17 November 2019

Comment

Yesterday's blogpost, "Complacency" attracted some thoughtful comments. I think the words I wrote struck a chord with several readers. To tell you the truth, it was an odd post to write. Admitting vulnerability is never easy. In western culture, the default position is usually that glib "I'm fine thank you". We have all said it.

The longest and perhaps most fully considered response came from Adele. Adele lives on New Zealand's South Island - somewhere in the vicinity of Christchurch. She is not to be confused with the multi-million album selling singer-songwriter Adele who comes from North London.

A little diversion at this point. Back in January 2012, Shirley and I visited the Christchurch region. We stayed in a small village called Little River not marked on the map above and afterwards we travelled over Arthur's Pass to the west coast, stopping for hot pies in the village of Sheffield - also not marked on the map. That small rural community was named after this very Yorkshire city. To look back go here .

Anyway, returning to Adele's comment on "Complacency", I couldn't just let it slide away without sharing it properly with other readers. It seemed too good for that so here it is:-

Being aware of your comfortable situation and gratitude for the opportunities it gives you are your defence against complacency.

Good health and loving relationships usually require some sacrifice. The things we do or don't do, say or don't say, food we eat or don't eat and exercise we do or don't take - all of these have an impact on where we finish up.

We all struggle with the concept of our own death, when and how will it happen? As I hope my own will be sudden and painless (for me and my nearest and dearest), I try and enjoy each day I am gifted (whatever the weather),keep on good terms with my children and nurture my friends so there will be no regrets over things not said like " I love you".

The Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 made us all too aware of how suddenly life can change and how little control we have over the earth we live on. A house can be rebuilt but a life lost is lost forever. Many people have since chosen simpler lives, valuing relationships and experiences above material things. We needed our neighbours for help and support.

After 46 years at work I have a small state pension each fortnight, savings and a younger husband still working. We still live on a budget. We can cover our bills and still save for his eventual retirement. I have a large home library, a stash of knitting wool, recipes as yet untried and a garden to work in and enjoy. I am never bored. We have survived good and bad times in our 40 years together - several recessions and redundancies, worked multiple jobs, economised and made things last,and raised two girls to be good, kind, hardworking people. I mostly shop in Charity shops - giving and receiving - and support overseas schools in the Pacific Islands. Education is the gift that keeps on giving.

I can no longer streak down the basketball and netball courts and my tennis days are over but there is still the joy of the Council swimming pool for exercise after a day in the garden or a walk. I carry a book on any journey so I never mind waiting and I'm always learning. I'm no longer keeping anything for best, there is no dress rehearsal, today is all we have. We use the 2nd hand crystal and china everyday as the food and drink taste better.

Most of all I don't WORRY! I leave that to my husband. I am half full, he is half empty.
Your posts always make me think and laugh. Keep up those walks, enjoy the fruit of your labours and your loins, live kindly and keep on sharing your life with the world. We've all worked hard for the freedom retirement brings. 
Let's enjoy it! 
Arohanui 
Adele

25 comments:

  1. Well said...well-written and expressed by Adele.

    I may not be the richest person in this world...but I am also not the poorest. I have no husband, no offspring...no family. There are millions far worse off than I am. I try to remember to count the blessings I do have, and not feel sorry for myself. Mostly...the majority of the time...I succeed.

    Christchurch and its surrounds is a wonderful area...and New Zealanders are wonderful people. Only a hour or so ago I had a great, fun chat with a young lass who moved here to Queensland about four months ago from the northern part of the North Island of NZ. She has just begun working at our local supermarket. She is a lovely young lass, and chatting with her was a bright spot in my morning. She told me she is hoping to get her younger sister to join her as soon as is possible and viable.



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    1. There is a strong friendship between Australia and New Zealand - even though they are over three hours apart by aeroplane. I hope you bump into that young woman again. You could volunteer to be her auntie and invite her round to meet your furry friends.

