The Risk Factor

This is probably my longest post. I had a lot of thoughts that I needed to put somewhere so that I can start to very slowly move forward again.

Allowing myself to stop for a moment is really helping me. I’ve had a job of some description through my whole life since my first paper round when I was 9 years old. To disengage  from the daily grind for a moment while  taking care of my girl, and now me, has felt liberating. Not having to try to be anything that I’m not.

It makes me think what the equivalent looks like further up. When you sit at the top of the ladder you don’t have to please anyone. When you sit further down your livelihood depends on pleasing others so you can keep your job and pay the bills. I’m a decent and very friendly person. I get on with most people. I’m always kind to others I work with because that’s just the way I’m made. But I hate office work. It always feels so boring and meaningless and of course it always comes with its share of self important people who like to throw their little bit of power around. I would have liked to tell a few of those  where to go through the years but you learn to just hold it. Knowing that they can easily mess up your life because they have that little bit of power. 

It’s very easy to be outspoken when you don’t have to worry about basics. But I always clock who they are more out spoken with. They never burn bridges with what might be useful to them at some point. And they don’t like to be challenged back. And if you do, it is not seen as being confident and outspoken. It’s seen as being troublesome. Which is why instead I just completely switch off. It’s just not worth bothering.
I would like  to earn my living where I am completely in charge of me. I’m totally looking at making changes. But doing it gradually as I don’t have the finances to back up anything with risk. I do however have some fanciful ideas that can take me along new paths. At this point I  would like to try to test my potential beyond the 9-5. I think I have the potential to be more in ways that will make me happy. Already signing up to go back to school next year. A degree in creative writing is my goal. I never got the chance to go down the route I wanted when I was younger but now I’m feeling brave enough to take the leap. It’s all evenings so I can work around it and  have ideas in how work might look too. I don’t want to follow the designated path anymore. One life and I still want to do stuff with it. I’m making a bit of a 5 year plan which includes a puppy at the end of it. I’ve never made a plan before. Let’s see how that works out for me. 

Been thinking about Jealousy 
“An unhappy feeling of wanting what someone else has”
It’s a strange feeling when you think about it. The opposite I guess of gratitude, in being happy in what what you do. I think I’ve been on a little journey in both. 
It looks different for different people and I guess in its simplest form, the feeling of jealousy comes from looking over the fence and seeing what it looks like on the other side. “The greener grass”. 
I don’t very often feel jealous. In fact it’s been a very rare feeling for me in life. But one I’ve felt in only a few moments. Only ever in respect of relationships. I absolutely see and feel the inequalities of life but usually feeling that through the  eyes of others who are worse off than me. But that feeling not jealousy, its the feeling of Injustice. 

When I have felt jealous it has been in relationships where I have a feeling of insecurity,  low self esteem, distrust and fear of loss. And feeling those when I have felt vulnerable. That vulnerability will always fuel the deeper feelings. I really struggle with that feeling in all its unfamiliarity. I don’t like it and don’t want to feel that anymore. I’m not feeling  so  vulnerable now and those darker feelings are starting to fade away as I begin to come out the other side of all the really difficult stuff I’ve had to deal with.

 With my girl, it’s work in progress. Taking it one day at a time. She’s doing ok. Regular chats and messages and a day trip planned on Saturday to see her. We are tackling and squashing all the various issues before they turn into more. She is steadily moving forward. Fragile and vulnerable but physically, psychologically  and emotionally getting stronger. Sometimes taking steps backwards before she moves forward again. I feel huge proudness in who she is. I wish she didn’t have to go through this. It makes me sad. But I can’t dwell on that. Instead I put my effort into helping  her get through it. But I know that when she blossoms  she will be a beautiful force for good in this world, in all her kind and caring loveliness. A proper old fashioned sweetheart. Her inner strength will grow with age and experience. And she will always be my number 1. 

The result in me is someone who is beginning to function in a way she used to. Which is very independently. Trying to put some focus on my own life and what feels important to me and those that I care about. Trying to live “a good life”,  and making choices that are more suited to the confines or my position in this world. I know what makes me happy and also what really does not. Seeing more clearly the realities of this life where some have more choices than others. Which is ok. I have been reminded of what it takes in real life. It’s not always that simple  to follow your heart. My life, my way of being and my experiences giving me a very different perspective. Safety and security is now much higher on my priority list. I know what life has felt like without it. Scary, tiring, worrying, damaging and full of unhappiness. 

