Alone time

This week’s Food for thought Friday is about making time for yourself. I am fortunate that I am able to grab some alone time most weeks. It helps that the person I live with absolutely needs time to himself, just as I do.

How often do you make time for yourself?

This depends on what we have going on in a given week. Now I am not working I am able to spend more time doing all the things I love. But there is always a danger that you try to cram too much in. This must be why retired people exclaim that they don’t know how they found time to go to work.

Master and I do most things together. We shop, cook and watch films, go out to concerts and to the cinema. We travel to lovely places, wander through and around churches and galleries. One of the reasons I stopped working as soon as I could was so that I wasn’t constantly running out of annual leave or using up entire precious weekends.

So when we have a quieter week we both take advantage. Master tends to go into his study and until now I would be on the sofa with my lap top, or else reading. But I’ve decided to return to some form of work as well as to step up my blogging pursuits. So last week we went to Ikea and bought a desk and chair for me. We have installed this in a spare bedroom. Next we plan to put in some serious shelving so that my books, which are currently residing in the garage can come into the house.

What do you do to gain the most benefit from your “you time”?

For me (and also for him I think), it is about head space. When you are constantly in the company of others there is no time to just get into your own head. To think. We both also like silence sometimes and when we listen to music we have different tastes. So spending time apart is good.

Sometimes I will go for a walk during ‘my time’. This allows me to get some fresh air and exercise while also taking time to think and reflect.

The time we spend apart enables us to have stuff to talk about when we are together. It also means that we are both mentally refreshed for whatever activity we are planning.

How do you balance the time you devote to yourself and to others? Which do you prioritise? Why?

There was a time when everyone else in my life came first. My husband and son, work, parents. Gradually over the past few years this has changed. Leaving my house in the hands of my ex and his new partner signified a change for me. Then leaving work and of course having surgery last autumn forced changes upon me. I had no choice but to prioritise me and us.

My mum now lives 2 hours away. This means visits are planned and I tend to stay over night with her and travel back the next day. My son was married at Christmas and he and his wife live in the town I moved from. This is about 40 minutes away, so again our time together is more planned than it used to be.

There is a calmness to my life that wasn’t there before. At last there is balance. But I think I deserve the life, and the alone time I get to have for now.

Reflections

This is a time of year for celebration, but also reflection. My blog has been pretty reflective of late, but that doesn’t stop me joining in. This week’s Food For Thought Friday asks the following questions:

When do you feel happiest in your skin?

Whatever the problems of the past few months, I am pretty happy. There are no specific pressures on me and my time. We are spending more time together and there have been few arguments. Over time, we have settled into a routine and things are easy going. It is good to know that we don’t have to go away from home to be together, but do like to do so. Some of our happiest times have been while travelling and there is a lot more of that to look forward to in 2019.

How do you maintain balance in your life? Is there anything you need to change?

Not really. As anyone who reads my blog regularly will know, there have been a lot of changes over the past year or two. It felt as if I was talking about my move for ever, but now it has happened. We have a balanced life and plan to keep it just that way. 

What has been a particularly challenging situation that you have faced? How did you handle it? What did you learn from it?

The break up of my marriage was extremely challenging. Taking place over a protracted period meant that it was very stressful. There are many things that could have been done differently. I should have been clearer with my husband when I no longer wanted to be with him. But managing the emotions of a grown man at the same time as working out how to move forwards is not easy. We are still married to each other and that is the next job. But because he is now living with his new partner in what was our house I believe he is ready for divorce. It has taken over 5 years to get to this place and that is far too long. 

What does it mean to live authentically?

I guess living authentically means being true to yourself and those around you. For so long I lived something of a lie. Even though I knew I was unhappy, I did nothing about it. Fear of being alone and of what others might say, led me to stay in an unhappy relationship. But I can now say that has changed. Family don’t know the nature of the relationship Master and I have, but that doesn’t feel like an issue. We love and care about each other and all can see that. But there is no need to go into details, anyway they definitely wouldn’t understand. 

What are the things that inspire you and how do they work for you?

I am inspired by some of the great writers and bloggers around and I have a desire to try to emulate some of them. Also the way in which people manage to juggle different aspects of their lives. However, I have no desire to continue to be the person I was. There is no longer any need for me to have a full-time job, I have no children to bring up, house to run and family to keep happy. To coin a phrase; been there, done that!

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?

