I’m Still Trying To Take It Easy

I was actually planning to post something else today, and had been working up the draft, but then Timehop reminded me of a piece I wrote two years ago. When I re-read it I decided to go with it again, as it says a lot about me. The other one will probably follow in a day or two – it can wait! As is my usual habit with these revisits, I’ll give you the original post and then return at the end to sign off.

From 22 October 2019:

still trying to ‘take it easy’

Three years ago today I began my series of #SaturdaySongs. This kind of ran out of steam, although I have revisited it on several occasions, and its spirit lives on in the #SongOfTheDay I post on the Facebook page for this blog – the link is in the right hand column if you want to take a look, and maybe even sign up. The first post was, as I said at the time, an easy choice to make: after all, I’d used it for the title of my blog! If you haven’t seen it you can find it here or from the #SaturdaySongs section of the main menu, at the top of this page.

The post tells the story of how the song came to life, in a collaboration between Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. I won’t repeat myself here (for once!) but do take a look if you’re interested. I was prompted to revisit that post by one of those chance findings on YouTube: a live performance of the song on Spanish TV by Jackson Browne, Sharon Shannon and an uncredited mandolin player. I’ve tried, but haven’t found anything to identify her (help welcome!). This version is lovely, and really gets to the heart of the song:

It got me thinking, mostly about why I gave my blog this name. At the outset, if any of you remember, I chose the amazingly original and creative name of ‘Clive’s Blog,’ but when I retired in September 2013 I felt the need to rebrand, to reflect the way I wanted my life to be from then on. I had several possible choices but settled on this one, and I’m not thinking of changing it again anytime soon. I had always wanted to retire at 60 and achieved that aim, and had lots of plans as to how I would spend my time. This included increasing the number of music gigs I attended, theatre visits, museums and art galleries, and getting a season ticket for my ‘local’ Football League team – Leyton Orient. I live at the end of a London Underground line which enables me to be in central London within around 40 minutes, and Leyton is on the way in, so it was all going to be easy.

For the first two or three years I really did ‘Take It Easy’ and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Many gigs, museums and galleries were attended, and I managed a few theatre trips too. The highlight, though, was that first season of being a regular at the Os: it was the team’s best season for ages, culminating in a wonderful evening when we won our promotion play off semi final and then the final itself – at Wembley Stadium, no less. Sadly, we lost on penalties after being 2-0 up in both the match and the penalty shoot out. It’s the Orient way!

So what changed? My health let me down, that’s what. By that I mean physical, not mental, health – for a change. I have a condition which affects my mobility and travelling on public transport, especially up to London, is an absolute no-no at present, and has been for a few years. So much for being in charge of my life or, to use a phrase which has been prevalent here for a while now, ‘taking back control!’ My entertainment is now home-based, with reading, television and music to the fore. That wasn’t a change I had envisaged being forced to take, and it has taken a while for me to come to terms with it. I may never be ‘safe to travel’ again, and have had to accept that I might also not be able to attend live music, theatre or sporting events again. My ‘social life’ is now largely based around visits to the hospital and my doctor, and home visits by those who live close enough to me. I have the phone and online communication to keep me in touch, so I don’t feel cut off from the world, thankfully. But this experience has taught me that, whatever our intentions may be, we may need to make changes to our plans.

I probably sound as though I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m not. It would be easy for me to give in to ‘losing’ my ability to be more active and outgoing, and to sink back to the kind of depression I suffered eight years ago – which is why I began blogging, in case you missed that part! But I’m determined not to let that happen. I went for one of my regular blood tests yesterday, as part of the monitoring that I go through for my health – they want to check that I don’t develop diabetes. I guess that at some stage that may happen, and I’ve been reading up on it, as there are some horror stories about what it can mean for you. But I don’t have any of the symptoms, and would therefore be surprised if it was diagnosed. Even if it were, I would be hopeful that it would only mean a need to alter my diet and possibly take a few more pills every day, and that feels manageable.

