Posted in Change, Debate, Environment, families, Liberation, lonelyness, Personal Growth, Philosophy, Psychology, Relationships, Role of women, Skills, Thoughts, Time

Happiness

flowerhead   

How can we capture that feeling called happiness?

Like a flower’s seed head it can be blown away so easily by the wind.

One moment it is there, the next it has vanished into thin air.

 

The clouds of pain can gather quickly with the rising storm,

to dampen our hearts and extinguish that sweet feeling of pleasure.

How then do we hold on to such a fragile thing as this? 

 

  Yesterday I read an article in the Times discussing mid-life crisis and the age at which it is most likely to occur, regardless of status, money, children or career.It would appear from the researchers results that a low point is experienced by all of us. The likely age for women is 40 and for men 50.

The purpose of this blog today is not to discuss the article’s validity or specific content but just to look at the results. The link to the Times report is at the end of this short blog for you to read yourself and make your own conclusions.  

So the results suggest this low-point does not suddenly occur over a year but over a period of time. However, by the time you have reached 70, and if active and fit you should be feeling happier again. This feeling obviously passes over time and you reach the other end. I should like to see all the published findings in detail.Certainly, this looks a very interesting study, and for me who is currently studying research principles, theories and application, it would be very premature of me to say there could be many questions left that need futher enquiry and investigation.

For my studies, I am currently looking at the lives of older women and why some accept old age and change better than others. This explores the relationship between mental positiveness and physical well-being and the ability to adapt to a deteriorating body. Depression, isolation and managing altered body image are explored. I am hoping that a greater understanding can not only benefit my professional work but also looking ahead to my own management of age-related change.

From speaking to just a few women, so far in my own enquiries on this subject, of which little research has been done, I have discovered that having a sense of community seems to be a key thing to well-being and quality of life. I state one small example: by having a post office in a rural village means that an older person can get out, engage, post a letter and take a walk. I don’t wish to digress here, but the point is, there are so many reasons and causes why one person can be happy and the next person not. Also how our environment can have a big impact, particularly when in this example given, rural post offices are in threat of closure.

Going back to the results of the study: it stated that a low-point does not come about overnight. I can totally identity with this. It can take layers and layers of events over time. Disappointments, broken promises to ones self and a partner. The hopes and aspirations blown away like my flower’s seed head, gone in a puff of regret and sadness. There are so many reasons why happiness can seem so elusive. It is going to take a very ambitious and brave study to measure and analyse them all. 

My own views as to why mid-life can be hard and older age seem easier are these. Has it to do with caring for ageing parents, holding done a job, battling with a mortgage and trying to get children though education? The retirement years can seem like a field of plenty with spare time and hopefully some cash to pursue a hobby or have a holiday. The grandchildren can be handed back at the end of the day and there are no shift work to content with.

Ok, perhaps a little simplistic but these were reasons given by my partner and I discussing this report together. You readers will have your own ideas, and if you seek out the second link here, some one has already given some answers.

 

Here are the links to the articles. You can see for yourself.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3267259.ece

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article3271700.ece

Posted in Change, Christianinty, Commitment, Debate, Environment, families, Home, Liberation, Modern society, Personal Growth, Relationships, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized

The Modern Meaning of Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you?

When I think of the meaning of Christmas I think of the birth of Jesus Christ and the arrival of the living flesh embodying the christian faith. Christ’s arrival represents love, peace and goodwill to all men, a central core ethos for anyone who believes in him. 

Factually we know that Jesus was not born on the 25th December but probably sometime in October. Christmas day therefore is only symbolic of his birth and what he represents.

But what does Christmas really mean for many people in the UK today and are we kidding ourselves that we love the seasonal event and look foreword to its coming with relish?

I am not getting into a debate here about the validity of who Christ was, though most would agree he existed, just who was he exactly? Most would agree and equate Christmas as a time of love, coming together, relationships and the giving and receiving of gifts regardless of any believe or faith. The attendance by many at the carol service is an interesting one: perhaps displaying an acceptance of a spiritual need that is personal to the individual- or being more cynical, because it is just part of the package deal ,to be done to get into the festive mood. Christmas is not quite Christmas somehow unless we have sung a carol or two and placed a coin in the collection tin. It makes us feel better that we have done this, so we can then go away and have a party at our leisure.

Recently, I heard on a local radio station that one in ten of us will still be paying off last years’s Christmas debts. Relate, relationship counsellors and solicitors will be gearing up for the New Year when it is out with the old and in with the new. Christmas is recognised as stressful and demanding, leading up to the big day, and when families are brought together around the table, tensions can also be running high. Having to spend time together and facing up to unsolved problems  as the new year beckons brings many individuals and families at a crisis point.

I don’t think many of us- unless we are very well off would disagree that the festive season is a time when we creek at the seams because of the need for money to do Christmas justice for everybody. Not wanting to disappoint and always coming up with the goods.The expectation and the hype is all part of the expected stress. No wonder a lot of us feel it is such an anticlimax when it is all over. Like saying:

 “well what was that all about?”

A couple of weeks ago, I braved and trudged round the shops looking for, and wondering what to spend on everybody this Christmas. It is the usual round of organising, writing cards and wrapping presents around juggling family visits between work shifts and school holidays. Everybody expects to be seen, so the car is whizzing up and down the country using up more carbon dioxide and leaving an ever greater carbon foot print on the planet.

I find it equally depressing to see the huge amount of packaging and plastic used to bulk out the size of Christmas presents. I do everything I can to reduce this and keep gifts small and without a ton of plastic and cardboard.

Leaving any religious thoughts aside here, I think if most people were honest, they would agree that Christmas is overdone and overpriced. It would be interesting to read a survey-I am sure they must be out there, questioning what people really want for Christmas and what it should really stand for.

A reconciliation with a loved one perhaps. Meeting an old friend who you have not seen for a while. A chance to tell someone you love them; that you should have told but didn’t because fear and pride got in the way for fear of rejection and pain.How many of us out there wish we could see a loved one again, who has died, just for a minute  and have the opportunity to feel that relationship again? we can all relate to this.

Let me leave you with this thought then.

What would you like Christmas to really mean and how off the mark is this for you in December 2007?

Stop and pause to consider doing something different this Christmas which would bring you greater emotional fulfillment than just the usual merry go round of things to do, places to go, people to see, presents to open.

Each year at Christmas I try very hard to make it a more meaningful, less expensive and less wasteful. In the most part I fail as the pressure is on to conform and be like everyone else. I try to reduce the card mountain but it never seems to work, and with a teenager at home the pressure to buy the latest “must have” is a bit of a problem. I have cut back a lot though. Charities are on my list of givings and I do try and see people that I want to see, rather than having to see.There is much room for improvement though on my part.

For different gift ideas and how you can contribute to the world, helping poverty, suffering, the need for clean drinking water and aiding the protection of vulnerable people visit www.CAFOD.ORG.UK/WORLDGIFTS

Going back to one of my earliest blogs. For me the greatest gift is to be living and experience the day to day of living. However hard that is. I am still here fighting to do better things, learn, grow and share my love for others with others. This is what Christmas means to me. 

I hope Christmas is kind to you and bring you more than just a mountain of christmas paper.

God bless you all this Christmas.