The old and the new
can exist in harmony
The old and the new
The old and the new
can exist in harmony
So now the shutters are down
and the locks are locked
the old house holds it’s breath
while at it’s centre the ticking clock
marks the demise of each cell
as second by second
and the anomalous smiles
of long gone folk
fade in the dust
on the mantel
The clocks went back an hour on Sunday morning, and my body clock has not yet adjusted. So with my brain’s usual contrariness I woke up at what would have been 6:30 a.m. on Saturday but was in fact 5:30 a.m. today. Normally of course, the alarm alarms me into half wakefulness (enough to reach for the snooze button) and it needs two more attempts to rouse me to the point where I can crawl out of bed. This morning though, I was wide awake. Waiting.
It occurred to me that I have wasted an awful lot of my time waiting one way or the other. I suspect at least a couple of years of my life were spent sitting in the car outside of various establishments waiting for the kids to come out of drama/violin/gymnastics/St John’s/choir classes or other kids parties. And later, as taxi driver extraordinaire, waiting in the car at a distance from whichever pub or club they’d been to.
Then there’s the level crossing further down our road that we had to cross to get to their primary school. Heaven only knows how many hours I’ve lost sitting waiting for the trains to pass. The other day me and the dog were there for 20 minutes – that’s five trains worth. Twenty precious minutes of my life, gone, just like that.
And while we’re about it, what about waiting at airports, stations, waiting for buses, waiting at the dentist, the doctors. My life ticking away while I’m sat reading out of date copies of ‘Practical Caravan’ or ‘Angling Times’ neither of which I have any interest in whatsoever.
A couple of weeks ago we watched a fantasy type film called ‘In Time’ (see the trailer here) where everyone lived until they were 25 after which they had to buy time, otherwise they were ‘terminated’. Time was currency, and everyone had a clock built in to their arms which they could see running down. Employment was paid in hours. The wealthy could live forever. Poorer people ran everywhere to save their precious minutes.
Of course, it was daft, but I did find it thought provoking (and actually much better than it sounds – worth a watch). It made me think about the hours I waste, and the difference between wasting time, and, well, living.
Am I wasting time when I play games? Is playing Candy Crush Saga on my phone any worse than sitting watching pap TV or reading a bit of entertaining chick-lit? Am I wasting time when I’m writing? Aaagghhh… now there’s a question.
I certainly spend a lot of time writing, or at least messing about on my blog, tweaking it, reading other blogs etc. Hours pass by miraculously quickly and I often think ‘I must stop this and do something useful’. And then go and do a bit of sewing, which if I was making clothes might be termed as useful, but I don’t, I make soppy things out of felt (you can see some here!).
I suppose it brings me back to the question of why we do creative things. Whether it’s wasting time to just enjoy yourself. Lose yourself in creating something original, unique, perhaps even entertaining or useful.
I’ve searched the internet for answers, and not really come up with anything definitive. But I have had a deep think about my motives. My motives for wanting to write, to want more followers, more readers, this urge to foist my thoughts on the unsuspecting public. After all, I don’t think they’re particularly enlightening thoughts, probably not original either for that matter. It doesn’t even earn me any money for goodness sake!
But I have come to a conclusion:
The reason I write all this stuff and nonsense, the reason I post it on my blog for all the world to see (if they care to – come on world!), is to leave a mark. A mark of the real me. Not the me that is a mum or daughter, or wife even, nor the me that colleagues knew, but the nugget of me, that even I don’t know about until I start putting things on paper, the central joy of the absurd, as well as the deep chasms of darkness, that my inner self seems to dwell in sometimes. It is the yin to my outward yang.
Most of my family have found it hard to understand why my short stories tend to bend towards the dark side. Only the other day my mother complained that they never have happy endings. To be honest, I don’t know where they come from either, but that’s just how I write. Some people start out with a plan, a ‘beginning, middle and end’, but I’m one of those folk whose hands practically take on a life of their own when I’m bashing out a story on a keyboard. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the protagonist until there it is, on paper, a sticky end again.
And as far as verses go (no, still can’t bring myself to call them poems) well, they just turn up in my head as a rhymey line or two, and I knock them into some sort of shape from there.
