Let’s Take A Breath, It’s Only Christmas

Christmas….

And so it is, just like that, it’s December again. It has not been that long ago since I packed the decorations away from last year…

Reading the blog by the Minimalists, prompted me to have to think about Christmas; the good and the bad. 

I know that the countdown has began and so with it, has the race to produce the best Christmas ever in the shortest possible time.

I hear simultaneously, how much everybody loves Christmas, but also how expensive Christmas is getting. In my mind, the only people that make the festive period expensive, is us. Gone it seems are the days, that we celebrated it for more humble reasons. 

Now, I am potentially portraying myself as a bit of a bar humbug, as I find the whole month of December utterly overwhelming and try to avoid it as much as possible.  Having said that, there are some things I do quite like.I love the odd party or two, eating great food,  I actually don’t mind Christmas music and may even have a dedicated playlist. I like a day time nap and have learnt to tolerate my home resembling a Santa’s grotto for a whole month.

What I can’t get my small mind around and what upsets me greatly is panic buying gifts. In essence, it really difficult not to, as it seems that we have temptation thrown at us from everywhere. I see “festive” gift boxes in the chemist, the supermarkets are burgeoning with bargain buys that we will NEVER be able to get again. I have had SO many beautifully presented catalogues sent to me in the post from companies I have never heard from before.

It has been relentless. 

It upsets me, that we can’t say no to our children, but instead we will get into debt, so that we don’t disappoint them. We buy and receive gifts from people that we don’t interact with for the rest of the year as, this is our way of keeping in touch. Surely there is a better way?

Yet, we hide away from what is actually happening in our world, we have become a nation of food banks, we turn our heads the other way when we see a homeless person. We find it difficult to smile at anyone and to say hello, in the fear that they speak to us. 

With this in mind, I will definitely be thinking about how I can make this a more festive month for the right reasons and to see what I can carry on doing throughout the year. 

#familytime #mentalhealth 

What Should I Be When I Grow Up?

 
 
 
This is such an enormous question, it is as overwhelming today as it was when I was 10. The answer to this seems no more obvious now, then back then. It feels peculiar that we start asking our little people so early on in their life, what job they will do when they grow up.
Do you do the job that you aspired to do at that age?

When I was 10 years old, I remember writing I wanted to be a lawyer and as a bright Indian child, it was one of the options my folks offered as a suggestion. Being a lawyer, trumped being a pharmacist and was indeed the best out of an otherwise boring list. 

Looking back, I realised that there was no real exposure to the array of jobs on offer and I was reliant on my folks for guidance. Education was seen as a gateway from the hardships that they had endured and they encouraged us to work hard. 

At this point, I should confirm, I did not join the legal profession or become a pharmacist. The actual thought of wearing a white overall filled me with horror.

This reminiscing, coupled with finding myself reading Architecture Matters by Aaron Betsky in the launderette on a Sunday afternoon, led to me realising, that what I have always liked is houses. Aaron talks about how he had a fascination with buildings and architecture from a young age.  It occurred me, that so did I.

I was always drawn to the odd house in the street, the one that looked like it should be on a different street. I have vivid memories of all of the places that we have lived, I often dream about them still and always have an urge to visit them again. I become emotionally attached to buildings and feel a loss when they are no longer there. The most recent being the Ziggurat that was torn down in Birmingham, only to be replaced with faceless new buildings, that will never have any soul about them. 

This has led me to think about my own pathway and to think about how to encourage my own daughter to be inquisitive about her environment or to ensure that she is aware that there are not limited opportunities in life. 

Something that has recently hindered this, is the consumption of the 11 Plus exam. 

It seems that we have recently been tunnel visioned on focusing on the 11 Plus and swept along with the madness that if she fails this test at the age of 10, she will fail in life. A ridiculous notion, but one that I see too many people fixated on and have programmed their children to pass this milestone test.   

Whilst we have actively avoided trying to stress out our 10 year old and have downplayed the importance of the test, it has taken an almighty amount of effort and I think I may have slightly failed. 

I wonder how many of us have considered what we are teaching our children along this journey? The majority of us come from a position where we are exposing them to a wide range of activities/experiences and then we revert back to the archaic practice of driving them to pass exams. 

I am not quite sure of where I am going with this, but what I do know is that the key life milestones for my daughter  should not be inextricably linked to a pass or fail. 

I understand the importance of gaining an excellent education and driving our children to succeed in life, but for me, my daughter can literally be whatever she likes and she wont have any resistance from us.  

#mentalhealth #imayregretthis #youonlyliveonce #takeachance #100suffrageanniversary #freetoplay #education

 

Suffragettes in prison clothing after their release, 1908 Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images

 

 

The Mini Break. May 11

The Portuguese mini break was an utter success, thinking about it, there were a few key components to this one.

  • Flying from a local airport
  • Having a convenient and nice place to stay
  • Sunshine
  • Great company
  • Delicious food
  • No real agenda
  • Avoid reading the news; specifically about Trump or Brexit

I was able to ignore my standard list of jobs for a few days and I was happy! It also amazes me that I really can’t recognise that I needed a break until I come back from one.

Back to reality, it’s cold, the house is not quite tidy and I have a lot to do this weekend…

  • Work
  • Family
  • Household chores
  • The endless jobs

With all of these lists in mind, I was sad to hear about the death of Scott Hutchinson [ Frightened Rabbits] it feels to me that we are all putting an untold amount of pressure on ourselves to be successful and brilliant all of the time. This manifests itself in many ways, me with my lists, endless activities for our children, looking effortlessly perfect all of the time, it’s never ending. We have to ask who are we doing this for and why? If we don’t care enough about our own wellbeing, why on earth should anybody else?

#livingthedream #backwithabump #mentalhealthawareness