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Life is a Bowl of Cherries. Wednesday April 12, 2017

I can’t remember which writer it was who said he was rather proud to live in a country where the highest expression of contentment was the phrase, “Mustn’t grumble.”

I rather like that comfortable understatement.

It compares very well to other, more caustic replies to, “How are you?”; the, “Peachy, Jim – just peachy,” or “Livin’ the dream,” said in a flat-toned voice. My favourite is the tee-shirt phrase, “I’m up. I’m dressed. What more do you want?”

We can’t be happy all the time; it’s unrealistic.

Life grows on you though – just like fungus. Hah! Not mushroom for joy in that phrase, is there?

Because Life is a bitch and then you die. If the blue bird of happiness lands on your shoulder, then chances are, he’ll defecate all down your back.

I’ve been reading Mark Mason recently; he wrote “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” More specifically, I’ve been reading his “Life is a Video Game – These are the Cheat Codes.” Manson points out that life presents us with a never-ending stream of challenges. Our job is not to try to control the challenges (that way madness lies), but to control our reactions to those challenges and to complete the levels of life (staying alive, creating relationship, enjoying satisfying work and leaving a legacy). Of course, the one who reaches the highest level in the game gets to have the best funeral. Because that’s the thing about life: it’s inevitably fatal.

If all this sounds a bit grim, then please bear with me.

Most of you reading this will face the particular challenge of depression or bipolar disorder. Regardless of any other challenges in our lives, this illness shadows everything. One of the reasons I like that tee-shirt phrase above is that, at times, just getting out of bed and putting clothes on is a victory. If you manage a shower too, then you’re a real hero!

The real victory however, is not in the getting up, getting dressed, getting to work or feeding the children and getting them off to school. The real victory is in our attitude to this challenge of depression.

Like any illness, none of us asked for it. I think all of us would love to be free of it. But, even with medication, that’s rarely possible.

But what we cannot do is embrace victimhood. What will not win us the video game is grumbling and negativity. Maybe we can’t be little rays of bright sunshine through the blackness of depression, but if we can take the smallest glint of humour and express the least bit of gratitude for something, then it’s a start.

So, I’m off to play the game of life, as happily, dreamily and peachily as possible, even through challenges. And, if life grows on me mushroomily, then – I always did like fried mushrooms for breakfast!

Mustn’t grumble, and all that.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Paul Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 7:01am

Hi Mary
Good blog from you.
I have an auntie who is very positive, whenever I ask her "how are you" her reply is im above ground which is nice, she says it with her naturally cheeky Irish accent.

I do not visit here as often as I used too but when I do I miss hopefull ones
Jokes, I do get very low moods and humour always helps me. I realise not everyone does but I think if everyone could laugh a bit more the world would be a better place.


the room above the garage Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 8:04am

I like your Aunty Paul :-) I've not been here in a long while...has Hopeful One gone? I too loved his daily contributions and although I didn't always comment (due to the hamster wheel of time not ignoring) I definitely appreciated. We need a 'like' button for his jokes. Thank you Mary, I agree wholeheartedly. Love ratg x.

LP Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 8:58am

I loved that Auntie's reply too Paul! :)) Same about not always responding to HO's jokes ratg, but wanting to press "like"! Am back to ealier starts and spinning plates on a hamster wheel next week! Going to try to give myself time... x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 9:03am

Thank you Paul. I once had a neighbour who would say "I'm over 70: every day is a bonus!" That was nice too. I too miss HO and his jokes. And... RATG -i left a comment for you very late last night.

Dragonfly Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 10:12pm

I was too tired to comment yesterday but it was lovely to see you back ratg. I think you sadly lost your granny recently if I remember rightly, so it's great that you have happy memories of her to write about. My gold unitard is on order :) x

LP Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 7:47am

Hi Mary,

LP Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 8:45am

Hi again Mary Lol!
Not sure what happened to my last attempt at a reply, but the idea of leaving it at that made me laugh! :)

Humour is a wonderful thing, it can take the edge off feeling glum and at times remind me that things aren't really that bad. The sense of relief when someone breaks a cycle of negativity can make me feel grateful to have them around!

It has to be said that being very low sometimes can hide everything that can help. When just accepting and knowing that things will feel better at some point is all I could manage.

Being around someone who always sees the negatives, complains endlessly and argues against suggestions for practical, possible ways forward, is difficult. I find that I need to take time out to recover from it!
There's a big difference between humourous flat toned witty remarks and miserable replies like
"Same s..t different day." which was once spat out, leaving us both feeling like we may as well all give up then!

