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A dad's journey into health

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lifestyle

Back On The Roundabout

So it is about the time of my annual pilgrimage back to Healthville. Yep getting back on the healthy eating and exercise pony. We are old friends now, and it is the same old feeling, akin to that of putting back on a wet sock (back shivers). It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s also much needed.

I estimate that I am about three weeks away from talking about all this in a positive way, but that will come, once I begin to see the benefits (or see my feet again for that matter ha ha ha).

Until that day it feels like standing in front of a dark and spooky forest. I am reluctant to take my first step, but unless you do, you will never see what is on the other side.

Reluctantly my feet yield to my insistence and, that’s it, first step made despite their protests. It wont be long before I’m in too deep and the only way is forward.

So until then pray for me!!!!

Hopefully I will see you on the other side.

Hope Vs Reality

Is there a place, do you think, where your hopes and your reality cross?

Iv’e been thinking about this quite a lot at the minute, I know what I want in my future and it’s not naively outlandish or unrealistic. Everything I want is possible, achievable almost. Yet I still have doubts that these things will ever come to pass. It seems that there are powers out of my control that always seem to block my path or know the right time to descend on me like a heavy thick fog.

I know that people will be reading this thinking that I am the one seeing barriers or perceiving these as reasons not to push towards my future. This may well be the case, though I don’t fully believe it. I may be the last person on earth that can see it to be honest. It seems that there are always grey areas to think of, there is nothing cut and dry when it comes to making decisions. Mainly, for me, because decisions about my future effect people other than me…………..it’s so confusing.

I am more than aware that the only option for me is to rip the plaster off and just deal with whatever happens. It’s almost as if it’s harder to make a decision, than have it done to you, then you have no choice but to deal with the fallout, and start again.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that money (or lack of it) is such an inhibiting factor. Money isn’t everything, but it certainly gives you options and the confidence to act. It is easy to see why so many domestic abuse cases have one partner in control of the finances, making it almost impossible for the victim to start a fresh.

Is it even possible to achieve your dreams? once you do, do you not just acquire new ones? OR is that folly? should you just be striving for the next step in the journey. The next life chapter, and many other cliches and platitudes that just roll off the tongue.

I have done a lot of work with people and have always used goal setting as a way help them move forward. But it has become more apparent to me as time goes on that goal setting can be quite damaging and if not achieved can be used by the individual as further reasons to punish or hate themselves.

But with me………who knows, difficult times, difficult decisions and a future for yourself you know you will probably never get to experience. What will be will be…..

We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality. Iris Murdoch

A Night Of Weird Dreams

So last night was a tough one, my daughter got up several times in the night crying for me. She was fine, I settled her and got her back in bed, but as a result of this I had the most bizarre dreams. There was two that stood out, the first for it’s ridiculousness.

It was the middle of the night, I was walking downstairs, in the nude (obviously) and I could feel the cold and I knew the door was open and that we were being robbed………..incensed I ran down screaming random things, but for some reason in a Scottish accent (like a pathetic Braveheart). I bust into the living room (still nude remember) but the backdoor’s open and everything has been taken. Then I woke up. Interestingly when I awoke I was freezing cold as the covers had been commandeered and I was led there exposed, still nude (obviously). Think that explains this one 🙂

The second was a completely different affair it was calming and serine.

I was led sideways on my bed and I could see out of the bedroom door in front of me.  It opened straight outside and it was lovely and sunny.  From my door there was a path that led straight up a grassy hill.  About half way up  the hill led a deer.  It just led their looking directly at me as if weighing me up.It stayed there, still, for what felt like hours.  I could feel that I was getting a little anxious and the deer began to stand up and slowly walk towards me, as it did it began to transform into a tiger, it wasn’t angry or  aggressive it just kept coming slowly and methodically. It eventually reached me and jumped up onto my bed and just led next to me, (much like my old dog Gus), I started to panic (about the future, I think) but the tiger just lifted it’s head and rested it on my legs. It had the desired effect and calmed me down, I had a sense of wellness and inner calm………that whatever was to come, things will work out okay.  I stroked the tigers head and drifted back off.

