Thursday, 30 May 2013

What is balance?

Hello to all of you out there in the land of the Internet!

This is probably the first time I have sat down to write a blog post with no actual idea of what I was going to say!

So why not see where this journey takes us ...

I've been cruising along since April and cannot for the life of me understand where May has gone!

I think I'm doing well, a few things have changed positively in my life, including securing myself some part time work in an area that is so satisfying for me, it could not have been more perfect an opportunity!

The kids are doing well, MJ is getting ready at School for what is a pretty busy performance season with dance and also a busy study time. He will also start singing lessons again soon having researched and found a suitable tutor locally.

LJ has started swimming lessons, yes, I know ... What was I thinking starting swimming lessons just before winter? He is also enjoying his dancing after School and at School and will continue with Basketball until the end of this term.

I, on the other hand am simply enjoying that little bit of organisation that comes about as a result of having a job to go to!

I cannot believe that the old saying "If you need something done, give it to a busy person!" is actually true! However, it makes sense really, when we have time to spare, we tend to be more relaxed about planning, when every minute counts, you make them count!

So for me, I have celebrated some real achievements lately, not because I have done anything more than is required of me, nor anything extraordinary, but just because I have done exactly what is required of me! Without adding to that list.

I have also realised, that over the years, I have spent too much time setting unrealistic expectations of myself.

These days, I am happy when I get done what I need to and have time for things I don't need to do. And that, is a huge achievement!

My Happy Ending will be when I truly feel I have achieved that balance we all talk about.

One thing I do know though, the scales are easier to balance when they are not overloaded.

Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.
Jessye Norman

How do you find balance? What IS balance for you? Do you set the bar too high?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Wonderful Things

Lots of wonderful things happened today!  First, and probably the most wonderful ... We have internet!!!!!!!!!!! Woo Hoo!  Second, we have a heater that works!

Third, *drum roll please* ... MJ had his very first driving lesson!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am amazed, proud, relieved and a list of many other feelings at the outcome of said driving lesson. He went really well :-))) Not that I ever doubted him,  I have been concerned that I might not be the best person to teach MJ, as I did not want to traumatise him! You see, I can be a little impatient ...

I suppose having had so many other successes today, helped to put me in the right frame of mind.

Since we both lived through the experience and are looking forward to another lesson, it has made me recall my first driving lesson ... *fade to castle in the distance shrouded in fog*

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, when things were very different in the land of learning to drive; a young girl walked into the RTA and asked for a Learners Permit, which was handed over to her after filling in an application. I don't recall having to sit any sort of test. I did say a long, long, time ago!

And off I went home, to start hounding my Dad to teach me to drive. Mum didn't drive so I only had one parent to pester. After many weeks of pestering, Dad finally relented.

"Meet me out the front Saturday morning at 8am." I suppose he thought he was safe, as I usually never even saw Saturday morning!

However, when something is important enough, even to a teenager, we all can find it in ourselves to do something that no teenager has done before! Saturday morning came and there I was, out the front at 8am.

My Dad was a practical man, and so began my very first driving lesson; in the Valiant. Similar to the one in the photo below.

I learnt how to check and top up the water and oil, I learnt how to change a tyre, I even learnt to put petrol in the car (he drove to the petrol station), and then, I learnt how to wash the car, while he went inside and read the paper. End of lesson. Yes, by learnt I mean, I was the one doing all of the tasks, on my own!

After proving my dedication, next week, my actual driving lessons started.  After propping me up on many pillows because the bench seat in the Valiant was stuck in one position, and I could otherwise not reach the pedals, Dad took me to the local Industrial Estate and let me take the wheel.

I drove around and around and around and around (well, you get it) the same block for what seemed like hours (probably half an hour as I am certain that would have been all Dad could have tolerated), with him the whole time reminding me there were two other gears that I had not yet used!

The Valiant was a manual, "three on the tree" they used to call a three gear column shift. So to avoid having to use the clutch (as I kept getting in trouble for "riding" it) I stayed in first gear the whole time.

Finally, Dad had had enough and we went home. He drove that leg. I felt so proud I had not smashed the car! He made me promise "IF" we did it again, that I would at least try 2nd gear. Lol.

I don't recall if I had many more lessons with Dad, probably a couple, but I do know, he was the one who taught me how to drive. I got my confidence slowly, and was able to learn at my own pace and the lessons in car maintenance stood me in good stead for many years of driving.  He would often show me how to change a fuse, or a headlight bulb (again, it was a long time ago) and of course windscreen wipers.

I went on to have lessons with a driving school and a couple of other older friends and eventually got my licence (on my second go).

I will also teach MJ the things I can about car maintenance, as who knows, one day, he may just have to help me change a tyre!

So my Happy Ending will be that MJ learns at his own pace and gets the confidence he needs to be a capable and sensible driver.

Mind you, the sensible he may not inherit from me, but THAT, is another story my friends!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Kids - 30th Day of Gratitude

Today is the last day of April, therefore, I have achieved what I set out to do at the beginning of the month, which was to blog about gratitude everyday.

I have to say, I am actually surprised that I have done it. I am also proud of myself.

I have had days where it took a bit of thinking to come up with a subject for the day, but when I really took a good look at how that day had panned out or a thought or realisation I had during the day, even a memory from days gone by, something has always come up.

Most of all however, the thing I have noticed the most is the way I feel. My attitude is better, despite the fact that I have NOT done the other thing I was planning (getting to bed on time as spelled out in this post and followed up on here). I will deal with this tomorrow.

I've actually had quite late nights. I've had the kids home on holidays for the past fortnight and there have been a few things going on that have distracted me on different levels, but all in all, I have managed to keep it together and I attribute that to the fact that I have found something to be grateful for every day.

You see, when you are focusing on what you have, celebrating it (particularly in writing), and not paying too much attention to the stuff that may not be going so well, your attitude is better, and that, can dictate how your day goes on the whole.

So, I would once again like to thank Melina Schamroth over at Grateful in April for such a great campaign. Without her brain child I would not have achieved any of this in April.  Go check out Melina's main web page to see all the other great stuff she is involved in.

So getting back to it; while the 30 days of gratitude have not been in any particular order, I feel I have left the best for last.

I love my kids, they keep me going, they make me laugh, they bring out the best in me and at times the worst, they keep me real.

Today we went on a last little outing before they go back to school tomorrow, which involved lunch, walking on the beach, scooter riding (not for me), playing in the park and some real time spent talking and laughing and connecting.
I am most grateful for my kids, not just today, EVERY day.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Author unknown