Status: Single.

Listen up my Singleton Friends, this one is for you.

I’ve had so many interesting conversations with my fellow citizens of Single Town this past couple of weeks that I decided ‘Status: Single’ was going to be my next blog post. It’s an #awkward one because you can only write about what you know so if you aren’t a fan of the TMI then click the little at the top of the screen now cos this one gets a little bit personal and don’t tell me I didn’t warn you….

I am single. SURPRISE! Said nobody that I know. Ever. Except the girl who does my nails. She asks me every time I go in there. Which is roughly every 3 weeks. I can feel her disappointment & concern seeping through her handy work into the very foundation of my nail beds.

I am not a Nun. SURPRISE! Said a lot of people. As a Single Christian Woman at the tender age of 35 ½ years, it appears to come as a surprise to many that I am neither pining for a husband nor given up and married myself to the church. Or God. What is it that Nuns actually do? Do they marry the Church or Christ? Note to self: research this further in case I decide on a change of career…

So here are my observations having lived 35 ½ years on this planet as an unmarried woman but with a deep faith in God, broken down into 3 handy points with their very own Sub Headings.

There are things that are just plain awkward for Single People to answer when they are put on the spot by well meaning but socially unaware Not Single People they don’t really know.

The Weird Justification Conversation.
Not Single Person: What do you think of Bob?
Single Person: Great guy but I just don’t feel like we connect on any particular level.
Not Single Person: Why not?

BUZZ. Wrong answer. I’m never even sure what that next question means! Am I now meant to list all the negative or unappealing attributes about Bob? Bob is great, Bob is a delight. Bob earns lots of money. Why do I now have to justify not being attracted to Bob? Poor Bob! It’s not his fault.

The Unexpected Introduction to Reproduction
Not Single Person with Kids: When are you going to have kids? Have you considered what you’re going to do now that, you know, you’re getting older?

I have actually been asked this question. Several times. I have yet to formulate an appropriate response. Do you think I am not aware of my age? Am I meant to rush home & start researching how to freeze my eggs? Do you want me to cry? Have a nervous breakdown? Steal a baby perhaps?

The Patronising Knee Pat
Not Single Person at a Wedding: *pat pat on the knee* Don’t you worry, your time will come. *sad but reassuring smile*

Thank You for that very unhelpful, completely not required moment of unnecessary sympathy.

Middle Aged & Single doesn’t equal Beaten Down & Dismal.

This is not a feminist statement. It’s a fact. God created us. He created us to be Beautiful, Strong and Resilient and He gave us the resources to be just that.

Most of us have lived good, joyful, purposeful and adventurous lives. We won’t break if somebody else has a baby or falls in love or gets married. We are capable of separating our own wants & desires from the lives of other people so that we don’t feel resentment, jealousy or discontent when the life of another is enriched. We celebrate. We laugh. We buy a new dress for the party.

Of course, there are times we may feel lonely. There are times we think it would be nice to come home to someone. There are times that we wonder if we will ever meet someone that is compatible in the way in which we need and desire. BUT mostly, we are O.K!

For some it’s easy. For others it isn’t. And I don’t undermine those experiences because it hasn’t been 35 years of pure contentment. There are times I’ve wished things could have worked out differently. There are times I’ve wondered what is wrong with me, why everyone around me is able to find someone to journey through life with and what it is about me that lacks appeal. There are times I’ve grieved for what might never be. And I’ve sometimes tried to change. To fit in. To relax my standards and expectations because after all “you can’t be too fussy”. Like there is an age limit to having standards before you have to just let it all go!

Do you want to know the ultimate deal breaker for many men? Love Jesus with all your heart. It goes down a treat. You suddenly become ‘too strong’ or ‘too independent’ or ‘too Christian’. You can be Christian as long as you have no conviction. I’ve thought about what that life might look like. I figure if a woman isn’t expected to give up her dreams of making the Olympics, climbing the corporate ladder or becoming a Judge then I can hang onto my faith with both hands and feet.

The Issue of the Fine Line

There is a fine line between swearing off men & owning 10 cats and finding that place of contentment. Because no matter where we are at in life, there needs to be a level of contentment.

It was a quandary I faced the year I turned 30. It wasn’t like there hadn’t been possibilities or ideas or crushes but nothing had eventuated. So I sorted it out with God one day. I said to Him ‘Right. You and I both know I am going to honour You with my life, with my choices, with my future and with the man I marry, if there is in fact a man out there for me to marry. So if that time is not now, maybe that time is never but if it’s not now then I cannot feel Lonely, Lack or like I’ve been ripped off. Because there is none of that in Your plan for my life. The road might be bumpy but You did not create me to feel lonely or like the plan is flawed. So take it away. Every feeling of loneliness, every feeling of lack, every feeling of disappointment and let me know that You are there and You are in control’.