So that was my night time brain wanderings. I am sure any
Oneirocritics (had to google that) amongst you would be able to interpret that.

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

Till next time….

A Door That Can’t Close

Last week I had a chance encounter that made me revisit my past.  I was happy in my own thoughts heading into a supermarket when out the corner of my eye I spied a girl from my teenage social group. 

Strap yourselves in this might be a big’n

My mind went straight back to the “Good old days” and how it all ended.  Let’s set the scene…. I was a thirteen year old ruffian, I liked video games and wrestling with little time for anything else, let alone girls (he truth being I felt safe in my role and the thought of putting myself out there and changing my friendship groups did not sit well with me, though I wanted to, and actually speaking to a girl would terrify me to the core).

However, there was a desire there to diversify socially.  I had already started making inroads with such a group as I sat with some lads on the bus, (one of which is still to this day one of my very best friends) they were much smarter than me and obviously more popular.  We became quite close friends and Just as a matter of course I started to get invited to more and more events and slowly but surely I became a part of the group.  Thing went on in this vein all through school, sixth form and then on weekends when we were all together.  Most of this group decided to become teachers as at that time you got paid to study on this profession (who could blame them,after all they were, almost to a man much smarter than me, or so I thought). 

Soon however things started to change, nights out became more erratic and people got into relationships, myself included.  Nights out became less frequent and for me,money was a real issue.  About this time,myself and partner moved in together away from sunny Blackpool.  This is when things became really tough and friendships began to unravel.  The more I said no to nights out, the less the phone rang and the easier it was to disengage.  Little did the group know I had next to no money and at that time I was running up credit card debts just pay for petrol to get to and from work.  When I was saying no to going out, I was really just too embarrassed and ashamed to tell them how hard things were, I guess this is where I should take a good share of the blame, as I didn’t try as hard as I could have.     

Things had gotten away from me and on the odd occasion I did go out, I struggled to keep up or get noticed. Some people tended to talk about things in the recent past, what they did in the last weeks or months.  I wasn’t there and couldn’t be part of the conversation. I came away feeling like no one wanted me there and after this it became all too easy to disengage altogether.  There was no real falling out and on the odd occasion I run into some of them now, I am still on reasonable terms with them. 

This type of ending had a real bitter taste to it, I’m not too sure what I did to deserve such and exit, it felt like I was just cut out,much like Tsukuru Tazaki.  Don’t get me wrong I have a good life and good friends, the closest of which predates this group.  However, there remains with me a sense of loss (grief almost) at the way it ended.  It’s probably the loss of my youth, a more existential crisis than anything else.  Although I do often wonder if I am thought about at all by them.  I can hear people close to me telling me that I am “better off out of it” and “they never kept in touch with you either” all true of course and I get where they are coming from but this doesn’t change or help the way I feel.  It’s one of those things that stay with us, not prominent or immediate but always there, lying unresolved, somewhere in the background.

I would like to see some of them again, I guess I just miss belonging to a group and talking with lots of different people, many of them still socialise together but I am not willing to put myself in such a vulnerable position again. 

The problem being that there was no definite ending, I have had no closure on it and this has only let me internalise everything instead of processing it properly and letting it go.

I am sure that it will happen one day, patience is the key,but always ready to act when the opportunity presents itself.  I don’t miss it all that much, I don’t think my life would be exponentially improved should I get that back, but I do feel that I need the chance to close that door.

Thanks for coming with me this has been a bit of a difficult one.

Shaping my future, Now

Do you ever get the feeling that life is just going to fast, that you spend so much time with your head down getting on with things that you forget to occasionally glance to the future.  As I look now, I notice that I am quickly approaching 40 and wondering, am I there, that place I wanted to be when I was 40?  Does that place actually exist? Is it the same place as before or have I changed it?  It must have been real and I must have had an idea, but I think my laid back approach to life may be getting the better of me.  Life does feel like it’s speeding up.