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    2. Three or so hours flight is not long, Yorkie...not by our standards, anyway. It's almost 2-1/2 hours from Brisbane to Melbourne (and more than an hour to Brisbane airport from here where I live on the mountain). Almost 5-1/2 hours from Brisbane to Perth.

      No doubt I will see that young lass again at my local supermarket; the only supermarket I haunt. I'm on good terms with all the staff there...they're a fun, helpful lot. I was among the chosen three or four who opened the new store back six years ago! I have no desire to be her "auntie" though...or to invite her back to my place. I don't invite anyone back to my place. My days of inviting anyone to lunch, dinner or morning tea are long gone! My two furry mates and I are very anti-social! :)

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    3. That's a shame. The title "Auntie Lee" has a nice ring to it. Is there a barbed wire fence round your cabin and a sign that says "Go Away!"?

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  2. Adele's comment was absolutely filled with goodness. And you know what? I have so much in common with her when it comes to what's important and how I basically live a simple life. And here's the interesting thing to me- because of brain chemistry or whatever, I can absolutely have the same insights, enjoy the same sort of life, be grateful for the same simplicities and yet, still worry so much. Like her husband, the glass is always half empty.
    Do I choose to have this outlook?
    Oh god no. And I doubt her husband does either. If there was a way for me to NOT WORRY I would be so happy. Logically I understand everything she's saying and I find it all beautiful and wise. But. For some of us, not worrying is absolutely not an option.
    I am not trying to say, "Oh! Pity me!" I am only saying that it's remarkable how different we humans are, even in our sameness.
    It's interesting. It's life. It's what makes us all unique.


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    1. Fundamentally, we cannot change who we are or how we see things. Leopards do not change their spots.

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  3. Excellent advice.

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    1. That's why I couldn't let it slide by as "just another comment".

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  4. I dont think "Complacency" was an odd post to write at all. The un-examined life is not worth living and all that.
    I knew I would be quite disabled at a relatively young age so I wanted to do loads of things before that day came. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get through much
    before I was more disabled than I expected and though I never expected to be better off than comfortable, I am living hand to mouth with very little in the way of luxury.
    I try to be gracious but I doubt I will ever really get over the disappointment and anger at how it is for me now.

    You might as well be "complacent" and enjoy it because worrying never helps

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    1. I have a good friend, an older man of 83, and I have observed his sunny disposition for years. He will sometimes break into song - "Always look on the bright side of life". And yet he lives with pain - the result of a lifetime of hard work. In contrast, worriers can't help worrying.

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  5. Oh dear, I feel as if I'm complacent now. I've been left widowed after 38 years of wonderful marriage but because of where my late husband worked I have enough money to live comfortably and because we worked hard to move up the housing ladder, I own a house that I could sell and downsize if necessary.
    But do I give thanks for enjoying each each day? No, and I should be taking more care of my health and weight.

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    1. I have sometimes dipped into your blog Sue and I have the impression that you live a contented life...but maybe it is time to buy some running shoes, a pink lycra tracksuit and a stretchy towelled headband.

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  6. I commend you for giving Adele's comment on "Complacency" another airing all of its own. It is certainly worth it. Your recent posts have given me to think long and hard about The Now and Complacency. Someone pointed out to me not long ago that I was now nearer 80 than 70 and it had quite a profound affect on me: what I now recognise as living in The Now and Complacency.

    "A leopard never changes its spots." I suppose that's true to a degree and perhaps our basic nature is not changeable. However on that basis what is the point of punishing people who are inherently dishonest. Just a thought.

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    1. That is indeed a thought. Society has to protect itself from wrongdoing.

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  7. Thank you Mr Pudding for sharing my words. I feel very honoured but also very lucky to have recently discovered your blog and your loyal followers who so often echo my own thoughts in their responses. A pity it took me so long or you and Shirley could have stayed with us in 2012!
    The secret to your Blog success is your honesty. You are not afraid to say what you think and feel. If we are honest we have nothing to fear, but a lie uncovered can cause enormous damage.
    Anxiety is a terrible curse. I think it is often passed on unwittingly in our upbringing or acquired through circumstances we live through such as natural disasters or war.
    As a child I had lots of fears, was painfully shy and suffered from social phobia in my teens. Moving away from my home city in my early twenties allowed me to reinvent myself as the person I wanted to be and I have not looked back since. I often sing little songs to myself like " always looking on the bright side of life" or "you've gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative" as a reminder of my journey. God knows it helped me survive 24 years in the Banking industry!!

