Category: Mindset

What does Loneliness look like?

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Everyone gets lonely.  There are those moments when you feel quite simply that you are on your own and you do not feel supported.

When we think of loneliness, especially at this time of the year, we think of people who live alone.  Old people, single people and those that have reduced mobility to get around.

As I type this I realise that I could fall into those categories, but truthfully I am thankful that I don’t feel lonely very often.  I enjoy my own company, and I am blessed with many friends, both online and offline that make me feel cherished and loved.  I do however lives many miles from my birthplace and must admit that sometimes this isn’t easy.

So how do you recognise loneliness?

I think the answer is that you don’t, for the most part.  If I think of the many people in my life, I know that many are lonely and have lonely moments, and they are not always the ones you would expect.

My own lonely moments have made me very conscious of others, and what they might be going through.  I have created myself a pair of imaginary loneliness glasses and am trying to always be aware of the less obviously lonely.

One of the biggest upsides of wearing these specs is that you will bring so much joy into your own life, just by being in someone elses.

Here are just a few thoughts of where you might look to deliver your own antidote to loneliness

  • Self employed people (they spend hours alone and probably miss having colleagues. I blogged about social isolation before and it all still remains true.
  • People living away from home (either expats, or immigrants). Being separated from your children, your parents and your childhood friends is simply hard.
  • Single people of all shapes and sizes – divorce has left many people alone and lonely, but they are not the only ones. All the media buzz shows Christmas as a time for holding hands, and family moments under the tree.  This is not true for everyone.
  • Older people – especially living alone, or in retirement homes. Memories are special but they can also make you feel melancholy
  • Those living with a chronic illness.  Being limited in what you can do physically means that you often spend many hours alone.  And these people also struggle to find people to understand what they are going through. These people might be lonely, but I am betting they could do with a little help as well as company. I had a group of friends come round to help me decorate my house this year.  Imagine my surprise when they left and I went to light a fire to find that the fire-place perfect.  I was very grateful

The truth however is that loneliness has no face, it has no colour and no archetypical image.  It is up to us to be open, to listen and to hear.

I am always reminded that you can be lonely in a room full of people.

Do lonely people know they are lonely?

I suspect in many cases that lonely people don’t realise that they are lonely.  They know that they are not happy. They know that it feels like there is something missing in their lives but they don’t necessarily identify that this feeling is loneliness.

What if we simply go about our lives with an open heart, offering friendship and noticing the world around us? We will realise when the time is right to offer a cup of coffee or simply make a call.

Let your Christmas present this year be to take some loneliness away from someone.  Either someone you know is lonely – a neighbour, friend or acquaintance that lives alone, or someone who may not realise that they are lonely but whose face lights up at the thought of a hot chocolate and shared conversation.

 

I wish you a joyful festive season filled with love and laughter.

Thank you for reading

 

Kerry xx

 

Creativity is the process not the final product

Creativity is a process.  It has always been part of my life, and recently I realised something really special.  It is not the item you create that matters but the process of creating it.

With Christmas fast approaching I am reminded of my childhood.  Until I was about seven I had a lisp.  When I was asked what I wanted for Christmas I answered – bits and pieces (with the signature lisp of course).

What I meant was things to create with.  Every Christmas I remember included something creative.  Spirographs, dress up doll designer sets, fuzzy felt, paints, paper and of course glitter and glue.

As an adult creativity continues to be a huge part of my life.  I am truly in my happy place when I have a paintbrush in my hand.  I have a jar of paintbrushes on my kitchen windowsill permanently.

My love of Creativity

Although I have my creative loves, I continue to explore new avenues as they appear on my horizon.  I recently started encaustic art, the practice of using was and resin to create images.  It is a new addiction and I look forward to the one Saturday a month where I drive the most beautiful country from County Galway to the banks of Lough Derg in County Clare.  I take time out in the studio of the talented Isabelle Gaborit .