Time is like the water in a fast flowing river, time rushes through but as it passes it reshapes the environment never to be the same again, and as time goes on, the place I wanted to be at has changed also, no massive shifts just changes, one grain at a time.  But those grains add up.

I know that this must happen to most of us, but my worry is, if everyone’s places are always changing and being remapped then how do you make sure the places you wanted to end up in match with the people you share your life with.  I guess you don’t.  Just try and come to terms with the differences and hope that it works out.

I think far too much emphasis is put on HOPE.

Wishing for the best!  I’m not sure that I can get on-board with that any more.  I know that I need to take control of the river and shape the future to what I want now, no more sitting back and seeing what happens I want to be pro-active, then if it goes wrong the fault is mine, mine alone, I don’t want to be in a position where I try and blame my hope for things gone wrong or the actions I didn’t take.

I think I may be suffering with a bit of Friday afternoon paranoia.  It comes over me in waves sometimes as if there is something telling me that life is short so get your arse in gear if you ever want to reach your place.

Keep fighting, I read a great quote this week;

So far you have survived 100% of your toughest days, this too will pass.

Love ya

My Soundtrack

For me music has always been there in the background, but as far as I can remember it’s never been front and centre in my life. I have always loved music and the culture (90s indie kid and for that matter also a rocker and hip-hopper, I like to experiment) but I never thought it defined me, I always focused more on books, games and friends for that.

It’s only recently, whilst revisiting these songs (looking for old favourites to attempt on the guitar) that it has occurred to me that music has always followed me, like a soundtrack in the background elegantly framing my experiences. Without realising it music does define me. It plays out like a map of my life. Each and every song sending me right back to a specific time and location and all the thoughts feelings and experiences of that place, good and bad, light or dark, young and old.

So I am going to create my own album here, a snapshot of me and my life, each song belongs on the album for a reason and has a special memory, they may not be my most favourite songs but they certainly are justified. I am going to limit it to ten tracks as I could literally be here all day.

1. Guns n Roses – Welcome To The Jungle. I think this was my first steps in having my own musical personality, rock on.

2. Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills. This is a nod to my brother and a thanks for introducing me to so much great music, Prince, Stone Roses and many more, far too many to mention.

3. Ice-T – Home Invasion. My first steps into the world of Hip-Hop. So much followed this. A new way of expressing yourself and story telling. Thanks Iceberg.

4. Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman. This is an acknowledgement of my parents taste in music and I am eternally grateful for them introducing me to Soul and Motown. This was the first soul song I remember loving.

5. The Charlatans – Just When Your Thinking Things Over. This fires me back to sixth form and reminds me of when I started dating my good lady wife.

6. Oasis – Cigarettes And Alcohol. What is there to say, they exploded onto the music landscape encapsulating the feelings of the UK youth at the time. They did for Britain what Nirvana did for the US. They will always be the epitome of Rock And Roll for me.

7. Bob Dylan – Just Like A Woman. Heard this for the first time whilst working in a shop. Fell in love with the voice of Dylan (after previously dismissing it) and how he changes from adoration to hatred in the space of one song.

8. The Pogues – Sally Maclennane. My friends and I playing pool on a Friday night before heading into town for teenage ladishness. Great Days.

9. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop That Feeling. This is just a great tune that reminds me of all the kids just dancing round together having fun.

10. The Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love. Thus one is easy, simply the best song ever written.

So there it is. I am sure that I will soon be releasing a Vol II.

What would be on your soundtrack?

Stay lucky people, kisses.

It’s a Me Day

So yea it’s a me day, or more accurately its a Paul Day, the very first of 2018.  I can hear everyone’s intrigue getting giddy.  A Paul Day consists of me taking a days leave from work….there’s more.  It also involves some skulduggery on my part.  I also pretend to go to work so that my family are unaware that I am sneaking back home, to bed, to game and generally laze around (let’s hope that he missus doesn’t read this today).

