The A Word: Life’s a Beach

St Agnes, Cornwall

Our first week living by the sea in St Agnes has been lovely.  We’ve been able to work efficiently and the walking has been superb.  For the last 20 years our visits to this beautiful village on the North Coast have been in Spring, Autumn and Winter but being here in the Summer has been wonderful.  The sea is the most amazing mix of aqua and deep blue, and whilst Cornwall is busier than at other times in the year, its been so good to see the hospitality industry welcome guests again as its been particularly hard hit here in the South West. 

We’ve been to the pub for a pint, we’re off out for dinner tonight for the first time since early March and Jamie is playing his first game of cricket on Sunday.  We’re also making good progress on our new home in Hampshire but as with all these transactions they are always slower than you would like.  More on this next week.

This week I want to talk about mistakes and how we can learn by them.  Jamie and I went through a learning experience last year with our house sale.  We originally accepted an offer on our house in May 2019, but we pulled out 2 days later and decided to take the house off the market.  We’d been trying to sell since 2018 and, reluctantly, reduced the price several times.  When we eventually received an offer, we were tired of tidying up for viewings, tired of time wasters and generally tired of trying to sell so we accepted the offer even though it didn’t feel right.  The decision to pull out was extremely difficult as we were effectively putting our life plan on hold.  When we marketed it again this year it sold within 4 weeks at the asking price (which was a good deal higher than the offer we accepted last year). 

So, what did we learn?  It was a mistake to put the house on the market at a time when the property sector was on a downward spiral, but we were so keen to push on with our plan that we went ahead anyway.  It was also a mistake to accept an offer we weren’t happy with.  Fortunately, Jamie and I were able to acknowledge those mistakes and we were prepared to make the difficult decisions to change our plans.  By doing so and being patient, we have benefited in the long term.

Like most people, I’ve made many mistakes during my career too some of which, unlike our house sale, weren’t rectified in time.  No one is immune to making mistakes but it’s not good enough to carry on as before as it puts us in danger of repeating the same errors.  When we don’t learn from our mistakes, we inflict unnecessary stress on ourselves and on others.  You can’t start to learn anything from a mistake until you admit that you’ve made it which is the part a lot of people find difficult.  Its like the old interview question:

“talk about a recent mistake you’ve made and what you learned from it”?

I love that question and, whilst its old hat,  it really does help you to determine whether someone really can acknowledge and learn from their errors.  In my view, failure is a critical step in the path to eventual success. The most successful people are those who know how to learn from their mistakes, not people who never make mistakes and I can tell you, there are loads of those people around 😊.

There’s a great quote from the inventor, Thomas Edison (paraphrased) in reference to his experiments: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” As such, he was encouraged to try new things, take risks, and learn through trial and error

That said, dwelling upon mistakes is not so good.  This will diminish your self-confidence and affect performance.  Moreover, when you dwell on mistakes it can trigger the habits of procrastination and perfectionism, as well as other emotions such as anger, stress, worry, fear, and frustration. This is certainly no way to live.  We wouldn’t have sold our house had we have dwelled on the mistakes from the previous year and considering that mistakes are actually a positive and transformative force in your life, you can see how many people have it all wrong.

Moving on, thank you so much for all the responses on my sinusitis, I really appreciate people taking the time to write to me.  There were some great tips and whilst it hasn’t gone away, I do feel it’s improving. 

As readers of my blog know, I write my story to raise awareness of autoimmune disease and I often get questions about flare-ups and how I manage them.  The classic sign of autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain and swelling.  All autoimmune diseases have flareups, when they get worse, and remissions, when symptoms get better.  Treatment depends on the disease, but in most cases one important goal is to reduce inflammation.

During a flare-up my body feels like it’s on fire. I have aches and pains everywhere, especially in my neck and back. I feel swollen and bloated, and even my teeth hurt as sinusitis kicks in.  I am more anxious than usual and feel lethargic and all I want to do is “wallow”.  However, I’ve learned that wallowing only makes things worse and I’ve got much better at managing my medication.  In addition, I also make sure I look after myself better.  I drink lots of water, eat loads of fruit and veg, force myself to continue to workout (which takes tremendous willpower) and get sufficient sleep. 

It’s also crucial to suppress inflammation during flares and for severe flares I have taken the steroid prednisone, which generally improves my symptoms within days, but I don’t like to take them too often.  It’s not fun but learning to manage the bad times definitely improves lifestyle.

Finally, this week I want to talk about Karen! Originating in the US, A Karen, in case you didn’t know, is a term used on social media to denote a typically middle-aged woman who is unaware of her ‘white privilege’.  I learned this in a trailer this week for a BBC podcast called No Country for Young Women.

Basically, the interpretation is that any woman of my generation who fails to accept her “white privilege” is obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist.  However, for the same reason, it’s also why the Karen meme is so wrong. Because it’s the other side of the same coin. It judges people — specifically women — on their colour, sex, age and social background!

There are lunatics on both sides of this culture war and if we carry on like this the end result will not be good.

Until next time, stay safe, #stayalert and #bekind.  My grandson finished school yesterday for the summer holidays.  Next year he moves into a different class.  He was delighted when told about his new teacher and when I asked him why he said “she is very kind Nana”….

xxxx

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