Own it!

I have another word on the subject of travelling on your own. It’s regarding eating out and walking home.

I believe in eating well and dining in nice places. I eat in nice restaurants. They don’t have to be expensive, but they have to have a nice ambience. When you’re directed to a table where you feel like you’ve been put in the ‘naughty corner,’ ie. an isolated spot like an alcove, ask if they have room to seat you in an area where you can feel included in the ‘community of diners’ or in a position to people-watch. Tell the waiter/waitress that you don’t like to feel isolated. They’ll understand and be happy to oblige. Experienced staff will already know this.

If they seat you in the body of the restaurant but position you on the side facing the wall, fix it. Seat yourself facing into the room. Looking at the wall is bad for your soul, even if you have something to read or write. Look into the room. Look around. Own your space.

Ask the staff to bring you a glass of wine straight away. This helps. Maybe it’s a crutch but it makes me feel I’m relaxed and in a strong position to sit back and observe.

Speaking of owning it, if you find yourself walking down an unpopulated street, especially at night (even crazy Ireland sunshine-night), walk tall, walk confidently. You can stroll, be relaxed, but own your immediate space. That means don’t shrink, don’t look around furtively, don’t slouch and look down. Look ahead, look about, look in windows. Be mindful, aware of your own movements and your surroundings. But do not worry! Worry affects your demeanour and wastes your time on earth.

Neither a dog nor a weirdo is likely to attack a self-possessed person. And being self-possessed means being self-aware. I’m not encouraging you to be blasé or oblivious. Be mindful but not fearful.  If a dog barks or a drunk says hello (and in Ireland says something like ‘have good craic’), smile, say hi and keep walking. Or in my case, and it’s a dog, relax and talk in dog-baby talk until you’ve won it over and you can give it a pat.

 

 

Feelings

It’s been said that when together, men talk about things, women talk about feelings. I agree with this generalisation but when you combine men and women, things and feelings also combine.

This blog will talk about a lot of things but there will be a lot of feelings involved. Whether I talk about creativity or relationships or roaming through the bush looking at trees, there will always be the unspoken question, How do I/you feel about this?

Under the title Matters of the Heart, I’ll cover topics that interest me as a middle-aged woman. I tell you this not to deter you but to help you understand my viewpoint.

Clarification: I don’t wish to imply that this blog will only be interesting to middle-aged women. I can have an engaging and credible conversation with a middle-aged man (whom many of my friends are) or a young man (whom my sons are) or a woman of any age including the ninety-six year old neighbour and twenty year old niece. But the point of view I express comes from age, experience, education and observation as seen through the eyes of a woman. And that means with feeling.

Under the category Matters of the Heart, there’s going to be more feelings than the other categories. I’ll discuss relationships, grief, joy, duty and other women’s issues. I’ll be as authentic as I can without being shocking, at least for now.

I believe women (and probably men) frequently go through a change of life at this age, and I don’t mean menopause, although that can help. (I wonder if the Chief of the Universe actually created menopause to shake women out of their complacency and get them motivated to begin a new stage. I suspect there’s a male version of menopause too!) Restlessness, risk-taking, activism, addiction and reinvention are all common side-effects.

I want to discuss it all. So please share your thoughts with me when I post a new piece. I want this to be a hub for discussion and interaction. Agree and disagree. Be female, male or neutral. It’s all good! Just put some feeling into it!

 

A Change of Course

 

Auburn Clare Valley May18 (14)

Bio:

For my first blog, I’d like to share with you why I’m doing it.

This serves two purposes: one to let you know what it’s about so you can decide if it interests you and two, so I can figure out why I’m doing it.

Since the question was put to me at a 50th birthday party, ‘What are you going to do now that your youngest child has finished school?’ I found myself wondering. My role had been professional-perfect-wife and worthy mother. My husband’s journey and the growth of our children had always come first. I supported them fully.

Suddenly, with this question, I was like a wriggling caterpillar in a cocoon, desperate to emerge a free butterfly.

It’s common in middle age to assess what the rest of your life will look like if you stay where you are. Some people are content, some complacent, some apathetic, some restless and some miserable.

I felt I was shackled, like the life force was being drained from me. I tried to gather together good enough reasons to stay but in truth it wasn’t working. I was terrified but bundled my fears into a box, gathered my strengths and dreams, and took a giant leap of faith.

As an emerging writer, I want to find my voice. Writing has become as necessary as breathing.

Being a social creature and a middle-aged woman, I’ve developed an interest in understanding people and relationships.  Age, introspection and self-help books have conspired to put me on the road to wisdom. The more wizened I become, the more I want to share.

The natural world – scenery, environment and creatures – is my passion. I need to be outdoors every day. Taking photos is a spinoff of the beauty I notice. The desire to travel and explore gives me extra impetus to blog.

So this blog is about life, relationships, women’s issues, creativity, nature, travelling and writing.

I hope you’ll join me.