Ch-ch-changes Revisited

Amongst today’s emails – just the usual hundred or so – was the regular Monday one from Bernadette announcing this week’s Senior Salon. It was a little different from the norm, however: Bernadette was giving us the sad news that it was to be the last Senior Salon. Looking back, I would guess that at least half of the blogs I read most often and, in particular, comment on, are those to which I was introduced by Bernadette. I understand perfectly why she feels the need to call a halt, and wish that I had the time and commitment to take it on for her – but, as you will have long-since recognised, I’m not the most organised or regular of bloggers! But I will always cherish those bloggers who, through our Senior Salon introduction, I now regard as friends – some have even joined me on Facebook, which is great!

This got me thinking to a post I wrote a couple of years ago. It  seemed a fitting way to mark Bernadette’s final edition of the Salon by sharing it again: it does, after all, talk about how important blogging communities can be for us. So, Bernadette, thank you for all your hard work and commitment, and I’m glad that I’ll still be seeing all your new blog posts and what you share on Facebook (and thanks for the Instagram follow, too!).

This is that post:

Ch-ch-changes

Has it ever struck you how much we can become creatures of habit? Although we may live varied lives, and have many things to occupy our time, at the core of this is likely to be a foundation of what for each of us is our ‘norm.’ Wherever we may be, and whatever we may be doing on any given day, we will most likely be framing that activity in the context of a routine of some kind. At its simplest level, this can be something mundane, such as what time we get up in the morning, whether we have breakfast or not, and if so whether we have it before or after our morning ablutions, that kind of thing. However free-spirited we may believe ourselves to be, we all have our own behaviour patterns, whether or not we recognise them as such. Since I retired nearly three years ago my routine has changed – I don’t have to worry about being up and ready in time to catch the train to work, and I don’t have to compress the things I would rather be doing with my life into evenings, weekends or holiday time. But there is still a routine there, it has just adapted to the change in my circumstances.

So, what happens when something knocks that norm? How do we adjust to it? If something big happens to us – a major family event, perhaps – we tend to take it on, challenge it and manage the required change. Births, marriages, deaths and other events in the family have a massive impact, but we try our best to deal with them, to cope, and to move forward with our lives. I have recently had such a change with one of my children (who are both adults, but still children to me!), who has needed help and support, both in the practical sense and also in a more spiritual way. For me, the realisation that this has made a difference to my life has manifested in several ways, a very simple example being that I have seen and spoken to my ex-wife more often in the past few months than in the whole preceding eight years since we were divorced. I’m not presenting that as either a good or bad thing – our divorce was perfectly amicable and we are both content with our outcomes – but it brought home to me the sense of family changes and the impact they can have. But I don’t intend to say any more about that: it is too personal, particularly for my daughter, and isn’t for publication.

Let me instead give you a much less important example – less important in the great scheme of life, that is, but it has nevertheless made me think. I’ve mentioned before that I have been invited to become part of the Senior Salon, run by Bernadette of the Haddon Musings blog. Since Bernadette started this six months ago it has developed into a vibrant community of bloggers of a certain age, with a wide range of interests, and it has become a part of my routine to take part in it. I enjoy the range of interests that fellow bloggers share, and it has got me into the habit of posting at least once a week so that I have something new to offer. Yes, I still have my hiatuses but they are fewer. And if I want to think of myself as a blogger, regular posting is kind of important, right? The Salon starts each Wednesday, with an email notification that the new link up has gone live. This email usually arrives around 7am UK time and my Wednesday norm has become a morning trip to see my lovely nurses for my regular bandage change, followed by a return home, breakfast and my thoughts turning to converting the ideas that have been stumbling around in my brain into a post. Or, like today, I sit at the keyboard and pray for inspiration – you can tell, can’t you! Ah, but I can see you thinking, today isn’t Wednesday. Correct! Have a prize! I didn’t get the email yesterday, and so I spent the day watching the Euro 2016 football instead. Tough job, but someone has to do it. Nor did I get the notification today, and I began to wonder if perhaps Bernadette was ill, and unable to set up the Salon this week. But there it was on her blog, so all was clearly well with her. From our interactions on our respective posts I thought it highly unlikely that I had been banned, so I checked my WordPress settings for the blogs I follow. Have any of you ever seen this message:

“You have blocked all notifications for blogs that you follow”

I certainly hadn’t come across it before, as it seems to me to be a very strange thing to do. What is the point of following blogs if you don’t want to see what people are saying? To be honest, I didn’t even realise that the setting existed. Fortunately, WordPress also kindly told me how to change it, which required no more than one box to be unchecked, and normal service has been resumed. But it left me with a few thoughts. How could I have changed such a setting when I didn’t know it was there? Do I have a maleficent alter ego who creeps into my blog when I’m asleep and changes everything? Are WordPress operating some kind of practical joke to see how alert we are? (in my case, not very alert, apparently!). Why did this matter to me anyway?

