually does, fitfully, but if I wrote as well as you, I'd get up and write, too. All my shoes are useful ones, not decorative, making them much easier to discard. :-)

  2. Those dang run-away thoughts in the night can be some of the worst, and some of our best.

    I too need to get rid of clothes I no longer wear. I've already done that with shoes.

    Blogging is a blessing in my life, especially since my dear husband left this planet 3 years ago. Friends made in blogland before he left, have been such a source of love and encouragement. I in turn and inspired by so many bloggers, with their lives, hobbies, etc. I hope you will keep blogging as I enjoy reading them.

    Love & hugs from s.e. FL USA ~ FlowerLady

  3. I like your subconscious thoughts and am glad you shared them with us. So many things where we are on the same page. Just this fall I dumped at Goodwill decades worth of clothes that were still decent but somewhat out of fashion or (more likely) way too small. If I ever lose that much weight, I'm buying new clothes. Shoes, too. I basically wear one pair of shoes -- my white Mary Jane tennis shoes. I used to have black but I wore them out beyond the shoe repair guy. I have horrid feet and shoes no longer have allure. Nor, particularly, does fashion. I'm a wear-bright-things person, too. Black is OK -- the other pales, not so much. We share that one, too.

    I'm glad you will not just continue but do more blogging. I love following your thoughts and your life in the village. My greatest joy in blogging is "meeting" and learning about people from all over the world of all ages and interests. I always learn something from them, whether it is a fun idea or a nugget of wisdom. And when written as beautifully as yours is, it's an extra treat!

    What I have to look forward to right here!

  4. Well, your post certainly has stimulated me into wondering about my own elusive, everyday kind of thoughts. And so I'm glad I read your post in the morning ... otherwise it would be keeping me up at night with "too many thoughts chasing each other in my head."

  5. Friko, you do know how to nurture friendships. Just look at how many people comment each time you write on your blog. Admitedly, it must be limiting to be in a small village, with the logistical challenges of travel and caring for one's spouse. Is it possible to widen your contact pool by making a room available on air b&b and offering guided walking tours of your comfort zone? It seems that system is set up to screen for compatible needs, much more than the random Bed & Breakfast industry.
    Have fun with the memories as you work through your closet and please do stick around.

  6. I wish my thoughts were as cogent (and productive) in the middle of the night . . . or even in the daytime. It's a marvelous sorting you've gone through--from clothing to yoga to state of mind. I'm going to keep this post for future reference. It's right up there in my "Friko Pantheon" with this.

  7. Hmm... one has to be a ripe old age to remember Imelda Marcos? Well, I remember her and her shoe fetish well enough, but I never thought 47 qualifies as "ripe old" ever since we've left the Iron and Bronze Ages behind us.
    What size are your shoes? Maybe you have some that I could buy off you? (Seriously.)

    Friends mean a lot to me, even though I am self-sufficient most of the time. It's just such great fun to spend time with them, and the older I get, the more comfortable and confident I feel around them.

    Glad to know you'll keep writing this blog, Friko!

  8. Hi Friko - I can hear you and see you and your Beloved - long may purple and bright pink suit you regardless of age ... I do think you should see the Diana Vreeland film - see my latest film posting: yes in many ways it could remind me of you ... not the overdose of make up - that doesn't match - but the witticisms, the repartee etc .. they do.

    Good luck with the clearing ... I'm awake at 2.00 am-ish .. but certainly not at my keyboard!!

    Fun to read though, despite the sad pragmatic thoughts ... getting prepared is the thing. Not easy .. cheers and with many thoughts on this windy, very wet and fairly weather-choked day - Hilary

  9. Very enjoyable post. Sometimes I feel as if we are doppelgängers. Except, I gave my fancy shoes away ages ago. Keep writing Friko, it's good for the soul.

    PS. I wear grey and black some days.

  10. Do you know Young's Night Thoughts? A bit long winded,but well worth the read.

    We too are self sufficient - mostly down to my husband's long illness which has made a predictable social life impossible. As it now seems that he has entered a slow final decline I too shall have to think of living life in a new way.

    What's wrong with the W.I.? So good for people watching -and I believe some of them do Yoga!

