How Many Friends Does A Friend Need?

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately, not in a losing sleep, I need to find the answer sort of way. More of a ponder, I wonder, oh yeah sort of thing. With a few different friend hats on the go, I often wonder if it’s the same for everyone? I’ve always considered myself more of a floater, (not that sort of floater, potty brain) But I’ve also realised that it’s changed quite significantly over the years;

I breezed through secondary school and college with several bff’s, some I’ve never seen again and others sitting firmly in the Facebook, checking in now and then category. I’ve managed to on to one of my bestest to this very day.  We don’t see each other very often, I’m talking years without any face to face conversation, but we check in now and then and when we do meet up, we pick up from where we left off. I love that we have a shared past and experienced so many firsts, good and bad, together, she still never holds back from telling me when I’ve been a fool! And I take it, because I value her opinion, I guess you do when they’re your friend. Right?

When I separated from my husband, my friends really came good. But one really shone through, she called me daily, counselled me, arranged days out and put me firmly back on my feet with a smile on my face and my self-esteem and confidence firmly intact. I often tell her she’s my guardian angel, she signed sealed and delivered what true friendship means, now that’s what I call a friend.

what makes a friends? do you class family as friends?

Messages from old friends and new, once word got out, sending love (and not just wanting the gossip) saw me through those darkest days too. They’ll never know how much they helped.

I hope they do now.

And that floater thing, (I’m sure there’s a better term than that, answers on a postcard please.) Over the years, I’ve dipped in and out of friendship groups. But it’s the tough times which really cut the wheat from the chaff, these are the times when you find out who the real ones are and who to metaphorically swipe left on. I’ve sacked a few off for one reason or another, usually loyalty, can’t be doing with that two-faced nonsense. If you’re caught out, you’re out. Simples. My Scorpio sting takes no prisoners when I’ve been hurt, I can stone wall like a pro.

There’s also one more thing which puzzles me; Just because you’re related, does that stop them being a friend? Some of my other closest confidants are my parents, siblings, aunties, and cousins. I count them as my friends too, regardless of blood, we genuinely do like each other and above all, we ‘ave a laugh. That shared sense of humour must be in the blood.

what makes a friends? do you class family as friends?
And finally, there’s the ones I’ve gathered up over the years, the ones I put in the fun category. My wine buddies to go forth and get merry with, we keep it light, sometimes gin brings out the deep and meaningful moments. But generally, we gossip, laugh and go home. Perfect.

So a friend for all occasions, regardless of who, what and where horses for courses! It may not be your cup of tea. But it suits me! It’s not counted in how many you have, how close you are, everyone needs a different friend for different occasion, just as long as there’s trust, happy times and dependability,

That’s what I call a friend.

<insert smilie face, maybe a winking one even>

 

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Is 40 the new 25? Why I’m refusing to grow old appropriately

If you’d have said that at 41 and a half I’d be fitter, healthier and slimmer than my 25-year-old self, I’d have laughed in your face. (Then secretly hoped you knew something about my destiny than I did.) Optimistic me likes to hang on to any glimmer of hope, while gullible me will believe anything that you tell me if it’s going to make me feel good. Yet the bizarre thing is, it’s true, along with many of my fellow forty somethings who are refusing to attach themselves to the notion of what 40 should look like.

Not one to pigeon-hole an age or say what’s right or wrong, but in my twenties I had already decided that once I hit 40 I would cut my long brown hair short and stop trying to keep up with fashion,  I’d dress sensibly, probably at Boden, and take up a craft like hobby. Weekends would consist of routine of ferrying kids around to sporting events and gardening. Or so I thought.

Why exactly I decided that would happen is a little bonkers given that my mum was doing things at 40 for the first time, and still very much the life and soul of the weekend party goer. The 2o years between us meant nothing when you were raising the roof and mock pole dancing at family functions with a who gives a fidget attitude. She taught me well!

I think back to how I was behaving at 25 and it’s possible I peaked too early, maybe that’s why I took a restock of my life? I’d done sensible and it was time to claw back those prime years while I still had time.

So after F-day had passed I gave up red meat, joined the gym, started teeth straightening treatment and bought a whole new wardrobe of ageless clothes and make up. I even tried eye liner flicks (and failed) considered facial fillers (not brave enough) and switched to listening to radio 1 (sorry Jeremy.)  There are some things which I won’t be doing, like joining Tinder (might be subject to change) and getting ‘down in da club’ all night, I need beauty sleep and my feet ache if I dance too long in heels. I’m not a complete lose cannon, plus the teenage sons who lurke in my house somewhere might abandon me totally.