Anyone who knows me knows that I am talkative.  When I am in my creative zone I am quiet.

You can’t pour from an empty cup

I have thought a lot about the creative process.  We spend so much of our lives giving – pouring out support to family and friends, ensuring that there is money to pay the bills and more.  What we need to do is to fill our own cup and the best way to do this is by getting into a state of flow.  When we are in a state of flow that we fill up and replenish the energy we need for day-to-day life.

And, it doesn’t have to be art.  It could be cooking, gardening, embroidery (like my talented Mum), it doesn’t really matter what you do, the important thing is that for some time every week you are filling your own cup by getting into a creative space.

Teaching the joy of craft

For some time now I have taught crafts.  At the moment I have a monthly class held at the truly creative space that is Andrea Rossi’s art studio in Spiddal.  I pack my car and creations early on a Saturday morning and then travel down to ‘teach’ the class.

Inevitably I leave something behind (there is a lot to remember).  Some of the regular participants have said they don’t mind what they do, it is the day out that they enjoy.  That it doesn’t matter if I have left something behind, we can make a plan.

This really got me thinking about the creative process.  I was then reading the Psychologies magazine and came across a reference to creativity, where the author referred to the process.  I have hunted back and cannot find the reference, but the message stayed with me.  It is about the time we spend in the process from coming up with a concept and teasing it out.  Breaking a blank page, or turning on the oven for a cake that will be eaten with delight, no matter what your form of creativity is, the most important thing is to embrace and enjoy it.

 

As I approach Christmas this year, I know that I will have new watercolours and other creative goodies on my list.  Bits and pieces really – items that will inspire me and allow me to get into flow and be creative.  I will fill my cup and be ready to pour.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

Life is Fragile, and we need to treasure it.

Life is so fragile.  It may seem robust when we look at the hurley burly of traffic, deadlines and positive goal setting.  The truth is it is extremely fragile and although it is trite to say, we really only have today promised.

After returning from my adventure in South Africa, I found myself sitting on my sofa on a wet Saturday afternoon wondering.  I had such a wonderful time spending time in the country of my birth.  It was simply an awesome adventure in the sunshine.  And yet here I was in my living room, feeling a little sorry for myself.  I was surrounded by laundry drying indoors and contemplating the choices I have made in my life.

I think we all know this feeling.  The what ifs, and what could be if only something would change or was different.

Life is fragile

I then got news that a dear friend in South Africa had her life completely altered between going to bed and facing the new day.  Her husband was shot and killed.  This was a man in the prime of his life, father to two young men and husband to my friend.  His life was literally snatched and he no longer has any tomorrows.

The friends and family that are left behind have had their lives altered to such a degree that their tomorrows are dramatically altered.  A complete act of violence has created a fork in the road, and placed a road block on the original path.

This is just a huge reminder to me that life is fragile.  When I hear of tragedy and loss I am always reminded that we have an obligation to live each day with joy, remembering to be kind to others and to embrace possibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think it is very important to have dreams and visions and to strive to be a better person every day.  I constantly dream and plan for a future where I am living a life that is filled with all that I desire.  I work towards this too and practice journaling every day making plans for travel, work and creative pursuits.

I also continue with writing my book (almost complete now) where I share how I have changed my own life.  But, truthfully as we are reminded so often life is fragile.  It is delicate and should be nurtured and appreciated every day, and every minute of every day.

Cherishing my Adventure

I had so many wonderful experiences on my trip and I have the pleasure of being able to look back and remember them.  A bit like the song from the Sound of Music, these are a few of my favourite things.  Memories of moments, memories of people and reminders that living each day like it is your last is the only way to live this fragile life.