  11. I immediately thought of Jenny Joseph's 'When I am an Old Lady I will wear purple'. I am prone to the three am horrors, not cogent thought and I so loved yours (and Jenny Joseph's) view of the world.
    Love of shoes has passed me by though.

  12. I'll be turning 60 tomorrow ... yeah ... feel only 45, maybe 50 ... do I look like I care? ... cuz I am not ... so there ... Udo Juegens once sang: "66 Jahren, da faengt das Leben an" .... guess, I still have some time to put in until my life starts ... smiles ... Love, cat.

  13. Your view of the future is very practical and sensible but life does not always turn out to be practical and sensible. You may be pleasantly surprised. The one downside of a successful long term relationship is that as a couple you become very dependant on each other and don't have a great need for people outside your immediate life. You are going to do something about this and I wish you well but I don't know that I could do that.

  14. Excellent post for 2:00 Am. Now write your post in the daytime and maybe the mind will stop turning all night. Yes, get out and socialize.Don't forget..."us old people ain't bad"

  15. I really hate those nights when I can't sleep and can't clear my mind. Maybe if I just get up and write things down for a bit I can get back to sleep. It makes it difficult to get through a day at work.
    Young people are cute, but I prefer the company of people with some common experiences that come with age and, you know, experience. We have a lot more laughs.

  16. I smile as I read this as I always wake in the night with many thoughts.
    I have turned 80, now that number I still cannot relate too and now have thoughts of "what does the future hold?"
    My mind is 20 years younger and I wonder am I normal.
    This may be part of my problem at this time and wonder now "what does the future hold?" I enjoy life so much at this time and surely do not want to live
    past 90 :)

  17. First of all, you could have been stepping in my closet with your shoe saga, as it is my shoe cache as well. Actually have a pair of "ouch" toe shoes with holiday embellishments that I may just wear out in the rain today. Dress shoes with ornaments in the heals. Really? What was I thinking? Yet, I've had them for 20 years. You MUST keep writing here (and elsewhere), Friko, for your honest, lively, pointed writing and words are a pleasure to read. I enjoy this. Thank you.
    Oh, yes, I remember Imelda.

  18. Nobody knows how long they have here, it's just that as time passes, it becomes more of an issue and the odds change. Something I too ponder in the wee small hours when all problems go under the magnifying glass. As for your shoes, I'm on ebay!

  19. Friko, this post interests me very much, and I share quite a few of your thoughts. I need more time that is available this morning to write to you properly, so may I leave you with a promise to write again in a more thoughtful way? xo

  20. Your perspective I find fascinating. You write with heart, truth, and a wittiness that keep your posts fresh. I always enjoy whatever you write about - even the hardships of getting older - somehow I think your voice is needed in this world that over-celebrates youthful beauty. Hugs

  21. well, perhaps your daytime waking hours are too full to allow you to properly consider these things. I will have a sleepless night or two but not usually from stress as I've learned that things that look dire in the middle of the night don't look quite so in the morning. you may decide not to live past 80 but bodies have a way of living on. I've never made friends easily, never had more than one or two I could call friend and am not much for socializing. I find solitude more to my liking though I do enjoy myself when I do force myself out. and I do have my constant companion but like yours, he is becoming more sedentary and disengaged. moving out of the city to a small town and leaving my few friends behind has forced me to seek out a few like minded people here. and there are a few in this very conservative and pseudo-religious small town. I say pseudo-religious because while they all go to church this is a very mean spirited little town full of mean spirited people.

  22. What a brave and considered post. I have all the same feelings about my night thoughts and why I cannot sleep. I thank you for being so honest as we will all be there and it is calming to me to see how others are facing things head-on. My husband has many connections and friends both near and far. Mine are all far. I have not patient for complaining old women and thus have not met someone who would be close to me here, except for those in well and happy relationships with husbands.

  23. Yes, it's in the middle of the night or while I am waking that I think I will take up walking or the new treadmill in the apartment complex or that I remember things to do or figure out solutions to problems (so I keep pen and paper on the nightstand). Shutting off mind chatter is a problem of mine some nights, too. You really do write well. I think you should wear whatever you please (says the woman who just bought a muti-colored cat purse). And be picky about your friends and associates. Stick with the ones who make life easier and more fun! ;)

  24. I've never imagined you to be a beige person, Friko. Bright and unusual sounds much more your style!

  25. To keep me nimble I agreed to write an essay for a forthcoming book. 2,000 words. I was quite pleased at how it flowed, now I'm at the start of editing, the painful end of every piece of writing.