I like "The Subtle Art.." title! Thanks for a great blog Mary.
Warm smiles to you and all :) LP xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 9:07am

Hello L.P., yes- you know that I too am no stranger to the subtle art of just - hanging on, when there is nothing else. As you say, there are times when the blackness overwhelms. But when there are a few shades of grey to be distinguished - we can at least try to count to 50! ;)

Orangeblossom Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 8:58am

Hi Mary, loved your blog as ever. The title is eye catching as well. At the moment I am reading Cocktail Hour under the tree of Forgetfulness. The title is also catching. It is by Alexandra Fuller who is writing about her Mum Nicola. Her parents spent most of their life in East Africa & now live in Zambia. It is the humour of the title & the subject matter which caught my eye. The memoir is also very entertaining. I want to recommend it to anyone who feels low. It certainly is very compelling.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 9:08am

What a great title. I will certainly look it up. Thank you.

Jul Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 12:39pm

Your book Orangeblossom sounds like the one I'm reading at the moment, called Circling the Sun, about East Africa. My parents lived there and the book mentions many of the places they visited and railways journeys they made. It too is a compelling read. Julxx

Valerie Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 11:51am

Great Blog.I write this in my pyjamas at noon,but I have had a pee and brushed my teeth,so I can cross those of the To Do List.I can recommend the Meditations of Marcus Aurelias,Roman Emperor,stoic and all-round miserable old git.He has a way of reducing all one's plans and strivings to utterly futile drivel.It is strangely comforting,I often ask for some advice,and with eyes closed open a page and stick my finger on a sentence.His description of "copulation" is particularly dry and factual,and guaranteed to reassure those of us who would rather have a glass of wine and Netflix that we aren't missing much.x

Mary Wednesday Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 1:21pm

Tee hee. Another one for me to look up. With regard to your latter point; I sent two valentine cards to my husband. One was a beautifully crafted "you are my anchor", because he is; the other carried the phrase "you're my favourite person to lie next to reading in bed.". It seemed most apt! Although, if we are on the subject of valentine cards, the one received by my friend from her daughter had me in stitches. "Be Wine!" it said, "*damn autocorrect!"

The Gardener Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 1:47pm

Nice blog. I thought it was my Ma who coined 'Mustn't grumble', her standard reply, then she grumbled. Only find one quote, Goldsmith, She stoops to conquer "As for murmurs, mother, we grumble a little now and then, to be sure. But there's no love lost between us', (Cryptic, out of context). Valerie, never thought of putting 'to pee' on list - kids, of course on list whenever we went out. And, when they were young, a mental list of where to pee in London. Greetings always amuse me - the Brits are said to always talk about the weather, but the frogs follow up after first greeting (hand shake, hug, 2/3/4 kisses (never know the rule). Then, a lovely new one. Took French farmer friends to UK for the first time. Waiting on the quay at Portsmouth the lady remarked that all the cars were occupied by a grey-haired couple (it was June). Explained various reasons. 'Oh' says Francoise, 'we call them the 'Tamaloos'. ?? It's 'T'as mal ou?' For non French speakers, it translates literally to 'you (familiar) have bad where?' Which means, greet, remark on weather then get down to serious business of ailments. I've had a lovely social time, but the series of disasters at the beginning of the week WON'T stop bugging me - and trying to 'shore myself up' to deal with Mr G again end of week - not helped by Nurses's report from respite 'He's extremely demanding'. Does everybody worry when 'regulars' disappear? HO made his own particular mark of course. We don't have to 'clock in' and Moodscope has probably served its purpose. Maybe, like me, guilt sets in that I am 'using' Moodscope as my own particular escape (like a rubbing tree for an elephant).

Nicco Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 2:09pm

Thanks for the blog, Mary. It really made me smile. I must look up the books mentioned - they sound just right for me atm. I uttered the 'Life's a b*tch...' sentence yesterday (after discovering a really big betrayal). Gone through the anger and the tears - just numb now really. So I was so glad you read your blog. Off to find those books...

jen Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 4:02pm

Really good blog Mary - reminded me of my late mother, much missed who used to tell me that when life drops a great pile of sh... on you , collect it up and use it as manure to help you to grow. Love

Dragonfly Wed, Apr 12th 2017 @ 10:15pm

Great blog, as ever, Mary, and love the comments made by Paul and Jen's mums x

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