Wednesday, 29 October 2014

But I had other plans!

The years fly by. The clocks have gone back, hallowe'en and bonfire night are fading memories and it is officially open season on Christmas in the shops, although last Christmas still seems very fresh in my mind. Where does the time go?

Every year is a new chapter, a clean page with nothing yet written/scribbled on it, an empty calendar and diary to fill up, a new list of things I would like to do, achieve, finish, start, and the inevitable fact that life will take its own course no matter how I try to impose my own agenda upon it. As John Lennon so famously said "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."


The seasons come and go, the birthdays become increasingly improbable and I can start to look back on the life already lived, the two thirds of life I have already had if I am lucky? enough to live out my natural life span and I can start to see the shape of my life and also the unexpectedness of it. Life is like a river, it picks you up and sweeps you along. I wonder where it will set me down next?


So, as the year winds down, I am thinking about what has happened, the things which have mattered to me, the highs and lows. This has been a year of painful and stressful dental and oral surgery which is now thankfully coming to an end. Sometimes it feels that life is the bits I squeeze in between sessions in the dentist's chair! There are worse things.

My partner's father is adjusting to the changes in his life, the loss of his independence, although it seems unlikely he will ever be able to go home again. More frail than ever, he is still hanging in there. It's difficult.


The children are all doing OK and that is the best thing. They are all finding their paths in life, the things and people they need to make it satisfying, riding the tiger. Now that summer is over they are making plans to visit, spend some time with us, although Christmas is going to be very different this year as they redefine how they want to spend their holiday. We might even have Christmas off for the first time in over thirty years. 


The house has been on the market most of this year but despite receiving an offer for it, we haven't sold. There is still uncertainty about where and how we want to live and I think we need to spend more time researching. Getting it wrong is an expensive mistake.

Sailing into Venice and Stockholm has been memorable, not always for the right reasons. The sea can be treacherous and should never be under-estimated - it could easily have been us, as well as our lunch, that ended up in the sea.  Our own small boat is over-wintering near Stockholm and I am looking forward to spending more time in Sweden and possibly Finland next year. I hope we will revisit Venice too, but the next trip will not involve living on a small boat with four other people and potential near-death incidents! 

What sort of year have you had so far? Did it go the way you hoped?  What are your hopes and dreams for next year?

30 comments:

  1. Marianne,

    A very timely post for so many of us who have new life decisions to make about our future. For me, turning fifty, being away from my daughter, and my extended family in Canada, have all been extra challenging this year, in addition to some personal disharmony. Although it seems sudden, this sense of immortality has been on my mind more than usual, after becoming half a century old. I realize that I must make some major life decisions if I am to be a happier individual, as things will not change on their own.

    I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Poppy
    P.S.: Good luck with that last appointment!

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    1. Poppy, what a lovely thoughtful comment and I do hope the decisions you make will turn out well for you. I can well image that being away from your daughter, family and country must be tough and disharmony is always difficult. I wonder what you will choose to do, having reassessed your life? Whatever age we are, a decade younger always seems very much younger indeed. Fifty is a big milestone, sixty seemed easier in comparison, perhaps because the adjustment has been made. Good luck and thank you for reading xx

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  2. The ebb and flow and flow of life, like the waves of the sea, can sometimes throw you about. I am also going through dental hell right now, but in the spectrum of all the things that could be, I am doing OK.

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    1. Sorry to hear that, but at least I have company. At least we have access to good dentistry for all we have to go through for it.

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  3. You write eloquently of taking stock of your life. And as you say, you wonder where the river of life will set your down next. My husband and I are trying to divest, organize, and simplify. We sold the city house and are now permanently in the mountains where we feel most at home. We've accumulated so much "baggage" over 48 years of marriage - some of it is still meaningful and important to us, but much of the material stuff is not. Out it goes! I seem to be perfectly happy wearing the same "outfit" day to day - black yoga pants, a t-shirt, and a fleece. (Of course I have several of each item!) Dental work makes me cringe. I'm glad yours will soon be finished.

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    1. Living in the mountains sounds pretty wonderful Barb and I am glad you have found a place you feel at home - very important. Stuff is both pernicious and precious and it can be hard to decide between the two at times - lifestyle change is a good opportunity though.

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  4. I can't believe almost 15 years have slipped by since the millennium and all the things that we thought could never have happened..... have. Good news your dental treatment is coming to an end and you'll as you say, be able to reclaim your life. What you've had to go through sounds sheer agony.

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    1. I hadn't thought of it that way Molly, but that is pretty scary. Life has changed enormously in the new millennium. I wonder where it will go next?