So why should I feel sorry for myself? There are millions of people around the world who are far worse off than I, and I have much for which I should be – and am – grateful. There is, I think, a simple lesson for all of us in this: look for the positives in life, not the negatives. If you do, you will be far better placed to cope with the curve balls life can throw at you. I think I sound a little glib in saying that: after all, who am I to tell anyone else what to do? But I say it with feeling: it seems that modern life surrounds us with huge amounts of negativity every day – for example, politics appears to be based on it – and it can feel overwhelming. But if we can wade through all of that there are plenty of good things to be found, and perhaps the act of seeking them out can help us to appreciate them all the more.

I’m still trying to keep ‘Take It Easy’ as my mantra for life. Some days it feels more difficult than others, but I choose to look for the positives. I hope you do, too.

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

Looking back at how I felt two years ago, I don’t think I’ve really changed all that much. The big difference for me is that medical advice has confirmed that the condition I have will be with me for life, and at best it is a question of managing it – complete recovery isn’t a viable option. This means that those last vestiges of hope that I entertained, that I might one day get back to live music or football, have now been extinguished. I was expecting this, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept, particularly when I watch sports on tv and, now that crowds are allowed in again, I can hear and to an extent feel what I’m missing – the games can be fun to watch, but there really isn’t any substitute for being there and for being a part of the atmosphere. I mentioned in the original piece the evening when the Os won the play-off semi final, and I still get chills when I think back to that night – you can’t buy experiences like that! But, as I said then, I think I am by nature a positive person, and will continue to keep that in my memory bank as life moves on. Mind you, I’m now less than two years away from turning seventy, so ask me again in two years if I still feel that way!

Revisiting that post has also left me feeling a little guilty about the Facebook page I created for this blog, which I have neglected badly for some time. I really should get back to posting those #SongOfTheDay tunes – who knows, I might even attract some new followers if I do, but I suspect that the current 69 of them might be surprised at a reappearance! You may have noticed that I have recently revisited some of the posts I wrote for the #SaturdaySongs series that I also mentioned: maybe it is time to create a few more for that, soo. So many good intentions – where do they all go? It’s like they say about retirement: you have nothing to do all day and, if you don’t get it finished, you can always come back to it another day.

Until that other day, then…

58 thoughts on “I’m Still Trying To Take It Easy

  1. Pingback: October Skies | Take It Easy

  2. I think I may be able to help you re. the mandolin player. I was looking at both the women on the Jackson Browne video and thought how alike they looked. Sharon has a mandolin-playing sister called Mary Shannon. There are a number of videos on Youtube of them playing together. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s wonderful, Clare, thank you so much! Sharon’s Wikipedia entry doesn’t mention her family but I’ve now watched one of those videos and yes, it’s definitely Mary S! Now I have to update the post and give you some credit for clearing up the mystery for me! Enjoy the rest of your day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was my pleasure, Clive. Sharon Shannon is a favourite musician of mine and I know she comes from a musical family. Mary S doesn’t look up at all in the video you featured but her profile is the same as Sharon’s and just the way Sharon was smiling at her made me think it must have been Mary there. I do apologise for not commenting recently on your fantastic blog; I’ve been a bit stressed and very tired and haven’t been able to say anything sensible to anyone recently! I do enjoy reading and listening to all your posts though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • She is one of my favourites, too. I saw her in concert in North London around 2010: there was a large Irish representation in the audience, and it was a lovely evening. I’m convinced you’re right on this being Mary, she looks so much like she does in the videos of them both together. If you’re very quick she does look into camera once in this one! They have a musical brother too.

        No need to apologise: commenting isn’t compulsory! I do notice your ‘likes’ though, and they are much appreciated. I hope that whatever is causing you that stress calms down soon, and getting some sleep would help if you can. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – elusive sleep! I don’t seem to be able to sleep for more than about five hours so I tend to go to bed after midnight in the hope I wake up at a reasonable time in the morning. Doesn’t always work 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • It isn’t just an age thing, it’s been happening to me for years – our first born was terrible at sleeping, we were very deprived. I got home one night from work and popped upstairs to see them. My wife asked me to set the VCR, while she put the little one to bed. When she came down about an hour later she found me still in my suit, sitting cross legged on the floor in front of the tv, fast asleep. I can sleep at the most awkward times, and be awake when I shouldn’t be! You have my sympathy – and I think there’s a blog post in that photo of your knitting

