The festive brambles of a recovering mistletoe (7) – peace is for life not just for Christmas

“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows.” – Edwin Osgood Grover

“As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.” – David Grayson

If there’s been one thing that has been a constant with the blogs and that is that I love a quote or two. Others are far better with words than I am. I thought I’d start this wall of words with a festive theme but accept not everyone celebrates at this time of year, so I hope you’ll read on anyway ………… please.

Welcome to brew from a round. Well I guess a few of us will partake in a couple of drinks to recognise the time of the year and those of us who are lucky enough, spend some time with family and friends. And, if you’re not drinking and just eating welcome to a stew from the round (pan). Sorry, I was struggling as I took a view from around. Enough! Let’s move on. I’ve been mirror man again.

Yes indeed, strangely reflective again with my mind wandering to wondering what me of, say, 5 years ago would make of me now.

Now, clearly I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve in the blogs so it’s clear there have been changes in my life. And then, as I reflected a song I was listening to – Only Son Of The Falling Snow by the magnificent Bears Den suddenly burst out with the lyrics – “Oh, the man that I was. And the boy that I have become” and BANG. Perfectly put even if I say so myself.

It’s all metaphorical to an extent. Aud would probably argue it’s not metaphorical as I wind Ringo’s extended lead around her. Or other such boisterous fun. The boy I’ve become.

It’s funny. I exchange notes with Ben. He’s worse than me. But he can be, he’s young.

Hang on, that’s the exact point I’m trying to make. As the song says, ‘the man that I was’.

There’s a time and a place to be a man. At work. When parental or partner duties are called upon. When I cut myself and I try not to yell. Then I have to be that man.

But, come on, release that young spirit. Be that boy (or girl). Maybe I’ve not taken the lyrics in the spirit as meant by Bears Den (you really do need to listen to them) but they fitted where by reflection was going.

I’d like to think old me would see new me and be impressed. Certainly me from 35 years ago would be incredibly impressed.

A learning has been to embrace the chances life throws at you. Grab the brick that has been thrown and use it to build your life – rather than see it as the destructive missile that was intended.

Learn to feel the love around you. To look into the eyes of those who are there for you and see their desire to be there for you, always. Take the key that has been gifted to you and unlocked the truly honest you.

Now some may get that chance and take a different path to the one I’ve chosen.

My wonderful family and friends have allowed me, when the chance arrives, to be that boy again. Bollocks to the man. He can put his suit on the next day.

This blog seems to have wandered off again. But I guess I’m just looking at how we need to let that child out every now and again. It’s ironic, as I am the grumpiest man I know but that does mean I don’t enjoy being daft. Come on, let’s be daft. It’s been a tough year.

And that swings me into what the purpose of the blog is – peace is for life not just for Christmas.

As regular visitors will know, I get angry. Injustice, inequality, needless poverty, these things get me angry and, other that bang on about them. There’s not a great deal I can do about them on an individual basis (now, I’m typing this section on the train and listening to Passing Strangers by Ultravox. Most people won’t know the track. I love it and there’s a particular piano bit where I hit by keyboard in a rather extravagant way and someone sitting near wondered what I was doing).

However, I get angry when I drive; at idiots in the local supermarket with their idiot trollies; at a takeaway not being ready on time; at loads of things. And it’s these things I can change. We all can. Think about what gets you similarly angry.

There are people who have made me angry. Now, I don’t subscribe to The ‘forgive and forget’ club. Nuts to that. Hurt my family. You’re in a different club. Or something to do with a club anyway. Those people are weak beyond words.

But, the learning here is not to give into anger. In reality the only person that it affects is you – and those around you. At Christmas we try and take a rain check from this anger. But just think if you could – and can – apply the philosophy of not letting that anger get to you. Just think how much better you would feel.

A few years ago I did a blog about overcoming road rage and for a while my strategy worked. Then, like any bad habit, it came back and like that proverbial brick, it smacked me right in the face and my hopes of building a life free of road rage swerved and turned my dreams over on their head.

So, let’s start again. My mission to wind my neck in and realise the only person getting wound up is me. And Aud, as she sits there cringing at the apparently recovering misery reckoning every other driver is stupid. And, if they’re not stupid they’re women. Actually, thinking about it ………………….. only joking.

But, again, it’s remembering peace is for life not just for Christmas.

It’s all those things that you try to remember at Christmas and then forget for the rest of the year.

Being friendly to strangers. Okay, I accept, I don’t do friendly to strangers very well and I think this needs to be a 2020 objective. I need to try and stop sitting on a train with my headphones in but no music on to avoid the random person sitting next to me striking up a conversation. I need to look up, not at the ground – a view of the ground, if you like – when walking passed people. Say hello, how are you, whatever. That might be the only friendly interaction that person has all day.

Toughest one is walking into working, smiling. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and I like the people I work with. I like walking into work. I’m just not a natural smiler – apart from at Christmas, just before I go on holiday, or at 5pm on Friday. So, here’s a challenge for 2020, smile on Monday. It’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life.

I could go on. I think we should all write a list of those things, those behaviours we try and change at Christmas. Then, as soon as the festivities are done, we revert to the old ways.

If we can do it at Christmas, we can do it at any time.

And, so I close again. I wish you peace and happiness at this time of year. In fact, no, peace is for life not just for Christmas. Have a happy life, please.

Jon

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