Thought For You

For me personally, the last two weeks have been a quietly controlled spell of manic activity in the bigger scheme of things. For a while, I have been locked down in a world of woe, wondering what tomorrow will hold and when the inevitable is going to happen.

It is never a pleasant feeling, knowing that you are headed for a world of pain, and there is nothing that you can do to avoid it, side step it, or even really prepare yourself for it. These are facts of life, nature in all of its cruel splendour, the things we have no control over, pain, sadness and sorrow that there is no words for, no proper way to describe, no real effective means of communication.

What is lovely about being busy is the fact that my mind has little time to ponder these circumstances. I have thrived over the last two weeks, not only from the personal fulfilment of a long time desire, but also from the satisfaction of feeling productive, needed, back in control of something. It may sound stupid, but being able to make decisions, being allowed to make a contribution, being involved as a working part of the dynamic is a strangely rewarding and liberating feeling.

In some ways I am ashamed to admit these words. Regret that I feel this way. Feel bad that I like to feel alive and part of something that I can influence, control and manage. The feelings of uselessness are abated  the frustration of having to sit and watch, unable to change the course of nature is soul destroying and only depresses the mind, body and spirit. There is only so much that one person can handle, and when we are faced with things we cannot affect, we are not only completely out of control of destiny, but also out of control of our feelings and abilities to deal with what is happening around us, this is when we find ourselves at our lowest. This is when we are vulnerable, exposed, out of our comfort zone, alone!

I know what tomorrow holds for me. Maybe not in the physical sense of tomorrow, the day after today, but I know what is coming in my near future, and as I struggle to prepare myself for this eventuality  I have begun to realise that I am totally incapable of preparing myself. I do not have the skills or the experience to know how I am going to handle the things I will have to face. I know not, where I will find the strength to do the things I will have to do. I cannot begin to plan for it, do not want to face it, cannot accept that it is necessary.

Yet, this is my lot. This is the reality of my situation, and so be it. I begin to understand too, that while I am not in a place or frame of mind to really be able to cope with these things, I am in some ways starting to plan for these times. While focusing my mind on things to keep my busy right now is in keeping with my trend of burying my head in the sand and pretending I do not have to deal with these things, in so many ways the things I am engaging in right now are the foundations of my preparation for life beyond my current situation in life.

Networks and friendships I am forging with people who understand, care, love without condition and share without expectation are the corner blocks of setting up a life line, a safety cord that I can reach out and hold in the dark times ahead. There is a sense of relief in knowing that someone, anyone will be there. Loneliness is a curse that no one wishes to meet. It is one that far too many of us live with, accept and embrace. It is a bitter pill that swallows us! I don’t want to feel alone, and I know that you don’t want to feel its embrace either, so when a simple post card drops through my letter box, the person that took the time to write it can never know how special the words scrawled across the white surface mean to me.

When a short and simple message pops up in my message box saying here is a random hug for you, on a day I was just thinking about you, the writer of that message can never truly know how much the words enclosed in that missive sent through the marvel of the internet really means to me.

The cheerful banter in a chat room, the laughs we share on skype… The stories that I manage to get lost in, the encouragement through comments, feedback, conversation….. It all adds up. And I don’t think we really give full credit to the power of these simple actions we undertake on a day to day basis. You are reading this thinking, “heck, maybe he is right,” or maybe you are not, but did you stop and realise while you are reading this, just how special YOU really are?

No? Well take it from me, in my eyes each one of you that make the effort to be a friend are so much more than you allow yourself credit for. It is people like you that make the world spin. You give life meaning, bring a sense of purpose to survival, and without realising it give value to the things, relationships, actions we each undertake, that we become a part of, that we live for daily.