If I could turn the clock back I would get myself to the doctor more quickly and get the lump I had in my breast removed sooner. Then I could have had a lumpectomy and not mastectomy. But, there is no guarantee that those few weeks would have made a difference. In future though, I will put myself before work, packing up a house and all the other things that made me delay. 

The thing that I would like to change though is my weight. 2019 has to be the year I get to grips with shedding some pounds. I’ve been attending a slimming club for 4 years and am only a few pounds lighter than when I started. That is a waste of money. Though I have made some great friends there!

Blogging A-Z 2018: F

This is the third year that I have participated in Blogging A-Z. This year i am going to try to make my topics a little more mainstream. They will, however clearly link to kink and may on occasion be NSFW.

F is for Family

I have wonderful memories of times spent with family. The oldest of 3 children, our home was busy and noisy. Friends or other family were often around as we grew up. My maternal grandmother was one of 9 children and so even though both my parents were only children, we had a large wider family. There were many weddings, christenings, birthday parties, more weddings, christenings and finally funerals to attend.

Once grown up and married my siblings and I along with spouses and children congregated at my parents house for family events – Christmas, birthdays, Sunday lunch. But as time went on and we had our own friends it all became a bit too much. There was an expectation by my parents that we would be there for those special occasions. Little thought was given to the fact we might instead want to visit inlaws or go out with friends. Everything was taken for granted.

Until that is things began to fall apart. Within a year of each other my brothers’ separated from their wives. Family occasions were immediately different. When they met new partners my parents were disappointed that things did not revert back. Our children were growing up, my nephew and son away at university, the other children often with their mothers, friends, or other family. My own marriage break up and then the death of my dad in 2014 seemed destined to cause us to drift further apart. We all found the absence of our dad difficult to handle and my mum’s needs threatened to cause conflict rather than to bring us together.

My mum’s move earlier this year means she is living close to the older of my 2 brothers. Perhaps is may help bring us all together again. We are  beginning to communicate more effectively and to enjoy family time again. This hasn’t yet led to the whole family getting together at her new place yet, but perhaps it soon will. All her grandchildren (bar the one who has been abroad for almost a year) have visited, some of them at the same time. Due to the distance we are making more effort. Adult family life is not the same as that of childhood, and being middle aged ourselves means it is different again. But I do believe we all recognise the importance of making the most of time we can be together.

Hello 2018

Another year has arrived and an old one is in the past. Time to look forward to 2018. I hope and even believe this will be a good one. The external preoccupations remain (politics, prejudice, censorship) and can’t be entirely ignored. But but what better day than New Year’s day to look forward with positivity.

Writing and blogging

Recently I have spent almost as much time complaining that I haven’t written anything as actually doing it. So enough of that. I plan to participate and just try to write stuff. If it is any good, then people will say and if it isn’t then I will know. Either way, I will get my thoughts out there. Plus I will have taken part in various memes and other projects. Once this post is done and out there, I will sign up for the Smut Marathon and see where (if anywhere) that takes me. I decided I can’t just be Julie, can’t use my own name (too rare) and so will be known as Julie Jones for writing purposes. Not creative but since I am not Beyonce and Adele it is time to have two names.

The deadline date for the Eroticon Anthology has been extended, so there is no excuse for me not to get something written this week.

This year I have decided to participate in the 365 photo project. Yesterday when I probably should have been writing I was instead setting up a sub domain. At the moment I plan to use some photos I have taken over the past year or two and really like. But very soon I will be out and about taking some  shots of life as it happens. This will give me the chance to post some of the photos I take which aren’t sex or kink related. In exchange I have made the decision not to take part in February Photofest this year. I want to take the pressure off of myself and actually write more.

Family and home

As I have mentioned, my mum is due to move house on 12th – 11 days time! This next few weeks is going to be incredibly busy and then hopefully will calm down. At present she is struggling to de-clutter and wants to take everything with her. She has a lot of stuff, much of it unused in a long time. She has wardrobes of clothes, too much furniture and a huge kitchen of gadgets and stuff. Moving is a stressful time and for her, widowed 3 years ago, it is a huge step. It is also stressful for me since the bulk of the organising and doing is falling to me. One brother is busy working (he is a supermarket manager and this is the busiest time of the year). The other is lazy and so far has done another to help. The end is in sight though and I look forward to that.

Next will be my house. This really will be the year to sell and move on. Big changes afoot for Master and I then. Once that is done I can think about work and what I want to do about it. I enjoy my job less and less and I am ready for a rest and a change.

