Sometimes it is hard to realise the importance of some things in life. Too busy keeping up with the Jones's, having the latest gadgets, being up to date on the latest trends in clothing, music, TV and other social pressures. So it is good to take a step back at your life once in a while, and strip it back to the bare bones. Take a moment to realise what is actually important, and indispensable, compared to the material and emotional clutter most people seem to fill their lives with.
This is something I tend to do after a big shake up in life, maybe every few years, and am sure I have blogged about it in the past. Just like people have a Facebook cull for example, and delete all the randoms that they have added and accepted over the past year, and unfollow groups which have become tiresome.
Recently, as well as my own things going on, I have taken stock of what others go through too, and it is pretty humbling. Sure I have had my own battles in life, and have struggled to keep it together at times. Physical and mental pain sometimes making life feel unbearable, but I have never really paid much attention to those around me who go through similar.
Until now that is. Like I say recently I have become more and more aware that the trials and tribulations I have already dealt with in life await many of us at some point in life. Depression for some, illness for others, and of course the inevitable loss of loved ones. All things I can relate to very well having experienced them all a number of times.
This isn't a "been there, got the t-shirt" moment, I am not trying to belittle others in their times of need. Quite the opposite in fact. Well in my mind anyway. It is at times like these that I dearly want to offer my experiences with those going through the matters themselves. No two experiences are the same, but they bear the same hallmarks, and usually trigger a similar journey for a person to take. Just knowing someone has been down a similar path can sometimes be comfort enough.
Hearing "I know how you feel" and it sounding condescending is not just exclusive to depression, but to all other experiences in like which knock us from our axis.
Seeing others suffer in silence is almost painful. Do you approach and offer a hand, do you stand and watch them self destruct until it's too late or they finally beg for help? Interfere, or carefree?
Like I was saying, it is at times like this that everything else around you just seems to disappear, fading away into insignificance, leaving you only with the things you actually need to get by. The roof over your head, food and drink, and hopefully a network of good supportive friends who can steady you along the way, until you are stable again. Taking on tasks to assist, being there to talk to when you need to find reason.
If you ask most people what they could not live without, a lot would take love and friendship for granted, and move straight onto material objects, the internet, etc. But at a time of need, all that changes and quickly take stock of friends and acquaintances, and decide who you need around you to help.
When on an even keel, and taking stock, the results are more balanced. For me for example primarily I have a great group of friends who I know, even with their quirky ways, have my best interests at heart. Then I have my dogs, a sight and company I have grown used to, and some comfort when I am having a crappy day. The ability to get around comes next, being able to walk, cycle or drive somewhere is a huge bonus when the brain just says escape. Obviously the latter being the best when getting away with the dogs. Of course all this would be pretty pointless, so the roof over my head (and a very nice one thankfully) is right up there with the primaries in my life.
With just those things, dropping the car if necessary (but not out of preference) I could have a pretty happy existence really. Obviously I would miss the tech, given that it is one of the things that I find myself most engrossed in when not out and about, but I know I can get by without such things, and on trips to Spain I try and enforce that the best I can. Still turning to my tech devices, but no where near as much as usual. So if I were ever forced to choose things in life to let go of, or keep, I know where my loyalties lay. Friends, a roof, health just about sum up the priorities for me. How about yours?
In other aspects of life, like questioning how I fit into other peoples lives. For years I worried a lot about these things, but over time, experience and wisdom teaches you not to care too much about it. Real friends can deal with most things life throw at them, if someone decides to get all hateful towards you about petty things, like running up a phone bill in your name, then telling you it is YOUR problem, then calling you all the names under the sun (nope I don't forget pathetic acts like that), then they can simply go fuck themselves. I have no time for fakes, bullshitters and pisstakers in my life, but do keep a few around just for entertainment value.
On the grand scheme of things, how people feel about me is irrelevant. I can honestly say that 95% of the time I really don't care what others think of me. But in that delicate 5% time frame, it hurts me deeply, and that is my achillies heel in life. Suddenly becoming vulnerable to what others think of me, what is said about me, and how I am perceived. The last bout of depression is testament of this without doubt. Having my life torn apart by a few simple actions and comments.
It is so easy to reflect with hindsight and say how simple life can be if you just do this and that. But sometimes you are drawn in, trying to do the right thing, follow your heart, and it bites you in the arse, hard! How you recover from that is another matter. I have seen many friends over the year destroyed by their own actions. Actions which were carried out to make someone elses life richer, not for self gain. Taken for granted, used for their kindness and vulnerability, by selfish, greedy individuals only out for themselves.
When I look at friends who have gone off to do their own thing, follow their hearts, and enjoy life without the complications of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, I am envious. To a degree at least. I like convenience, I like choice, and if I am totally honest I actually like a bit of the rush I live in being a Londoner. Sure I like to escape and recharge in remote places, but I also like the thrill of a 24 hour city. I am sure if push came to shove, and I could choose without cutting my nose off to spite my face, I could choose one, but right now, the balance is good.
As for fashion trends, the need to socialise in popular places, and being trendy, well that can pretty much sod off. I don't shun them as a whole, but have no ambition to become trendy and fit in places which I find to be so false. The more you pay to be somewhere, the less it becomes about who you are, and the more it is about what you have, money being the key. Money attracts money, and it also attracts fakers trying to get a step up. So that can stay where it is as far as I am concerned.
Clothing, I like nice clothes, but prefer to have the right clothes for the job, rather than clothes with the right labels. Same with other things in life, like tech for example. Once it was about branding, now more about ability for buck.
So to me, really, I think the older I get, the more simple a life I desire. My experiences keep me grounded, my desire to help others keeps me true to my goals.
To all my friends who support me, thank you so much. To those special people in my life who I am trying to reach out to (nope, you are not the only one) , hang in there, I am right here, as are many others who care about what you are going through. Together we will all get back up on our feet together and support each other. Have faith in yourself.