Thursday, 27 October 2011

Good Life

I'm just getting over a virus, many are calling it 'flu, but this is an exaggeration. I've felt generally like I've got the worst hangover, all my energy stolen, limbs feel useless, heavy and bruised.
The worst thing? Bloody ravenous, all the time, despite not being able to taste anything (definitely not 'flu then).

Enough symptom talk, very boring, and I spend most of autumn/winter poorly every year so it's nothing new.

The past few weeks, very limited use of a PC means relying heavily on my phone to keep up with blogs - not easy unless you have a really snazzy phone (which I don't).
Sorry if my comments have been poorly typed, or if I haven't got around to commenting and I usually do.

It's been such a lonely fortnight for me, thank goodness for blogs, and twitter, which I'm warming to more after being unsure about if for most of the time.

I haven't been in a very communicative mood, generally, probably due to being run down. I did want to be around people, but only people who don't feel the need to fill the air with dialogue, close friends in other words. This period of near solitude has been good for me, provided a chance to think about the future.

I walked past a hair salon the other day, I have been walking past it on my way to town since I was three. It's called Pandora, and two ladies in their sixties run it, one of their mothers owned it before them.
Only old ladies go there now, but they probably went there when they were my age. They go in and have their hair 'set'. As the frail looking ladies sit, their head under the heaters, they look like corpses being warmed up. Invariably, they leave the salon looking only marginally different from when they went in.

I very suddenly became aware of the lapse of time, it was strange, I felt a sad longing,  all vulnerable and under pressure.
When you don't work, you see the same types of people; other mums, the unemployable, and the elderly. These elderly ladies getting out of taxis every Wednesday to wobble into Pandora were me, not so very long ago.When I walked past aged 3, who knows, maybe one of them was in there having a perm, sipping weak tea, enjoying a bit of peace. Corned beef hash planned for dinner, a night out lined up at one of the now long-gone bars or clubs that weekend.

Like many people, I get scared when I think about the future, excited and scared in equal measure. I think of death, illness, one or all of my sons becoming tearaway, of me being fed up as I juggle work and family commitments.
I also think of having more fun, being less tied to the family, meeting new people at work, getting out and about more.
I think of the past, those days which leave a lasting impression on your mind despite nothing notable happening (like standing in the lane, aged 8, looking at an open attic window on a hot day and feeling like I was looking at myself from another vantage point. Duran Duran were blasting from the bedroom).

I reckon Pandora will be gone soon, those ladies have been standing up all day in stilletos for over 40 years. I bet  they'll never be able to wear orthopaedic shoes now.

I'm reaching a prime, not necessarily a prime age; a prime time. I don't want a perm, don't want a full-time job, don't want a tattoo, don't want a degree. I don't want to go to a show. I don't want a girls weekend in Butlins.

I want to get fit, dress more like 'me' than some blend-in with the furniture mum. I want to make things, make friends, cook more, talk more (I don't talk much, believe it or not) and create memories to look back on for notable reasons. I can't wait

I hope these thoughts make sense, I sometimes wonder if a diary would be better than a blog?


  1. Hello Lucy:
    Yes, we understand exactly what you mean here. It is, we have found, when one is at a very low point in life that, paradoxically, priorities become clearer. Knowing what one does not want is a positive step forward, finding what gives satisfaction tends to be rather trickier, we find. However, we can certainly say that not working is one of life's greatest luxuries. Having the freedom to decide how the day will shape, even if one does not have unlimited resources to do whatever one might wish, is so exhilarating. Adventures are always round the corner but one does need time to see them and act upon them.

    So, Lucy, go for IT, whatever IT may be. We have to say, though that it is pretty damned good to have been able to wear high heels all day for 60 years!!

  2. I know exactly the kind of salon you mean, the overhead dryers, super sized cans of lacquer in the windows and disposable rain hats for sale in a basket on the counter. Those places intrigue me, they are like a time capsule. I feel like I could enter the premises and live the part of a Sixties actress in a black and white kitchen sink drama.

    A while ago I remember you saying that you didn't know what you wanted but you knew what you didn't. Times are a-changing for you as you seem to have a firm idea of what you do want. Don't you dare stop blogging and sharing your thoughts, I'd be bereft without your inspired writing. xxx

    PS Get well soon!

