Fusspot and Clart

Fandango asks an interesting Provocative Question this week – he asks:-

Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?

Looking at my own relationship with my husband, which so far has lasted for 48 years as friends, 21 as a couple, and 9 years married (concurrent, of course!), my answer is – both, in equal measure.

Starting with our differences, ooh, there are so many! My husband is a gregarious American by birth and heritage, I’m self-consciously quiet with understated British reserve. My husband is an extroverted night-owl, I’m more introverted and usually up with the lark. My husband is tidily organised in all things; order and method are his watch-words. With him quality over quantity wins every time, he’s a real perfectionist always. He’s always excellent at finding the exact right size of dish in which to store leftovers but has absolutely no natural sense of direction.

And me? Well I’m not a total disaster in the tidiness stakes, just not a neat-freak in any sense; I’m far more comfortable living with a little creative chaos and in most things ‘good enough’ is good enough for me. I’m totally rubbish at judging small volumes or areas but nevertheless have an excellent perception of larger-scale distances and directions. We joke with each other that as a couple we’re complete complementary opposites and often call ourselves ‘Fusspot and Clart’ – my husband works hard always to keep things ‘just so’, whereas I’m definitely more slapdash and messy in my approach to anything and everything.

Our similarities, though, although far fewer when listed on paper are nevertheless just as important to point out. Looking from the outside in, physically we are of similar height and build (short and stocky), and both look young for our ages (as in other people are usually surprised to hear how old we are), so in all practical ways we fit together well as a couple. We’re both first-born children of young parents, and were both brought up with a strong work ethic. We’re of similar ages and are both educated to degree level, achieved under our own steam as mature students.

We both have had our struggles with ongoing mental health issues over a lifetime so are able to provide each other with much-appreciated mutual understanding and support at all times. Our political views and values match closely, as do our moral standpoints, and our attitudes to money and family and friendship and the importance of looking after the planet are really closely attuned. We are both natural home birds at heart rather than party animals, both enjoy preparing and eating good fresh-cooked food, and both love spending time in nature.

So although on the surface we may have many differences, deep down the fact that we share the values and attitudes in life that matter most to us means that overall we both keep each other on our toes like any other antagonistic pair in nature, yet at the same time feel wonderfully safe and secure in our lives together. For me it’s the perfect combination of give and take, of similarity and difference, and to be honest I wouldn’t change any of it for the world ❤

Weekly Smile: 26 July 2021

My biggest reasons to smile this last week or so include:-

My husband has recently turned 60, so we had a lovely little family celebration with colourful balloons and banners and traditional birthday party finger food – sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps and other savoury nibbles, followed by chocolate cake with six candles (one for each decade). What fun!

My son came to visit for an extended long weekend that included being here for the birthday celebrations – due to ongoing Covid restrictions across the country this is the first time we’ve managed to meet up this year, and it was so wonderful to see him again. Hopefully it won’t be so long before our next reunion ❤

The new bed we’d ordered was delivered last week, and oh, it’s sooo… comfortable to sleep on. Although I don’t always sleep too well so it’s probably just as accurate to say it’s sooo… comfortable to lie awake on in the middle of the night! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Foolish Things

The foolish things I regret most in life are those things I did not do for fear of looking foolish to others.

Things I perhaps wanted to do but instead I hesitated, waited, avoided, and lost the opportunity. So I would watch others enjoy the moment, not looking foolish at all but looking like they were not afraid to have fun, laughing at themselves, being silly together and not having a care in the world. And inevitably I would end up feeling foolish anyway for not joining in, hovering self-consciously on the periphery feeling frustrated at myself.

Too many years and too many lost opportunities. Too many regrets. So the last time the opportunity arose to do something I wanted to do – something foolish, but fun – I did it! At the end of the last carefree summer before the pandemic hit my husband and I we were walking along Nairn beach with my son and his friend when I asked – Oh, is the zip-wire thing still there? You used to love that when you were kids… Yes, said my son’s friend, it’s still there… Do you fancy having a go? I’d love to, I said, without hesitation…

So I did. In a public place, with other people around, I climbed carefully onto the platform, tucked the little seat thing between my thighs with trepidation, and with a serious push off my feet launched myself across the divide towards the other side. I zipped across in no time at all, holding my legs out straight in front of me, swinging wildly and clinging on for dear life and laughing so hard I could hardly see. I hit the stop buffer at the other end and started to swing back. Eventually I came to a standstill, then pretty much fell off onto the ground about a foot below my bum.

We all had a go. More than once. Four adults, two in their fifties and two in their thirties, taking turns to try to go faster, further, encouraging each other to be even more daring, focusing on having fun and to hell with looking foolish. Occasionally other adults walked past, slowing down or sometimes stopping to watch, smiling at our high jinks. We stayed playing until a group of children appeared, keen to have a go too, then we left them to it.

It was huge fun, and for once there were no regrets. None. I was stiff as a board the next day, and the day after that, but OMG it was worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, if the opportunity arose. I found out that fun trumps feelings of foolishness ever time. Every time… I just regret that it took me five decades to figure that out… 🙂

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Foolish Things

Nope, Not Going There…!

Scrolling through my WordPress Reader this morning I noticed that Fandango’s One Word Challenge word prompt for today is ‘screw’… Nope, I told myself, you’re a grown-up, just don’t go there. Then I noticed that Bushboy’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is ‘shag’…

Seriously guys, even at my age how can I possibly prevent myself from snickering like a teenager at the merest suggestion of writing a blog post about such silly sexual innuendo? Except of course like I said, I’m a grown-up now and so I’m just not going there… 🙂

Share Your World: 12th July 2021

What would be much better if you could just change the colour of it?

