Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Balance- June

Balance, my one word for 2022. Linking with Carolyn and others here for these posts – https://youronewordblog.wordpress.com/2022/06/26/one-word-checking-in-june-twenty

Six months of the year in which I strive for balance has past. A good time to review what changes I have made, and what still needs working on as I adjust to my life on my own.

The month began with yet another domestic emergency. Kitchen lights went out fusing half the downstairs lights. I rightly diagnosed the dimmer switch. Then the panic set in, the getting of an electrician. Let’s keep it brief , I made seven phone calls to various firms, and three days later it was fixed.

Now this event threw me completely off balance, mostly because I correctly predicted the hassle it would be locating an available Sparks, and it was. After a great deal of thought and self examination I decided to pay for a home emergency deal, one which also provides a gas boiler service. That has now been booked in for August.

I feel better about it.

Meals- I am still adjusting to meals for one. This is taking far longer than I envisioned, as this time last year Mr E was already too ill to eat a “normal” diet. The effect of the Russian/Ukrainian situation is inflation for everyone, petrol, energy, food. Serious rethinking has been needed for most of us. Unfortunately everything comes in big packs , family size as if this is good for everyone. I was throwing away far too much, and that’s despite dividing and freezing food. It upsets me to throw away food. I had to change my shopping habits. No more weekly shops for me. Now I am shopping two , three times a week, walking to the local shop or banding several errands together to minimise car use. It’s a different way of being.

Exercise, was another thing I thought about back in January ,regularly berating myself for being lazy. Some people commented that I was probably getting far more exercise than I realised just going about daily activities. So I have stopped fretting about this, and all I do know is that I am physically stronger than I was a year ago. I can pick up things that a year ago I would have dragged, and formally immovable things are now pushable. However, I would like to get back into swimming every week, mostly because I enjoy it, and I get to feel virtuous !

Being useful- It’s a human need I am sure to want to be useful. If you recall I’d taken on the role of Safeguarding at the church. Now this has turned out to be far more about admin than safeguarding. Has everyone done their training, filled in various forms, etc.? It wasn’t what I expected, nor does it use my knowledge. Me and spreadsheets don’t go together well, and training is promised but doesn’t happen. I’m giving it a couple more months, to see if I feel happier. Meantime I realise I do have my uses… babysitting, trying to help the birds and insects in the garden, decluttering and making sure perfectly good things go to good homes, this month for example two guitars, an amp and an electronic organ to a local school. These of course belonged to Mr E, and I promised him I would do this. It also helps with the gradual letting go and moving on.

Being Social. I have always enjoyed my own company and that of my family , but I know that we all need friends old and new. Moving house during the pandemic , over 270 miles was always going to be a challenge to make friends. However, I am lucky in that I have friends not too far away, some of whom I have known a very long time. Mr A and Mrs S are a couple I have known since I lived on the South Coast in Sussex. I am talking nearly 40 years, I childminded their youngest daughter; they are my youngest son’s god parents. They moved to Oxfordshire when we did and stayed put, we were the ones that moved North. I met up with them this month, and it’s just so true, you simply pick up where you left up… Which was actually at Mr B’s wedding to Mrs G three years ago

Making new friends is harder the older you get. I am extremely grateful to the carers centre for everything and especially for the walks, coffee mornings and craft sessions, but I knew the support was time limited and I had to move on. The U3A has been absolutely marvellous. If you are part or fully retired and in need of company and stimulation I can really recommend this organisation. I have joined three groups, one walking group exploring local towns and villages(post on latest walk to follow at some point), an embroidery group ( a finish is on the horizon ) and poetry appreciation which unlike the group I belonged to with the same name back in Pickering, is extremely mentally challenging. So much discussion and lively debate, I feel my brain has received a total workout. And I am getting to know people.

I also attended a sewing workshop this month, new venue, new people, revisiting an old attempt to learn something…post in due course. I’m fine with new places as long as I know where to park the car. There’s no logic to it, it’s just me, so I do dummy runs.

I’m learning so much about myself this year, what I like doing, what causes anxiety, ways round it (getting the car checked out before my road trip in August for example), making choices that are right for me and taking ownership of my home. And as for the garden, well that was all about decision making, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

I’m doing ok. I’m balancing better, and change is possible.

Onwards and upwards. July will bring challenges I am sure but I am gradually learning how to manage.

Please do check out Carolyn’s page and the others who post their one word updates Thanks for reading and being here.

Comments on: "Balance- June" (31)

  1. You are doing amazing things! I hope it has been a helpful exercise to take a look back at what you intended to do and what you have accomplished 🙂

  2. You’re doing amazingly well. Very inspiring.

  3. I really enjoy and value the way you explore balance, and it resonated a lot while I was exploring my own musings on enough. The middle of the year is a really apt time to focus on balance I think!