  • The bitter sweet taste of creamy cappuccino shared with my Mom and Dad.  Spooning the foamy froth from the bottom of the cup and relishing the bubbles popping on my tongue.
  • Sitting in my parents living room watching my son graduate with tears in my eyes because I wasn’t there, but joyful ones because I got to watch.
  • The prickle of heat sitting outside having breakfast and watching whales frolic in the ocean with my wonderful friends in Port Elizabeth.
  • Watching ice cream melt in front of me because I was so absorbed in chatting to a client in person that I had only ever met on Skype.
  • Waking up to freshly prepared fruit including African paw paw (papaya) prepared by my Dad.
  • Meeting my Facebook friends in real life.
  • Presenting my Deep Dive events and getting to know such wonderful woman, and understanding the value of woman who support woman.
  • Taking my joy of craft to a new audience.
  • I know I ate far too much cake, but I have no regrets.  The cake that was served with two forks for sharing was always the best.
  • I felt so connected to my African roots in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve watching and photographing my favourite zebras and then laughing so much when it was pointed out that the Zebra in front of my lens was excited and showing off his private parts!
  • I had really special times that were not traditionally high points.  Spending time working alongside my old friends, and simply chatting.
  • I drank many cups of tea and spent many hours just being with the people who are special and the richness of my life.
  • I saw old friends and met new friends.  I had a princess birthday party in October when my birthday is actually in June.  Thank you to my special mom and dad for making this happen for me.

Life is a fragile vessel

I could go on and on sharing little memories, and although I won’t bore you, I am making a mental promise to myself to life me my life as though it is a precious and fragile, but valuable vessel.

A vessel filled with memories and lessons learnt and lots of capacity of future dreams.  But most of all I am going to life my life relishing every single moment of every day and know that when I lay my head to sleep at night that I have lived and added to the lives around me.

Life is fragile and tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us.

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

I am dedicating this blog post my friend Nikki Bush and her family.  Her late husband  no longer has any tomorrows as a result of senseless violence.

The Magic of Three – and how this little number helps me in my day to day life.

Three is a magic number.  Or so I am told.

I have been having a bit of a tough time lately.  I had two bad falls which set me back a bit.  As I stumbled around the house trying to get focus and motivate myself, I realised that three really is my magic number in so many ways.

I make a commitment to tackle (at least) three things off my to do list every day.  It might seem little, but when you look back on the week, know that you have achieved 21 things.  By using this focus I know that I move forward.  Sometimes little and often, but I do achieve what I set out to do.

As someone suffering from chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn’t always easy.  Even if I think of keeping my home tidy – it is overwhelming.  By the 7th day of concussion and I was getting frustrated.  Three things I kept telling myself.  Put a wash on, unpack the dishwasher and wipe the counter.  Then you can sit down.  A little later I tackled three computer related tasks, and after that sent three thank you messages to friends who have helped me out.

By the time I got into bed I felt a real sense of accomplishment despite the fact that I was ‘under the weather’.

The Magic of Three – in so many ways

Every night before I go to sleep I always recall three things I am grateful for.  Sometimes it is more than three, but never less.  This really puts me into such a positive place.

The more I think about it three is a number that resonates through my life.  It is a small number but a perfect number.  It is just enough but not overwhelming.  Add a few threes together and you can really rack up some impressive personal statistics.

Imagine if we saved 3 Euro a day.  That isn’t a lot – a cup of coffee.  Over a month that is 90 Euro.  Over a year it is over a 1000 Euro – more than enough for a holiday.

Three and its multiples are also a great way of dividing up your day.  As I mentioned before I need to pace myself due to my conditions.  By dividing my day into 30 and 60 minute chunks I can ensure that I get enough rest time and also get things done.

I have followed this principle for a while now and I can honestly say that 3 is my magic number.

The internet of things

The internet is awash wish apps, blog posts, and articles confirming that by simply using a formula of three we can become happier and more effective in life.

I have downloaded the 3 Good Things app for my phone and am going to see how that goes.

Before writing this blog post I did a little bit of internet research as to why 3 is a number that seems to have magical properties.