Those things that have kept me busy for the last two weeks, gave me cause to sit and think to myself today while I was working. Yes they kept me active, they thrilled me and involved me and made me feel productive and useful. However, they also gave me a reason to reflect on how much I value the contact that I have with people. People like you reading. Many of you will interact with me in some way, simple and brief as it is, it is appreciated  You may be reading and have never spoken with me before, yet what I say rings true in your own mind, and mirrors itself on your own experiences. Who knows, maybe in reading this blog you will for the first time reach out and say hello, to me or someone else important.

Whatever it is that prompts us to take an action, make an effort, touch a life, it is our humanity and our need to be seen and to feel needed and wanted and accepted that allows each and every one of us to add value to each others lives. I am much like you, much like the person next to you, much others dotted in over 7 billion places across this globe of ours. We are all essentially the same, thoughtful, vulnerable, curious, mysterious, unique, interesting, judgemental….

I could carry on using words into eternity  but at the bottom line of things, we all have to accept that we are no better than the richest or the poorest, the most arrogant or most humble, most knowledgeable or most severely disabled among us. I am NO better than you because of what I do or who I am, and the same goes for you. When we overcome this perception of ourselves and our fellow man, maybe we can begin to understand how special we are, and what level of potential each of us holds. We can change the world by touching people, we can reach out and fill that void of loneliness, fear and pending hurt. We can all make a difference to someone’s life, circumstances and sense of self worth, and is that not something worth trying to do?

For today, I am grateful that I have reached out here, and made friends. Friendships that I treasure, relationships that grow with every day. I say this kind of thing often, and will continue to do so, as I really do believe the things I have said before, right now, and will say in my future are true, important and real. You are Special, today, tomorrow, forever.

Thought for today – “Butterflies do not know the colour of their wings, but human eyes marvel at their beauty. Likewise you cannot see how good you are, but others see and know that you are special.” Author Unknown

Song for today – Feeling the Moment by Feeder

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The Value of True Friendship

This is a funny old world in terms of friendships, relationships and how we interact with people. I have found over time that my outlook on life, and how I value my friendships has changed so remarkably in the last few years, maybe as a result of doing a bit of growing up myself.

Traditionally I have always been terrified that allowing myself to ‘grow up’ or become more mature would make me boring. I guess in my limited view on the world, once you got to thirty or something, you automatically became old fashioned, boring or too sophisticated to have fun.

Well I’m thirty nine now, so been in my thirties for quite a while, and I’ve come to realise that being thirty does not make me any less weird or crazy than I really ever was. The biggest change is that my body can’t keep up with what my mind wants to do, and as a result I am frequently at an internal battle to get more out of myself.

Another thing that I have come to realise is that once you get over that hurdle of accepting that age is not the be all and end all of life, you actually begin to realise that older people are indeed a lot more fun than I’d ever given them credit for. Yes they have so much more life experience and are more willing to er on the side of caution, but this is not because of boredom  it is more to do with them wanting to help us avoid pain or hurt in the long run, or simply avoid it for themselves.

We don’t give the older generation the consideration or credit they deserve sometimes, and I have been massively guilty of this in my time. It is sad to think that it has taken all this time for me to realise this. I have written a couple of times on my blog about age and how the golden glow of youth is so treasured and sort after, and I think that much of the world chases after that image of perfection and eternal youth. I know that personally I never really wanted to grow up. Foolishly, I always wanted to consider myself young at heart, and I figured that this meant being young in life, but sadly I have grown up, and aged and gotten older and wiser. I now realise that I can remain young at heart without having to associate with the young, and still be able to enjoy myself without the fixation on youth.

As a matter of fact, I am beginning to learn that without the fickleness of the young, relationships, friendships and communication is a whole lot simpler, more sustainable, and has a loyalty and stability that I am wholly unaccustomed too. Friendships up to date have existed around a bristle of selfishness, uncertainty and an egotistical climb to the top of the ladder. Don’t get me wrong, friendship is friendship, and I have wonderful memories, and some amazing mates, but I do believe that while most friendships have a certain degree of selflessness, and an awful lot of selfishness, there comes a time in your life when this balance swings in the opposite direction, and you begin to realise just how important and precious friendship really is.