  4. Cathy, if you’re open to a newsy email, will try to send one in a week or so. However, don’t feel obliged if I should forget, or if you’d rather I did! (You’re doing splendidly & are a wonderful example to many of us!) 💕

  5. Cathy, your mindfulness is inspiring. You have done so much rebalancing since becoming a widow (and I think writing it down in black + white helps one see just HOW much!). I have been thinking about food budgeting in similar ways as you, but for different reasons–we have an access issue, so between that and food costs (well, cost of everything!), waste is harder for me to bear than ever!
    Sounds to me like your strategizing and objectivity are paying off. I’m glad to hear you’re considering whether or not the safeguarding role at the church is right for you. Sometimes things pan out differently than we expect them to–and after a fair chance, it serves you well to ask if it’s the right fit for you. Best of luck with the process.

  6. Your willingness to share is truly a blessing Cathy, thank you for your honesty. You truly are an inspiration!

  7. You are an inspiration to me right now, Cathy. I’m off balance for some reason this week after 6 months of trying to fit this square peg into a round hole community. A little different than you, as I’ve been alone for over 12 years but it never gets less lonely. I just motor through. You are doing all the right things. In my apartment complex of aging seniors, I have found that I have too much of something, I pass it on to someone else and when they have too much of something, they look for someone to share it with. I even do that with my kids. A big bag of flour or sugar is so much less expensive so we split the cost and share the bag. I don’t have close access to groceries and rely on someone to take me which is very difficult as an independent woman. You are doing amazingly well whether you realize it or not. my move was over 1400 miles from my daughter and my friends but the cost of living here is considerably less so it was a clear choice. Keep doing what you are doing. We will keep cheering you on.

    • Thank you so much. You too made that big move and are finding a new way to be. Making big sensible decisions that being the correct ones are still hard to adjust too.

      • It’s especially hard when you’ve always had someone to bounce those decisions off on. I second guess myself all the time. Hang in there.

  8. You have done a great job with your balancing. You have come a long way and I am proud of you. Of course there are things that will throw you off balance. That is true for everyone, but I think it’s thrown in to show us how we can become unbalanced, and then balance ourselves again in our own way. Keep moving forward. You will figure it all out.

    • Thank you so much for these really kind words. This morning two things happened unexpectedly which I didn’t expect, and I have coped well.

  9. What a wonderful way to shop – walking to the store a couple times a week! I hate throwing away food too! Congratulations on the stuff you have been letting go of to let someone else enjoy. Good for you on the sewing workshop!
    I was “Tierney and Terry” for over 30 years of my life (since right out of high school) and when he died I had to learn to be just “Tierney” and it sounds like you are the same journey of self discovery!

  10. The balance of meal prep and shopping is a struggle for me too. I do not like the extra large packs of things, feels too much like hoarding. So I go to the store more often but do try to make it part of a loop soother errands get done on the same day. Balance feels like something I will be working on for many years.

  11. There is so much good in here Cathy! Brava to you! (I think these posts are an excellent reminder to ourselves at the progress we make!)

    I very much hear you on the meal making. Pre-pandemic it is shameful how we shopped. I cannot imagine ever going back to that. Meals for two… I shop for perishables once a week. Non-perishables 3-4 weeks. And I am saving so much money!

    • I find some shops are cheapest for things like cleaning products, and go once in a while then choose different shops where I can buy things like loose carrots and only get what I need, and always with a shopping list.

  12. Wow – blowing the lights would have thrown me off-balance, too. And calling around to find an electrician? That sounds intimidating! That would have taken so far out of my comfort zone.

    I love how you’ve been thinking about so many aspects of your life, Cathy. You’re such an inspiration to me! ❤️

  13. As someone who lives alone, I am surprised that you have to shop two or three times a week. I only shop once, except for extra milk. The only big packs I need to buy are meat. We must either have very different supermarkets or eat very different things. I am with you on the need to be useful. Can understand your finding safeguarding not what you expected. I responded to a request for people to listen to people read (local library) only to find it would also mean exhausting days training and termly meetings of helpers (location not specified) and maybe a long wait for someone to help. With CFS/ME (and no car) what had seemed possible definitely isn’t. Beginning to feel there’s nothing useful I can do.
    Glad you are coping so well. Interested in these posts as I may learn something to help myself.

    • I was throwing away milk, so smaller bottles help. Bags of veggies went off, better to buy what I need when needed. Bread another thing I never get to the end of. Small loaves or rolls better than large ones. I suppose I also find that shopping smaller ensures I get out into the big world , the walk , the human contact. Today’s interaction was the accountant and posting a card on the way home. I suppose it also breaks up the day. I am quite capable of reading all day long!

      • Yes, an excuse for going out is good. I buy my veggies loose (most from greengrocers) and keep in fridge. I used to feel I couldn’t buy cabbage but now I keep it in the fridge it keeps up to a couple of weeks. I lose a bit at the edges but still good for me as I love cabbage. I make my own bread and freeze any left after three days. Use for toast.

  14. Going Batty in Wales said:

    You are doing so well Cathy! It takes time to find the people you need in your new life – whether a reliable electrician or new friends and on the way to finding your princes and princesses you kiss a lot of frogs believe me! There is so much to get used to and wobbles are inevitable but you are finding ways and means. Keep going – I’m cheering you on from here.

  15. What a fabulous account of so many positive changes. As always, you are an inspiration!

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