Today has been pretty good on the whole, I have well, gamed, dozed and watched some awesome.  Managed to watch the most recent Blade Runner, and may I say it was bloody good, if long.  And as I write this, the last hour of my Paul Day, I am watching Electric Dreams, a very Philip. K – Day indeed.

I suppose that I should feel guilty, that I am sneaking but I don’t, I feel a little rebellious and a little bit like I’m owed it.  It’s not a day of excess and luxury it’s a day to rest and re-centre yourself.

I encourage you all to have Me Day or You Day……whatever.  Especially if you have a hectic life.  It give you back a little bit of freedom and the chance to catch up again on the things that I like, the things that make me, me.

I don’t have much of the day left to enjoy soon it will be back to the grind but for now I will just keep on keepin’ on.

What would your Me Day look like

Go on……Treat-yo-self

The Things Kids Say

So I got the idea for this post this morning. My daughter Connie was screaming for the TelloSape he he he, bless her.

This is one of the best things about being a parent, listening to your kids innocently getting things wrong…. and then trying to hide your laughter.

But it’s not just what they say it’s how they say it. There’s nothing like trying to play a game on your phone when your 4 yr old daughter blurts ‘give it ere lad let me show you how to do it’, priceless and patronising all at the same time, and very northern (good girl).

I’m afraid that my son is also developing my “game rage”. For those that don’t know, it’s when you are struggling on a video game and the only thing left to do is scream and take out your frustration on the entire world. I was in the kitchen the other morning and all I heard from the living room was a scream of ‘just jump you stupid Gekko’ I must admit that I did feel a little sense of pride. I knew my boy would love games as much as I do, but also sad as I knew how many hours of his life will be wasted on “quests” and achievements.

I heard my boy James come out with a comment that floored me but it requires a bit of a back story. My eldest daughter (8yrs) loves Full House from the 80’s (no idea I’m as baffled as you) and in it there is a character Jessie, that is obsessed with Elvis. So in the car we were all talking about Elvis and I was regaling them with all my best Elvis facts. Fast forward a few days and we were all getting ready for the day, school, work etc. James was on the loo, and I heard this; ‘Connie, Stop hitting me, Elvis died on the toilet!!!’ I couldn’t breath for laughing, sometimes parenting really is a joy.

Sending love.

Until next time…..

Getting to grips with the Guitar

New Year, New Beginnings……well sort of.  I have been attempting to learn the guitar now for a few months and I am loving it.   I have a naughty little acoustic called Lucy and a very bog-standard Encore electric guitar that I can’t bring myself to name.

So with Christmas looming I asked everyone for money so that I can treat myself to a new electric, as I have almost exclusively been playing Lucy but now feel that it’s time to start becoming a world famous guitarist, can’t see it being too tough.

I looked at the best budget guitars focusing on price, looks sound and play-ability and I came up with a few options, but by far the sexiest (As I love the Gibson Les Paul look) was the Epiphone Les Paul Special II, behold:

_20180107_085307

I am now in love and thinking of an appropriate name (answers on a postcard).  It’s surprising just how heavy it was when I first tried it but when you see the store owner playing it like Hendrix it’s difficult not to fall in love.

So a few weeks in and I am up to my eyeballs in songs to learn (cover image, a typical Sunday morning for me) and I am all over YouTube looking for Blues licks to learn.  I can’t wait to show my guitar teacher and hoping he approves of the purchase.

I hope that all you guys out there are having the opportunity to develop yourselves and have things to strive for, it’s hard at the time but when you get it right you have massive internal Hi-5’s or Big-10’s if its a particularly big achievement.  It really is good for the soul.

So if , on the telly, you see a slightly rotund middle aged dude with that sexy guitar playing sketchy versions of Wonderwall you will know that I have made it.

Next time people, and another resolution is to blog more.  See you soon and many kisses sent your way.

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