An orange… that would mess things up a bit. It would still be called an orange but no longer be an orange-coloured fruit – so would that mean a change of name for the colour too?

Do you think cats have any regrets?

Nope, I imagine all nine of their lives are purrfect just as they are 🙂

Do you ever count your steps when you walk?

Not usually, unless a treasure map is involved and X marks the spot…

Is there a supreme power?

I think gravity is a pretty supreme power – well done holding on so tight to that one, Planet Earth! 🙂

Share Your World

A Regretful Anomaly

Fandangos’ Provocative Question this week asks:

‘What is your biggest regret in life?’

Ooh, that’s a biggie for me! It’s taken me days thinking it over to even start to contemplate what to write. And in the meantime I’ve been reading everyone else’s response and the general consensus is ‘No regrets’… So that has left me pondering and angst-ing over it even more…

I mean I have loads of regrets, including mistakes I’ve made and decisions I took too long over and opportunities missed and misunderstandings over things not said and things that can’t now be unsaid… I regret having hurt people in the process, especially my kids. Yep, that’s definitely my biggest regret, messing up my kids due to my own dysfunctions. The fact that it wasn’t deliberate doesn’t make it any easier to live with.

So I suppose amongst the blogging fraternity the fact that I do have regrets probably makes me some kind of regretful anomaly… Oh well! 🙂

Keep Buggering On

As one of life’s depressives, I’ve long questioned the meaning of life and what drives us on, day after day, to continue our existence in this world. And over the years I’ve learned to become content with following fellow depressive Winston Churchill’s philosophy to just ‘Keep buggering on’ – a favourite phrase of his. To me, this approach is neither about maintaining eternal optimism nor applying a tenacious, stubborn, single-track myopia to get through our daily trials and tribulations, but instead speaks more to the kind of constant Sisyphean struggle of life espoused by Albert Camus.

In Greek mythology Sisyphus is cursed to spend his days pushing a boulder up a hill, only to find it back down at the bottom every morning, where he begins his thankless task again – the ultimate Groundhog Day frustration of perpetual motion. My understanding is that Camus posited the idea that the sheer absurdity of our everyday life experience as conscious beings is at the heart of everything we do. Humankind’s never-ending search for meaning, order and control in an effectively meaningless and chaotic world creates a dynamic tension that cannot ever be tamed; ultimately it can only ever be avoided or accepted.

According to Camus the avoidance of such absurdity comes in the form of physical suicide (annihilation, a complete rejection of life) or philosophical suicide (an evasion of reality through religious belief in the promise of something better ahead). Instead he suggested a philosophy of simply embracing our lot when it comes to the absurdity of life – accepting that however hard we try we can never apply enough order and control to square the circle of life and learning to be content with that fact. Understand the inevitable difficulties we must always face in our daily grind, and learn to live with them as they are. Keep on pushing that rock up the hill every day, knowing that we’ll be doing it all again tomorrow, and effectively embracing the challenge.

To me this is closer to what Churchill meant with his oft-repeated favourite phrase ‘Keep buggering on’ – it’s a kind of stoic acceptance of whatever potential chaos is likely to be put in front of us every day and dealing with it all just as it is, in the moment, whatever it takes. It’s about struggling with the futility and inevitability of our meaningless existence, yet rising to the daily challenge and not ever giving up on life, no matter what. And that’s a pretty long-winded way of me describing what I feel drives me in life these days – a sheer bloody-mindedness not to give up, no matter what, and meanwhile hanging on and enjoying the ride as best I can…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Drive

Share Your World: 7th June 2021

What’s the worst commercial you’ve recently seen or heard? Why was it do bad?

These days, at least here in the UK, it seems to be fashionable for ‘clever’ upmarket commercials to sell you an assumed aspirational life-style rather than focus on a specific product, so it’s often really hard to differentiate one ad from another. They’re all beautifully shot and trendily abstract and all about the feels but because of their similarities are all totally unmemorable, blending in one to the other, so what’s the point of companies spending all that money on an ad that nobody remembers? Or worse, people perhaps remember the story-line of the individual ad but not the actual product it’s supposed to be advertising – duh! It’s as if there’s no direct association of company and commercial any more. I can still remember so many straightforward ads from my childhood, even today singing the jingle – OK, so they may been over-the-top cheesy rather than subtly arty but at least the thing being advertised was always placed front and centre, not hidden in an obscure reference in the last millisecond of filming!

What takes a lot of time but is totally worth it?

Life, I guess… I mean, it takes a whole life-time to achieve, so it has to be worth it, doesn’t it?

Have you ever smiled at a stranger and then wished you hadn’t? Why or why not?

I regularly smile at strangers and most smile back, an acknowledgement of being in the presence of another human being, then the moment passes and the interaction between us is completed perfectly satisfactorily. But very occasionally a smile attracts weirdos to latch on to you and assume far greater intimacy for a much longer duration than a simple friendly smile-in-passing should generate, and then it’s a total pain on the ass to shake them off.

What do you think is the nastiest tasting food?

Hmm, taste as in flavour or texture? I mean, I don’t like the grassy non-taste flavour of lettuce, or the bitterness inherent in most brassicas. Or most raw nuts – no thanks. And I’m not particularly a great fish fan, either, although I do eat it from time to time because it’s good for me. Some flavours are just not my favourites so I’d choose to avoid them wherever possible But it’s more the odd texture of things, the actual feeling of the food in my mouth, that truly turns my stomach and renders such food totally inedible – rubbery seafood like squid or mussels, or the sliminess of oysters or okra… seriously yuk!

Are you at peace with yourself? Your world?

I don’t know. If it’s a relative thing, well I’m probably more at peace with myself now than ever before, but not necessarily in comparison to others. With my world? Probably with my immediate environment, pretty much, but with the world at large, not so much…

Share Your World