Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Prompted by a sad event.

On Sunday the manager of the Welsh National football team, committed suicide. He was 42 had a wife, two young children and so it would seem, a successful career. No details of why or how have been released. There has however been a huge sad response to his sudden death. I've felt low and unloved but never have I thought about suicide. Well maybe for 30 seconds but then I think about how that will effect my daughters lives and what about the person who finds me or has to tell my family. No, I may have lows but suicide!

So how messed up must your thinking be, to see suicide as an answer to your problems. The turmoil your mind must be going through. I realise how lucky I am not to be that deeply mired in depression. In fact mood wise I'm probably in the best shape I've been for a long time. Where I let myself down is letting things slip, find lame reason to avoid what needs to be done. I'm no longer true to the spirit of my blog. "What would Chris Gardner do." He would pick himself up and get on.

The whole idea of the blog was a secret diary to mark my march away from being down, from failing and learning to break that cycle. Instead it's become something else. Am I disappointed? yes. Am I down? no, I have to go back and start the journey again. The one plus and it is a small plus. I'm able to publicly admit I've let myself down. I no longer need people to like me. It would be nice but even nicer if it were earned by deeds done.

Onwards and upwards.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Gary Speed

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Acceptance and looking back.

"I need to bounce back." How often have I said that or read that? As I get older I don't bounce as well as I did. That's not a bad thing though. Why do I need to rush right back into the chaos. Use my old age wisdom for once, we all acquire it, so why don't I use it.Wouldn't it be better to take a bit of time figuring out what to do next? When you hit rock bottom do you have the necessary skills and tools to bounce back? Maybe accept what is and use that as your base and foundation to build on.
That's what's been going on in the background as I've got to grips with the move, my sick van and getting some work. So a few people this week have heard. Sorry that's not going to happen until I've got this and that sorted. I'm no longer putting me last. Changing the water pump on the van has become a real chore (I can't afford a mechanic and no work means I have the time but not the knowledge, damn and blast) today however I managed to get through the pain barrier, both physical (squashed fingers) and mental (figuring out solutions) and now have a plan and a renewed confidence. Small job offers have been coming in. The deference this time is I've set realistic dates to do the work and not crowded it all in.
None of the above is a bounce back. It's a steady level march forwards for the moment. Which I have to say feels like a great victory. Odd but true.

"Looking back" sadly not some interesting little snippet into my past life, more a "public service message." I tend to type away at a post, half read it. Then push the publish button. Only to go back to it a couple of days later reread the gibberish and rewrite the thing. So please feel free to go back a few days. It might make a bit more sense.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Simplification, support and other words starting with S.

Yesterday Jo mentioned being a big fan of simplification. I am too. Something I now see I got from my Dad. My Dad could neither read nor write and when he got the chance at 14 to become an apprentice gardener he took it. He was a wonderful plants man but a hopeless business man. Because of his inability to read he would always asked questions and if he didn't understand the answers just ask more question and then repeat back what he had learned so he knew and they knew he understood. He did everything, fixed the car and his work van. Sometimes our car and his work van were the same vehicle, which used to embarrass my mum , sister and me at the odd family wedding. There's no hiding a dirty blue transit van in a church car park. Anyway back to the story he decorated our home, fixed our toys, built stuff (a brilliant tree house in our garden) partly because he couldn't afford for anybody to do it and partly because he knew he could, a lot of men of his generation did. So subconsciously I absorbed that (along with his reading and writing problems) and I've always enjoyed learning new and strange things and asking lots of questions along the way. To keep it all things simple. People like me because I keep it simple. I am a "can do" man. Ignoring the problems in the full belief I can do whatever it is. I've had great success with this but it's also been something of a double edged sword and has brought me down too. During my little spell of counselling I discovered that learning all these little niche skills was something I did to mask my problems with reading and I guess Dad did it for much the same reasons. Whilst I'm proud of my "I can do that" attitude it has meant I have tried things I should have steered well clear of. It has also lead me to not fully appreciate my abilities and strengths. Because I've felt it was simple and any idiot could do it. I saw myself as a thick idiot and not to beat around the bush it's still there in the background..

