23 September 2014

24 : 15,777 Days - Something New

43.195 Years

I simply cannot fathom that I have been in the world for exactly 15,777 days! That is an incredible 15,777 sunrises and sunsets since I was born. It is so hard to imagine that the young child featured in those black and white photographs of my childhood is actually me. That my body was once that small, mind so full of wonder and so innocent, so much yet to discover. To think of those many years between birth and now is incredible, mind boggling. 

I feel as though I have already lived many lives within this one lifetime as I have packed so much in; yet I feel as though I have so much more to experience. The changes in the world between 1971 and the present day have been monumental, for example the reason I know I have been alive for 15,777 days is because there is an app for that! I wondered aloud to my husband about how many days I have lived through when he pulled out his iPhone 6 and seconds later we had the answer, just like that! Yet during the those days that I was a young toddler pushing an old fashioned toy pram (modern for then I'm sure) a sum like that would have had to be worked out manually. Still possible, just more time consuming and would either have to be done on a calculator or even pen and paper.

I have enjoyed watching the jelly bean analogy by Ze Frank where he uses the average life of approximately 28,385 days to visually represent a lifetime using a jelly bean for each year of life.  It is an interesting watch, he estimates we spend 8,477 days sleeping, 3,202 days working and even 2,676 days watching TV. Obviously this would be different for each of us, but the point is that once you take out all the mundane and necessary parts of life there isn't a whole lot of time left for basically doing whatever you want. It is a simple and easy to understand visual reminder to live life for the moment, to remember to enjoy each and every day and most of all to not waste it worrying and stressing about things out of your control.

Today I realised, like it or not, good or bad, that I have already used up 15,777 days from this lifetime and I don't get any back. Instead I have to look back and accept it all, which I do and I am very thankful for so many of the wonderful experiences and achievements I have had already. I chose a long time ago to not live my life with regrets, but I do struggle at times with the enormity of it all. Of understanding how much time has passed and all the things that have happened. It's why I love photographs so much; capturing a moment in time that becomes a memory the instant the trigger is clicked, already a part of the past. I enjoy looking back over my life using photographic reminders of the many fond memories and wonderful moments. Today was special because I chose to make the most of it, I was reminded of the many days that I have already accomplished and the memories that I get to carry with me into the future. 

Today I was reminded that I have yet to live the rest of my life, to get as much out of it as I can. To love the ones that are important, not waste a second on those that are not and most of all to treat others with the respect and kindness I expect for myself. To be remembered for the good and not the bad and leave the world a better place than I found it. Simple really!

17 September 2014

24 : Behind the Mask - Something Old

Something to Hide Behind


Sometimes there is a case that touches me more than the others, as a paramedic we are often involved in people's lives in tragic circumstances and times of stress. I have learnt over the years to provide empathy and support but to keep myself emotionally distant, yet sometimes the pain from others can seep into your psyche. One of the hardest things about my job is seeing how other people live and knowing that there isn't anything I can do about it. 

I had a first hand reminder this week from the bravest little boy I have ever met, he put himself on the line to protect his younger siblings and because of that their lives - I hope - will be much safer. When asked what he wanted to bring with him to hospital he picked one thing - a simple paper mask he had drawn. Watching this child run bravely all the way to the ambulance, roaring with delight and wearing his angry face mask, helped me recognise the difference a mask can make. That paper mask was a representation of what we all subconsciously do; present the face of our choosing to the world. For some it gives confidence and courage to be brave, to fight the demons; for others it provides a safe place to hide. 

A very brave little boy reminded me that I can't change the world, I can't fix everybody, I can't stop bad things from happening to good people. But I can be kind in those few moments that fate allows us to meet, and realise that the kind words and smile I can provide may become a very important memory for that person; affirmation that someone once cared. Although my heart swells with emotion and my mind races with confusion, I can hold on to that memory of that little boy and his paper mask and remember the difference I can make.

09 September 2014

23 : Fathers Day - Something Blue

Days of Public Celebration

Little Boy Lost

'Father! Father! Where are you going?
O do not walk so fast.
Speak, father, speak to your little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.'

The night was dark, no father was there;
The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.

William Blake 1791

Sometimes days of celebration, particularly heavily commercialised days, can hurt more people than it was ever intended to; a reminder of bad decisions, poor choices and bitter emptiness. Although it is wonderful to celebrate the many fathers that actually do go above and beyond for their children and deserve to be praised and recognised; there are far too many that don't deserve that recognition. There are sadly far too many that will remain forever trapped within their own selfish walls of denial. There are sadly far too many children - whether adult or not - that dread this day for it reminds them of what they have lost; no father to share this special day. For some this can be bitter sweet - a special day to remember how wonderful their father truly was in life and a day to honour that memory; for others there are no memories, no special moments to recall.

I too have bitter sweet emotions on days like these, where I am more than happy and proud of my own children to show their love and respect for their fathers. However, I am not entirely sure we really need one single day a year to do that, true love doesn't require a 24 hour window; love is shown in how you treat each other and by actions that speak louder than words. It can be a difficult day for broken families, with children used as pawns in a constant state of war, for others it's just too difficult to organise. It can be hurtful for those that never knew their father, that didn't get the chance. A reminder of the hollow space beside them; never to be filled. For me, it is a reminder that I don't have anyone to call father, that in truth perhaps I never really did.

In spite of my own mixed emotions, to my husband and father of my two youngest boys, step-father to my four older children, to you and the other fathers out there that do dedicate their very existence to their children - I celebrate this day. For you this day is truly a day of celebration and I am very thankful that I have such a wonderful role model in the lives of my children ...

One of the good guys!

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