Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be

Skinny? No, normal. Boys running on the beach in the 1950s.

Today is my eldest daughter’s prom day.  Of course High School Prom’s are a dreadful American import that serve to part doting parents from their hard earned cash – but now is not the time…  I know that for many this is a day full of significance as they are leaving school and will be off to College next term and albeit that in many cases that college is on the same site as the old school it is a major milestone on the road to adulthood.

I can imagine that many parents will be a little shocked at this ‘coming of age’ and will be wondering how their baby grew up so fast.

For me it was my youngest daughter who gave me a jolt.  My eldest has been ‘grown up’ for a while and the Prom feels natural.  But this morning the newly minted teen left the house early on her way to meet friends and then go to Oxford shopping.  That was all ok – it was the reason she left early – to go to the bank.  What happened to my Baby! When did she become mature enough to have a debit card?

Things do have a habit of creeping up on us.

Over the last twelve months I have been doing more exercise.  I was very pleased when my belt moved back down a notch to where it had been three years ago.  I was however caught by surprise when I put an old suit on and it was way too big.  The belt needed a new hole knocking in it.  I hadn’t noticed that I’d lost that much waistline!

The above picture is of normal healthy kids on the beach in the late 1950’s.  It feels very familiar to me and could have been me in the late 60’s. The image comes from the Guardian and was used to illustrate an article on obesity.  The suggestion was that to many the kids look undernourished.  However what we see as normal now is in fact overweight.  Therefore we take no action until the problem is well established.

We humans have evolved to spot danger.  And danger normally comes in the form of something sudden and different – after all if I wasn’t eaten yesterday and nothing has changed it is probably safe.  So we tend to over react to sudden disruptive events and underestimate the importance of small incremental changes, if we even notice them.  When faced with the consequences of small incremental changes over time we often try to attribute the cause to significant events.  After all we reason that minor changes achieve nothing much.

It’s worth reflecting on what small things are changing, unnoticed, in your world that might have a big impact?  What seemingly major changes are in fact an accumulation of small changes over time?  And most importantly what small  (and therefore simple and easy) changes can you make that over time will take you closer to your goals?

I went around the way for you
Did all those things you asked me to
I thought it was the perfect day
Till she just opened up to say

It doesn’t mean a thing to me
It doesn’t mean a thing to me
And it’s about time you see
Things ain’t like they used to be

The Black Keys

Living in the moment

Last week we had a very special houseguest,  meet Lottie a young ‘labradoodle’.  She is very cute.  And naturally all of the family were smitten with her.

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Well maybe not all the family.  Jake, our geriatric and athritic labrador (13 and a half years is very old for a lab) was tolerant as befits a gentleman, but he was a little aloof and he certainly was not up for Lottie’s bouncy games.

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I was worried that she might be too boisterous for Jake and that in giving her all the attention such a youngster craves he might somehow miss out.  Having an excitable, hyper active puppy around the house was more challenging than I remembered.

Then my wife commented how wonderful it was to see Lottie being so alive.  So energetic, inquisitive, loving and full of joy.  How could you not feel energised by her and adore her unquestioning love of life?

Her enthusiasm is tremendous and I started to wonder what it would take to recapture that puppy like excitement for myself.  Opening up to new experiences and enjoying the moment seems to be the key.  Living in the here and now, not analysing past mistakes or over planning the future can be joyous.

So thanks to Lottie for reminding me to live in the moment and to my wife for reminding me that simply looking at the situation in a different way utterly changes your reaction.

Oh and to Jake too – I think he secretly enjoyed having her around, after all he let her share his best blanket!

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps?
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don’t know
And I know I’ll only do this by
Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going, I’m already home
Living in the moment

Jason Mraz

bustin’ boundaries

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I recently posted that it’s important to take note of advance warning signs.  It’s equally important to know their real meaning.

Earlier this week whilst out running along the banks of the Thames the peace was shattered by the roar of a USAF B-52 Stratofortress coming in low.  Big, noisy and impressive but not all that rare here, located as I am between a number of airbases.  For the next mile I had fragments of old B-52 tracks in my head.  Of course that made me think how I could somehow cobble a post together that justified a link to Rock Lobster or something similar.

Then another B-52 dropped by.  Maybe it was the same one just flying circuits? (It wasn’t. It and all the others are part of Exercise Sabre strike).  Gear down and clearly looking to land at Fairford it was pumping out US tax dollars in the form of black smoke.  Loud, oversized and expensive a true emblem of the USA.  Now I had old Steve Bell cartoons in mind!

I continued along the river concentrating on my footing until I cut down a lane onto a road.  Then another of the beasts lumbered overhead.  A dog walker stopped to look.

“looks like he’s trying to land at Fairford.  But that can’t be right.  It’s closed.”

RAF Fairford is a USAF base with a 10,000 ft long runway suitable for the biggest of all planes and in 2010 it was ‘closed’.  Of course it wasn’t really closed.  It became non-operational and moved to a care and maintenance basis.  It remains available for use at very short notice.

You see a ‘closed’ airfield is still an airfield.  All a no entry sign really tells you is that there is a route down which someone does not want you to go.  Habits and conventions can also act as ‘signs’ telling us that this is the way we do things.  What happens if we challenge those conventions? Sometimes it might pay to look behind the obvious meaning of things we see – new opportunities might be lurking just the other side of that no through route sign.

Bust a few boundaries today.

And now here is that link to the B-52’s – sorry but Roam was more appropriate!

Fly the great big sky see the great big sea
Kick through continents bustin’ boundaries
Take it hip to hip rock it through the wilderness
Around the world the trip begins with a kiss

Roam if you want to, roam around the world
Roam if you want to, without wings without wheels
Roam if you want to, roam around the world
Roam if you want to, without anything but the love we feel

B-52’s – Roam