It’s been so long, I’d nearly forgotten that I have a blog that I used to write pretty regularly. Life has been extremely busy and I haven’t had any time for introspection let alone writing anything down. I think that’s one of the hazards of having a blog that you write when you feel like it. Maybe it should be themed, I’ll have to think about that.
Anyway, for a quick recap on what’s been happening since my last post, I’m still juggling my cooking and nut business and have signed up to do my first trade show. I did a show last year with my distributor, but this time it’s all on me. I signed up for it without thinking that much about it as usual and have discovered that there are a million details to keep track of, many e mails to read through, forms to fill out etc. I want a minion but only if he looks like this.
But I digress. I went away on my annual summer holiday with the family. It was a nice holiday but also a bit of a reality check to discover how old and frail my dad is getting. He never recovered from his heart surgery 18 months ago and the doctors think he had a stroke during surgery. It is so sad to see him struggle with everyday tasks and for him to be bewildered and confused. This was a man who was up until the time of surgery, as sharp as a tack and still travelling domestically by himself. I’m trying hard to see the positive in this and failing. It’s not fair and it sucks.
On a happier note, my kids really pitched in and helped out during the holiday, I don’t think I could have done it if without them. My 80 year old mother, who can barely use a mobile and had absolutely no interest in the computer has gotten herself an iPad. My sister and I each have one and she discovered that she could do things with them. So she went out and got one and we installed Skype on it. I wish I had taped her introduction to Skype, it was a classic. She couldn’t believe she could see me (I was in a different room skyping her) and talk to me. She woke my dad up who was napping on the couch to show him what she could do. I just hope she remembers when she gets home. She’s had no trouble accessing the games we downloaded for her, but the internet remains a bit of a mystery. I think you should be able to relabel the icons so instead of Safari, I could just label it internet, what does she know from Safari?
Where was the hubby in all of this? He has been in New York on a consulting gig. He did a whirlwind visit on our holiday but really I haven’t seen him since he went away at the end of May. As this is likely to continue for some time I am planning a visit out to see him. It’s been a wonderful experience for him, catching up with friends and living again in the city that he loves.
Now that I’ve written it down, it doesn’t sound like I’ve done much, but I swear I’ve been really busy. I must get back to it now, I have more arrangements to make for the show and I need to place orders to get my Christmas products in place.
I’ll try not to let another 3 months go by, talk soon.
People have long bought into the notion that youth is good and ageing is bad. Some alter their outward appearance to maintain an image of themselves when they were younger. But while you may reach your physical peak in your 20′s and 30′s, is that when you should peak as a human being? Because if you do, it’s only down hill from there, right? That’s many decades of a slow decline because most of us will live into our 70′s or 80′s if not longer. Do you want to keep looking back reliving what was, instead of looking ahead to see what the future holds?
But what if you embrace the idea that you only improve with age? Then every year brings new adventures, new confidence, new skills. They weren’t kidding about this wise woman/man stuff. I find as I get older, things that mattered desperately when I was younger are no longer that important and I am able to put things in better perspective. It is a truly liberating feeling to follow your heart and not really care what other people think. I just saw a trailer for a wonderful new film called Advanced Style. These are some wonderful women who are following their hearts and expressing themselves through fashion. I hope to be like them when I grow up although I have a sneaking suspicion they may always have been like that. All of us have a desire for self expression and growing older has given me the courage to act on it. My current form of self expression is trying to build and juggle two businesses. I did not plan for this to happen. I didn’t sit down and think, “I want a business, what should it be?” They evolved organically and although it took a lot of work to get them started, they are both growing. Growing slowly, because that’s something else I’ve learned along the way, it doesn’t have to happen in an instant for it to count as a success. A major lesson for someone so impatient that I read the ending of the book first and then fill in the middle bits. What I bring to the table now is the experience from many decades of life lived. I’ve been fortunate enough to have very interesting life experiences and they have all shaped my outlook. And so most days I am happy. I procrastinate a fair amount but also gets lots done. I can’t remember what I did before I became this busy. Sure I have days where something sets me off and I have a good rant about it as well as the days of self doubt where I wonder if I’m just crazy to be doing what I do. But I have a wonderful family and friends who will very patiently listen to me and support me.
But most of all, I am proud of who I have become. It’s been a very long time coming but I think I can truly say that I am comfortable in my own skin and with the place I occupy in the world. Okay some of us learn a bit more slowly than others. But who cares as long as you get there in the end. It’s not a race, it’s your life. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
I am writing this in the midst of jet lag. In the last week, we have flown from Honolulu to Providence and have come home to London. It’s a lot of flying and frankly, airports are pretty much the same everywhere so we tend to identify them by what we ate there. It was a 5 week holiday and the theme was family.
