Urban Pagan in Somerset

Urban Pagan in Somerset

Friday, 16 March 2012

Making plans to live now, not later

Im one of these annoying people that sail through the winter without getting much in the way of sniffles and coughs! Well, I was! So imagine my irritation and annoyance at coming home from work one monday evening several weeks back feeling achey and a little bit peculiar! Dammit, I thought to myself, Im coming down with a cold. Paracetemol and an early night and a couple of days feeling less than great at work coming up.

About 2 am in the morning, I realised that actually, work wouldnt be an option the following day and I must admit over the next few days I was completely taken aback as I couldnt stand up, shivered when fully clothed and covered with 2 duvets, hurt all over and felt as lousy as I thought it was possible. Finally after a week when I felt I could get out of bed to go to the doctors, I learned I had got the Flu. First time ever, and if you ever see someone sniffling a bit with a head cold telling you they have the flu, remember to tell them they dont know what having it really means.

But this blog isnt about the Flu really. Its more about what went through my mind while I was made to rest up and had nothing to do but sleep or think all day and night. Now I only had Flu. I wasnt terminal, I know it can lead to nasty things and really bad cases of it can be dangerous - but I just felt very unpleasant, and after it developed a secondary lung infection resulting in anti biotics, I turned the corner and got better.

What it did though was make me consider a number of things; my life so far, things I want to do in the future, and how I live now.  The first thing I realised was although Im not really that old, Im 50 this year and I dont consider that particularly old, but I am aware that parts of me dont work as well as they used to. My eyesight has got worse and now I am shortsighted but also need reading glasses too.

I have developed gall stones and have to be careful of what I eat to keep them managed. I dont have the energy to go to work, go out all night and get up at 6 am after a few hours sleep like I could in my twenties.

So Im not as young as I was, and I need to make sure I eat well, get enough sleep and hopefully last well into my dotage. But I also had other things to consider. I realised that the things I had thought I wanted to do or achieve in my life over the last 20 years or so, have changed and I need to make some kind of 'bucket' list. Not that Im expecting to kick the bucket for sometime hopefully, but it did make me think that I dont want to get to a stage where I regret not making plans or taking up things I want to do, just because I want to! 

Ive also had other things happening around me over the last year which has made an impact. One of my dear friends was diagnosed with cancer. After having a breast removed, a dose of very intense chemo and radiotherapy she has gone into remission thankfully. But it did make me think of my own mortality and whether Im living the fullest life I can nowadays. Even little things like 2 of our family pets shuffling off their mortal coils recently added to the thoughts turning over in my mind. And so I started to assemble some ideas of things I want to do in my life, so I dont have cause to regret when I come to its end.

One of my major dreams is to live on a canal or house boat - and I had mentally made a note to do this when I retire, or my youngest daughter leaves home for university etc. Suddenly it occured to me. Why on earth was I waiting another 15 - 20 years for this? I had been kind of mentally considering an inheritance that I know will come to me some time in the future, although hopefully not too soon, and was assuming I would use this to finance it, but there are other options available and so I have opened myself up to looking into it now and seeing if its possible.

A couple of other things to go on my 'bucket' list include a trip to the Scottish Highlands and the Islands.  And one other item which may seem strange to some people, is that I want to be painted, sketched or photographed nude. This is probably an odd one to mention, but it came when I was getting better during my Flu bout and watched a really interesting programme on the art channel about a photographer in America, doing the American road trip thing, and taking pictures of naked people in unusual situations - such as 100 naked people lying in the road with cars and buses driving past them.

There was one particular photograph when there were 2 women. One was a very skinny and tall lady with very pale skin. The other lady was a very large lady, with a lovely face and long luscious hair but lots of rolls of skin and flesh. The larger lady spoke about how this experience had made her feel beautiful and free as she lay back on some rocks by the waters around New York in some of her photographs. The ones he took of both of them together were fantastic, she didnt look uncomfortable or concerned about her body compared to the thinner lady and together it was beautiful.

As I watched this, I realised that I have myself become very comfortable in my own skin. Im not obese, but not a slim type either and I have had body issues in the past. But now, I am content about my body and how I look and feel. It also made me realise that I too, would like to be able to feel totally free, strip off and have someone capture my freedom in paint or print. And so Im looking at the possibility of offering myself to a life art class.

Looking at the few things on my list - which I am sure I will add to as I go along, I realised that its not unachievable or impossible things that I want to do. Maybe slightly unusual, but its ok - its my list. And Im not in a rush, but at the same time, Im not going to put off things that will make me happy.