When it comes to “stuff” I don’t actually care. I don’t feel a jealousy in that. I like nice things, but I don’t need them. They don’t make my world turn and they have never been a motivator for me other than the basics. Struggling to make ends meet is something very different. That’s just about needing safety and security. I think I have felt  the unfairness in that. As probably many others have in a similar positions. Others take those  basics for granted. I spent a lifetime working for them. I feel a very basic lack of understanding from some in what that actually looks and feels like. 
And yet you never know what life holds in store. I certainly didn’t see what happened for me coming. But my beginnings in life has certainly helped me to get through and manage it. I wonder what it might look like for those who have never known it. How would they cope? Broken down I may have been but I still get back up. If I was grateful before I have whole new level of gratitude in where I sit now. 

I love my flat which has a little garden that backs on to a cricket pitch (it is very peaceful, with the sound of leather on willow in the summer and music and laughter from the clubhouse. Rarely go over there these days. But through the years have crawled through the hole in the hedge for a few drinks with friends on a summers evening. The same place where we had a party when my girl was christened. Old style. Free bar, buffet and a DJ to make up for not having a big wedding. The people I know didn’t take advantage of that. The gesture was enough for others to put their money behind the bar too. It’s all about the balance in people who give and take. P always said to me that you can tell a lot about a person in how they are at the bar. It’s true.  I always notice it. My mum dancing to Hero by Enrique Iglesias which was her favourite at the time. I can hear C shouting across the dance floor… J this one’s for you. It had all the quiet gentle summery breeze of a sophisticated garden party but with all the kids kicking about the footballs I gave them and blowing bubbles. Alongside the energy and fun of unsophistication that takes it to a whole different and more real and wonderful level. Less standing stiffly on ceremony like you’re a cut above, and more of an old fashioned knees up, where everyone is welcome just as they are, with a glass of cheap plonk and warm and comical chat. I’m much more at home in that vibe which exists without all that pretentiousness. But that’s just me. Each to their own version. That’s just what I know and love. And I’m very proud of it. 

My little Nissan Micra gets me from A to B (when it’s not being commandeered by P. Losing my little white cloud of freedom again for a moment during the craziness of others greed in petrol.  I don’t mind. I’ve always been happy to share whatever I have. In fact I really love sharing. I’ll share with anyone.  But I can tell the difference if someone is taking the mickey out of me)

And I have 6000 acres of the forest that sits across the road from where I live. The biggest reason for choosing this location in the first place, (as well as being near my Nan) for which a budget was pushed at the time for 2 people with half decent jobs. And only a ten minute walk away, a down to earth and reassuringly average little high road, with everything a person needs for every day life. It’s got a bit of everything and everyone. And I like that. I like that there are still businesses that have been here a long time and survived. 

You can jump on the train from here and be in the city in 20 minutes. I like the balance of both. Although recently staying at home has been enough. I’m sure at some point I’ll reengage with the great lady again. Knowing that old London girl will still be waiting there for me, even if she has changed. The ultimate people pleaser as she changes herself to become what the people of the moment want. But at the core always being the old and eternally special relative that I have always loved and has a special place in my heart.  I know what she has given me through the years. I’ve definitely enjoyed  her at different ages in different ways. She provided so much fun for me when I was young, and working was just the reason for the fun that came after. I feel so lucky in living through that. A time that felt so much more easygoing without targets and time management. Who really cares about that stuff?

Her true magic and sparkle often hidden now behind a lot of glass and gloss. It’s progress and modernisation and yet St. Paul’s Cathedral is still my solid mark of survival in what really makes me love her. It always feels like her beating heart even though I think I’m more spiritual than religious. Its more about the solidness of a beautiful building that has survived hundreds of years. I represents an immovable and irreplaceable soul that doesn’t need to compete with all the flashier versions that surround it. It just holds its place without comparison. For me It will always represent the everyperson. The “Little” people,  The people who aren’t seen but are the true beating heart of this city. 

Of course I never knew I had it so good back then. Words that suddenly make me sound like an old girl even though inside I still always feel like that same kid. The kid who was never a “live to work” kinda girl. It was always about working to live. And I always did that. And enjoyed it so much. Another chapter in a life that has been full of a bit of this and a bit of that. This chapter requiring me to be a grown up and I have stepped up. But the excitable kid in me will eventually find her way back out. She’s always been Irrepressible. She’s just had to take a back seat in tough times in order to protect herself.

