Monthly Archives: February 2018

Death and dying

Slightly morbid title I admit but it came about as a result of the recent news that Parliament has passed a bill today where organ donation will be assessed unless someone opts out.

I’ve carried an organ donation card for a while. As a Christian I believe that my body is a vessel and my soul will live on in the afterlife therefore I don’t see a need for my organs to remain intact. I know some Christians believe otherwise but that’s my personal view.

It made me think, I don’t know what my husband wants. So I asked him. He’d like to be buried in Libya. I think it’s important to ask those questions because if anything is certain in this life, people live and people die. Everything that happens in between is chance.

I’m not fussed about cremation or burial. I’d prefer cremation now because I’d like to be scattered in various parts of the world. I’d like some of my ashes to be scattered in Libya, in Yorkshire and Egypt. I don’t know where I would be buried so cremation looks like the option at the moment.

My husband hates talking about death. I don’t know if it’s because I lost my mum relatively young but death doesn’t scare me and neither does talking about it. It’s part of the circle of life after all but I know it can be difficult to talk about it.

Happiness

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write since last Saturday. I volunteer every Saturday and whilst I can’t share the exact content of the conversation I had during my counselling shift, I really wanted to share some of my thoughts after that shift.

As a society, I feel that there is a lot of emphasis on people to be ‘happy’. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘cheer up’ from strangers, never mind people you know. What is happiness though and should we always strive to be happy?

As a result of a conversation with someone on shift it made me really think. If we don’t have sad times, how do we ‘feel’ happiness? Is it possible to be happy all the time? More importantly if we felt happy all the time, how would we know? We would have nothing to compare it to so it would feel mundane and everyday.

Reaching out to Twitter folk, here is a snapshot of happiness.

‘A place to rest, a hug, loosened and relaxed shoulders, a smile dawning over a face to a full beam of a grim, knowing you’re in someone’s heart and held there, the love I fee for my family and friends’ (@EloquentParrot)

‘Wellness of soul, felt as an experience of emotional warmth, about a creature, person or situation’ (@RevPLane)

‘A feeling of contentment and safety’ (@rachcolours)

‘Inner peace’ (@jooliscious)

‘Being at peace with yourself and knowing it’ (HFCouture)

Everybody has their own individual perspectives but happiness is a feeling and you know it when you feel it. Like you know sadness and pain. It’s made me think about asking about what makes people happy. It’s made me think about asking people more about what makes them sad and what can change that feeling into a happy feeling.

For completeness, happiness for me is feeling like I make a difference everyday in a small way and feeling loved.

The actions of a few

I received an email from Oxfam yesterday. It talked about the Haiti story and basically apologised for what had happened. I read it thinking how many versions, how many people must that email have gone through before it was sent out?

I’ve supported Oxfam intermittently throughout the years. It does some good work and today I saw Simon Pegg speaking on Twitter about not abandoning Oxfam as an ambassador.

Working in the not for profit and also the charity sector has made me realise a few things over the years. Charities are businesses. They have charitable aims but they have people who they need to pay to function. Charities cannot run on volunteers alone. I support charities who are transparent about how many pence in every £ goes to admin/salaries etc.

Charities also have people who don’t share their views and aims. Sometimes charities are fortunate enough to find out earlier enough who those people are and sometimes they don’t.

Charities need to know when to admit they are responsible and something went wrong. What happened in Haiti was wrong. I don’t see Oxfam trying to hide away, divert blame and that is right.

Will the story stop me supporting Oxfam? No. Should you continue to support Oxfam? That’s your choice.

Work-life balance

I’m about 6 weeks into my new job which has prompted this particular post.

I’ve been lucky enough to have worked consistently throughout my life since the age of 13. From an evening paper-round to a farm shop weekend assistant to full time employment. I’ve always taken for granted the fact that I have found consistent work and yet in the back of my mind I’m always aware I’m probably a couple of paychecks away from being reliant on my husband. This scares me because I don’t want to be.

Work is more than just a pay check to me. It’s about my personal independence and, more importantly, it helps to keep my relationship with my husband, family and friends intact. This post isn’t criticising those who stay at home and don’t work. It’s just, for me, I couldn’t imagine not working.

Since changing jobs, the biggest change I’ve noticed is my relationship with my husband. We’ve always loved each other but over the months before I changed jobs, it did seem like we were arguing more and more. One job swap later and the difference is pretty incredible. I love seeing him when I get home from work. We talk more and we are just more relaxed around each other. It’s probably no coincidence I feel more relaxed even though I do work when I’m home.

I know things might change if we have a family. I don’t think it will as I think I’ll always want to have an element of work. My mum worked and I think she influences me a lot.

I don’t live to work. I don’t work to live. The two just coexist.