There’s always a catalyst to a radical lifestyle change and I suspect that the end of my marriage was mine. Suddenly I had weekends to fill and time to focus on Ali the person and not just Ali the wife and mother. Didn’t see that one coming at 25!

And 41 I have no hesitation in admitting my age,  I’ll be keeping my long brown locks, touching up my roots every 6 weeks. I’ll keep trying out the latest fashion, cursing when appropriate and blasting out the latest chart hits in my sensible Mercedes A-class.

One thing I’ve learnt which comes with age, aside from a little wisdom and a chunk of hindsight, is the confidence to not give a toss what others think of you.

And I have a sneaky feeling that I’m not alone in the 40 somethings growing old in appropiately.

I'm joining the growing number of 40 somethings who are refusing to grow up and grow old gracefully in the most sensible manner possible.

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So you’re wondering how I’m feeling about my divorce?

I’ve been over analysing life a lot lately, trying to evaluate and understand the whats and whys in an attempt to understand me and what I do next. I’m playing many new roles right now; The (single) mum, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the business woman and the soon to be ex-wife. These life changes haven’t just effected me and I’m very conscious that it’s not just me that’s analysing me too.

With so much change and so many new experiences I’m taking a baby steps approach to life. Never wanting to plan too far ahead as I float through each week in survival mode. It’s a strange and exciting feeling when your life plans take a sudden change, and that over analysing I’ve been doing is a product of the uncertainty of what I thought the future might be like. That old future is now a stranger to me now and I’m a little scared to dare dream of what the new one brings.

When people ask how I’m doing, I know what they’re really asking. But the truth is you could ask me that question every day and it will be different. Today I’m feeling good, I’m living for today. With a tired fuzzy head my focus is on what I’m doing today and how good my bed will feel when I crawl in at the end of the day,

Today I’m too tired for planning and over analysing.

Today I’m not thinking about the holiday we’re off on next month.

Today I’m not thinking about what to do on my childfree weekend and fretting about being away from my boys.

Today I’m not thinking about the things which are lacking in my life and how I can change that.

Today I’m not thinking about how I’m going to get my new business thriving and bringing in enough money so I don’t lie awake at night thinking about all the bills I need to pay.

Today I’m NOT over analysing.

Today I’m giving my thinking brain a break.

I spent too much time doing that last night and I’m tired.

've decided the best thing I can do is pull up the anchor and see where the wind takes me

Yesterday I spent the afternoon clearing out the messy junk room under the stairs in an attempt to clear my jumbled thoughts. Decluttering and housework seem to help, it’s like osmosis – decluttering my mind. I’m still the optimistic, easy going me, just  a little more distant at times as I fall down the rabbit hole of thinking.

I’m navigating unchartered waters right now so I’ve decided the best thing I can do is pull up the anchor and see where the wind takes me. I can’t plan a future right now, I can’t plan as I have no idea what it’ll look like.  The back pages of my story have been ripped out and replaced by blank ones, the words DIVORCE taking the title of the next chapter.

So excuse me if I’m a little vague in my answer about “How am I today?” or if  throw a question right back at you and change the subject. I don’t always know exactly how to answer and each day is different, and I apologise if I double book you or forget an arrangement, my fuzzy head can’t always see past the end of the day.

I’ve tried planning out my weeks and weekends and it unnerves me when those plans get changed. It sends me into a panic and reminds me that even tomorrow is still a little uncertain. So right now I don’t dare plan too much as recent events have taught me, even the best laid plans have a habit of going astray.

And that right now pulling up anchor and going with the flow is the only way to go.

Everyone tackles a divorce differently, you never really know how you'll be feeling until you're going through it

 

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Sometimes You Just Need To Hit Rock Bottom 

Yesterday was not a good day.

It started early, 3.27am, the moment I woke with a jolt from a sad dream. The kind which leaves you wondering for a moment or two; was it real or maybe a sneak peak into the future? I glanced at the clock defeated in the reality that I needed to get back to sleep if I was going to face the day ahead without dragging my sorry, tired but around the house. While I lay there trying to force the bad thoughts out of my head and crawl back up to my natural optimism I heard a noise from my son’s room.

Sleepily walking across the pitch black room, I misjudged the door opening and ‘wham’ walked straight into the door frame, taking the full force on my mouth, sending my braces into my lips and my head flying back. I’d done that walk many, many times before and as my mouth filled up with blood I knew, that no matter how hard I tried, it was going to be a bad day.