Hand on my heart, the conversation went something like that. With tears and snot and everything.

And He did. He continually meets me right where I’m at. There are times other thoughts & feelings might creep in but I know how to work through it and overcome. Probably because I’ve had a lot of practise and they say practise makes perfect but mainly because He made me to be Beautiful, Resilient & Strong. He has a plan and the plan isn’t always about the Man! The plan is bigger, more intricate, more colourful and more exciting than anything I could have imagined for myself. Just ask the 2005 me that stood on top of The Great Wall of China after working for 3 weeks in an Orphanage in Wuhan. Or the 2011 me that aced her Silver Marketing Exams when she didn’t think she was that smart. Don’t ask the 2003 me. She had a perm.

Have I given up the ghost? Nope. There is always the dream and the hope of what might be in amongst all the other chaos and adventure. Am I pretty bloody happy with the way life is going? Yes.

“Ma’am have you been drinking?”

The police officer looked at me suspiciously through the car window as I tried my best to smile engagingly. Clearly it didn’t have the desired affect because he assumed I was drunk. I’ll add ‘engaging smile = sloshed looking’ to the list of reasons I’m possibly still single. It was, to be frank, a bugger of a speeding ticket and one I plan to fight due to the lack of clear signage & my impeccable driving record.

But none of that is relevant to this post. In fact, I haven’t posted in a while and I’m beginning to wonder if this blog lacks focus. Lacks direction. Lacks purpose. So I’m here to ask you, are blogs meant to be goal oriented?! Are they meant to have focus, direction and a purpose?!

In a desperate bid for material I threw it open to my Facebook friends. You’ll be really glad I updated you on the speeding ticket when you see what they gave me to work with. Amongst the legit gems, here are some of the more…questionable suggestions:

1. What is it like to have a less than perfect dad but you think he is perfect anyway? (Yep. Thanks dad. Good to know he follows my feed). 

2. The deliciousness of KFC chicken.

3. The working title “How many buckets?”

4. What truly defines the perfect cup of tea? (Actually, scratch that. That’s a good one. I could write about that. I talk about that.)

5. Trolley rage. A sensitive topic trolley rage. Many people weighed in on this with one friend even suggesting that ‘a trot is probably the best pace’. I might need to write about people who clock other people’s trolley speed at the supermarket…and even as I’m typing I think it’s a fantastic idea and this needs to be explored further. Stat.

Supermarket Cops. They could direct traffic, fine people for not keeping to the left & trying to overtake as you turn the corner. They could ensure squeaky wheel trollies are kept out of our aisles and that shoppers don’t decide to ‘park’ in the middle of the fresh fruit section for a long & neighbourly chat. They could set up speed cameras. We will all think they are scanning groceries and then WHAM. They’ve clocked the reckless child high on coke (a-cola) who rammed you in the heels in aisle 3. It’s a ground breaking concept. Do you think it’s taking it to far to have an announcement come over the PA “Put down the quinoa. Yes, you in the yoga pants. Put it down, put your hands in the air and slowly back away.” 

No? See me either. I think it would be a real public service. I want to add something about checkout personnel half your age calling you ‘darl’ but I’m unsure if instant dismissal is really ‘time that fits the crime’ so to speak….

Stay tuned, next week we just might explore the working title ‘how many buckets’ in 200 words or less. Much less. In fact I think we’ve pretty much covered it. Good talk. 

Ciao xx 

Hawaii Five-no

So here’s a quick one. 

Last night I had to come to terms with a very sad fact while watching Hawaii Five-0. Im not actually destined to marry Lieutenant Steve McGarrett after all. You know when you’re crushing on someone and then you have a proper conversation with them and you think ‘what the heck?’. I had the same kind of epiphany. 

Here are my five reasons why….see what I did there, Five No’s? Ok, moving on….

1. He spends his weekends hiking. I do not. I spend my weekends eating out with friends and watching him hike on Netflix.

2. He takes his lady friends on surfing, snorkeling & deep sea diving dates. I can’t even pick up those coloured rings from the bottom of the pool. 

3. He is a workaholic & gets shot at every day of the week. It would cause serious friction in our relationship.

4. I don’t live in Hawaii, I’ve never been to Hawaii and I have no plans to become the victim of a horrendous crime whilst holidaying in Hawaii so the chances of us ever meeting are really slim. 

