Sunday, 31 July 2011

Our virtual universe and TED

The internet is a world that is so vast that I'm sometimes baffled by the possibility of so much information, thinking, humour, personality or connection that it creates. It's like trying to quantify or understand where the universe starts and stops.

I love that there's so much out there, and occasionally lose hours to a brief question following whatever Google throws at me. There also times where there's just too much choice and I find myself simply browsing those handful of websites I visit daily.

I've recently added a new site to the places I visit often - I'm sure many of you will have encountered the site before, but if you haven't TED is a not for profit organisation founded on 'ideas worth sharing'. They are, and I'm sharing them here too. The site is simple, attractive and a world of thinking, laughing, challenging talks. Each talk is posted as a video, so you can see the person behind the words too.

I love that the content is searchable by categories beyond an academic topic; where you can visit those that are 'inspiring' or 'ingenious'. I've found myself listening to talk of physics or global challenges or love. Often these are things that I'd never pick a paper or book to seek ideas on, not even realising I was interested. It is a place of joy and debate, of power and honesty.

In the past day TED talks have made me wonder, smile and cry.

This talk on letter writing below made me think of my father: what do I keep of him?

It also makes me glad of the letters my Grandpa wrote to me every week whilst I was at boarding school, never expecting a response. They arrived every Friday, with two second class stamps so I could write back if I found a quite moment and write to someone else too. I still read these letters from time to time. And he is back with me, in his careful copperplate script. Written with effort as his eyesight faded in his late eighties. I treasure those envelopes and the love contained in them.

This one from Neil Pasricha is a gentle and funny reminder that, no matter what, there are things in our lives that are joyful and worth stopping still for a moment to observe and appreciate.

And one final one from Chris Jordan, whose profile quotes this simple thought;

"As you walk up close, you can see that the collective is only made up of lots and lots of individuals. There is no bad consumer over there somewhere who needs to be educated. There is no public out there who needs to change. It's each one of us." Chris Jordan on Bill Moyers Journal

I can only encourage you to take virtual wander, and lose yourself in this beautiful, funny, courageous place.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A (sometimes) lonely response

My last post has resulted in a flurry of commentary here and elsewhere, and an identification with the isolation that comes with watching your friends settle and move into family lives, when what you know is the same old routine that has existed for too long but with fewer people available to help fill the gaps as child rearing or marital lives take over.

All I know is that my happiness can only come from me, no one else is going to 'fix' that. It is my responsibility. However, it's sometimes like wading through mud and a friendly face at the end of the day would go a long way to relieving that.

As I lurch from one failed dating attempt to another, I'm glad I'm still trying despite the frustration and sadness that sometimes rears its head in posts like my last. I also know that the things in life worth having are worth fighting for, working hard for, taking risks for....even if they don't work out.

Sometimes, I also know I need to stop trying. Stand still and look after me. The rest will come.

Living alone is a huge privilege but it can also be hard going. I know I have good friends, and a family who care, but sometimes 'lonely' happens anyway, and can swiftly morph into 'unloved' and consequently 'unloveable'. A quick google search produced this on page 1 of 'lonely'. Some honest words on a subject few people ever discuss.Emily White: Lonely

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Sometimes I think I'm just meant to be on my own. It just seems that nothing ever quite fits when it comes to men.

Dad dying has brought how lonely I am into sharp focus. I am no-one's priority, and it makes me very sad.

Tonight I found myslef ouring a glass of wine, lighting my first cigarette in two days and browsing an online dating site where I dabbled a while ago. Then I started crying.

I keep trying, I keep letting myself be open to the potential and hurt. Time and time it just comes to nothing, and I wonder if I'm at a point where I should just accept that perhaps this is the way my life is meant to be. I am not sure I've got the energy to keep trying.

I appreciate that this may all sound very self indulgent and self pitying, but I just don't know how to play this particular game. Perhaps I am simply unlovable.

Even though it is mid summer, I put the heating on. I need sometimes to wrap myself in warmth when there is noone to hold me.

I question whether I should press 'publish' on this rambling. But, right now it's how I feel and this what this space was created for.....I may delete later when I decide that I shouldn't be so damned wallowing.....

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Reluctant Freedom

I moved back to my home city four and half years ago to help care for and support my parents. This wasn't the selfless act it perhaps seems, I was simply exhausted and time poor from travelling back and forwards between two cities too often. My organisation had an office here, and a transfer was possible without impacting my job.

Since I came home, my entire routine has been defined by hospital visiting or caring. With one parent still needing support, those circumstances are still partly true. But, with one now gone, the load has lifted significantly.

Suddenly, I have time. I am not bound by visiting hours. My mother is well and able enough for my sister and I both to be away at the same time without having to coordinate our every move.

I miss Dad, but I'm also finding a freedom. Freedom to chose how I spend my time. I'm also finding that I'm not very good at just stopping. Until a month ago, a duty-less evening or a day of nothing was a rare treat. And one spent just catching up with the basics and resting. Now, I have time.

I have to redefine my existence here. I have to find a routine and life of my own. I'm taking small steps towards just 'hanging out' and have aimless days or evenings. These things still are tinged by a nagging sense that I should be doing something, be somewhere else. There is a lingering guilt. A sadness that I'm enjoying some space only because my Dad has gone.

I'm still grieving, but beginning to allow myself to be a little excited about anticipating a future that belongs to me.

The biggest thing I need to do is learn to relax, and learn that I no longer need to plan every movement.

PS there are words emerging in my head about the impact these last years have had on my relationships and friendships. I'm writing this to remind myself that it's a post I need to write.