Go Down Easy

Find the slow curve of a back road,
One hand on the wheel.
Drive till I remember how it feels.

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Disturb us, O Lord

Disturb us, O Lord

when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord

when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord

to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow.

Amen.

(Attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, adapted from an original prayer by Sir Frances Drake)

Lord, let me be brave, and follow.

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Christmas

Christmas has become a hard time for me.

When I was a child, it was uncomplicated, with predictable rhythms and traditions which continued with little variation. Stockings before breakfast, church, presents after with lunch to follow. Sometimes grandparents made an appearance, mostly it was just the nuclear family.

As my sisters and I got older, things changed a little bit. We added Christmas Eve midnight communion (with optional snowball fights when the weather cooperated) and sometimes drinks with friends on Christmas day or boxing day.

Now though, years later, after marriage and divorce and grandchildren and career changes which involve non-optional festive shifts, things have changed so much that every year is a blank slate, every year is a negotiation. And even when (as this year) I had the chance to choose what I would do, I am always conscious of what I haven’t done, who I didn’t see, who I didn’t get to hug and wish merry Christmas to on the actual day.

And it makes me so grateful for my friend-family, who celebrate on Christmas Eve Eve so we can all see each other, who change the date of thanksgiving to what suits everyone, who are happy to host new year’s and let me sleep on the sofa rather than wrestling with taxis. Who are there with hugs and sensible advice and also a kick in the rear when required. You guys are awesome, and make Christmas (and other times) exponentially so much easier.

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change is going to come

Just before I left my old job, the building in which I worked was undergoing some renovations. Part of that meant that the security desk was moved to the back entrance, and a temporary hoarding was erected to block off the car park. Every day I walked into the building beside this quote.

Socrates

At the time, I didn’t pay much attention. But, without realising it at the time, the words had wiggled their way into my memory, and recently they’ve floated back up to the surface.

This has been a year of big change for me so far, both by my choice and through other circumstances. And given how stuck I felt last year, I think it’s a good thing over all. However, change is never easy for me, so it’s been good to remember that change is better when I embrace it, and don’t fight against it.

Although that might be hard to hold on to when I’m in the middle of moving house…

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midlife crisis

It seems crazy for me to be thinking about having a midlife crisis, since I don’t feel middle aged in the slightest. But if I think about it, getting to 70 would be pretty good going, and if I did I’d be slap bang in the middle of my life right now.

I feel like I’ve got to a point where everything is just trotting along on the regular, no milestones achieved or targets reached. But after a deep & meaningful chat with the sis, I think this might be because I haven’t set myself any targets or milestones for a while.

It’s a bit too easy for me to let life slip on without making any conscious choices to affect it. So I’m making the effort to think about what I might want to do, and to work towards achieving that. It might be running faster, going to more gigs, fitting into that red dress…what the goal is doesn’t matter so much as the act of choosing the goal, aiming toward it, and hopefully achieving it.

So here goes….

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everyone’s an expert

Four years ago I was watching the diving from Beijing at breakfast time with coffee and cereal. I became an expert on the straightness of the dives, the splashback, the pikes and somersaults. This year, I’m watching the diving from London with wine, brushing up my judging skillz. Apparently the Olympics makes an expert out of everyone…

This year, I was fortunate enough to actually attend some of the Olympics in London. The atmosphere was phenomenal, and even my usually slightly ambivalent attitude to being British was washed away in a wave of cheering. I may have even worn red white and blue on purpose…

I feel so privileged to now have been to two Olympics in my lifetime (Sydney 2000 and London 2012), and I am seriously contemplating another (who’s up for Rio 2016?)

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small pleasures

it’s saturday afternoon, and i’m sitting in the hatin’ chair with a cup of tea, a kitkat, and dermot o’leary on the radio.  sometimes the small things in life are enough to make me happy.

the week ahead will be full to the brim with good friends, wine and sunshine, but just for now i’m enjoying taking a breath before it all begins.

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