    New friends are difficult. Absent the years of history it is a self-conscious business. I make acquaintances, lots of them. but friendship is a whole nudder business indeed.

    Let me know how it goes for you.


  26. I'll be delighted if I reach 80 , I expect ! I'll take inventory then .

    Yoga always seems a good idea , till I remember that I can't sit cross-legged . But I've perfected Shavasana in preparation ...

  27. Because my mother's mother died when Mom was sixteen, and all of her sisters departed this mortal coil before age 50, and her father died relatively young (65-ish) she was convinced that she wouldn't live beyond 65. She would outlive them all, and that would be that.

    The year of her 65th birthday was a bit of strange time. I half expected to find her checking her pulse between servings of cake. But on we went: to 70, 75, 80, 85. At 85, she said, "This is ridiculous." At 90, she still was taking the stairs and eating ice cream. When she finally died at 93, she was ready to go, but on the other hand, as she sometimes laughed, "Think of those 25 and more years I would have lost if I'd kicked off when I thought I would."

    Personally, I've recently become entirely offended by the thought that I have to die. I really would prefer not to. I have too much left to do. I suppose I could get up and get at it in the middle of the night, but I have a strange malady. Once I go to sleep, I never wake up, until the cat rouses me in the morning. I suppose it's my manual labor. When 10:30 comes, I'm in bed. Any attempt to stay up to write, think, plan, play solitaire? Impossible.

    If you write more, I'll have more to read. That might do the trick.

  28. At 3 am I write brilliant prose, decorate my house with panache, cook delicious and healthy meals, and exercise regularly. Alas, upon awaking I find my energy has been dissipated by all that dark-hour planning and I'm content to sit with a cup of tea until it's time to go to work, after which I'm much too exhausted to do anything but the minimum. And so it goes.

    I can understand the resolution to make new friends, for I feel much the same. But it takes time and effort and bravery, of which I have very little.
    I hope you live and write long past 80, for I'll be here to read your thoughts that make me laugh and think and sometimes weep.

  29. You made me smile. As we get older we might wish for a simplified life, but that too takes energy and focus both of which we put off to another day. Good luck on reaching out and making friends.

  30. Those thoughts weaved together so beautifully.... I actually wanted to read more. This post reminds me of my mortality, things that are precious to me, marriage and companionship, and more.

    Your writing is wonderful.

  31. You do write well Friko, very well. It is just one of the reasons I so enjoy visiting you. I would blog much more often if I could write well - sometimes I have so many thoughts scrambling around in my head, all screaming to be let out and there have been times I have sat poised over the keyboard with the thoughts staying locked away and refusing to obey and come forth into the written word. I have much to say so it's very frustrating and is getting worse the older I get. Oh, I have shoes a plenty too - some will never see the light of day and will be too dated to even donate the to the op shop. Oh and I don't think so, not the Senior Cit's Friko. :)

  32. Write on! The world would be a meager place without your thoughts circulating the globe. As for friends, a few will do nicely, won't they; real ones there and virtual ones here :)

  33. One thing is sure - I like having someone as talented as you are to keep reminding me of the graces, delights and grumps of growing older. So please keep up with the writing. I've only just found the email following request, so that will make it easier to follow your posts. Christmas Blessings from Freda at Dalamory

  34. I've had some of those late-night writing episodes.

    I won't wear beige. What a dreadful color. But I was flummoxed by the idea that I'm a ripe old age because I remember Imelda Marcos.

  35. I relate to so much of what you've said here. And I, for one, am in favor of you writing more. Your blog is one of my favorite to visit.


    PS. I have posted my annual Christmas story on my blog…Hope you have a merry one!

  36. You have my attention. I have had similar thoughts and am also missing the friends I left behind over the years because we three seem to be a sort of self sustaining bunch. Keep writing and I shall do my utmost to come around. Even sometimes at 2am,


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