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  5. Thank you for commenting on my blog! I have very much enjoyed reading this post and can certainly commiserate with you about painful dental treatment -- I have certainly had my share. I am fascinated by your sailing adventures and though my husband and I have done some dingy sailing, what you describe is one of those dreams my husband had once hope to bring to fruition.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading this - that's always encouraging - and thank you for dropping by. My partner is the sailor, I just tag along and hope it won't all go pear-shaped but he really enjoys it and it is certainly a different way to travel and see places. I like having our own little home basic though it is and it is much cheaper than staying in hotels, especially as we can eat on board. I do hope you get some sailing in - a day boat is a good compromise and the next step for us in a few years time.

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  6. Marianne, I found this post, and the prior comments, very interesting. I think that this year is a sort of transitional year for me, as I attempt to "wean" myself from full employment for a corporation, and discover what a bit of additional time off can do to enrich my life.

    I seem more and more aware of the speed with which time passes, and that might be a common side effect of being older...or maybe of having many, many interests! Or both.

    xo

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    1. I didn't plan a review Frances, but that's how it came out - my posts tend to make themselves up as I go along - do you find that? Good luck with the change of lifestyle. I find the more time I have, the less I get done! Part time work is a good compromise.

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  7. Intriguing to look back and see what happened. I never imagine what I will do but it's interesting to see the changes. Loads of dental work sounds hard ! I hope your Christmas will be fun, although different.

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    1. Life does make itself up as we go along Jenny but yes, looking back and seeing the shape a year took, the good and the bad is interesting.

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  8. Oh my! Aren't we only just barely past summer? No? I can't bear to think about Christmas barrelling our way, let alone begin summing up the year. Except that this is the year I really knew I was ready to retire. Next year (end of) is most likely to be when it happens, but this year will go on record as being the big transition.
    And it IS the big/best thing, isn't it, when the kids are all doing well. . . .

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    1. There is a saying that mothers are as happy as their least happy child (if that makes sense). As long as they are doing OK, I can get on with my life too. Good to make decisions about how you want your life to be in the future - that's very positive for you and good luck with sorting it all out. I am just having a reflective moment - I blame the dental work. It always throws me off balance.

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  9. I'm sure coming to the end of necessary dental work must be a great relief. On-going medical treatment of any kind must influence how one feels about life's journey and new situations can also be a challenge. I hope that your plans to move come to fruition in the coming year and you can then enjoy some more time out on a sailing trip. Knowing that the children are fairly settled in their chosen lifestyles gives my husband and I peace of mind and will help when making our own plans (on paper) for next year, although we know from experience it's best to take one day at a time. Even so, it's our 50th wedding anniversary and my 70th next year so we hope to do something really meaningful in the way of travel.

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    1. It's good to have a rough idea with lots of flexibility built in Linda, I do agree. It looks like a big year for you next year - I wonder where you will decide to go to celebrate the milestones?

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  10. Good wishes to you as you take stock, Marianne. I hope life will take some good twists for you and your adventures will outshine the setbacks, including pesky dental ones.

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    1. Always important to focus on the good bits despite the bad bits getting in the way at times, Mise. Good wishes to you too and I shall enjoy following your quirky life!

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  11. All too often, I'm reminded of that John Lennon lyric. It's amazing what comes along when everything seems to be going so smoothly. Thankfully, that can also be said of the opposite.. when thing seem to be at their lowest, good often happens. I wish you a much better upcoming year.

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    1. Funny thing, life, and always turns out different to your expectations. Just be glad when I see less of my dentists! Hope you have had a good year in your new home, Hilary x

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  12. I found you Marianne and I'll be back for more :) Enjoyed your reflections very much. Now, I just need to work out how I know you... garggh!!

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    1. Glad we have found each other on blogger Sara - the answer is CPH... are you still on the course?

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  13. Hi Marianne! How I commiserate over the dentist. I spend so much time there that I am on first name terms with all of the staff - and their children. There are worse things in life.

    These dark days of November certainly prompt reflection. The prospect of Finland in a boat sounds enticing.have you read Tove Jansson's Summer Book and Winter Book? I read them both this year and relished them. I know I'll be reading them again.

    Good luck with the planning.

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    1. Oh well, plans. Who knows what's on the agenda. I have practically moved in with my dentist (actually there are now two of them, but they do know about each other, so I guess that's OK)! Being suddenly plunged into winter when the clocks go back always seems to trigger reflection and lots of lovely reading and yes, they are excellent and very different.

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  14. Gosh, all that dental work! I can only sympathize. x

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    1. Got my smile back now though! Lovely to see you x

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  15. I thought I'd lost you there. Your blog had disappeared from my bookmark list but luckily your recent comment about the paint brought me back in touch again.

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    1. Good to see you again Lucille and glad we are still in touch. I have changed my website address as am thinking of trying to go in a slightly different direction from time to time and did wonder if that would remove my blog - it wasn't clear to me, but then this is the internet and blogger!

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