Today is my birthday, so I am feeling a little bit down.
You see, when I was very small, my birthday was always the beginning of a period of mourning as my mother died 9 days after I was born. So for all the adults around me, my birthday was a reminder of a tragedy they were still grieving.
Then, on my 7th birthday, my half sister was born. Which meant my birthday thunder was stolen forever :-D
Every year, a few days before my birthday, a dark cloud descends that I can't seem to shake off. Some years it's been so awful I've pulled the duvet over my head on the actual day and slept through it. It doesn't make sense, it infuriates and puzzles the people who love me and it leaves me feeling upset and confused.
Why am I telling you this? Well, of course, that sadness I feel doesn't really belong to me - it's something I picked up as a tiny tot from the people around me.
It isn't my sadness.
By the time we reach midlife, we can often carry other people's "stuff" around...
Holidays like Christmas can be stressful for those that organise the festivities, so I asked The Midlife Movement Community what they thought was the secret to a happy holiday. They are a thoughtful, enterprising bunch! Here are their top tips:
1. Remember, it's only one day!
"I try to remember that it’s just another day. So much of the pressure to have a “perfect Christmas” comes from people trying to get us to buy things. It’s lovely spending time with the family, but it is only a single day, with a glorified roast dinner - one day out of 365 - and how the rest of them are, on average, is what really matters. That helps me stay more relaxed. And if people want something a certain way, they are welcome to do that themselves!"
2. Make lists
Angie's top tip:
"Make lists and keep checking them and hopefully crossing things off to give yourself a sense of control. When it’s all in our head it snowballs and we can think...
Seven years ago, I wrote this letter to my father on the anniversary of his passing. Now for Fathers' Day, I am resending it, with love.
Hi Dad, it’s me, Jo.
Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since I held your hand, 15 years since I kissed your familiar, Old Spice scented cheek.
I wish you’d allowed us to talk about the fact that you were dying. We all had to say goodbye in so many coded, oblique ways in those seven short weeks of your illness. Do you remember? I said to you, “I can’t imagine a world without you in it,” and that was the closest you allowed me to come to “I love you.”
The nearest you came to admitting you knew you wouldn’t be leaving the hospice was: “do what needs to be done.” You meant, don’t let me suffer and the wonderful staff there made sure that you didn’t.
It’s true that time is a great healer. After 15 years I don’t think about you every single...