I’m a positive person naturally, always looking for the good in a situation and tackling obstacles and problems with a “que sera sera” approach. Things happen for a reason and sometimes you just have to let karma do it’s thing. But yesterday I struggled to find any positivity, not a scrap. A big black cloud loomed heavily on my shoulders and with it a niggling worry that it wouldn’t go.

I been warned there’d be days like this as I stepped on the rocky road of the end of my marriage. Shrugging off the mere thought, that I was in full control of the situation and that this was a good thing. But as I wallowed in self-pity with a fat lip and pain in my neck, I realised that I’d already had a few days like this, only this one was much worse. I’d hit rock bottom.

sometimes you need to hit rock bottom to appreciate the good days, read more here

And that was when it struck me,  I needed those bad days to appreciate the good ones.

That when you hit rock bottom it gives you a gauge to all your other days and it’s only when you get that low that you begin to get a real sense of appreciation of how good it feels to see the positive.

And slowly I clawed back some of my natural optimism.

So why am I sharing this?

Why am I spilling out the very core of my deepest darkest days?

Because I wanted to let anyone else who’s struggling to see that positivity I bang on about on here so often. That there will be a rainbow after your rain. That sometimes, just sometimes, when everything seems to be falling apart, they’re actually falling in to place and once those moments are here, you’ll appreciate it so much more and see it for what it is.

when you hit rock bottom, sometimes it's for a reason, read more here

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Why Is It Good To Talk?

It’s good to talk. So the saying goes, but why?

Do you really know the reason why, the science, the psychology or the reasoning? I’m a selective natterer, the kind that can talk the hind legs off a donkey one with one person and keep my council with another. It’s a technique I’ve fine tuned through age and experience. (And through performing the god awful, open mouth – insert boot, trick one time too many times.)

I was testing this theory when I turned 40 last year, something which challenge the very core of my belief system as the aging process stared and taunted me in the face. I never minded telling people I was thirty something, but as a child I clearly remember celebrating my Mum’s 40th birthday and now, in the flick of a switch it was my turn. So rather than wallow in the impeding middle age that haunted me, I tried to think of the benefits of having a life time of experience behind me, one of which, is hindsight.

What would I have done differently in hind sight?


IMG_0763

 

Well, I’d have paused and thought of what was about to come out of my mouth before speaking on many occasions for one.

I’m not saying I’ve taken a vow of silence, or exercising a method of selective mutism. Far from it, I love to talk. I chatter away all day to my toddler, my inner talk spills out all over the pages of my blog and once my boys are in from school,  I attempt to engage in the dance of reciprocity, helping them to off load their day and settle into the peace and tranquility of their safe haven.

But why is it good to talk?

When I’m frustrated, I feel stressed. I feel anxious, like I’m about to explode. Sometimes, in the past I did explode, I’m not perfect, I’ll admit, (I’m not talking anger management candidate, here, don’t panic.) I’m generally quite a laid back, un-frustrated person, but there are times when something gets my goat and I need to tell someone. But if I don’t, it stays inside, building up until I either calm it down in my head, sleep on it or shout it out! Not good.

BUT.

Yes there is a but, there’s always a but.

Now I’m older, I’ve learnt that it’s good to talk and occasionally I’ve been asked how I stay so calm, so for those people, this is how:

I have some amazing friends and family who I know I can trust. My go-to people who, when I need to off load. I talk to them and they help rationalise my thoughts and reinstall my inner calm. It’s no biggy, everyone does it.

Imagine this, your mind is like a room. A room with a wardrobe, a bed and chest of drawers and to be able to tidy everything away, it needs space to walk around. Your thoughts are the things that need tidying away (compartmental-ising) but it you keep putting things in there, you won’t be able to get in and it becomes full, squashed and untidy. You can’t move, you can’t think.

Then you chat, you talk your thoughts out of your head and into their place, their compartments, their wardrobes, chest of draws, under the bed. and you free up space to move and think in you room head.

So when something little or big goes back in it doesn’t bother you. You need space in your head so by tidying up your thoughts by talking and getting them out, you create that space.

You still with me?

So next time you feel like you can’t think, your head’s full of silent chatter or you’re about to explode;

Just talk. Text, email or FaceTime.

You need to off load and empty those buzzing thoughts..

Defragment your mind as a problem shared is a problem halved.

And you’ll feel so much better, ready to face the next challenge head on.

its good to talk, to off load and share your thoughts, read more here;

 ever wondered why it's good to talk? this quote says it all, read more on why it is here';
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