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Try and connect with someone every day. Friday September 12, 2014

Some people are and some are not, I am NOT a morning person. However back at the end of July my 19 year old son got himself a job in our nearest big city, which because of the logistics of living in a rural community in the UK meant I had to get up at 6.15am and drive the 5 miles for him to catch a bus.

Every morning when I do this I swear to myself that I will take him down then come straight home and go back to bed. Every morning my little personal trainer, who is black and tan, answers to the name of Ember and is a bitza (a mongrel) persuades me to put her in the car and take her as well. On the way home we stop off in the park in the town and she has her morning run. The park is a gift from a Victorian altruist and whilst half of it is laid out to formal gardens, half of it is a massive open green space surrounded by a path and a belt of trees around the edge.

Ember and I walk round the edge, Ember chasing her ball most of the time, occasionally being distracted by the glimpse of a squirrel in the trees which she is convinced she can catch.

As we have been doing this for a while now we have started to recognise some of the other early park users. There is the builder with his springer spaniels who always has a little chat. There is the lady with the puppy cocker spaniel who Ember loves to play with and there is the woman with her three Labradors who we have to give a wide berth to as they play rough and knock Ember off her feet.

Then there is the old chap who sits on the bench and does the crossword in his paper. He never speaks, even though I always say hello, but he smiles when he sees Ember trying to figure out how to climb a tree after a squirrel and I like to think that in some small way I have made his day just a little bit less lonely and maybe given him his first smile of the day.

My walk is more of an amble, sometimes the other park users lap me as we go around, but it gets me out of the house for a while and in contact with other people. This lifts me just a little bit to be able to face the world for another day and maybe Ember and I have touched the other park users as well and given their day a little boost.

Now, I would not advise that you start your day at 6.15 with a walk in the park, but I would recommend that you try and get out and connect with someone everyday, even if its just to say hello to someone you pass by. It may give you a lift and you never know what it will do to that other person, as the old poem goes:-.

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu, 

When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too. 

I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled I realized I'd passed it on to him. 

I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 8:13am

great blog (-_-)

Rupert Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 8:23am

Penny you should count yourself lucky - my alarm has being going off at 5:40 every morning for as many years as I can remember followed by a packed tube ride in to work before starting a gruelling day. Everything is relative!

Penny Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 9:25am

Oh Rupert I so do!!! I was in the rat race for 22 years although it was sitting in traffic on the motorway. Illness has forced me to give that up and now I am a student again.

G Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 9:29am

I have a separate diary to record my communication with others. I can go on for more than two weeks without speaking to any friends or family. After every interaction I will feel extremely exhausted and sometimes numbness in my limbs. I make sure I talk to people at least 3 to 4 times a week, and call my mum every other week. I agree that making contacts would bring some comfort, but to do it everyday can be really exhausting for me. Some days even typing a text message is a daunting task. I look forward to the days when communicating with others feel like a breeze :)

Mary Blackhurst Hill Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 9:34am

Loved this blog, Penny. A dog is a great facilitator of social interaction. You write so clearly that I can see the park, and the trees up which those squirrels climb so effortlessly, leaving Ember barking at the bottom. Rupert, I feel for you: I had to do the crowded tube journey for far too many years. We human beings are not at our best when crowded so closely together.

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 9:35am

Thank you Paenny, I loved reading your dog blog and the message within. Having a dog opens up communication channels no end, I would agree. Love Julie.

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:14pm

I'm really interested in this G. Do you feel better not communicating? i.e. do you feel any sense of energy from being alone? I find people exhausting too, and generally have to build myself up even for the really small stuff, but I also know that I need contact or else I would get smaller and smaller. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:18pm

Rupert, I wish you a new type of work! This sounds grim for anyone and gruelling for someone battling lows. Keep nature sounds on the ipod and I wish no nature smells on the journey. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:29pm

Hi Penny, this is a great blog. I agree with Mary, it has made me feel I am there! I am not a morning person either (the polar opposite!) but there is a magnificent peace in the very early day. I am often up very early but not necessarily out of the house. If I am both up at dawn and out into the real world then, when the rest of the world begins to join me, I feel almost like complaining and telling them its mine! I become protective and selfish with its beauty. Clean air as yet un-breathed, sounds as yet untarnished by the mechanics of life. It is a beautiful time and I find it nourishing.

As I said, I am not a morning person either but I have finally managed to teach my body how to sleep much better and so I am sleeping earlier and earlier. Early mornings are becoming a new friend and my brain likes it too. Ember sounds like therapy! Thanks for painting the picture. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:31pm

sorry, me again, unable to shut up it anyone else experiencing a much easier time when posting comments? I am not being refused on my phone any more and I've never, ever been able to comment from my laptop but now...easy! No doubt its the power of our positivity...;-) Love ratg.

Julia Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 2:26pm

I do find that impersonal contact with others so uplifting. No deep conversation, just passing the time of day fleetingly but still making a connection. I do like deep conversation actually but in most social situations, deep conversation seems to be a turnoff and I'm not always good at lighthearted jokey banter. Of course I love a laugh as much as the next person but very often sadly,my sense of humour eludes me. So your early morning walk in the Victorian park Penny sounds wonderful and I too can picture it. (I am at the moment being forced to get up far too early to let cheery workman in. Can you imagine how I feel having to joke at such an ungodly hour. It's almost beyond me)

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 3:05pm

I love it, very good post. You are fortunate to be able to live like this. But so am I. I enjoy my afternoon's stroll past vineyards and through our town, reading the papers in our library and chatting to the attendant at the coffee counter. Live could be a lot worse ;-) Carpe diem. That's what it is.

Anonymous Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 6:32pm

My two puppies and getting out and interacting with others do help my mental state.....just at times though that I can so easily talk myself of doing either... dave

Anonymous Sat, Sep 13th 2014 @ 3:15am

Lovely post indeede this x ;o) So nicely written and oh so true. That's the pleasure of inter reaction with strangers-it's not so exhausting and yet can be sooo good for a poorly mind.
That's why we ought to boycott self serve tills. The cashier maybe the only human interaction some folk have that day.
And no RATG still impossible to make comments by phone :o(

Julia Sat, Sep 13th 2014 @ 8:57am

But self service tills never ever work without calling for assistance. In my experience you get more one to one interaction from self service tills!

Exidia Sat, Sep 13th 2014 @ 10:41am

Thanks Penny - you made me smile just reading this! and I so agree; our lives are all about connections..

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