So, basically, as well as leaving my mark, for posterity sake (my words will be around a lot longer than me), it reveals the individual in me, not only do my family, friends and followers get to know me better, I get to know myself too.
Therefore I conclude:
Writing is not a waste of my time. Yay!!
I can barely say it out loud, but I’m facing one of those big birthdays this year. You know, one that ends in a fat ‘ol zero. In my case, if you were counting your fingers you’d have had to go on to your second hand. Yep 60. Big fat 60.
Of course, I’m not really 60, I’m really about 23. Well, that’s how I feel (most days… Sometimes I feel 103). The funny thing is, that I’m not thinking ‘my god, I’ll be 60 this year’, no, I’m thinking ‘my god, I’ve been eligible for saga holidays for ten years already’ and worse ‘my god, in ten years time I’ll be 70’ . And the one sure fire thing about getting old is that ten years is most definitely not as long as it used to be.
I remember, in my youth, seeing a science programme where James Burke talked about the ‘relativity of time’. And its true. We all know that the ten minutes at the end of a working day can seem to drag on for hours, and yet, ten minutes lie-in under a snuggly duvet flies by in what seems seconds. Time can drag when you’re bored or race when your busy.
I can be blissfully unaware of time passing when I’ve nodded off on the sofa (a sure sign of advancing age, or perhaps too much partying??), waking up not knowing whether I’ve been asleep for five minutes or two hours. Often the TV channel has been changed and I don’t realise it until half an hour later when I say ‘where’s that baddie bloke gone?’ and am told that that film had finished and we’re way into the next one now.
The other time when you are blissfully unaware of time, or anything else for that matter, is under anaesthetic. They can move you about, prod you with instruments, cut you open and sew you up again, and you know nothing. Absolutely nothing. No pain. No discomfort. No timescale. I comfort myself that that’s what death must be like. A void in which you are unaware. Completely.
Going back to the year’s going faster, I found this explanation on the Naked Scientist website, and although I agree with the main reply, I think the far more likely explanation is discussed further down in the responses, and it tally’s in with what James said all those years ago. A year now, represents a 60th of my life, whereas when I was 10 it was only a 10th. Little peeps are almost living in dog years compared to me.
Well, I guess doing nothing so time goes slower is not really the answer. Rather, I should cram as much in as I can. Don’t waste a single minute and try and fill the next thirty years with wonder. I listen to the Chris Evans show on Radio 2 in the mornings, and every day he speaks to a child who is doing something for the first time that day. The next day he speaks to the same child and asks them to mark their new experience out of ten. Almost without exception they say something like ‘a gazillion and twenty five’ even if its something as mundane to me as a swimming lesson. That’s the sort of enthusiasm I want to regain. Of course, its much harder to find new experiences when your older, but I’m going to do my best to be Adventurous, Brave and Curious.
What was the last ‘new experience’ you had?
Yesterday evening I went to put on a recently purchased jacket. I’ve only worn it a couple of times, and yet pulling it on I found a tear on the sleeve. Goodness knows where it came from, but guess what? This morning I had time to sew it up. It didn’t get put on a pile to be done at the weekend (I can only sew in daylight, poor old thing, eyes are going) it got done straightaway. This is the gift of giving up work. Time. I had time to phone the electricity board and was able to arrange a time for them to come. Quickly. I don’t have to arrange time off work for electricity board visits, or any other workmen type visits anymore.
I had a letter from our travel agents who needed some information for our forthcoming (exciting) trip to India and Nepal. Instead of surreptitiously phoning from work, and not having the right information there, I had time to do it straightaway. Its a revelation to me how much easier life is generally when work doesn’t interrupt it.
I met with a friend for lunch. In the past I have always had less than an hour by the time I get to the restaurant, to scoff down the food and catch up on gossip. This time we lingered over lunch had two pots of tea, each, and even ran to puddings. Two hours later we were gossiped out. A leisurely lunch with an old friend is definitely one of life’s small pleasures.
This afternoon, with not too much to do, I indulged in watching a tennis match on tv (Murray vs Djokovic since you ask. Not sure if spelling is right, sorry!) and I still have time to type up a blog post before getting in the kitchen to make dinner.
My time is now my own.
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