  3. Sorry to hear you have been ill hun, that dreaded season where everyone shares their germs, plus i now have realised that the nursery is a breeding ground so they all come back with the little man for me to pick up - blugh! I hope you are feeling better soon.

    I love your description of the salon, there isnt one like that here anyone as all the highstreet salons have taken over, i love the 'corpses warmed up' expression, made me chuckle as I can just picture it.

    I agree with Vix, looks like you have a firm idea of what you want so go for it chickadee, but you cant replace us all with a diary ;o) Would be sorely missed. Mwah Scarlett x

  4. There's so much to write about in response I have no idea where to start! Firstly - sorry to hear you have felt lonely. But I know well what it is like to also 'enjoy the silence' (Depeche Mode, sorry.)I am personally finding that blogger(and now twitter) has enriched my life massively since I joined them. Best thing I have done in years, this. I'm no longer sullenly wondering what the hell to do with my time in the evening. Becky is usually busy working and I am so bored with TV.

    Time, aging - All I know is that I CONSTANTLY feel the future kicking me up the arse.
    One of the absolute worst things in the world I can imagine, for me, is regretting not doing more with my life when I was younger.

    All of your thoughts make absolute sense by the way. Even the bit about looking at yourself from the attic window. I won't elaborate about my similiar moment yet, but you've given me a terrific idea for a blog post. It might turn out all horrid and Sub-Proustian though! Nevermind.

    I'm excited for you and I know you will do exactly all those great things you speak of. If I didn't think you would do them, by the way, I would say!

    The very best blogs are those which are more like a diary, I think.

    Get well soon, by the way, too. Incidentally I have been eating all manner of sweet things, I can't seem to get enough of them at the moment. Tonight it has been cream buns, hobnobs and kitkats. Becky looked horrified. I don't see any harm in it now and again.

  5. Hi Lucy, I have that feeling of time marching inexorably sometimes too, and have visions of myself in the future when I see certain old people. I remember one, on a bus in Hornchurch, I was about 16 or so, and I saw all these old dears in their sensible boring dull coats sitting dully on the bus, and I had this overwhelming sense of dread that I would be that woman at some time in the future. I felt quite sick.

    Hope you feel better soon, there's lots of gastro going about down here.

  6. I get what you mean my friend totaly what fun we would all have getting together would have to be longer than a day tho Get well soon so nice to read your words aain xx

  7. Jane and Lance - in January, my youngest son starts school. Save for a brief period 'on the dole' this will be the first time I get to have a whole day to myself - so exciting.

    Vix - it will be the end of an era once these types of businesses close for good. They used to exude a sort of glamour and sophistication, now more of a god's waiting t
    room feel.

    Scarlett - green nose, drool, wheezy chest, irritating cough, dodgy stomach - that's the kids on a good day once they start childcare! I won't replace you with a diary, I'd miss YOU all too much.

    Ben - you're a mere lightweight by comparison to me in the sugar-binge stakes. I'd probably make Becky vomit if she could witness what I put away of an evening.
    I'll definitely wish I did more when I'm old and too tired/worn to get out and enjoy the world.

    Sarah - I sometimes catch myself saying old lady things like "it's a lovely drying day, I've got all my towels on the line". I wonder what happens to make this kind of thing an action worth sharing with the world, I never used to say this kind of thing. Is it an automatic post 30, or post having kids thing?
    I'd hate a return to that ache of self-doubt and inferiority I carried in my youth. I feel now is the time to enjoy a balance of confidence, vitality and wisdom (well, a little, anyway).

    Nelly - what a lovely comment - really brightened my day! I'd love to spend the day dressing up with you, then go thrift shopping, cocktails and dancing.