Well I'm dealing with it. I'm slowly coming to terms with my talents and liking the person I am. I'm not boasting and find this a bit awkward to write as it seems like I'm boasting which I'm not. It just needs to be said, so you (and I, when I reread it) can see I'm getting on and moving forwards. As much as I got a lot of helpful knowledge from counselling I've found I'm soaking up even more from the blogs I read. So take a bow Med, Betty, CarrieAnn, Jamie, Jo and Ami etc. I'll stop there as it's beginning to sound like the intro to a Paul Simon song.

Lets move on to Support. Maybe some support from those close to me over the years would of changed things but it would be mean spirited of me to say it and think that way. I did get support and help. Mrs Richardson the lady who taught me to read. Changed my life. I guess it was the day to day stuff I missed out on. The hugs and kisses and those few words that can send you off to school feeling special. Prehaps I was an ugly smelly kid that no one wanted to hug and kiss? :-) Seriously though what I can do and think about is the right choice of words to use as support for those around me and not just when they're down or in trouble but everyday stuff. That gently soaks in and makes them feel valued and worthy. I can't rewrite history but maybe cooking good food is almost the same as eating good food. Lastly the S words. It could of been any letter but then the title of todays musings won't of sounded (another S lol) so good.

Here are a few positive words to end on, so take your pick. Special, sassy, strong, sweet, sensitive,smart, sensible, super, sweet, sincere, shrewed, skillful, smiling, successful, splendid, self assured, stimulating and sexy.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Being grateful ??????

Grateful, the number one word used by people to "help" others when they are down. Trouble is it doesn't help. Would the idea of being more miserable than you are help cheer you up? Would you say to someone with a broken leg, "you should be grateful you didn't break both." Do they feel any better? nah I didn't think they would.

I should say before I babble on any further. I am being slightly flippant. I apologise in advance. I'm not smart enough to find another way of making my point.

What I'm trying to say, is another poor soul's plight isn't really going to help you. It will just make you feel worse about yourself and how ungrateful you are. Treating a negative with a negative doesn't in this case equal a positive (I wish to state at this point my hatred of Algebra but that's another future post :-)). Lets be inspired to better health and not despised.

So we know there are people worse off than us but do we ever consider those better off ? Is it not a better idea to study them to find ways to help ourselves?

What have they got that I would like to have?

Hair. It's been a long time since I owned a comb or sat in a barbers chair and chewed the fat, that's generics for you. I could develop a passion for hats though. I know it's not the same but "the dude in the hat" sounds way better than "the bald dude."
Happiness. I could smile more often. It's free. MissG says I sound miserable on the phone so I smile before I dial her number and it seems to work. The other day an elderly customer of mine said "You're a cheerful chappy" it stopped me in my tracks and after I thought is she after a discount? I realised I was in fact feeling good that day. She made me tea and we sat and chatted for a while and swapped the good and bad stories of our lives. Which made for an interesting day. All because she made a chance comment and I was smiling!
Wealth. Now I'm getting in to deep murky waters. Is it their money I want, will that make me happy or is it what their money buys. What the feck is wealth anyway. Isn't it lots of little things combined together that gets called wealth. I think I need to pull wealth apart and find out the elements I would like. Off the top of my (bald behatted) head, peace of mind springs in. The oppuntinity to relax and switch off for a while ( I don't need a deserted beach for that do I? it could cause me problems with sun burn on my bald head anyway).

So now I have something positive to think about today. I feel better than I did twenty minutes ago. Smiling's free, getting up and trying something again is free and again and again and again. It's free and the prize for achieving after all that trying is priceless :-)

Once again I'm sorry if you think I'm over simplifying the whole misery thing. I just wanted a snack and not the whole three course meal. If you want someone to blame then it's Jojesek's fault. She left a comment on my Vito post, about being inspired and that got me thinking. You are in soooooooo much trouble Jo!