5. HE ISN’T REAL. 

#NewBeginnings. I’ll catch you when I have something profound to say. For real next time. 

Oy with the poodles already x 

Yours Sincerely…..

Hello Mrs Hargreaves, do you have that piece of cake in hand as discussed? Excellent. I hope it’s scrumptious. 

I’ve been waiting for some kind of life changing event to happen so I could blog about it…even though all the blogs on how to successfully blog say don’t do that, write regularly….

Lo and behold, something happened today. Or more to the point, didn’t happen. I didn’t get a rejection letter in reply to a job application. I didn’t get the job but I didn’t get a letter. Or a call. Or a courtesy email. Not even of the automated & generic variety. And it drives me nuts. 

Recently I interviewed for a job & the panel said someone would call me by the Friday. There was a hold up with the decision making process and the senior manager called to keep me in the loop. Not HR, not his assistant, the boss rang. I’d have gladly taken a call from anyone but that right there is management setting the standard. His thought process was he didn’t want me to be concerned over the weekend. Even though I didn’t get the job, I thanked him profusely. All in all, it was such a positive experience. 

Lack of communication has got to be the number one killer of employee retention in any workplace. That isn’t an official stat. Just the results of the poll I personally conducted. Of myself. So that means 100% of people polled agreed that lack of communication in the workplace is the number one killer. Second on the list was unwashed dishes in the communal kitchen sink. Third on the list, pens & scissors constantly going walk about. Am I right fellow admin professionals, or am I right? People actually killing other people wasn’t in the top five. Surprising seeings I polled me and I’ve worked with some horrendous individuals….

When management are poor communicators I think it produces two things, the first being utter mayhem. And secondly, sincere frustration amongst team members who are simply looking for proper direction. 

It acts like a wet blanket thrown over the fire of proactive & dedicated staff. Slowly the flames flicker out & all that’s left is a pile of burnt out old wood. And do you know what my fine reader friends? It’s a company’s most valuable asset that’s been burnt to the ground. 

Listen up team leaders, managers & CEO’s: 

For all the technology that has been incorporated into our daily lives, our homes and workplaces and for all the technology still to come, people will always be your most valuable asset. Build your people. Be accountable for your presence, your absence and your decisions. Learn to communicate if it’s not a skill you possess. You can be the smartest person in the room. You can know the intricacies of your business without breaking a sweat. You can be a generally great human who always buys the good brand of biscuits for the tea room. But if you don’t learn to communicate well with your people you will lose them, no matter how good your intentions were. Clear direction. Clear expectations. That’s all honest, hard working & proactive worker bees like myself, want. And a pay rise. Clear expectations and a pay rise. 

I live by the mantra ‘be an employee of choice’. You’ve no idea how many of us there are out here in employee land who strive to be great at what we do, knowing full well its all for someone else’s gain! Employ us, direct us & respect us. You’ll have employees for life.

Yours etc…

Ps: the scariest part about blog post number 3 is any #GrammarFails. 

Stop the world, I want to get off!

Relax dear reader, I don’t mean permanently.

But sometimes when life is happening and I get caught up in the busyness and the mayhem and I feel like things are spinning out of control, I want to throw up my hands at the world and shout “everybody just STOP! Let me think for a minute!” simply so I can catch up.

I don’t know where I first heard this phrase but it turns out it’s the name of a musical. One of my very favourite things is a musical so that’s kind of fitting! Having consulted Wiki, it was last on Broadway in 1978 so clearly I haven’t seen it. But I hadn’t heard of it either. It’s about the life of Littlechap. Each time something unsatisfactory happens in his life, he calls out “Stop the world!’ whilst addressing the audience. Judging by the picture on Wiki, he also appears to be a circus clown. But that’s neither here nor there.

Would you like to know how I came to be sitting at the kitchen table at 1.55pm on a Wednesday, while the rest of the world is working, talking to you about Littlechap? You do? I suspected as much. Grab a cup of tea, I’ll wait…..

Excellent. It happened like this.

I can pin point the moment that feeling became semi permanent for a season of my life. It was in June 2015. And for 6 months I had an overwhelming feeling of needing the world to just stop for a minute so I could catch up. Of course I didn’t want to just stop all on my own and take a breather because I feared life going on without me. Work, family, friends all continuing to spin around whilst I simply stopped. If I’m honest….there is also the fear that life would in fact just continue to spin because I am not the center of the universe….but that’s just between you and me my reader friend! And so I pressed on but it was with reduced capacity to enjoy life, to cope, to be in any way productive as each area of my life took a hit. There were issues at work, huge financial pressures, tensions in some of my relationships and then spiritually I began to struggle. New Year’s Eve 2015? I was away with friends and crying on my poor bewildered sister’s shoulder, I begged her to let me go home for the evening and I spent it alone. I ate Nacho’s and I went to bed at 9pm.