  • As a creative person I was delighted to be reminded that there are 3 primary colours
  • Almost all religions have 3 as a sacred number
  • Mathematicians will confirm that 3 is a really cool number.  It is the first prime number and of course is the first number that forms a geometric shape – the triangle

So many things come in threes – here are a few random ones that delighted me.

  • The beginning, the middle and the end
  • The past, the present and the future
  • The three bones in the human ear
  • The three little pigs
  • The beauty of 3 dimensions
  • And of course the perfect 3  minute egg.

Frivolity aside, I am happy that I have the number three in my life.  It really helps me to pace myself, feel productive and puts me in a lovely positive mindset as I am reminded daily that we have at least three things to be grateful for.

Thank you so much for reading xx

Kerry

 

Empty Nest  – a Syndrome or an Opportunity

On Tuesday last week I waved my son off on a journey that will propel him into the real world.  I closed the door and burst into tears.

I could not really explain the tear. They just came and the more I tried to stop them, the more they flowed.  I was a bit taken aback as I thought I had my head around it all.

From birth our role as a parent is as a nurturer.  We feed our children, keep them safe and do everything we can to make them smile.

I am a proud Mom

I am incredibly proud of the young man who is my son.  My son is a hard worker who is passionate about everything he does.  In my opinion he has unusual clarity about his life’s goals and is now on the way to a wonderful future.

He has had a fascination for computer games and programming for since his early teens and has worked steadily away in tandem with finishing school and then completing a degree in Theoretical Physics.  And, now he embarks on his new adventure as a games play programmer working on his dream game.  Yes, I am proud, extremely proud.  But, this job is near Manchester in the United Kingdom. So he is not only starting out in his new career and a whole new chapter of his life, but he has moved to another country.

Of course I will be visiting, and I have already started looking at flights and planning get-aways, but ultimately this week marks the end of my role as a mother to a child and the beginning of true adulthood for my son.

So an empty nest.  What does that mean?

In some ways I feel a fraud talking about my empty nest as he and I have lived apart for a while now between college and other things.  I did have the joy of having him under my roof for a couple of months after college which was a gift which I cherish.

An empty nest for me it marks the end of an era.  My child is now a tax paying adult!  It changes nothing about how I feel about him.  I will continue to worry about if he is eating well and meeting nice people, and that he is happy.  That part of mothering never turns off.  I do know however that as he left the nest, he is ready to fly.

I am sure that he will feel the excitement I once felt when I started out on my own and moved into my first flat with my sister.  The day I was shown my first desk at my first job, and the day I received my first pay cheque.

I have allowed myself a few days to get used to the idea that we no longer life in the same country, never mind the same house or town.  I have had a glass (or two) of Prosecco to celebrate his success and talk endlessly about how I feel, but now it is time to face up to what this empty nest means for me.

An Empty Nest as a launch pad?

I am at a stage in my life when I too can stand on the edge of the nest and decide where to fly.  What changes can I make in my life?  What destinations can I choose to fly too.

I know that many people of my age face the same challenges.  In a way it is an exciting phase for us empty nesters too.  We can play the game of reinvention.  I am putting myself in the way of opportunities.  I am determined to embrace my creative side and work on my art with the long-term aim of holding an exhibition.

You don’t get to 53 without accumulating. I have so many ‘things’ in terms of items that need dusting and tidying. So instead of shopping I am looking to spend my time and money on experiences.  I have booked to go to the National Gallery to see the Vermeer exhibition, signed up for an international craft class, and am playing short away trips.

South Africa is my destination in October and I am planning on spending time creating some wonderful new memories with friends old and new during my trip.  I will also stop off in Dubai for some special family time with my sister.

I have decided to consciously consider myself a Mommy bird who looks at her nest and instead of seeing it as empty sees it as an opportunity to fly.

As I continue to celebrate being fabulous in my fifties I hope you come back to share my journey here.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

Where have I been? A little life update

Why I neglected my blog

I love my blog, but between one thing and another, I have found myself neglecting www.fabuliciousfifty.com.  Here is a little life update.