There were two main reasons as to why it mattered. The first was that it made me realise how unobservant I am. I probably get around 30-40 emails each day announcing new blog posts, and I hadn’t realised that I saw none of these yesterday and, so far, today. I pride myself on being intelligent, aware and alert, but clearly I’m not as good as I thought! The second was the change in my routine. In six months my Wednesday has shaped up as I described it earlier, but yesterday was different. Every time I checked my emails I looked for the one telling me that this week’s Salon link was live, but to no avail. Yet still I didn’t spot that something was amiss. A change, albeit a small one, had taken place, and it was a little disconcerting. I had been taken out of my Wednesday routine and it just didn’t feel right. My regular habit had been broken. I’ve found both the problem and the solution, and will be enjoying my usual participation in the Salon, although I am coming ‘fashionably late’ to the party this week.

Am I being stupid to think this way about it? Am I building it up beyond its importance? You might think so, but I don’t. Our routines and habits are important to us, however trivial they may seem to others. The sum of all our little pleasures – like reading other people’s blogs – adds up to the whole of our enjoyment of life. Every little part has its place and its importance. A wise man once said:

So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same

But in its own little way, yesterday didn’t feel the same. Strange thing isn’t it, this life and the way we live it.

23 thoughts on “Ch-ch-changes Revisited

  1. Jim Borden June 27, 2020 / 3:20 pm

    A wonderful post, Clive. And I agree that is helpful to be part of a community such as the Senior Salon. I am going to have to take e look at it; glad that is has continued on. And I also need structure to my days, otherwise not much gets done, especially with no sports on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 27, 2020 / 4:09 pm

      Many thanks, Jim. I hope you do take a look at the Senior Salon: it could do with a greater male presence to give it some balance. The next version starts on Monday, if you’re interested. Given my ratings I think I need to be in more communities of that kind!

      I’m watching football as I type this, so some semblance of normal structure is returning 😊

      Like

  2. endardoo June 27, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    Hi Clive, it’s funny but even in the last couple of years, since I have been posting, the linky world has changed a lot. Some good ones have gone, and others are clearly struggling. Esme and the gang on Senior Salon seem a vigorous, enthusiastic lot, and it seems to be going well. Good so! A recent favourite of mine, if you are not aware of ,it is Mid Life Share The Love, run by Sue from Women Living Well After 50 and Leanne from Cresting the Hill. It is on every Wednesday and is a lovely, supportive blogging enclave. And yes, a great song to finish!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 27, 2020 / 1:11 pm

      Hi Enda. Yes, you’re right, a lot has changed! The Senior Salon is the one I’ve been linked to the longest, but I’ll admit to not having been that active in seeking out others. Sue and I are mutual followers, of the ‘silent’ kind. I’ve always thought her link was more female-oriented, and the recent name change has reinforced that. Maybe I should take a look, though?

      You know me – any excuse to post some music 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Clive June 27, 2020 / 11:51 am

    Reblogged this on Take It Easy and commented:

    You may have noticed that I rely a lot on the Timehop app to fill in the ever-increasing gaps in my memory. Reliable as ever, it reminded me the other day of the original June 2016 post which I built into the one I’m sharing again today. A kind of ‘third time lucky,’ I guess. It speaks of two things which I believe are important, especially in these strange times in which we find ourselves.

    The first message is that we benefit from ‘belonging.’ If you follow me on Twitter or on the Facebook page for this blog you will have seen the regular sharing of posts about the ‘Senior Salon.’ This began over four years ago and, as I say in the piece, has been an important part of my blogging life, as it has given me another outlet for my posts (which I badly need!) and has introduced me to some wonderful blogging friends. I think we all benefit from belonging to groups of one kind or another – they give us that interaction that we, as a naturally gregarious species, rely on. For those like me, who cannot get out much, the online group is a key part of our lives, and its importance cannot, in my view, be overstated. Happily, the post I wrote back in 2018 proved to be premature, and the Senior Salon reins were soon taken up by Esmé, who has been managing and expanding it since then. The latest weekly post can be found at http://www.esmesalon.com if you’re interested. I hope you take a look – it is well-supported! And the link to Bernadette’s blog in the original post is also worth a view: she hasn’t posted for a couple of years, for personal reasons, but her Feminist Friday posts – in particular – were well-written, well-researched and enlightening.

    The second carry out from my previous post is the importance that structure and routine can come to have in our lives. I’m not the most organised of people, so it helps me to develop a regular routine to keep me on track and, as the post shows, it is all too easy for that to be knocked out of kilter. In these pandemic days I would imagine that just about all of us have had to adjust to enforced changes to our routines. Some have probably been more successful at that than others! But we will have been adopting new ways of running our lives and, as lockdown begins to be relaxed, further changes are no doubt in the offing. Whatever they may be, we will be developing our ‘new normal’ to help us cope.

    I hope you’re doing well, and can make any necessary adjustments to continue enjoying life, whatever it throws at us. Take care, stay safe.