For many years now, we have made the trip to Honolulu every summer. My sister and her family live there and my parents come in from Tokyo so it’s a family vacation for my side of the family. This means that while I am in a gorgeous setting with people I love, there is always drama. As my parents have grown older and less independent, the amount of arranging and negotiating that happens every year has increased. This year, with my dad still recuperating from heart surgery coupled with my mom’s fear of doing anything on her own meant that they needed constant attention. I tried to be philosophical about it but I must admit, there were times when I regretted going. My sister works full time and they aren’t on vacation while we are there so the burden fell on me to keep my parents entertained. Add to that two young adult children who are used to living their own lives thrust into a situation where they had to be with each other for long periods – more drama. I know I could have been far more gracious about it, but you can only do what you can do. I hope my parents went home thinking they had a nice holiday.
I also realized that in addition to a generation gap, my mom and I also have a major culture gap. I was raised mostly in the States and haven’t lived in Japan all that much. So while I consider myself Japanese, apparently my thinking is not typical. This led me to being frustrated with my mom’s inability to just come out and say what she wants whereas she thought she was being totally forthright. As far as I was concerned, she was being forthright at all the wrong times and not where it mattered. We were able to have some chats about this which is a first in our relationship. Maybe I’m finally growing up.
But I do realize that every year we get together we come away with shared experiences and memories. The joys and frustrations of being with family are what keep me connected. When you move as much as we have, home is not a location, it is wherever your family happens to be. Mine is messy, crazy and wonderful. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My dad is having surgery right now and I can’t be there. The horrible weather has kept me grounded in London. I was supposed to arrive in Tokyo on Monday to be there for Tuesday. I should have known when hubby couldn’t make it home from Prague on Friday, it would not be smooth sailing (no pun intended). He couldn’t get on another flight until Sunday, so we would miss each other entirely. I had planned Saturday as family day so needless to say, I was a little miffed.
Sunday rolls around, I’m up at 5:30 to discover my flight’s cancelled. Can’t reach home, put my status up on Facebook. My sister and nephew have made it to Tokyo (no snow in Hawaii) so I thought she would see my status. Stay on hold for about 15 minutes with travel agent only to be told the earliest they could get me out is Wed. Thought of every possible permutation for how to get home, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend £2400 for an economy ticket with a layover. A small panic later including a desperate e mail to a friend who flies a lot to see if he knew anyone that could help, I come to the conclusion that some things are just beyond my control and weather is one of them.
Now I come from a family of ridiculous optimists so at no time am I worried about the outcome of my dad’s surgery. I know my mom’s in good hands with my sister and nephew there. So I decide that I might as well enjoy the unexpected vacation I have at home now. Hubby actually made it home on Sunday and I have had 2 days of hanging out with my kids and hubby, something that happens very rarely around here these days.
As far as I can tell, my flight is scheduled to leave tomorrow and I’ve gotten word from Tokyo that my dad’s surgery was a success. So, I’ll be able to spend time with him and celebrate new year’s with them.
Don’t fight what you can’t control, just breathe.
I am not by nature a patient person. Perhaps it’s the by product of being a determined urbanite my entire adult life. I like things to happen quickly, that is one of the main reasons I don’t shop online, I need to be able to bring it home with me right then.
But the universe is a funny place and after 51 years, it has decided that I need to learn to be patient. So I have embarked on a couple of things that require time.
The first thing is my new business. It took probably 2 years from talking about it to holding the first cooking class. It turns out I needed all that time to think it through and be comfortable with what I am doing. Not being particularly concerned about the long term, I never thought about what would happen after I started it. So great, it’s launched, now what? It turns out I need to sell people on it, get them interested, excited and want to come. Here’s another discovery, I am rubbish at selling. So here I am, making classic marketing mistakes that I have counselled many friends against. So the business will grow slowly, along with my abilities as a salesperson. Again, patience is required.
The second thing is my fitness. I altered the way I eat about 18 months ago and what started as a 30 day experiment has turned into a lifestyle. I was overweight with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I fixed my diet and slowly got back into shape. Then I stepped it up a notch by joining a gym which I chose for the very superficial reason of proximity and newness. It is a place where fighters come to train. I started doing conditioning classes because again, it was convenient and now I am hooked. But transforming myself from a creature who loves nothing better than to hang on the sofa, to one that can sustain a serious workout for 45 minutes will take some time. My biggest challenge at the moment is my boxing class. I love it but it’s also really scary. It is challenging the notion of who I am and what I do. There is no sparring involved so I am in no danger of being knocked out. But this is serious business that requires absolute concentration. I have never been sporty so I find myself constantly over thinking. Plus I have never been a fan of boxing so the entire experience is very alien to me. You get the picture, a fish out of water desperately trying to grow legs. I’m going to stick with it even though I feel incredibly awkward and hope that in time, it will become more natural. It helps that everyone at the gym has gone out of their way to be nice to me. Thank you for being so supportive.
So here I am learning to take things slowly and enjoy the journey. Maybe I will savour these victories more because they took time to achieve? I don’t know, but I am willing to wait to find out.
ps while looking for a suitable picture to put in this blog, I came across this fascinating article
Maybe everyone knows about it already, I do tend to live in a news vacuum. It turns out the way I am is well documented. Go figure, and I thought I was special.