Anyways the point being, I have always been really happy living here. For many many years. Not really needing or wanting a more fancy pants version. 
In different moments of life I have experienced what the high end has looked like. Not in stuff but in experiences. Pouring whatever money we did have on trips together. Exciting moments in places I always dreamt of going to and then sharing those in later years with my girl. Stuff that had to be saved for and was appreciated in every single way. Providing memories that live in me forever in a way a new settee will not. Or saving to go to lovely places in our beautiful city that were the everyday playgrounds of the rich. But were enjoyed even more on those odd occasions especially when I could treat my mum. Places that as a kid felt untouchable but in those moments allowed us to dress up in our finest with high heels and swish in as though we were rockstars. Just for a moment. Loving every moment of it, but not really needing it as an every day. It would only lose its sparkle. Always feeling more at home with the people who worked there than the other clientele. And they  usually looked after us with much more care because of it. Appreciation and gratitude goes a long way.. I always grew up thinking that manners were just a basic but I’ve seen on many occasions where it isn’t. How hard is it

to just say  “Please and Thankyou”. And how often I hear people without any appreciation or gratitude, complain. That sense of entitlement that comes from thinking that if you flash the cash then you own people too. 

When I think about “stuff”,  most of it has  been the same since I first moved. My settee being a bit battered, with a rip in one of the seats but it’s really comfy. The little garden shed my girl played in which now is full of garden stuff, looking worn out with bits falling off, but given some extra life with a lick of new paint, while my other shed has completely fallen apart and needs knocking down and replacing. Who knows what rubbish lives in there? The old style heavy weight tv that reminded me of the one my mum paid for when I was kid, on a weekly, with radio rentals. My one replaced more recently after 24 years, by a modern version that was given to me. The bathroom (well let’s not even go there). The ceiling that is a complete black mess and tiles that need replacing. It just needs sorting. But no money to get the necessary work done at present. All money being used right now for my girls treatment. It’s all about priorities and investing where it matters. 

Iguess when there is a bit of extra cash then I can start to work through a long list of things that would make this place more “aesthetically pleasing”. And yet I’m as happy as Larry in here even in its broken version. It’s amazing what fairy lights and candles can achieve in making it feel like it’s more. 
When my girl asked me this morning “did you sleep well” I said “yeah perfect”. As I write I decided to compare my basic £99 mattress to a top of the range version on google “the ultimate sleep indulgence“ “ten  layers of the most advanced mattress Three tiers of up to 6000 titanium Aerocoil® springs which deliver unbeatable airflow and breathable bamboo wool top surface that offers unrivalled temperature and moisture control.”£1462.11 for a new customer. I had to laugh. 
Anyways my point being that stuff has never really bothered or interested me. I lived somewhere plush and brand new for 6 months following my other 18 months in the hole in the ceiling place that reminded me of the garage I lived in when I left home at 16.  Me and my girl both preferred the hole in the ceiling flat. It felt more homely (well before the rain water washed over us in the middle of the night as we slept. So unless that ultimate sleep mattress had a secret inflatable canopy it would not have improved that sleep). 
But I never felt at home in the same way as I do again now in my own “gaf”.  I call it mine but it belongs to both of us. With a will on both sides to keep hold of it. I really wish now to keep hold of it. It makes me feel safe. 
I’d like to get lots of stuff fixed and have money to buy some new little touches that make it “more me”. With time I’m sure that will happen. But I live perfectly well in it as it is. It’s a home. And a cosy one at that. 

As ever others judgements can impact on me although surrounding myself less with those types. I feel happier without them. So I only really invite in those who I believe won’t. Those that are able to see all the lovely qualities I described, and like it just as it is, but also have the ability to see the amazing potential of what it could be, with a little more investment. Without losing sight of the fact that some things don’t need to be changed because they  are still wonderful even if they are a bit battered and broken. Its all in the eye of the beholder. Some  would only see all its issues, faults and how much better they could make it, and how much better theirs are. A perfect version. But I’ve never wanted to live in perfect. Perfect always appears very bland to me. I’d have to spend all my time trying not to mess it up. And that would just feel exhausting and not like a home. And as this is my little safe haven of peace and tranquility from the world of “more, more, more” I tend not to let the energies of their world’s infiltrate the energy that exists within mine. We all deserve a Safe place like that don’t we?!

Despite my own  struggles at different times, I always think about how that looks for others who have it so much worse. And I feel really lucky. I know how hard I have worked for it but so have others in their versions which often doesn’t equate to what they deserve. The rich always get richer. They have the means and mentality for that.  But in the end it’s always about what more looks like to you. 
To some mine wouldn’t look much. To others it would look amazing. To me it is perfect in all its imperfection. 
What I do know is that I’m never jealous of those with “more” stuff. I find it so easy to feel pleased for others who are lovely and have all the stuff that makes them happy. I never feel jealous of their success or good fortune. Whereas I don’t much care for the ones who aren’t so nice. The ones that flash it in your face as a way of making them look and feel better. Go away. I’m just not interested. It doesn’t impress me in the same way it does for others. It has it’s power. Because people like that assume that everyone wants to be them and have their life. I never have. Maybe my lack of being impressed was the problem. 

