I'm taking a cautious breath and looking round; sniffing the air, so to speak. The coast seems clear; the breeze light; the sea calm. It looks to be plain sailing ahead. To change the analogy, I feel a little like a wildebeest at a watering hole, deciding whether it is safe to drink, and tentatively deciding it just might.
I am cautious because things seem to be going alright. They haven't been alright for some time. Our troubles seem to be over – for now.
Without boring you with details – and, besides, those of you who are regular readers pretty well know all the details anyway - 2016 was a disastrous year for us. 2017 was better, but still difficult. This year started with a bitter betrayal.
But now, in this brilliant June sunshine, there seems to be not a cloud in the sky; and I can't quite believe it.
My favourite uncle used to say that life was a game of survival and achievement. You would go through hard times when it was all you could do to keep your head above water: you worked to keep the farm. Then there would be good times when you could work on your plans and achieve things and the farm could then keep you.
The older I get, the more I come to appreciate his wisdom. The last three years have been survival – even up to last week, just getting my eldest through her GCSEs was an achievement of survival in itself. * Maybe now we can enter a period of building.
It seems, however, that we regard this state of "plain sailing" to be normality, and the times of hardship and survival to be unusual. We seem to think we have the right to have it easy and wail, "What have I done to deserve this?" when we suffer the inevitable slings and arrows of misfortune.
The answer is that often we have done nothing to deserve this. Although I am a great believer in "What goes around, comes around," misfortune visits us all from time to time. Sometimes even acts of kindness misfire and blow up in your face.
A while ago, in a Personal Development seminar I learned that upset has only three roots. It lies in disappointed expectations, frustrated intentions and undelivered communications. If we expect life to be easy then we will be consistently disappointed. For many of us, it is never easy.
So, I am grateful for the sunshine, both literal and metaphorical. I will appreciate every minute of it, because it is not my due.
Oh, don't get me wrong: I am not looking for Old Man Trouble: if he wants me, he knows where to find me.
But when he knocks on my door, I'll be expecting him.
A Moodscope member
* Yes – everything you have seen on the news regarding those exams is true. My favourite (stupid) question in physics was, "What would be the advantages in measuring radioactivity in units of bananas?")
And – because you expect it from me: here's Fats Domino with Old Man Trouble. http://bit.ly/2K55wRK
Moodscope is crowdfunding. Please help. It only takes a couple of minutes to donate:https://bit.ly/2JcDkMm"
By making a donation you will enable Moodscope to make the improvements necessary to offer immediate help to everyone who needs it.