I hate change and life is a constant process of adaptation and development, which is why I spend 40% of it under a blanket watching Miss Marple, sport or period drama on my television. However, even I have been forced to adapt a bit this year, and some changes have probably been for the best. Here goes:
1. Have become far more adept at social media. As well as Tinder and this blog I have taken up Instagram (full of photos of my cat), Twitter (followed by teenage Bieber and One Direction fans) and learned how to preface everything with a hashtag to get more hits. #mostbeautifulcatever #fuchsiasofinstagram #federervsraonic #DraculaSuarez #swipeleft #datingfail #sexyfootballers
2. For about 20 years, following the style dictum “either breasts or legs” I followed a dress code of knee-length skirts and plunging necklines. Suddenly I’m wearing short skirts and higher necks, due to the scarring all over my chest. And it suits me. My legs are very toned and I’m happy to expose them. And possibly I don’t look so tarty a bit more covered up on the top. Anyway, I like my new style, and the boys don’t seem to mind it.
3. Have started to put less pressure on myself about reading literary fiction or classics. If I want to read commercial fiction or trashy novels, I read them. Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction got me through chemotherapy: she was all I read for 6 months. The period settings and constant executions seemed more palatable somehow than reading about people of my age leading normal lives. If I came across any young ladies in the Tudor Court series, they were about to be beheaded, die in childbirth or of a ghastly illness or to be burnt at the stake, so that was good.
Looking back, I wonder whether reading about all those heaving bodices influenced my decision to throw myself back into dating. They’re very sexy, the Tudor Court series particularly.
Jane Thynne’s Clara Vine novels are a new love and I reread all my Agatha Christie novels when I was finding it tough to read at all after my operation. And then Ian Rankin’s Rebus books got me through radiotherapy. This even inspired me to write my own murder mystery, which is on the shelf ATM, but you never know…
Apart from rereading the Cazalet Chronicle when Elizabeth Jane Howard died earlier this year, I haven’t consumed any literary fiction all year, and I haven’t really missed it. “Life after Life” by Kate Atkinson (excellent) and “the Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt (excellent but goes off towards the end, needs editing) are the only ones that spring to mind.
4. Have started buying hardbacks that I want. Might not live long enough to see the paperback. This has to be a good thing?
5. Have at long last acquired a personal trainer. For years I thought I could train myself. “I lost all that weight when I was 25,” I thought, “I can keep in shape without help”. In fact, finding a personal trainer has helped my shattered body confidence a lot. Already, after six weeks or so, I feel more toned – even if the weight hasn’t all come off – and she motivates me and has shown me a variety of new exercises and pieces of equipment: kettle bells, different machines, clambers and other new abs exercises. I really look forward to seeing her twice a week.
6. Have started to tell people if they are annoying or upsetting me: ie telling the lunch party guests to fuck off if they were going to be late. My psychiatrist says that it is bad for me to keep everything bottled up and that can exacerbate my depression. My first impulse is to say “I’m fine” or “It’s fine” or “i’m not cross with you,” but I’m learning to overcome this. The seething-inside feeling is not good for one apparently.
More to follow when I think of them, but that’s 6 big changes this year 🙂