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Down but not out.

I'm up against a few things at the moment and finding it a little tough to deal with. I know I can overcome them, which is the important and main thing but a bit of support from those around me would be something I could well do with at the moment.

So often people punctuated praise with a "but." Do people not realise that it just cancels out all that went before! I've been thinking about this for a while. Primarily because I'm trying to find the right words of support for my daughters. They are both very different from each other. I don't see them as much as I'd like so with a little care and attention it's important I get things right.

All of that thinking has made me realise I'm feeling a bit low and  in need of some support too, hence today's Whinging post :-)

I believe in me. It's been awhile since I did and along with finding that belief again came the knowledge that I need others to share that belief too and be there on the odd occasion I slip. For the moment "self belief" will have to suffice. In fact it may well be worth putting some thought into "self praise." There will always be times in the future when I'll need to just rely on me. So a good tried and tested system of self motivation would be a useful plus.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Another day, another list.

Once again I'm restarting my list making. It's nothing obsessive. Just a list of five or six things I'd like to do today. Finish a job, type a begging letter, shot the next driver who breaks some law of the road that only I know about (wearing a hat while driving and not being in gear when the lights change are two that spring to mind).
Lists are pretty useful things and not for the obvious reasons you may think. For me, a list that's completed says "Well done Spanner, you've achieved today." Also I have very little self control and can find numerous reasons to do nothing. So while I'm growing a backbone and taking charge of me, the "list" does the job temporarily.

I've started and stopped (apathy not choice) list making numerous times over the last 18 months. I mention this with no great sense of pride but just a public notice to say, I don't care how many times I try and fail I'll try again and again. That goes for a number of things until I get a life that better reflects who I am (witty, charming, bald plumber) who in their right minds could resist such a package.

Ok that's number 1 on my list I can cross off.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Another day, another realisation.

I'm all moved in at my friends. While moving, well actually while driving between old and new homes. I began to think about my dreams for the future. One of my big problems in the past was living in the future, so I could avoid the unhappiness of the present. I've lived in the present now for some time. It's allowed me to see things clearly, see the wood from the trees. So recently I began to think about the future a little and found I was starting to fall into the trap of thinking that "if you believe enough it will happen." It didn't feel right and it started to feel like "old" me thinking.
I get a little email, every morning. Word of the Day. It's something MissG past on to me. I mentioned it in "Belief" 22/9/11. So today's WotD talked about "faith and fantasy." Basically, thinking it's going to happen just doesn't cut it. Shallow men believe in luck, strong men believe in cause and effect. I always find it a boost, a lift, to have found something that really makes a lot of sense and more importantly fits my particular predicament. I'm off to make the coffee and will ditch my shallow man persona and see if I can find a strong man suit in the wardrobe, to slip into for the rest of my day (life).

Another weekend is upon us and I wish you all well. Do something special.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Roy Rogers had Trigger. I've got my Vito van.

It's only a lump of metal, plastic and rubber but why does it get me home before it packs up? My old van has been with me though all the black stuff. It's the only one who never complained. It starts first time and even though it needs new tyres and other bits and pieces, still carries on. It's as if it knows monies tight!

I'm very attached to my Vito. It's heard my moans and dreams and had to live with my singing. Now I don't enjoy mechanics I'd rather go to the dentist and have my teeth drilled but needs and budgets make it a necessity. However I do get a sense of achievement out of fixing Vito, it's kind of a payback for all the times it's gone beyond that expected of an old plumbers van. Vito's the dog I never had. I think Vito and I still have a few years together and hopefully they'll be better than the previous ones. Who knows a respray and a bit of TLC may be just around the corner. An odd post I know but I just wanted to express my gratitude to the big lump of rust still outside on the drive.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday morning.