Travel

We love to visit places, for weekends and holidays. 2018 will hopefully see us doing just that. Yesterday we booked a trip to Seville in April for the Feria that takes place every year. Next we will begin to think about a summer holiday,  perhaps to Slovenia. I haven’t experienced any of Eastern Europe, so that would be new and exciting. We will need to travel to France a couple of times and hopefully a few other weekend breaks will happen.

Our relationship

This holiday time we have been discussing the things needed in our relationship. More time for us and concentrating a bit more on the dynamic of Master and slave. We want more time to play, some of it at home and some of it outside. Last year we attended a couple of events and this year we want to raise our game. Go to more events and clubs and to play there. Master is again talking about marking me, something I do want but we haven’t got around to. He also wants to reinforce the power exchange in our relationship much more.

In a few weeks it will be our 4th anniversary. I never imagined then that we would still be together in 2018 and now can’t imagine being apart. I want this year to be the one where we can stop needing to Skype 3 or 4 nights a week.

So 2018 is here and there is lots to look forward to. Of course there will be challenges, and outside influences will sometimes get in the way.

Today, though I face the coming year with positivity.

Sad

As a nurse I have watched the dying process and I have been with people when they have died. I have cared for people afterwards, washed them, prepared them for their loved ones. I have spent time with those loved ones at all parts of the process. As a nurse, I have cared for people for many weeks, from the time they knew they would die, until the end. What I am realising is, that I was less prepared for the long process of dying than I knew. Especially when that person is your own parent.

I have always been closer to my dad than my mum. She and I have a love hate relationship. I guess we are too similar to really like each other, much as we really do love and care. With dad though, I am the only daughter, and we have spent more time than I can say in discussion. Chatting, analysing and generally putting the world to rights. He has always been there to advise, to support. He has been a tower of strength through some hard times. Suddenly those roles seem to be reversed. Much as I have managed this transition, the complete role reversal is almost too much to bear.
Since last Christmas, we have pretty much known that this is the year that will be his last. The deterioration has been gradual, though at times there have been major problems which made me wonder if things would be more sudden. Instead this process is painful and it is slow. Day by day, week by week, I have watched him waste away. The big, strong man can now barely lift a light bag of shopping. His disease is bit by bit removing his strength, his mobility, his ability to get through each day. 
I know he hates the person he has become. I know that he sees what I do, that he looks much older now than he is.
He can still hold a good conversation, but gradually he is losing interest in the things that were special to him. He looks around him and knows that time is short, therefore why bother with football and cricket (previous passions), especially when the teams he follows don’t appear to even try to win. In the past we discussed current affairs, politics; all of that seems less important now. He lives day to day, week to week. He knows the end is near, but not how near it is.

The only thing we can do now is to visit to help out. To encourage the grandchildren to visit. They have a baby great grandson who is a source of joy. Visits tire him, but at the same time make the struggle worthwhile.

Today I had a conversation with his hospice nurse. Suddenly, during that conversation, I realised. I was not discussing a patient. I was discussing my dad. On Monday I am meeting her at their house, to begin to discuss how we make his death the best it can be. The next few weeks will be hard. 
I am really sad right now.

Feeling better at last

During the past week my mood and feeling of well being has swung between happiness and despair; well that’s how it has felt. Just over a week ago I spent the most amazing evening with Sir and was as happy as can be. I had also been as submissive as I possibly ever had been.

This morning, I felt as if I was starting to return to as close to that state as I can be without having Him here and without the aid of orgasms or toys. I feel that I need to devote a bit of time at the weekend to getting myself back to the mind frame of being ‘this girl’. 
After an anxious week with my dad we had some good news that the cancer is not as we feared in his spine and he has now rallied a bit. I am looking forward to giving he and my mum some time at the weekend.
This week I have had little contact with Sir. Knowing in advance that this would be the case hasn’t helped as my mood, and feelings have swung wildly. At times I have wanted to tell him I don’t think I can handle this kind of absence and his other relationship. But at other rational times I have recognised that is what I knew I was getting into and since I want to be in a relationship with Him then this is what I will of course be prepared to do.

Also this week I have been for relationship counselling. This is about ending my marriage and in one way was useful. It helped  me clarify where I have got to in ending my marriage. But it is very difficult to think about that relationship in isolation especially when my mind is on Sir and the relationship complications that brings with it.

The weekend feels a positive place. To take stock and to look forward. It is a place to acquaint myself with my submission. I just hope that I am able to have more contact with Him than an email or text. Otherwise, I don’t know how long this good feeling will last!