First and foremost, apologies for the radio silence. My school has just gone through a major inspection, so for most of the last month it’s been 90-hour work weeks, with barely time for those little non-essentials like sleep and exercise, so blogging (and living, more or less) had to take a back seat. Back now though – let’s get to the words! I’m also looking forward to going round and reading some of my favourite blogs – I’m sure you guys have been up to loads while I’ve been away!
On one of the forums I visit, we were recently challenged to write something about twenty things we are grateful for. Here are mine (in all their random and no particular order glory):
1. My family. We are a really crazy offbeat gang, but I love them. Mum and Dad have tried so hard to give us a childhood better than theirs (Mum had the love, Dad the money when they grew up – they’ve tried to give us a little of both!). It hasn’t always been easy, but they have always tried, and that’s what I admire the most about my crazy parents. I’m so happy they are in such a great place now. I’m also blessed with the loveliest siblings who I adore to pieces. A mad sister and a crazy brother – How lucky am I? This central unit has always been so important to me, not least because a lot of my extended family aren’t really in the picture (I’ve tried, but do you know what, if your grandparents don’t want to be there and be invested, there comes a time where as the grandchild you just need to give up. I love them, but my living grandparents just aren’t really there). I do have the huge blessing of my onetime foster family though – Aunty S and Uncle F and their brood are still a part of my life and I love them dearly, in all their couthie North East Scots fabulosity.
2. My friends. Hoooooo boy. My friends are truly, truly, truly a blessing to me. Whether they’ve known me for a few months or fifteen years, I am constantly counting these blessings disguised as people. They make me laugh, they comfort me when I’m upset, they let me help them, and they seem to appreciate my own little brand of random. I love them all, probably more than they’ll ever grasp. For someone who grew up in a fairly isolationist family, whose parents don’t really socialise a huge amount (although they are getting better at that!), I am amazed at all the awesome experiences, love, and joy my wonderful friends bring into my life.
3. My health. A fairly elemental thing, no? But despite my desire to be slimmer, healthier etc., and my fairly random need for oodles of water each and every day, I have been blessed in this respect so far. Touch wood!
4. Hope. And faith. Man, hope is amazing, right? I’ve had some dark times, and even in my very lucky life just now there are challenges and tougher times. Hope is the light that guides the way through it. I’m also grateful for my own faith – sure it’s a weird mishmash of Christianity, Buddhism and humanism, but do you know what, it works for me. To quote to Dalai Lama: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
5. My right leg (and foot). Heh. Now we’ve got the big four done, onto the more random. I feel I genuinely owe my life (or at the very least, my lifestyle) to my right leg. When I was twelve I fell 20 feet off a zip wire launch tower (I wasn’t shown how to wear the harness. So it was more or less a step into nothingness). Apparently a lot of humans then adopt the foetal position as they fall. I did. But a split second before landing I put my right foot out to break my fall. Net result, a foot fractured in four or five places. And a strangely wide foot now. But can you imagine what that would have done to a pelvis? Last year when I was hit by a car and flung off my scooter, my right side came to the rescue again – by landing on it heavily and bruising the heck out of it, I miraculously walked away from a collision that could have completely broken me. Or worse. My right side rules! As does my left, no doubt, but for different reasons.
6. Singing. I love to sing. You know those infuriating singing contest people who claim “I’ve been singing since I can remember!”? Well, I’m one of them. According to mum, I would pull myself up in my crib and sing or hum before I actually started talking (another thing I love to do ;-)). And now, it’s still a huge part of my life – I am always singing, and performing would be right up there on my list of favourite things.
7. Music. I grew up in a house where there wasn’t much music. Dad had some vinyl and Mum sang a few songs while doing housework, but we were never what qualified as a musical family. Then I arrived. I am a huge music geek, and listening to music is one of my passions. I spend waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much money on music!
8. Books. Need I say more? I’ve been reading since I was two (the joys of being the firstborn of an ambitious single mum!), and in my twenty-fifth year of reading am still going strong. I always have a couple of books on the go, and often a couple of magazines or articles too. Lazy Sunday reading with a cup of tea and some toast = my bliss.