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely understand being sleep-deprived with babies in the house. My younger daughter only slept for 20 minutes at a time for quite a long time and didn’t sleep through the night until she was three. The first night she did so, and Richard and I had woken naturally we thought she might have died and rushed into her room to check she was alright.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your post at our Senior Salon Pit Stop linkup ending this Saturday, October 31.
    I pinned this on our Senior Salon Pit Stop InLinkz Linkup Shares board and also share it on Twitter @EsmeSalon with #SeniorSalonPitStop

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wasn’t following you way back then Clive but I am impressed with your attitude and because of the progress in technology and covid I think that very soon we will be able to buy tickets to live shows and view them from our armchairs…maybe not quite the same but could be pretty good methinks…Have a great week I hope someone can spread some light on your mandolin player 🙂 Lovely music choice loved it! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carol, I’m glad you enjoyed the music as well as the sentiments expressed. That age of paying to watch streamed concerts is already here: I’ve ‘been’ to several since the pandemic started, and they have been very enjoyable. No joy on the mandolin player so far, but I live in hope!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe they weren’t made available over there, Carol? None of the ones I’ve watched was by a major name artist, so I guess they went mostly under the radar! As that performance was on a Spanish TV show in 1999 the IMDb is, perhaps understandably, a little lacking in detail, and my Google searches haven’t yet produced anything either. Still,🤞x

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  5. oh i love the history Clive, your blog name and this song. Mostly I love your attitude and how you have brought the show on the road home where the heart is which is so needed. I’m glad you have so many memories of those events to sustain you and your continuous learning and growing and love this series. 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you’ve got the right attitude, Clive. I’m not in your situation, but I’d like to think I’d adopt the same feeling If I did. I also intended to retire at 60, but my health forced me to call it quits three years early at 57. It’s already been five years since I retired which is mind-blowing to me. I don’t remember when I started following you (I’ve been blogging for two and a half years now), but one of the most rewarding things for me has been to meet people via the Internet from around the world. I love waking up in the morning and seeing what my European friends are up to. Keep all that music coming! It never gets old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure you would, Pete, as your posts are full of optimism and positivity! I checked back – we started following in January 2020, in your earlier days. I’ve also found this a great place for virtual meetings with people from all over the place, and it has been really interesting doing so. No end in sight yet for the music, and a few other posts too!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. wonderful post, Clive. the original one must have been from just before I started following your blog. I can understand the disappointment in not being able to go to live events, but thank heaven fo technology that offers a pretty good alternative. Who knows what it will be like a in the near future with those VR goggles; you may feel like you are righ there. How are the Leyton O’s doing this year?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jim. You piqued my curiosity so I just looked back through my followers list: we started following each other’s blogs in April 2020. It seems like longer, in a good way! The various bits of tech have served me well and will, I’m sure, continue to do so. Maybe those VR goggles really will make it feel as if you’re there, though I have to be careful – I took a shot in unison with a player the other day and kicked my wooden coffee table very hard! The Os are doing OK, this season, currently 10th out of 24, but it’s very close, and they are only four points off the automatic promotion places. After two relegations and one promotion in the past seven seasons I’d appreciate some stability, though another promotion would be nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Someone quite a bit older than me said television was a great invention as she recalled her elderly grandparents just sitting in a dark corner and thought a television would have brightened their lives! Whether age, infirmity or the the many medical conditions that limit us we can be thankful for the range of electronic and digital devices to choose from that bring music, entertainment and other people into our homes.