Good morning, I'm stuck at MissG's as my poor van is sick. The water pump needs changing but I can't afford to buy a new one. Plus I'm supposed to move out of my flat today and then I'm on call tomorrow at 6am. So as soon as this is posted I'm going to put the van back together. My friend and mechanic has given me a little tip to hopefully achieve a temporary fix which will allow me to move and get through the next few days. I'll get a secondhand water pump and an oil cooler off Ebay then do the proper fix next week. I have to say I hate working on cars and vans but have had to over the last few years. There is a plus though. I know and can do alot more now than I did.

So I'm a bit low but then most people would in my position today. I think I can get the temporary repair to work and I will pull things round. Is there anything positive in misery. Well I can think of two things. The challenge it offers you, to beat it and live not just a happier life but one designed by you. Also, the ability to see pain in others and the skill of finding the right words to say, borne out of your own experience. There's little point in wishing that things hadn't worked out this way and lots to be gained from embracing it and working with it. It's my mess or to put it in a more positive light. My opportunity to show myself how special I can be.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Ps The temporary fix didn't work but I've managed to pick up the spares  and am about to try and fix the thing.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Monday morning.

Many blogs ago I mentioned getting out of a hole and seeing the light or something similar and reading other peoples blogs, they talk about black holes of despair etc. Well today things aren't great but thinking about it, my misery is only a percentage of my whole. I sleep ok, enjoy eating, my time with friends and family. It's just certain times when the gloom, like a fog descends but I seem to let it colour everything.

So as the morning started to drift towards the fog I had a little recap with myself over a cup of coffee. Once I started to put things into self contained compartments the day improved. I find it a real challenge, keeping a lid on the small problems is far harder than fighting the big problems but it's the small stuff that colours the day. Early night tonight and lets see if I can make a better start to tomorrow. I'll keep the coffee break though, I can find out what I'm planning to do this weekend.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-) 

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday night's view of the last week.

So it's been a pretty awful week. not much work, customers who want the work done asap but won't return my calls when it comes to paying. The annoying thing for me is one is a customer I've done a lot of work for in the past. I now have a small list of previous customers I won't work for again (she's on that list now). I'm changing the way I approach my work and it's become apparent that it's not just me that needs to improve. Even in my current dire financial circumstances I think I would be happier having a day off than spending time and money chasing bad debt. If I step back and look at the bigger picture it's also me having more respect for my skills and talents. More respect for me as a person. It's an odd discovery, that even when things are not going well there are moments when something which doesn't appear that important happens which in fact is key to my future.

That said my spirits are high. Others face this all the time and get on with it. So can I. I'll keep moving forwards and upwards and pick my fights better. With Promoters who don't rush out with the money before the end.

This week the boxer Joe Frazier died. I remember when I was a kid the Frazier-Ali fights were a must watch. Ali was the first modern sportsman handsome, never modest about his talents, which he had in abundance and admired and hated in equal measure. Frazier on the other hand was ugly and brutal. I liked them both. It's always a shame when sportsmen, singers and actors from your childhood pass away but for me the saddest is losing the boxers. I'm not a massive fight fan by any means but they always seem to come from improvised backgrounds with poor education, will continue to fight when all is lost and end their careers broke physically and financial. Strong men who achieve success (both Frazier and Ali won Olympic Gold Medals and both were World Champions) but never seem to hold on to it, while others profit from them.

I wish you all a good weekend. Do something special.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The day before yesterdays post was pants. Part 2.

I mentioned briefly that I was in the process of moving. Thinking it through it's quite an important move. This flat has acted as a transition between my old life and hopefully my new life. To celebrate this fact my current flatmate (daughter no2) and I are having a goodbye to the flat night, tonight. Our supper will also include Christmas pudding and a glass or two of wine. We both like Christmas pudding and it will act as a happy ending to what hasn't always been a happy time. In a few days we'll both be gone and it will lay empty for a while, waiting for it's new owners. If I'm near I'll drive by and take a look to see what's changed and think a little about my time here.