9. Radio. Ever since I got my first stereo with radio, I’ve been listening, and still do now. I listen to the radio first thing in the morning (Chris Moyles) and last thing at night (Colin Murray). Classic FM got me through my dissertation. MFR (Moray Firth Radio!) got me through sixth form. This is the medium I love so much I want to retrain to work in it. Old school!
10. Join Me. About a year ago, my lovely friend Ross recommended a book called ‘Join Me’ by Danny Wallace. I read it and loved it and joined ‘Join Me’. ‘Join Me’ is a collective (not a cult!), where the members promise to do a random act of kindness (RAoK) each and every Friday. And we also get together for ‘Join Meets’ and have japes and make money for charity. I’ve been a Joinee since April, and I love it. An entire movement based on kindness. And banter. Amazing. And the people are pretty much universally awesome and love to hug. It feels like coming home!
11. Hugs. I am so pro-hugging it hurts. I’m a really tactile person, and I feel touch and contact are such a hugely important part of the human experience. If I’ve met you, I’ve probably hugged you!
12. Blogging. Geekaliscious as it may be, I love blogging. I was never that good at keeping journals, but I was always good at letters, and I feel that blogging is more like writing an open letter than cramming deep dark secrets into a journal. Parfait! It’s also been a boon – my trip to Canada was enriched hugely by hanging out with some awesome blog buds (shout-out to Christy, Alex, Bee, Scott and Ashley!); and I know lots of my friends check my blog (and I theirs) to check in when life prevents us catching up in person.
13. My mid to late twenties (and hopefully the life to come). You know that silly Facebook application ‘Compare People’? Well it’s hilarious and dumb, but one of my little moments of personal pride comes from that. You see, a few months ago I checked my rankings…and my friends thought I was brave. Me….brave. And silly as that app is, this meant a great deal, because I would say I spent a great deal of my life up till about age 22 being…scared. Scared of the past, scared of the future, scared of myself. The events of my life up to that point had me so scared that I was trapped in a space I didn’t like at all. The five years since then have been a steep learning curve, and it’s certainly not all rosey, but I am so happy now compared to what I was. So yeah, I guess I am a little brave :-).
14. A good and wise man who decided we’d be better off as friends rather than anything beyond that. He’s now pretty much my best guy friend, and I can’t wait to be godmother to his future children (no pressure, haha!). As a coda to this, I’m also glad and grateful I didn’t take the easy and wrong option with another guy…on paper he would have given me lots of what I’d like, but I didn’t love him. And therein lay the rub.
15. The internet. I live in the middle of nowhere, on my own, and work stupid-ass hours. My friends live here, there and everywhere (London! Glasgow! Bahrain! Toronto!). I loooove the internet.
16. Mistakes. Yes, mistakes. I’m glad I made them, and I’m glad I learnt from them. Yes, even that awful haircut I had as a teen – I learnt never to attempt an undercut again!
17. Travel. Travelling to lovely places, visiting with lovely people. Great!
18. Dancing. Just the most fun, whether in a club, or my own front room!
19. Laughter. Oh man, I LOVE to laugh (just ask my classes). I have about eleventy million laughs too – from hearty belly laugh to witchy cackle to no-sound-eyes-watering-actually-in-physical-pain-giggly. Brill.
20. Children. I spend a huge amount of my life in the company of these wee creatures. Cue muchos hilarity. I had a really deep moment in Chapel the other day – surrounded by these forty-three little people I’m charged with educating and nuturing, and just thinking of all they have to come – all the good I hope will come to them, and the bad I hope never darkens their doors. I am genuinely inspired by the children I work with. I also love all the little people that are arriving into my close circle with increasing frequency. Seeing how happy parenthood is making my friends is truly a privilege, and I just hope if I’m lucky enough to have children of my own I’ll do half as well as the mummies and mums-to-be I know.
Please forgive me any omissions. And feel free to nick this idea (which I nicked in the first place!) – I’d love to read your twenty things.
Love, as always,