We all use these words; “I love my friends, I couldn’t live without them!” Yup, even I have been one to say something similar. “You can never have enough friends!” The cliché statements about friendship are endless, and while there is some truth in the words, the majority of it is a hollow expression of what we want the world to believe we mean, but fail to act out. As I reflect on friendships I’ve had in the past, I can’t help but face the fact that I’ve been guilty of failing to be a true friend. I’ve always had a selfish streak, expecting people to stay in touch with me, always chasing the next big fix, forgetting about the people that maybe need a quiet word, or a simple hello. The worst thing is realising that there were people who were that kind of friend to me, and have fallen by the wayside as I surged onwards on my selfish quest for self fulfilment or something I never really found.

Oh how the benefit of hindsight is a curse. Hindsight is a wonderful teacher, and if we heed the lesson, and we can change. Yes I have waisted some cherished friendships. People who have moved on, yet at one time or another were right there at my side, and while I may never get that back again, I can learn to shift the balance towards being a true friend myself. As you grow up in life, you begin to understand that the world does not revolve around you. There are those that are delusional enough to believe this still, and for them I feel sorry, but for the vast majority of us, at some stage in our lives, we wake up to the fact that we need to give more than we receive to survive. This is the balance of true friendship.

For some, they will learn this lesson very quickly. Others, like myself, will take a while to get it. Whatever the time line, we all come to the realisation one day that we are not islands in the world. I see those that think they can survive on their own terms, and revel in their selfishness, and while I do not despise them, I only see myself in them, and realise that at some stage in the future, they will come to the hard realisation that their point of view, selfishness, and deluded understanding of true friendship is skewed.

So while in my past I have been foolish, I have come to learn that friendship can be very satisfying with people from every walk in life. I have met and continue to meet amazing people in my life and slowly I am learning so much about life, myself, and the world around me. The people I am lucky enough to consider my friends are teaching me that sharing is a wonderful thing, that life has many facets, and that learning to accept who I am and what I am to the people that see me, is all part of being alive. There is true value in a strong relationship, and not every friendship is based on some form of attraction. There are many assets in the people around us, and each has their own special gem, a quality that makes them stand out from the crowd. It is taking time to see beyond what I need from a relationship that has allowed me to realise that I have so much to give. I can be a good friend, I can share, I can make a difference with a simple hello, or a kind word spoken on a bad day. To those that have taken the time to befriend me and show, teach and encourage me, thank you. You will never truly know the full impact you have had on my life, and continue to have every day.

Thought for today – “Trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it is broken, but you will always see the crack in its reflection.” – Lady Gaga

Song for today – Here In Your Arms by Hellogoodbye  

Never Feel Alone

I love to keep busy. It makes the days race by, and all of a sudden, look, it is Saturday, and I am left wondering to myself where the hell did the last week go?

The plus side of being a busy bee is that your mind is occupied and you get to spend lots of time doing fun things that recently you have not really been given the opportunity to enjoy. But then with every up side, there is a down side too, and while I have really enjoyed being as busy as I have this week, I have also missed kind of having my finger on the button so to speak.

Does anyone else suffer life withdrawl symptoms?  No? Ok, I’ll shut up now! :P

lol. So you are all reading this thinking ‘God Rob’s gone mad!’ and to be honest you wouldn’t be far wrong. Life recently has been such a wild roller coaster of up hill and down hill, bored to distraction one moment and rushed into a manic frenzy the next. I do kind of feel like a tornado has swept through my life and left me very uncertain of where the heck I landed.

Learning that life has moments of chaos and that we are actually quite adept at sorting it out, adapting and getting on with it is often an amazing feat that i pause to marvel at. Humankind has got to be the most adaptable creature on the planet, and the age old saying of “We’ll make a plan” rings as true today as it ever has. Sometimes they are botch plans, temporary fixes, a patchwork to get us through the moment. Other times they are organisational wonders, detailed plans that involve hours of preparation  loads of operational skill, and produce amazing results.