I think it will also be the end of my time in London. My life seems to be moving away. Years ago families would all stay in the same area. Family ties and bonds remained strong. Times have changed and it's not something most of us can do now. It will be a test for my daughters and me. Texts and motorways mean we're not that far apart physically or mentally anymore but effort is required and maybe "absence makes the heart grow fonder" will work in our favour.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)

Yesterdays blog was pants!

Yesterdays entry wasn't that brilliant. Just a few random paragraphs that didn't really link together that well. Lets see if I can do better today.

As I mentioned I've finished the tablets but I didn't really elaborate on what's happened during those four months. The less than perfect marriage I knew about long ago and the frustration with my stop start career path goes back even further than that. A fairly good foundation for the misery that was to follow.  So what do I do that's self destructive?
1. I live in the future and not in the present. The future's a place of my own making, So it's perfect.  Everything I plan and do works out nothing goes wrong.
2. I don't finish things. As long as it's not finished nobody (and that includes me) can say it's less than perfect.
3. I'm unreliable but very likable. So I'm forgiven continually until peoples patience with me finally disintegrates.
4. I cannot stick to any kind of timetable. So I'll watch crap TV till 3 in the morning and then be late and tired the following day.

There said it. So what happened next? I left the marriage. Realized the career thing can happen that way and being self employed at this stage in my life is probably the best place to be. The other stuff I couldn't really get to grips with. So things would get better then get worse then get better then get a lot worse. I went back to my doctor and made the "I've tried my hardest but I really can't cope" speech. As the following weeks rolled by I was able to start being honest with myself and ask those close to me to be honest with me too. Hence my 1 to 4 list.
The biggest change is I'm living in the present most of the time now and making a concentrated effort to finish things. With new customers, friends and acquaintances I'm trying to be reliable, my old customer, friends and acquaintances still don't fair any better than they did but I warn them now and do try. It's almost 2 in the morning so I haven't cracked number 4 just yet.
Letting go of the guilt has allowed me to move forward. Some of that guilt wasn't guilt to start with but over time it became rewritten and twisted and became guilt. Some of it was, I fucked up, people do and they forgive themselves so I've learned to too. It's important to me though, that making a better life for myself means less fuck ups and less guilt. Not totally fuck up free but manageable, honest and forgivable.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-))))))))))

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The end of my perscription.

Today I took my last tablet. I've finished my four month course, I'll visit my doctor next week and hopefully that will be that. It's difficult to say what effect they've had on me but over the last few weeks I've been able to think things though in a far more structured way than in the past. So I guess they did their thing which got me through my thing.

I know there' still a way to go but I do believe I'm properly packed for the journey now. Loads of rubbish has been turfed out and some important kit has been added. So my head is straight and my thinking clearer.
Compared to some of the blogs I read I'm bloody lucky. Some poor souls are on big doses of all manner of different potions out there. I really do hope people in those situations find the right combination of things to help them get where they want to be.

At the moment I'm in the process of packing up my bits and pieces and moving out of my flat. I'm off to Hatfield to stay with a friend for a while, till MissG and I can find a house together down in Kent. It will be the first time in my life (all 53 years) when I won't be living in London! My two girls are 17 and 22 and don't need me the way they used to but I'm hoping that this new imposed distance between us helps to further develop our relationship in a positive way and we don't grow apart.

I'm still in the poo with regard to money, debt and work. Which is worrying but I'll just have to get on with it and put things right, it's what Chris Gardner would do :-) So will I.

On a more personal note, Med it's about time you posted. I miss you and your well written pieces. You we're the first person to leave a comment on my blog. Even though it was a demand to stop writing immediately! I've quiet taken to you :-) So lets hear something soon, please.

Now some wise words to lift us and get us all moving.

 "There's an important difference between letting go and giving up."
Jessica Hatchigan.

OK so none of us has an excuse today. I expect all of us to have a wonderfully positive day's and to report back ASAP.

Onwards and upwards in the pursuit of happyness :-)