  8. Of course your thoughts make sense, Lucy, they certainly ring many bells with me.
    Sometimes you reach a period of limbo in life, which isn't necessarily bad, it's just a bit of an in-between stage while you figure some stuff out. Maybe being ill and having a quiet time makes you reflect on it all the more.
    Not working and being at home with the kids IS a luxury, I know many people would envy me, but I know I have struggled with "Mum" being my defined role, and having nothing else. Paid work will probably come back into my life at some point, but I found that buying/selling vintage on Ebay, volunteering at school, and now blogging, have definitely filled the gap left by working outside the home, and has made me feel more confident and fulfilled.
    I'm much older than you, so I am allowed to say - DON'T WAIT to create the memories you want. Do it now, you will feel so much better for it! I know I do, and so wish I'd had the confidence to wear what I like and stand out and not feel self-conscious and not bother about the side-eye and make friends and chat lots when I was your age, and not waited till my late 40s. Always a slow starter, that's me!
    Keep writing about your thoughts and feelings and plans, because we are out here listening and appreciating your honesty. And damn you write well!!

  9. All of this is very natural and exacerbated by post-viral blues. Keep looking forward to the future, you’ve got lots of it, and plot and plan your precious ‘me time’. I know you’ll make good use of it.

  10. I love how honest you are with yourself. I have been thinking a lot about death, the recent passing of Chris's G-ma, my parents ailing health, and feeling the aches in my own body, it's hard not too. Who thinks about this crap in your twenties, we are too busy having fun and caring about little more than that.

    I felt kinda like you did about 10 years ago so I picked up and moved from San Diego to Los Angles, not too far but it was a new world for me. I had crazy adventures with my heroin junkie X, found my lil dog Peetee and finally got the hell out of there and moved to Oregon. Here I made all new friends, bought a house met my husband and thought perfect now to pump out some kids. When I found out that was never gonna happen with my broken body I had to figure out again who I was going to be since a Mom was not it, (I'm still trying to find the new me) I guess my point, if I have one is, we are always re-inventing who we are I think it keeps us going. Stagnation will kill you slowly and COLOR will set you free. So I say do what makes you happy, you are only here once so make it count.

    I wish we could go out dancing, that would be a good time wouldn't it :)

  11. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment. I've really enjoyed reading through your posts and would be very sad, having just found you, to lose you to a diary! I've been through a huge amount of change over the past few years and can really relate to your feelings of not knowing which direction to go in. I've found writing and being creative instrumental in moving me forward. Sending smiles and a hug through the internet ether. Em x

  12. Hello, sorry you've not been feeling yourself - or feeling a different version of yourself perhaps. I sometimes get this sense of never having seen the things that are constants in my life before - the French call it 'jamais vu', and it's the less common and possibly creepier sister of deja vu. I know this isn't quite what you're talking about, but it's always connected to that same feeling you talk about, looking at yourself from another vantage point, or the odd awareness of age creeping up on you. Your post has unsettled me a bit, not sure I'm making much sense. Don't stop blogging, whatever you do.

  13. "I want to make things, make friends, cook more, talk more (I don't talk much, believe it or not) and create memories to look back on for notable reasons."

    That's the recipe for the good life in a nutshell. Blogging's all well and good, but you can't beat a proper conversation where people bounce ideas off each other. I moved to Lewes ten years ago, but never really developed a social life here because I had young children (or perhaps that's just an excuse). I need to remedy that. A couple of weeks ago, I met up with a couple of people who've posted comments on my blog and had a great evening, but it also made me realise what I'd been missing.

    There's a place like Pandora near my house. Every week, dozens of women (inclding my mother) arrive in taxis to have a perm. I wonder what these places will do when the perm generation have died out.

  14. Hi Lucy,
    I read ur blog today because of being off to my native place for a week on account of Deepawali(as big festival for Hindus here in India as Xmas in rest of the world ). Thank God, i didn't miss much. I must say that the things u r hinting at in this blog r beyond comprehension for me but still i see a line of loneliness and despondency(i may be wrong) which according to me for a person of your wisdom and beauty is really uncalled for. As for ur last sentence about the choice between diary and blog is concerned, i can't help saying that u have no right to deprive ur readers of the pleasure u have been giving them through ur writings.

  15. Just caught this post as I have to admit I am terrible at keeping up with reading even my favourite blogs. I just had to say please don't choose a diary over a blog as its so reasurring for all of us out there to read something we can relate to and gain a sense of belonging from when we feel like we're the odd one out amongst sea's of people just getting on with it and fitting in,xx

  16. Amor i know how you feel ,but thats life .
    enjoy while you can and do things that make u happy.
    You never know whats around the corner.
    I love vintage hair salons, grannys always seem to talk to me.


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