Change – It’s a Mug’s Game
When I reached into the cupboard for my coffee mug this morning, the contents of the shelf told me how much I’ve changed.
The cups didn’t talk (I don’t live in a Disney animation), but they did make me think about how different I now am from thirty-year-old me:
My mugs: When I moved into this house twenty years ago, I wanted all my cups to match, in a stylish, magazine-feature kind of way.
For a while, they did.
As the years went by, the cream china mugs broke, and I accumulated a hotch-potch of mismatched cups. The latest addition has a picture of Moira from Schitt’s Creek on one side and says ‘I am positively bedeviled with meetings et cetera’ on the other. It was bought for me by friends and I think of them when I use it.
For my birthday, my daughter gave me a mug which is black until boiling water’s poured in, then a picture of the four of us at our friends’ wedding magically appears. I wouldn’t swap that mug for the finest Royal Doulton.
Why? Because I’ve realised it’s not how things look that matters, it’s how they make you feel.
My dreams have changed: I still do the lottery and dream of paying off the mortgage and swanky Caribbean holidays, but the last time I bought a ticket, I asked myself whether I’d rather have money, or write a best seller.
I want to write a best seller.
Money gives us choices (I don’t underestimate this and acknowledge my privilege in being warm, safe, and fed), but at this stage in my life, I want to feel like I’ve achieved my dreams through hard work, skill, and perseverance. Younger me would’ve found this weird (older me is a bit confused by it too).
Caveat: When I do write a best seller, I would then like to win the lottery, because there is NO money in writing.
Being busy makes me happy: I find being busy relaxing. What’s all that about?
I have turned into a woman who would rather wake up with a plan than stay in bed. If I’d told my younger self that I’d be looking forward to working harder in my fifties, eyes would have rolled. It’s not that I used to be particularly idle, it’s that I thought sitting around with little to do when I was older would be gratifying.
I was wrong.
My body image is better: This is still a work in progress (not the body – that’s more fully formed than I’d like – but feeling OK about it).
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that our health and the health of those we love is the most important thing of all.
You might not be able to bounce a coin off my backside (and I’d punch you if you tried) but this bag of flesh fought valiantly against a nasty bout of Covid-19, and won, so it’s alright by me.
I take photos of nature: I used to think a picture without a person in was pointless.
These days I’m entranced by clouds reflected in water and mesmerised by sunsets. My fingers will turn blue as I wait to snap a bird taking flight.
I wonder if this is an acknowledgment that this beautiful, awe-inspiring planet is more significant than the transient lives of the people on it? Or, have I simply noticed how pretty it is and I’m just as shallow as I used to be?
Booze is not my friend: I don’t want to get drunk any more.
This is problematic because my tolerance for alcohol has diminished along with my oestrogen supplies, so if I have a couple of glasses I’m dancing on tables.There was a time I’d consider this a boon (except that time I fell off …) Not anymore.
I know an increasing number of people whose drinking has caused enormous turbulence in their lives. I also know many who’ve stopped altogether and not one regrets their sobriety.
I’m not there yet – they made the stuff so damned tasty – but I’m a more cautious drinker now. I didn’t see that coming.
I Know What I Like: I wonder whether I wanted to read prize-winning books, or wanted to be seen to have read them?
These days I still read novels on the Booker list, but only if they appeal to me. I’m equally likely to read a debut, published digitally, that’s been recommended by someone on Social Media.
I trust my own taste more. I don’t need a judge or a critic to tell me what’s good. ‘Good’ comes in many forms and what’s compelling and beautifully written for me might be slow and glitchy for someone else (I’m still right though – just to be clear).
One thing that hasn’t changed is the amount of tea I drink.
For my next cup, maybe I’ll choose the mug with the Jayne Eyre quote that I bought on a life-changing writing retreat? Or perhaps the one my husband designed with pictures of our family making funny faces.
I don’t have any cream china ones left. I’m glad about that.