Friday, 8 June 2012

"What did you learn today?" - Never too old to learn

It's been a little while hasn't it?  Nearly four weeks have passed, life has been lived, events have occurred and I'm probably a little wiser.

1. If you receive a blow to the head or hit something hard with your head, do not drink alcohol until a few days later, even a couple of weeks. While I'm fairly up on medical matters, I was unaware of that fact.

I was standing on a train as it was coming into a station. The train wobbled and so did I. I fell across two empty seats and the wall of the carriage stopped the fall, on the side of my head. I didn't think anything of it and went off to the lunch I had been invited to. A good lunch with a couple of glasses of wine and five hours later, I was sitting on the train returning home.  I suddenly begun to feel very unwell.

I didn't put two and two together until pressurised to go to A&E by a friend, where I was diagnosed with mild concussion. The alcohol had made matters worse.

So now I know.

2. The following weekend was my birthday. A quiet, but happy day with hours of sunshine. I can't pretend to enjoy being in my 60s, but, as they say, the alternative is worse. I have too many friends, with families, who have died and do not get the opportunities that I still have, even though I would have liked them a little earlier in life.  I count my blessings almost daily. It's a good exercise to do. Count five to ten things to feel grateful for, however mundane. In fact, mundane can be good. It can stop a slide into a pit of despond.

With age come aches and pains. It's very easy to blame age and not consider anything else.  Just take a few painkillers and carry on. An extremely overdue visit to the chiropractic, now means that my neck and back are much better and I can sit and sleep more comfortably. A relative's aches, pains and other symptoms have been relieved by becoming lactose-free. Both of us should have sought other options much earlier and saved ourselves a great deal of discomfort.

So now I know.

3. I attended a peer support group for some therapist colleagues. I lead an exercise in using metaphors in a therapy session, using a client's resources. I replicated the unknown of a therapy session and used the coffee table in front of us all. It contained the detritus of the meeting. I asked people to choose an object and create a metaphor for life.

My favourite metaphor was from a colleague, who looked at the open packets of sweets, crisps and fruit on the table. She said that all the open packets were liked life's opportunities. We had many open to us, but often chose not to take them.

So now I know.

3. Last week, we went to a funeral of a friend I have known since I was 16. Alcohol played its part in his death. Another life long friend dead, another friend who dealt with their demons with alcohol. Another friend who has missed out on so much. As a teenager, I loved spending time with his family, because it gave me a glimpse of a home life I would have loved. On the other hand, he liked spending time with my mother, because he enjoyed the conversation. Neither of us knew of the distressing undercurrents in each other's homes.  Don't judge a book by its cover. 

So now I know.

4. The Queen has just celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and there was a four day long weekend with three days of celebrations. It rained quite a lot at times. But millions managed, made the best of things, made new friends and enjoyed themselves. 

There were moaners, but there always are and I feel sorry for them. Some of them argued that because we're going through tough times economically, then we had nothing to celebrate. Good job our parents and grandparents didn't think that in the early 1940s.

It was an example on a mass scale of how it's not the events that happen to us that create our characters, it's how we manage those events.

So now I know.

And you you know too.