Thing thing that I always find amusing about this random approach to our circumstances, is how often we are as unsuccessful as we are in getting the results we wanted in the first place. Failure is an ever present part of the plot, the uncertain and unpredictable result, much the same as a roll of the dice. Yet this doesn’t seem to phase us as people. We just plough on, pick up the pieces of our failure and find another way. I love that about the human endeavour.

Watch a small child. They set their mind on an eventual goal, and learn through experience how to go from where they stand, to the mind blowing feeling of achievement that success brings to us. It is this desire to win, this overwhelming burden to get it right, be the best, find a way, that makes us special people. So even in the chaos of random activity, the pressures of our daily lives, we still manage to find a way.

Ways to stay in touch. Ways to let those who matter, know that they are important. Ways to stay healthy, and fed and watered. Ways to keep our finger on the pulse. So yeah, I guess I am just saying that despite the fact that we dip in and out of the focus of our friends and acquaintances  it does not make us any less special, needed or important. We may from time to time feel a little isolated, lonely or forgotten, but reading between the lines, we realise that there are times we all just don’t have the time we wish we had. It is probably just at that moment that the people you miss need to hear that you are there, alive, well and thinking of them. A simple message, a word of encouragement, a smile on a highly pressured day. These are all things we need, cherish and desire, so make a little effort and remember that those around us have just as much on their plate as we do on our own. Together we are the ones that make the difference in our world. :hug:

Thought for today – “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in our weary world.” – William Shakespeare

Song for today – Girls and Boys by Blur

The Good, The Bad and the God Damn Ugly!

What does it take to make honourable men act honourably? When will our leaders learn to act more like leaders and not thieves in Little Red Riding Hood costumes? When will politics become about the people and not the private investment funds of the rich and powerful?

A bunch of questions that ring out from the mouths of hard working middle class people around the world. The lower class have in time learnt to accept their place in society and seem to be the forgotten trouble of this generation, and every generation to come, until the trouble comes knocking on your door, and the crimes of survival are brought unwelcomingly back to our memories as we realise that we’ve been done over by some fool on a bender to score their next fix.

This is my society. This is the reality of the world in which I live. Trying to survive against all odds, trying not to draw any attention to ourselves lest we become the target of the shadows of the night. This is the legacy that I’ve been left and the legacy I know I’ll pass on. Bankers in charge of my money earning more than many of the Small and Medium businesses listed on the balance sheet in their banks turn over in ten years.

This is the world that I wake up to each morning, where the politicians that rule in a grey cloud of diplomacy that makes their work appear out of focus, in their desperate efforts to be as corrupt as possible while chanting an all too familiar mantra about how incapable the opposition really is of doing the job correctly, while our national debt spirals out of control, and credit lines once extended freely, now act as the rope around the throat of the very people who’s money keeps the system afloat.

Spin is the reality of the truth I am expected to swallow no matter how I may choke on the blatant lies of the bureaucracy spinning the yarn. As our communities have learnt that our leaders hide behind fire screens, pointing in any way possible to create a diversion from the original issues, it has become the norm for society to accept that lying is a way of life, and if you tell the truth you are regarded as being as dishonest as anyone else so What I ask is the point of standing out from the crowd, and trying to be honest.

I have come to the realisation that crime is what really pays in life today, and living by the book, trying to make it in this world without resorting to some sort of dodgy activity is really just not worth it. You know the more I look at society around me today the more I realise that I live in one really messed up world. Morality, respect, justice, chivalry and common decency are things of a bi gone era.

What a depressing thought. What has our world come to? Is this all society can show off for itself after 2000 years of mankind here on earth. Yes that would seem to be the case. It is a harsh reminder that life is not all it’s cracked up to be. But the moral of the story is that no matter how hard life is you can still enjoy it, and it’s up to us to find the things in life that make it enjoyable and cherish those moments in our life.