    Like

  4. Janet Givens March 14, 2018 / 6:24 pm

    I’ve come so late to the party here, Clive. But I’m so glad I discovered your blog and this post in particular. I only learned if Bernadette’s Salon this winter, a result of a survey question I sent my subscribers. I found her; you found me; and so the web expands. I also just learned of its demise, literally, just now. Very sad and totally understandable, as sad things often are.

    I think you have captured the essence of these online communities, how they flourish and why. I’m still building mine, certainly, and am very grateful to have you a part of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive March 14, 2018 / 6:34 pm

      Thank you, Janet. I’ve ‘met’ many good bloggers through the Salon, a number of whom I regard as friends even though we’ve only met there, and in several cases have extended that through Facebook and Twitter. It must have been a lot of pressure for Bernadette and after all that has happened to her it’s understandable that she has given it up – her work here is done, and has left its legacy 😊

      Like

  5. Brigid Gallagher February 21, 2018 / 11:31 am

    Bernadette was one of my first followers and really inspired me with her blog. I took part in her 52 Weeks of Thankfulness prompt for nigh on a year. Senior Salon has been such a great meeting place and I have made some awesome friendships. I hope these all continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive February 21, 2018 / 11:58 am

      We’ll miss the Salon, but I’m sure Bernadette’s legacy is well-established. As you say, many friendships now exist that wouldn’t without her!

      Like

  6. thejuicenut February 20, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    I echo your thoughts about Bernadette bringing us all together and your appreciation of her efforts in this respect. It is useful to have all the people you find interesting in one meeting place. I will have to look her up on Insta, although I have a FB page for my blog, I don’t do the personal stuff. It sucked the life out of me first time around so I gave it the heave-ho and moved to Twitter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive February 20, 2018 / 7:49 pm

      It is helpful, but I get daily emails for any posts on blogs I follow, so I have that as a safety net. The benefit for me has been the actual blogs the Salon has introduced me to, and the virtual friendships generated from that. Bernadette is easy to find – she’s new to Instagram and you can either search for her by name or check my followers/following lists. Funny how we use these things though – I used to use Twitter a huge amount but now use Facebook much more. I guess that’s because it’s just a personal page, and though blog posts go to it I don’t have a discrete page just for the blog. Bernadette is among half a dozen or so of my Facebook friends who are also bloggers. It feels like information overload sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • thejuicenut February 20, 2018 / 8:09 pm

        Yes I agree about being introduced to new blogs, that’s what I meant really, and also yes, information overload very definitely!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Osyth February 20, 2018 / 10:44 am

    One of my mantras is ‘everything changes, nothing stays the same’ – the big changes bring sometimes jarring changes of routine. For example, I have my second daughter who has just returned from the Far East after 4 1/2 years for personal reasons staying with me and needing that particularly exceptional band-aid that only her mummy can apply. The two weeks before her arrival, I spent with my mother in England and for this entire period my writing has gone to hell in a hand-basket. It’s the change in routine, the difference in noise that effects it. And all shall be well. Bernadette has made an enormous difference to many, including me with her weekly Salon and I am sad that it is ending but the gain from her initiative has been so great for me (selfish me) that I can only smile that it was rather than cry that it is over. Clive, this is a great post and I thank you for sharing it again. I also hope that all is well with you and yours. Truly I do ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive February 20, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that your life has been so out of kilter and hope all settles down well, especially for your daughter. You’re absolutely right that we should celebrate what Bernadette has done for us all, as I wouldn’t have found your blog without her. Thanks for your good wishes 😊 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth February 21, 2018 / 7:22 am

        We are getting there one step at a time. That’s the thing with being a good parent, isn’t it? It doesn’t stop … we are their gift that keeps on giving (or should be) as they are to us. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive February 21, 2018 / 11:28 am

        Glad to hear it. You’re right, parenthood is for life, not just childhood, and the rewards continue too 😊 xx

        Like

  8. Maria Holm February 19, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    I am also sad about Bernadette’s decision to stop the Senior Salon. I understand that nothing can last forever so I am thankful for the time I have been privileged to post on Wednesdays and later on Mondays. It has helped me to keep on with my blog. We will try to keep in touch

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive February 19, 2018 / 9:32 pm

      I can understand why she has brought it to an end, and am grateful to her for helping me to find many of the blogs I read and comment on most often. As you say, we’ll still be able to interact on each other’s posts. Just out of interest, only 2 of today’s views on my blog have come direct from the Salon, so all is not lost!

      Like

      • Maria Holm February 19, 2018 / 10:35 pm

        So true Clive and we can’t rely on one person to keep on with this task for ever. I realise though that I don’t like changes too much. It’s like when a favourite radio host suddenly stop working withous notise

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive February 19, 2018 / 10:57 pm

        That’s really what I was saying in this piece: even the smallest of changes can disrupt our equilibrium. I guess some matter more than others, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Bernadette February 19, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    Thank you for making me a member of your tribe and one of your habits. This made me misty eyed 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clive February 19, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      YVW! Your support for my blog has been great, and I know that readership would be nothing like it currently is without you. It’s good to be part of your circle, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from you x

      Liked by 1 person

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