Keeping happy when life is the pits 51



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Suppose I have several coping mechanisms, things I do when life is difficult. I ‘switch off’ or bury myself in so much work, so many hobbies and interests, that there is no spare time for reflection and regret. If money was no object I would indulge in retail therapy. But mostly money is the actual problem. So retail therapy is restricted.

I was blessed with a mother and father who had their fair share of bad times, yet they always seemed to rise above it. Dad would shrug and say, “worse things happen at sea”, and Mum would make another huge pot of tea and think up a solution, many of her bright ideas actually worked, she was a far better business person than my Dad. Her little savings attempts often rescued us; she had started a penny a week insurance for me since birth, and that came in handy when we married. Had she been in total charge of finances we might have been richer. But Dad was hopeless and Mum loved him, so that was the way it was. The laughter in our house is what I remember though, the fun and the jokes. The way Dad would look at his watch at about 9pm some nights and say “time for a swift half” then off they would steam in their little car, both have a half of lager and then come home. They knew how to snatch small pleasures.


I cook myself out of a bad mood.

The pots and pans, and the yeast are pulled out when life is bleak, I make a loaf or stir a cake when black clouds gather around me, the smell of just cooked bread or the sight of a plump cake has a great and uplifting effect. OK, so the hips might widen but who cares? You could make soup if you want to be healthy. Chopping vegetables can be good for the soul too.

I pamper myself out of misery.

A long shower, some bright nail polish on my toes, or a fake tan spread over the bits that show, even a sumptuous perfumed cream rubbed into my dry skin, all those things help, and most of the items are in my stock from gifts I have had, so no expense is involved. Feeling perfumed and a bit glamorous helps me feel better about life.

I help someone else.

The way to feel better is to make someone else feel better, say something nice, or send them a card, find a flower for them, ask them round for coffee. Simple and again not much cost. Sharing a cake and a chat can make a bright spot in a day.

I deal with the problem head on then try to get it out of my life.

If it is an emotional problem, or a relationship problem, there are two courses of action. One is to face it talk about it deal with it, and move on, the other is to decide it does not deserve your effort or energy; to try and remember all things change, and just get on as if it has not happened. It is usually some else who has a problem and they decide to make you feel bad too! So in the end it is their life that needs help, not yours. I know this is a boring statement but what seems like a mountain can be a molehill , so many things we worry about become magnified. Get it in perspective.

I talk to the animals.

I talk nonsense to the cats and used to talk to our dogs, but they seem to make sense of life if I just put a few key words in, like biscuits, fish and dinner. Talking to animals is a sign of madness, but it’s a nice form of madness!

I wander in the garden.

My dose of green is very necessary, I just take time looking at the lemons, watching birds gather nectar, and counting how many of the bulbs have fought their way up. Just a few minutes outdoors can clear the cobwebs. The small connection with nature is a great boost sometimes.

What helps you? I have friends who clean the bathroom, wash a floor or tidy a cupboard, gosh I wish they could come to my house and get their therapy!

Jacqui Lee

Jacqui Lee is 75 and now retired but the last ten years or so have been some of her busiest. She worked at a hospital, where she took several Certificated courses, she cleaned a school, helped to run two conventions, wrote short stories, started painting, and in fact is never bored even now, "I honestly feel we are lucky to still be upright and breathing, and my motto is, Remember yesterday, dream of tomorrow, but live today. I love fun, clothes, food and friends."

  1. I’m a creative type of person, so I bury myself into creating photos, Fcbk, games and definitely in the garden, move n change the look of the garden n home decorations n when time for sleeping ( where the mind tick more) I concentrate on prayers .

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  3. Pottering in the garden. Take Harri for a walk. Read, read and then read some more. Play games on my iPad. Snooze. If energy to spare I’ll do a massage rearrangement of furniture, although this is more difficult now because of age. Used to move entire rooms around, but more modest in my aims now. Sometimes I just give in and reflect on my life. I wrote a little book of angels songs years ago, and I sing them in my mind. This often puts things back into perspective.

  4. I have many hobbies to help me ..quilting, painting, gardening, cooking and writing songs ..without these, I will certainly be unable to cope

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    • I don’t write songs but I do all of the above plus sewing, knitting, crocheting, tassel making, turning the wood top, painting or decoupaging, dying the threads, beading, making glass beads, (lampwork), etc… I just don’t have time to worry about little things.

  5. I am not good at hiding or denying…meet that baby head on…deal with it straight up….slap it senseless and then you can rest easy….doing the things you love instead of hiding behind them…’s not going to go away just because you don’t acknowledge it….deal with it and move forward…..

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    • Yes Jan I once had a ‘female’ bullying going on, you know unpleasant little remarks made to friends about you (none of the things were true) I decided to meet it head on, went to the source, shaking in my shoes, but it was the best way, stopped it before it went too much further, so I agree with you.

    • So true have done that even thought it scared me sometimes, just do it, and as you say ‘straight up’…it makes you stronger in the end.

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