But I do know what does impress me. The way people are and how they treat others. How far they are willing to go for what they believe in or how they help people. What kind of grit they possess to push through difficult obstacles to survive and sometimes become more than they were told or thought they could be, or how people grow through their own lives, experiences and adversity to find something new within themselves, or are able to find contentment and happiness without all the bells and whistles. This is the stuff that has meaning to me. This is the stuff that makes me connect to others. This is the stuff that really inspires me and makes me want to be more like them. I’m trying to be more like them. 

Money can buy so much. Where no talent, effort or risk is required. It’s just a given. The various professions that are awash with people who come from money. A few specials that possess more,, but mainly a blanket of those that can afford. It takes time and money to train to be these things. How many without money find themselves amongst them? And even if you try you first have to navigate the difference in what that world looks like. A world that they are completely at home in and own. To live in it means adjusting your way to theirs. Because they certainly won’t adjust theirs to yours. Well unless of course they are told to. As they were during the pandemic. But how deep is that adjustment. It still looks a very superficial version to me. Money talks when it cones to choices and social mobility

And then hidden amongst that is motivation and a drive. What does that look like? I know for me, beyond the essentials, money is never a drive . It’s a passion and reason that isn’t enough for me. My passion and reason is lost behind that because it can’t complete in a world that is driven by money. And yet the passion that I have comes from a much deeper and more meaningful place . Wanting to make a difference, wanting to be the best version of who I am and use that for others and really caring. We all have our own reasons. That passion being the very risk I took that started the whole mess. And yet I have learnt and experienced so much. More than money could ever buy. Even though it is meaningless without a piece of paper attached.

In the end it’s all about risk. How much do you have to risk for the same thing? 

For me the biggest risk was always in giving out my heart. But when there is also a risk to your way of life on a very basis and practical level, then that’s a version of risk that is called “going all in”. Who does that? In this case “Juliet”. Betting everything you have and who you are. And it can only end one of two ways. And that win or loss will be huge. In that moment I was a reckless player without having the best hand to back it up. Taking the biggest gamble of all. 
There is something for me in knowing that I had the courage to do that. To know that has been a  part of me, and my life, provides a small consolation. I had always lived life much more carefully, making lots of sensible and well thought out decisions. Taking small risks here and there but always keeping in mind the hand I was dealt. That one moment of reckless risk undoing it all. I often wonder where my head was in that?! 
When people talk of “following your heart” I often laugh inside in all its easy words . But I know I did exactly that while risking it all. It’s taken me a long while to really accept that. To know that my heart took me there. It feels easier to accept as I start to find my way back. The guilt gradually decreasing in all my “good doing” as I try to atone for what now feels like a mistake. But a mistake in my lack of judgement as opposed to my reason. My reason was completely true. Never venturing far from my small world  that felt safe. I could have just stayed in it without exploring more. Was it worth it? A question that provides an answer that often goes back and forth. Finding out that a straight flush of hearts is never a match for a Royal  flush. 

I am now feeling grateful for that lesson. In understanding what I want and need in contrast to others. That when I took a risk it wasn’t about a better lifestyle or creating a life that fits with this world. It was about Love Care and Sharing. It was literally just about a feeling. That’s one crazy reckless risk for which I have definitely paid the price for. 
But as I start rebuilding again and seeing the things I lost through new eyes, I can also see exactly how much I have and have always had. And what is still there for me if I wish it. The things that were right there in front of me that maybe  I took for granted too. The stuff that always made me really happy and had everything required for a really happy life in this very real world. Where through those challenges and difficulties and changes I am now seeing it all with very different eyes. Seeing both myself and others who have changed. And all those changes are helping to move me towards a place that feels better and happier for me and my girl. Finding myself focusing on what feels important than what others are doing. 

I was reminded for a moment about someone who helped to squash my confidence in kicking me when I was down. I realised how little I actually cared now. I didn’t hear anything that I wouldn’t have expected. Predicable in how that world works. Realising that I had zero interest or jealousy in what she was doing.. It felt lovely to finally rid myself of those last feelings that were left in the forest to be blown away into insignificant history. 
I have no wish anymore  to compare my life to others. It’s all relative. Instead I’m just gonna quietly try to do my own thing in my own way. To hold on to the safety I’ve worked so very hard for and to try and  find a  happy version within that. Because I’m all done with battles. Never wishing to risk my heart or my life again.  A peaceful life is what I wish for now. And if I’m really lucky I’ll find or create a little M magic just in that. 


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