The older I get and the more I begin to understand this life of mine, the more I realise that friendship is one of the most important relationships that we’ll ever develop in our lives. And when I use the term friendship, you find that most adults can count on one hand the people that they value as their real friends. You see friendship is not all about what you can get out of someone, it’s probably more importantly about what you can give to someone. Selfishness aside not many people know how to be a real friend to someone they cannot understand, do not have respect for, and don’t really rate as an individual. In these circumstances I believe it is far better to be honest with yourself and the other person about where your relationship stands and focus your energy on those friendships that really mean something, rather than waist time being friendly when you don’t mean it.

I have also come to accept that unless you are born exceptionally rich, or land with your bum in the proverbial butter, that hard work is a fact of life. Good things don’t come to those that don’t get up and commit themselves to getting what they want. As a society we need to get out of the daydream that fame and celebrity will be the answer to all our woes. An understanding that hard work and focus on a realistic goal is what is going to make life more comfortable for you, unless living in a council flat on the dole is what makes you happy. Get some ambition, and wake up to the challenge of life before it passes you by.

As the world gets smaller, and its more and more easy to keep up with an international spectrum of friends, relatives, acquaintances, business colleagues and others that fill the gaps, it almost seems that you have to reduce the size of the world around you and keep your near and dear close to you in an isolated bubble of protection that allows you all to thrive in your own little environment. We meet and speak with people on a global scale, but like most other people out there, the world as a whole is desperate to make it, and will climb over any obstacle to get there, even if that obstacle is you.

I’ve also learnt that in life to be in the centre of attention, to aim to be the hero, or seeking for celebrity status is only going to set you up for a fall. People are only admired for an instant in life, and then torn apart as the truth about their lives comes out behind the scenes. How often it is that I meet people who are yearning for attention only to hear rumour after rumour behind their back as the reality is that in order to attain their popularity most celebrities have hurt and trodden all over someone on the way up, and I’ve also come to learn that it’s a long lonely fall coming down too.

It is a human instinct to want to be credited for the things we do. It is only natural to want acknowledgment for the things we do. But in this life it is sometimes better to do quietly, without seeking credit, and reap a reward far greater than man’s praise. More is done by those who quietly pass by in the night, changing people’s lives without recognition for their great deeds, than those that cling to their fragile pillar of the spot light. I tell you now, those people come and go and amount to nothing in your life. Those that are quietly there for you, encouraging you to be all you can, listening and saying nothing when you are rabbeting on about nothing, those who quietly pick up the pieces when you crash and burn and stand back holding them till your ready to return and accept their help to put your life back together. Those are the real treasures of your life. Learn to tell the difference between the light hoggers and the light bringers, and give of your time wisely.

Much of what we do in life is judged by others. And having watched our leaders, read the business success stories, and learnt from experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that it matters not what the world thinks of you. What is really important is what you think of yourself. Are you able to sleep at night without the nightmares keeping you awake? Is your conscious clear and most of all are you proud of what you’ve achieved in life? Forget trying to impress the world, stop hanging around with people whose sole ambition in life is to be famous, and learn to enjoy life around those that are important, make you smile, make you feel special, and keep you on the right road of sanity. In doing this the depression of the realities of the world we live in start to fade off into the distance, and while we have to accept that this is part of the world that we call home, we learn and ability to survive and make our survival tolerable with moments of pure happiness and enjoyment and lots of treasures to be thankful for.

Only 7% of our World Understand These Things

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20.. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you..
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ”In five years, will this matter?”.
26. Always choose life.
27. Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business..
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do..
34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
40.. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

It’s amazing to me how sometimes in life we must be reminded over and over again of the important things that make our lives worth living. Though I have no idea who this old lady is, I am grateful to her for having taken time to put pen to paper with some really profound thoughts about life, and I read this often as it is important to be reminded about how important the simple things are in our life. I hope you can draw as much from these words as I do.