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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN FOR CHRISTMAS



The outside looking in - we childless, aloners. Family, grandma, twinkly lights, carols, snow. idealistic family scenes not including you nor I. Have I covered it? Shall we move on?


Fair enough.


Hang on - I can hear banging saucepan lids.


I bet you were you expecting this to be an oopsy whoopsy lighthearted skip through the Christmas chestnuts roasting on an open fire, scenic, snow capped rooftops thingy? Uh -oh wrong blog.

Sometimes I do wonder if there’s a conspiracy against the childless and we are to be shepherded towards the metaphorical exit like an embarrassment. 'Specially at this time of the year. Out the door, and if you’re like me with no one, not a soul, elderly - you'll be shoved out first. Come old age ( it’s come, thanks for asking) we might need the nhs, social care to step in as we barely cope living in our social bubble of one.

Jody Day of Lighthouse Women speaks of being ‘othered’ and it describes my setup, and no doubt yours, perfectly. Because I have no one. And society does not help. Does not step in. I’d say it disappears into the night like Fleetwood Mac.


We decided to do our photo shoot (that'll be me, her and a tripod) in our local green, conservation area called Banovallum Gardens, Horncastle. It was a moody, misty day - the light starting to disappear. I loved it. As you can see Lil nervous of the dark. ******************


Remember there’s often no one to advocate.

And I’m going to be honest - I’m scared.


Look - I do have friends.

Yes, I know, who knew? Honestly it amazes me, also. But often they live a distance, have their own lives and - not being related - there is a slight standoff on my part. Can’t bother a friend too much has always been my philosophy.

Sometimes me and Lilley lay awake at nights comforting each other. Me keeping her awake by cuddling her little furry body and her, in turn - wishing I wouldn’t but too loyal a doggie to move off down the bed.

Who will know if something happens to me/ us? Must we go live co-housing? I’m so darned anti social I would feel like a captive, endangered weirdo. Which, by the way, I am.

No hope really is there? For me, I mean. Just an awkward, ‘go live off grid’ you eccentric misfit, you.


Eccentric is the correct description of this shoot. Beautiful, gorgeous Hartsholme Park, Lincoln is the backdrop. I adore the Lincoln parks. But the ducks would keep approaching the shallows and she would keep trying to join them.. Sitting here by the big lake's shore. The colours of the many trees were magical.

************

On twitter, so many childless feelings seem raw and honest. I like that. I simply can’t bear those folk who are endlessly ‘up’. Realistically as human beings we’re not. Many of the childfree I’ve met are eternally up. Are they on something? Skipping here, skipping there. Uppity. They do seem happier with their situation than many of we childless. Well done to them (said through gritted teeth. I'm joking, I'm joking..)


But really, for pretty much the majority of the year, I'm absolutely fine. And as this particular Yuletide approached I was adamant with myself that me and her would still be fine. A dear friend had asked us round over the festive period but I was stalling on the invite. Not because I didn't want to go. Because I've gotten so used to life being me and her. We'll go visit a few days after the big day.


At present I’m watching QI on BBC1. Panel member Giles Brandreth was talking of his seven grandchildren and I was imagining his lovely family Christmas.


Why could that not have been me? Or many of you?

I never used to bother. But then, I was always surrounded by people, friends, loved ones. Now I’m not and do tell me - does anyone have the answer as to why I/we are not anymore? What happened to all of those people? Where and why did they go?

Is it social media, technology that’s been marvellous in so many ways but has reduced society to button pressing, screen watching, zooming solos?

If I do get chatting to someone ten to one the word grandchild will creep in. And I’m done.


Slipping and sliding on a light fall of snow last week. Obviously I don't normally cavort about in my Sunday best on an icy footpath, but for the sake of the shot I was prepared to almost freeze to my demise. Actually, this one was great fun. And provided a beautiful backdrop.

************

Childlessness is a fact and we must accept it. But most of us don’t want it, never asked for it. If we childless must accept it, then so must the rest of society. It's not something we should shoulder alone. You with kids, you got lucky and evaded the blighter, we childless didn't get out of the way quickly enough clearly. So run with us, OK?

I've heard it asked in some circles - is it a right, one's right, to have a child? Discuss. We will do, perhaps next blog so think about it.

In the meantime there’s your homework. Let me know. Quite the poser. Is it a right to have a child…off you go.

Then there's the ageing word which appears to be having a makeover. Ageing does need scrutiny by authorities, officialdom, the N the H to the S. And we, the childless plus, must be part of those conversations. Far more important than recalibrating our ageing image like a certain, albeit excellent, older person's organisation is doing. Requesting photos of oldies 'avin' a larf' to prove we're not old at all. Why the need, I said? Do your thing. Let's be honest we want more years under the belt with more to come. Just be. Dress fabulous and eccentric like Sue Pollard or ageing, American model Iris Apfel. That'll be worth more than any skydive.

In the meantime, most focus groups invite we olders onboard for insight.


But I can tell you they know nothing, repeat nothing about those of us ageing and/or without children. For whatever reason. I will sit there, online, give name and reason for attending. Short silence and honest admission of never giving ageing without children a thought. We have to change that, surely?



At the lookout over the lake at Hartsholme Park, Lincoln. The colours were breathtaking. I tried to do it justice. The day itself was very overcast. Lilley - never facing the camera is she? And she knows it....

****************

So, back to Christmas where we came in. I no longer dread it. Memories are a pest shoving their way in and breaking one’s strong resolve right down. Let’s just get over it, I say to Lilley.

So we do. In a fashion.

Keep the proverbial chins up folks. Feel free to send an email to justmeandlilley. If you’re feeling like a moan or a laugh to brighten us up.

Remember:

'You can't help getting older but you don't have to get old.' The late, great American comedian George Burns




What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.

Agnes M. Pahro


Not Lilley's magic seat this time but at the village of Thimbleby. Still a lovely spot for a quick meditate.


TO EVERYONE - HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS WHATEVER YOU'RE DOING - TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS, FAMILY OR, LIKE ME AND HER, ALONE.


JUST BE IS WHAT I SAY.


LOVE YOU ALL, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND DO KEEP READING, WRITING IN.


SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE




Lilley is on her way. Stand by your beds…





3 comments

3 Comments


Kate Gwynne
Kate Gwynne
Jan 18, 2023

Yes, that's a very positive way of looking at it!! Kind regards, Kate xx

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Thank you Kate. I agree social media has, naturally, had its effect on folks' responses in many situations. We have to get on board or get left behind, I think. As an 'older' I don't like all of it but I've joined in and most of the time I love it. It can open up a whole new world. And it puts me in touch with folk like yourself so it must be pretty well worth it. Thanks Kate xxx

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Kate Gwynne
Kate Gwynne
Jan 01, 2023

Patricia I have to say that I agree that some technology has affected humanity for the worse big time. Some people can no longer string a proper sentence together, some have lost all manners and sense of others and self, and it is going to make humans more dumb as time goes by. Social media has had a huge effect upon peoples' self-esteem (badly), prevents proper communication and conversation. I appreciate that it has positives, too. I wouldn't be writing this to you otherwise! BUT television was also criticised (back in the day) for the damage that it'll do by keeping people in their homes and dumbing them down. Anyway, I feel I'm rambling but I think you'll get my…

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