Monday 7 June 2010

I go up, I go down

I go up, I go down. I suspect we all do if we’re honest. I have been on a somewhat manic high for a while and now the wheel of fortune is turning and I’m plunged into the slime. Half-term passed in a frenzy of activity. We went up to London to see the rugby and we had a folk festival in town – you can check it out on my blog for The Lady. Then, last weekend, there was a big party down at the cricket ground in aid of a local family who’re going through sheer hell coping with life-threatening illness.

It was a great night, the whole community pulling together, everyone spending money they probably don’t really have on stuff they certainly don’t really need in a seriously good cause. I’ll never lose the image of Darren the gamekeeper (with a Zidane shaved head) bidding furiously on a cut and blow-dry. Or the moment the phone bid came in from John the vicar for the full body aromatherapy massage.
The music blared, the wine flowed, the burgers (donated by the Co-op) sizzled on the barbie.

As we walked home, under the stars, a little unsteadily, I remembered why we had been there and said a swift prayer of thanks that our little family is (fingers crossed) okay.

‘We’re very lucky,’ said my mate Jools, a few days later, as we sat sipping G&Ts by the river, watching our boys float like logs on their bodyboards down the slow-flowing water. ‘It’s not about money or what you have or haven’t got: it’s about being okay. It’s about times like this.’

She’s right, I know she is. Yet still my mood slumps. Am I just a spoiled silly middle-class woman indulging myself in depression, as Janet Street-Porter would suggest? Is it that horrible cliche – the mid-life crisis? I do feel in need of a new challenge, of something different. I am also horribly aware that I must pull myself up by the bootstraps and get myself into some semblance of shape. I am now very nearly as heavy as I was when I was full-term with James. What I really need is three weeks at Viva-Mayr or even a week at some kind of bootcamp – quite like the look of this one. But, if that won’t happen, then some healthy eating (back AWAY from the cakes, Jane) and a return to exercise might help. I’ve been trialing the Reebok Easytones lately (trainers which tone your bum and legs) and have to say that, after two months or so, my legs are pretty firm. Shame they don’t do ones that work out your stomach as well.

But really I know that I just have to give it time. Life isn’t all about up, up, up. How could we appreciate the highs, if we never hit the lows? So, while I’m waiting for the wheel to turn again, I am trying to be kind to myself and just do lots of nice little things to help the mood. Small pleasures like a bath in Aromatherapy Associates scrummy bath oil. Painting my toenails in glittery silver. Having a long indulgent hug with my boy. Listening to my favourite Seth Lakeman (and looking forward to the new album). Reading Exit Music the last Rebus (by Ian Rankin) which I have been saving up for a rainy day. A day just like this really.


Liz de Jager said...

I love this blogpost, Miss Jane. It's heartfelt and true and real.

How odd that we all go through these highs and lows and yet we are hardly ever keen to share the lows but always the highs. I try not to speak about the lows as it feels, like you pointed out, self-indulgent. We always wear our "game" faces and sometimes, just sometimes, it's good to just fold those faces away and remember to be kind to ourselves and not to ignore the lows. So, from me, to you, I hope things go up up up very soon but in the meantime, enjoy the smaller things, like Seth's music and your boy and your friends, both online and real.

Exmoorjane said...

Aww,Liz...thank you. Yup, you're right - should definitely have added friends into that list... :)

Grace Marshall said...

Sometimes I think we don't give enough credit to those ok or just right moments. Reminds me of another post I recently read: Catch Yourself Feeling Rich.

"Notice those moments when there is nothing else you need, nowhere else you should be, and no one else you would rather be with because in that moment, you too are already rich."

I guess that could apply to feeling up too. Like you said, noticing the tiny up moments - like the small sparkles on your nails.

Lou Archer said...

You captured the thought process beautifully. We should feel grateful, but sometimes we can't.

Hope you feel joyful, or even just content, again soon.


family affairs said...

Thinking of you lovely and hope you're feeling better. I've just done a post about my breast cancer walk and like your fundraising experience, it does put everything into perspective.

I agree about the Tax Credit video - I've been asked to put that up. Think I'm going to. Very good idea. I need all the help I can get.


Rob-bear said...

Sharing the "not best" parts of your life is a gutsy choice, Jane. And remembering that "we get by with a little help from our friends" — like Jools — is also crucial.

Hope things pick up, soon.

Fennie said...

Have a hug! Peaks and troughs or rut-strewn evenness? Plod and march luke-warm through life, or seize it with both hands and ride the stormy sea? Life must be about moments I feel even though many of those moments are ones best forgotten. It's only some of the time that you win, but without venturing, nothing comes back. The greatest crime is to be boring when there is so much interesting in life: good and bad, happy and sad, sane and mad. So shake up the cocktail and be unpredictable. On with the dance.

