Conversation with my mother

I turned 69 this year, and as I get closer to the ‘three score and ten’ I become more aware of how finite life is. The excitement of a recent cancer scare added to my feeling of ‘mortality’.

I am fortunate to have lived the life that I have. Yes, of course, there have been some hard times, sad times, moments of despair too. BUT there have also been the most amazingly beautiful times, filled with joy, love and much laughter.

My mother, Joan Hosie

Why is life unfair?

When I was a teenager and filled with the usual ‘teenage angst’ about life in general, I once asked my mother why it seemed that life was unfair. 

Joan Hosie, my mother, replied like this:

‘Picture the lady holding the scales. One side pleasure and the other pain.

To live a life that is worth living; you must experience a balance of all emotions.’ 

I asked her why it was that I always seemed to be more sad, angry and cross rather than happy and excited about life.

She replied; 

‘To make space for joy and happiness, it is important for you to experience the sad, angry and cross feelings. Those feelings are the ones that make the bowl of life bigger and able to hold more happiness and joy’.

Why do some people seem not to have any problems at all?

I asked her why some people seemed never to have any problems. 

‘Ah’, she said, ‘those people are what I call “elbow people” if you push them in the middle, they have no substance’. Feel sorry for those people; usually, they are the ones who never experience passion and ecstasy, they merely exist’. 

When things are down

Whenever I am down/sad/frustrated or cross, I remind myself that those negative feelings are helping to make space for more joy and happiness to come into my life. It works for me, and I hope it does for you too. 

Life is not being happy all the time; life is about living each day to the best of your ability and finding pleasure in small things. 

Life takes ‘time’

If you struggle to cope with things, take time out for yourself and remember some of the good things that have happened. Remind yourself that you have managed sad and distressing times before, you will do so again. 

To smile or not to smile?

Smiles have magical properties.

Stand in front of the mirror and smile at yourself. Then stop smiling – note the difference? Smiles are particularly important as you grow older. A smile lights up a face and makes you look more appealing. It can take years off how old someone looks too.

Try the Smile Experiment:

Next time you are in the supermarket, check out the people waiting in line to checkout. Often people are tired, frazzled and impatient. Smile at someone, look the person in the eye and say something pleasant or funny. Watch how their face will transform with their smile.

Smiles are contagious, put one on your face no matter what you feel inside. I have found that when you smile at someone, they usually smile back.

When people smile at me, it makes me feel good.

Such a simple thing really.