Then I kind of got my unspoken wish in the most unorthodox way! I was made Redundant. The world didn’t stop spinning but it surely slowed down! My friends and family took matters into their own hands and shipped me off to New Zealand for a week. If I think about that to much I feel overwhelmed because their generosity during a financially difficult period and their intervention got me back on track. Away from home & staying with wonderful friends, I began to unload the fear, stress, grief and anxiety that I’d been carrying for a long time. And in the process, I began to heal. And in the healing, I could see all that God had been doing for me all along and I began to feel His presence around my life again. That might sound odd to you, if you aren’t a person of faith. But I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t want God to just be real from afar. I want Him to be real and evident in my life. My everyday life.

I’ve been unemployed for 8.5 weeks. Not for a moment did I think I would still be unemployed coming into April! I job hunt everyday but I’ve also made some changes. I started keeping a journal because I realised that my ability to carry not just my burdens but other peoples burdens was, frankly, world class. Dutch Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom says this:

“Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts, whirling around a center of fear”.

So I started to write it all down. Every question, fear, problem, concern, thought on life and my friends and family, I write it all down. I take a deep breath, close the book and I cease to carry it. It’s my way of offering it up and letting God be God. Sometimes it takes several deep breaths & some midnight entries so I can sleep…but it’s a work in progress!

I’m also going back to study! If there is one thing 2 months off work has done it’s allowed me to take stock of my life and think about what I really want to do next. And with the very timely sale of my apartment, I’m going to work less & take on some study.

I do a bit of freelance work. Work I love and enjoy. It ensures I get dressed everyday (ok, most days) and gets me out of the house.

I got an exercise bike. It’s squished into my tiny bedroom and I ride away while catching up on episodes of Blue Bloods. I know most people listen to music but I feel it allows me to watch it guilt free if I’m pedaling at the same time.

And that’s my story. If anybody is still out there.

“Oy with the poodles already” x

P.S: Maybe next post I will shed some light on that phrase…unless you’d like to boost my confidence by leaving a comment & shedding light of your own….hint hint…

P.P.S: There is something very narcissistic in writing about oneself and expecting people to not only enjoy it but leave positive comments don’t you think?

 

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Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.

So this is my 3rd attempt at a blog. The others weren’t successful. I think because they never went live. At least, that’s my gut feeling anyway.

In a world of bloggers that actually have something to say, I’m not sure just how widely read this will be but unemployment means desperate times, desperate measures. I can no longer talk just to myself and for some time my Facebook posts have leaned towards long and ramble like.

So here I am on my 3rd attempt. Should that be third attempt? III attempt? These are the things that will keep me up at night because there is always that one person who wants to give you ‘feedback’ on your post. It can be funny, lively, witty, touching, heartfelt and their comment ‘Too. Too is the correct context’. Thank You kind reader. Said no grammatically challenged person ever.

What will I write about? What Project is going on in Pearson Street? Who is this witty, articulate and strangely compelling almost middle aged woman? All excellent questions. Thank you for asking.

I will write about whatever I want. For example, books. The title of this post is in reference to…yes you on the iphone up the back…correct! A highly controversial novel by Judy Blume written in 1970. It’s a great title don’t you think? Maybe I’ll try and be clever and name all my posts after fabulous books and obscure quotes! Maybe. What does it have to do with this post? Absolutely nothing. I will write about life. Work. My love of Anthony Warlow and the theatre. Tea. Green Tea. I love green tea. Family. Food. Customer service. Oh my gosh, do I loath poor customer service and love when people get it right.

As for Pearson Street, for 18 months I’ve had my apartment on the market in an attempt to sell and gain a little financial freedom. Something I have not really known since buying my first house at 22. 18 long months it sat on the market and it’s been one hell of a ‘project’ to sell it. That project then extended to one of the most interesting and challenging periods in my personal life. One I might just talk about here! The apartment has now sold and settles on the 22nd April. New Beginnings. I just might talk about that also!!

Well reader, I think I’m done. The hardest post to write seems to be the first as it kind of sets the tone but doesn’t say much in particular. Or should it say ‘much’ in particular? Hmmm. A Quandary. I’ll research that before I post again.

My final thoughts?

“Oy with the poodles already” x