Rebel Yell, a word to my younger self

I’ve always been ‘weird’; that’s what my parents and siblings called me growing up. My father told my mother I would ‘calm down’, that the love of good man would quieten me and calm me and make me OK (meaning more feminine), but none of that has happened. 

If anything I have gotten more rebellious as I have gotten older. I have always loved rebellious people, those who jump outside society’s ‘normality’ boxes, those hard lines that define our lives every minute of every day. 

I meet rebels (whether they be quiet grandfathers, old ladies at bus-stops, secret rebels who clothe themselves in the conventional outfit of ‘normal’ life) and they become instant and life-long friends. 

To my younger self I say, life is a bloody roller-coaster but the rebel is still in you, and you’ve gotta live that type of rebel life until the end. 

That rebel life is saying: no, I am not going to accept this or that, I am not going to stop challenging this or that, I am not going to stop being curious and young at heart and determined to make a difference. 

My nine-year-old self wanted to run away and be a gypsy. Decades on, I still want to run away and be a gypsy, and a laptop and social media is my megaphone to the world, so I’ve gotta get this social media thing down, and quit the overwhelm of it all. 

xx

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And while we’re on the subject of getting older……

I saw this amazing video today about Panchita of Costa Rica who’s 100-years-old give or take, or at least she was when the video was filmed, and she spent her days laughing and loving and befriending every single person who came to her village.

Her smile was warm and infectious, her zest for living absolutely beautiful. I want to be Panchita of Costa Rica. Here she is: – https://www.bluezones.com/2011/12/living-longer-in-costa-rica/

In order to be her, I need to first cast off the labels I’ve lived with all my life, as the baggage of being a white female, born in England, in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and please let me state that boys and men suffer similar fates.

I was a little girl (be quiet), I was a young woman (you’ll get married, your husband will calm you down) and so the bullet point list forms: I became;

A nice little girl (who was observing everything)
A girlfriend (who didn’t like boys much at all)
A good student (sometimes, but rarely, who dreamed of being a novelist)
An employee (who longed to be self-employed)
A manager (who didn’t want to be a manger)
A wife (who didn’t want to be a wife)
A mother (who was devoted to being a mother, but exhausted by the intensity of it)
A single parent (who battled on in poverty, but who adored her little boys with a passion for seeing they were protected above all else)

 

And then as I have gotten older, I have become INVISIBLE.  I became INVISIBLE.

So now, I choose to be:

A rebel (I was always a rebel)
A revolutionary (I always wanted to be a revolutionary)
A feminist (I have always been a feminist)
A pacifist (I have always been a pacifist)
A traveller (now I can travel, more than I have ever travelled before)
A diarist (I have always written a diary)
A diplomat (like my father)
A lawyer (I am studying law)
A grower of olives (I love olives)
A poet (I love poetry)
A photographer (I adore photography)
A documentary film-maker (I’ve always wanted to do this)

And no one can stop me.

Sante to getting older, and stripping away all the labels and BS.

To you and yours. Make a list of all those labels you want to shed, and all those things you want to do and achieve.

Jo x

 

Getting older, a complete love affair solo

I love getting older, it’s a release, a joy, a place I was always meant to inhabit even when I was young. Being young – an adolescent, a young woman, the 20s, the 30s, even the 40s never sat well with me. I baulked under the responsibility of living, of child raising, of career seeking, of keeping up with the swift tsunami of life, the friends, the travel, the grappling at career paths, the pressure, the pressure, the pressure…….

I am 54 now, or in child-speak – 54-and-a-half. I am going through the Menopause – spelt with a capital letter, because Menopause is HELL ON EARTH, but I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and can see a life post-Menopause twinkling in the near distance.

Despite the hideousness of Menopause, I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I no longer care what others think of me, I can be as rude to shop keepers or objectionable people as I like. I know my limits, I know what I want, I know I will never be an astronaut or a film star or millionaire or a celebrity, and I am fine with it all.

I look at the people from my past who have caused me great pain, anxiety and distress and I smile. None of that matters anymore. I feel healthy and angry at the state of the world (good angry, not bad angry), I have energy and desire. I know how I want to live the rest of my life and know that I no longer have anything to prove to anyone.

I know that death comes and that is all fine. I know that I have lived, and am living my best life, the one designed by me, for me.

I know I care deeply, love passionately and accept one thousand percent who I am. I know I have done my absolute best, and even though my best has never been enough, I know that none of that is my fault, it’s the fault of a world and an existence that always strives for stratospheric perfection.

I know I can look at myself in the mirror and say to myself, I have done my absolute best, for myself, for everyone I love, and now it’s my time, to be, to live, to be my own version of the imperfect me.

Looking back, I would say to my 20-year-old self, everything you’re going through is OK. You will be OK. You’re fine. Have these experiences but realise that none of them are the sum total of what you are. They are what they are right now. It’s 1984 and you are 20, but one day it will 2018 and you’ll be 54 and you’ll be alive and you’ll be fine and you’ll be happy with what you have. No life goes on forever. We all die, and post 50, you will smile more and you’ll swim in the blissful waters of self-approval, and everything will be OK.

Jo xx

(Pictures – me, April 2018, age 54, and below 1992, age 28 with my baby son)

29th March 2018Joanna & Kael Edinburgh August 1992