Milla said...

or read Steinbeck and feel really rather OK again, no swilling bacon fat through milk or squatting high on a (lumpy) mattress hoping the floods don't reach it - or, for true nostalgia wash listen to Fife Dangerfield. Love it.
Which Seth is your favourite? not yet bought any and don't want to be put off him by getting the wrong one.

Alison Folwell said...

I can't help being selfishly reassured to hear that someone as successful as you still has these thoughts. They're my thoughts too, and the thoughts of nearly everyone I know, though each of us resolutely believes that our version is the most searing, the most heartfelt, the most painful. For someone with no real problems in my life, I spend a lot of time feeling down, and feeling bad about it. But I also spend a lot of time (more than not, these days) feeling very happy and grateful for my lot. I think as long as we don't forget to acknowledge all the good stuff, we'll probably be OK. Other people's struggles drive home the guilt - but human emotion swells, like work in time, to fit the experience it has been forced to go through. We can't help worrying about trivia, any more than we can help leaving important things to the last minute. Ah - resolutions. Good luck with the diet...

Maggie Christie said...

This post is spot on. I've had highs, followed by a deep and unexpected low for no apparent external reason. I'm following your advice now (except my toes are a very happy orange). And when Reebok develops Tummytones, I'd like to offer myself as a tester too!

Frances said...

Jane, I did not know that you were a Rebus, too! Having been to several readings by Mr Rankin, and seen what a funny and entertaining man he can be, I have liked his "creation" of Rebus even more. Rebus is not always just a jolly fellow, is he? Guess that Mr Rankin must know a lot about dark hours.

In my job, I have to put on a happy face for hours on end every day. Well, I am supposed to do that. It just is not possible. And yet, the demand is there. I have privately shared some of this stuff with you via email, so won't go into more detail here.

Right now I actually would like a bit of boring evenness, but have to still tumble about, trying to keep on supplying my own cushioning for the rough spots.

Wishing you well. I definitely rely on friends' ears and words.


Cristina said...

Hi Jane, I came across your blog only recently, and I like it a lot! Everyone has ups and downs...just keep being gentle with yourself, and the downs will turn into ups again. Sending you happy thoughts :)

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

It is fascinating to read this. I am someone who is generally on a very even keel, married to someone who is much more up and down, although his ups are manic activity and his downs mainly irritability. I do confess to catching myself wishing sometimes that he was more like me but you are reminding me that this is a ridiculous thoughts. People are who they are and I would not get to share the ups, which I love, without the downs. Thank you. Seems close to bleeding obvious but somehow it never really hit me in the face before.
I hope your own wheel will soon be swinging gently back up again.

Humdrum Mum said...

You write it so well.

REBUS I love REBUS. Loved the last book. And loved the next one IR wrote too about the copper who was investigated by the complaints commission or whatever. If anything will make you feel better, REBUS will. Swoon. -HMx

Exmoorjane said...

Grace: thank you...wise words. and yup, I love my sparkles!

Lou: thank you.. :)

Lulu: well done, you - shall go and read...yes it does put things in perspective.

Rob: thank you! Yes, I'm very rich in good friends.

Fennie: hug gratefully acccepted. (((and here's one back)))

Milla: aren't you in Cornwall? Can't stomach Steinbeck. Seth? I love them all, maybe Poor Man's Heaven or Kitty Jay (but listen on Youtube first as you might hate - he's not to everyone's taste and we don't always agree on music!!!!)

Alison: ah, success in the eyes of the beholder. But beautifully put and thank you. Diet okay except for the two slices of cake yesterday!

Mags: Tummytones? how fabulous would that be? My mother once bought me a nasty ring that you put round your middle which was supposed to sweat away the fat. Just revolting!

Frances: ah, dear soul, I owe you an email, have been wondering how things are with you. Another large hug winging its way over the Atlantic. Isn't Mr Rebus fab?

Cristina: thank you so much for the happy thoughts! :)

EM: yup, me too. Trouble with my wheel is that it lurches....all the way up, or all the way down.. *sigh*

Humdrum: ooh, so the next one is good too? Not that I'm surprised. Love it when I know I have more to look forward to with an author.

Susan Moorhead said...

I love the bravery of this post. I feel much the same lately as I imagine a lot of women do - and I think it is wonderful when someone just puts it out there - it comforts to know we are all just muddling through together :) and hoorah for silver toenails!

CAMILLA said...

Hi Jane.!

It's not always easy to keep one's soul chipper, hope you feel brighter soon and things go up Jane.

In the meantime keep playing Seth's music, and enjoy the company of good friends, now mix a large glass of martini and put on those fabulously gorgeous shoes you sported for front cover of your book.

My best wishes to you dear Jane.