At first I felt guilty and then I felt upset.  I then sat down to figure out why I wasn’t blogging. And gave myself a free pass for a few weeks while I got a few things in order.

A little bit about my work life

Followers of my blog will know that I had to give up full-time work a while ago.  I don’t mind saying that I found this hard.  Hard not to be doing what I was passionate about, and hard to complete a working day when it was required.

I am delighted to say that I have re-organised my life, retrained and am now combining my years of experience with new skills.

As part of this ‘new me’ I now have my own dedicated website built for me by the talented Sinead from Mini Media.  Have a look at www.kerrymanning.net, where you can read all about how I keep myself busy when I am not blogging or crafting.

You will notice that there is a section on speaking. It is a wonderful privilege to stand up in front of people and share my story and my philosophy of life.

You will also find some links to podcasts and other exciting collaborations.

Writing my book

I have also been working away at my book  I am so excited that I have now reached the milestone of 20 thousand words.  Quite a bit more to go, and it is only a first draft, but it feels good to put words on paper (in a digital version).  This is a very personal book, and it isn’t easy to write.  It is coming along and I believe that I will make my goal of finishing before the end of 2017.

I am the manager of my own health

My health continues to be a soundtrack in my life.  I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.  Perhaps I was hoping for a magic pill which would take all the pain away.

The result was quite the opposite and I felt down and despondent when I was simply told I was getting worse and the arthritis was spreading.  No magic bullet, no cure and only painkillers on offer.

My normal positivity deserted me for a little while.  Thankfully it returned and I realised that the only person who could help me was me.  I have the freedom to try different treatments, experiment with mindfulness, creativity and pacing.

It isn’t easy, and I think this contributed to me not writing much for a while.  I have no choice really but to accept that this is my journey and it is up to me how I travel.

There will always be days when I dig deep and find the energy to throw myself into exciting things with abandon.  And, yes these will be followed by days when rest will be a requirement, as will medication.

I am determined to live life to the fullest.  Why shouldn’t I?

Being Creative

Being creative is, for me as essential as my favourite liquid, tea.  I strongly believe that when you are being creative you are in a state of flow, and it is when you are in this beautiful place you fill yourself up.  So many of us are always giving and sharing and we need to fill our own cup in order to continue.

With this in mind I have been very busy with my creative endeavours.  I have been teaching my class in Spiddal every month.  This is so enjoyable, both the creativity of coming up with the projects and the special time spend sharing laughs with other creative souls.

Another highlight over the past weeks has been teaching An Grianan – the Irish Country Woman’s Association adult education centre.  What a beautiful place, I can’t wait to go back again.

I have also just completed a big batch of handmade cards for the lovely Filippa of Harvest Breeze in Westport.  Her gift shop is a true treasure trove for all the senses.  If you are in Westport, please do pop in.

A new look to my blog

I am back blogging so expect posts to become regular again.  I am also working on a little blog make-over with a little more structure to highlight the areas I love blogging about.

This is a sincere thank you for your support and for reading my blog.

Kerry xx

 

Do more of what makes you happy

What does happiness mean to you.  It is different for each and every one of us.  The one thing I know for sure is that we deserve to be happy!

For a good while I didn’t know what happiness felt like and when, one day I was sitting alone drinking tea and eating a scone I realised that I was happy, and that I deserved to be happy.

Today is World Happiness Day and I am celebrating by doing a little more of what makes me happy.  I have been for a swim, I have cooked a yummy pot of tomato and roasted red pepper soup and I am simply being me.

This evening I will find time to make art and of course spend time with human and furry people who mean so much to me.  I have even arranged a Skype call with my son who is busy with college.

So my quotation today is simply

Do more of what makes you happy.

Imagine if we made a conscious effort to do one thing to make both ourselves and others happy every day.  I bet it would be a wonderful ripple effect and make each day a little brighter.

Thank you for reading my blog – which makes me happy!

Kerry x

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