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    1. Kind words. Thank you Adele. I thought banking was exciting - like whitewater rafting with calculators. Why don't you launch your own blog? I for one would read it.

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  8. I read Adele's comment on your post and liked it, as I can relate to most of what she says. You have done well in giving it more room on your blog by its own post.

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    1. I don't think it is something I have ever done before but you know this blog better than me!

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  9. I didn't comment on your post yesterday but I did think about it a lot yesterday. Adele sums it up very well. Sometimes it's easy to take good things for granted and it's not until you have lost, or almost lost, something that you realise their value. I think I have been guilty of complacency with friends and family and good health in the past. These days I value them above all else and know when to count my blessings.

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  10. That IS an excellent comment and a good perspective. I was also in Christchurch, way back in 2004!

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  11. Adele's comment is well worth repeating as you have done. Her comment along with your original post gives much to think about. When we were younger it was far too easy to attach importance to things but as we age we learn it is the simple joys of life and the people we share our life with that are the truly important things. I love that Adele uses her crystal and china daily!

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  12. Thought provoking indeed and I admire Adele's outlook. Mine was very similar, and to a certain extent I hope it still is. However I wonder, if her husband - who does the worrying, suddenly dies, will take on that responsibility? Her life will inevitably change, as I found to my cost, when my husband died a couple of years ago.
    Like Lee, I am quite alone in this world - no immediate family and just a couple of cousins. That doesn't worry me in the least, because I have good friends, and my dog, but I have inherited all the worries and problems that my husband once dealt with!

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  13. That should read - if her husband dies, will she take on that responsibility?

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    1. No,I know I would not become a worrier but I would have to take out and bring in the bins each week, mow the lawn, clean the gutters and get the car serviced ! On the plus side I'd get a hand mower for the lawn, a library wall for my books and another cat.
      I was the higher earner in our partnership and the idea of giving up that income scared my husband at first so I worked an extra 6 months but it has worked out fine and we still have life and health insurance. He would worry far more if I went first as he likes to eat but can't cook and is colour blind so is prone to owning several pairs of odd socks!
      I would miss our planned future but he does tend to limit my life at times as his default answer to my plans is usually No.
      I made my first ever trip to the UK in 2015 on my own to visit my daughter on her OE in London. I was away 3 months and travelled solo for a month in Italy. Yes, I lost my sunglasses in the V&A, got lost in Venice, walked the hills in Florence, felt overwhelmed in Rome and a little scared in Naples but it was Italy and I was there.. seeing places my father had seen in WWII, and I had only dreamed about . It was a glorious life changing experience which wouldn't have happened at all if I had listened to all the worriers. It was worth the 36 hour journey and the scrimping and saving and I will do it again soon I hope. If not, I still have the memories and my travel journal to look back on. The only worry I did have was that my 84 year old Mum might pass away in my absence. So as I always did on a trip away I sent her the best postcard I could find every week, knowing that she would return them to me eventually because she didn't like "clutter" and the last proof that someone still loved her arrived in her letter box two weeks after I got back to NZ.
      Thanks for reading my comment. I'm glad you have good friends and a faithful dog. Good friends are gold. Adele

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    2. Thank you for your reply to my comments Adele, and thank you YP, for allowing me to have a chat to Adele, via your blog.
      I have been fortunate that my husband was always happy to travel, and through his work, we lived abroad when young. We have been lucky and able to visit all the places around the globe that we wanted to see. Looking at the map YP posted at the head of his blog, brings back memories of the time we spent in NZ, staying in for a few days in Lyttleton, which has connections to where we once lived in the UK. Hagley park in Christchurch, is another connection.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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