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  9. Hi Clive, I didn’t realise you weren’t able to get out and about that much. There are some things that a person misses out on my not being able to travel about easily, but there are lots of nice things about being home too. I have discovered this since I’ve been working from home.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Robbie. It’s become the norm for me, and I’ve got used to it. As you say, being at home has lots of advantages, and in our modern day connected world there is always something to keep us interested, isn’t there?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I do miss going out to places like that, but have got used to having my entertainment around me. As I type this, I’m watching Australia taking South African wickets in the T20 World Cup! I hope that you’ll see a return to some kind of normality soon, but I’m not sure that we will: case numbers are rocketing and, as ever, the Government is doing nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s going through the roof again, despite a vaccination rate of over 70%. Our current average daily figure for new cases works out at around 680 per million of population, compared with around 40-60 in other large European countries. It would help if we had a government that knew what it was doing and was brave enough to admit that it had relaxed the rules too soon.

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  10. Hi Clive – new follower here. Thank you for your great content. My husband has found his health declining lately and has to use a cane or walker most of the time. We no longer enjoy the things we used to, but we somehow try to enjoy life as much as possible. Sounds like you have a good attitude. – Gretchen

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Gretchen. Thank you for following – I’ve returned the compliment and look forward to seeing more from you. Thanks also for your kind words – it sounds as though your current life experience is a lot like mine. Stay positive!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love that version of one of my favourite songs. I posted it on Facebook asking if anyone knew who the mandolin player is. Since I have some Spanish followers, perhaps they might know. Assuming she is Spanish. It doesn´t hurt to try. Sorry to learn about your health issues and aren´t you glad you retired when you did so you could do some of those things you wanted to, at least for a while. Sounds like you have a good attitude and are making the best of things. You certainly give us so much joy with your posts. Keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Darlene, that’s really kind of you. She may not be Spanish – for all I know she was part of Jackson’s band! I looked up the tv show on IMDb – Jackson only appeared on it once and they don’t even credit Sharron Shannon!

      Thank you for your kind words. I have come to terms with the lifestyle changes now, and those include sharing things I like on my blog, so I’ll be here for a while yet!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Many venues have special areas for the disabled where you can go, perhaps in a wheelchair if your mobility is poor, and have a friend sit with you. Many music concerts would have this facility. I don’t know about a football stadium because I can’t think of anything worse than sitting watching a football match, but do check out concert halls. You don’t have to miss out if you book an Uber taxi and sit in an area for the disabled ?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good advice, Stevie, but the problem would be getting there. I’ve no idea how much an Uber would cost to London but I’m guessing it would be very expensive and probably beyond my budget. The Os have special seating for disabled fans but I don’t qualify for a blue badge so couldn’t use that area. Looks like I’m sticking with the tv and YouTube!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Clive, if your mobility is poor I can’t understand why you don’t qualify for a blue badge? My mother had one and she could walk around a little bit. The blue badge can be used in a friend’s car and will give them a discount on parking fees or even no parking fees.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve never thought to apply for one, to be honest. I don’t have a car so didn’t see the need – I usually use community transport services for trips out and they have general cover for all their vehicles.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure you would qualify if you can’t get about much. Your family/friends can use the badge in their car if they take you out. I think when Mum applied somebody came to her home to assess her. If you have a badge and somebody to drive and accompany you to the O2 then there’s no need to miss out. Good luck with the application if you decide to go forward with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like a plan, if I can persuade one of the girls to pick me up and drive me there. Ruth came with me to Wembley and really enjoyed it, so maybe I’ll try suggesting another game 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Great. The badge has to be renewed every couple of years or so, but if you have a lifelong condition then you’ll have no trouble getting a new one. It also allows you to have one of those Radar keys for disabled loos when you go out.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. As a passionate football season ticket holder myself I can understand why you would feel the frustration of not being able to go along and support your beloved Orient. I am aware that sometimes I can get a little blase about going along to see Liverpool, and reading about the thrill you feel still thinking about their play-off win made me feel a little humbled about incredibly fortunate I have been, and still are with what I have seen my club achieve.

    You come over as a very decent man and I hope your health at least stays stable for many years yet.

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think being a football fan is something special for all of us, regardless of the level and achievement. It’s being involved that matters: we came back from a goal down to get a draw with the League Two leaders on Tuesday and it felt good. Then again, some success would be nice – the best I’ve had recently with them was winning the National League in 2019!

      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement 👍

      Liked by 1 person

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