Life is a party

In honour of my friend, Trish, who passed away earlier this year, I decided to throw a “I’m not 40 yet!” birthday party. My theme for the party was celebrating life; Trish certainly lived life to the full and made the most of any and every opportunity to have a good time.

Now, I shall say, right from the outset that I am a party girl….I love nothing more than music, a little bit of dancing and some great conversation with friends. So, the idea of a party is not daunting and I have thrown one or two (!) before, so I was feeling quite calm about the whole thing. Until….

I awoke on the day with a rather nasty headache – you know, one of the borderline migraine (if you are a migraine sufferer like me, you know what I am talking about) ones that make you feel sick and sure that your head is going to explode spectacularly.

The cake was not at all what I had ordered and there was no way of changing it, as well as having to go back to the shop after getting home and realising they had not given us the right spray for the top.

The catering that was to be delivered, wasn’t  – and we had to go pick it up.

The overnight sleeping arrangement we had for our two noisy dogs didn’t work out (meaning we now had to manage their barking and potential escape attempts out the open door when guests arrived or left).

Certain people couldn’t make it on the day, which disappointed me more than I was willing to admit.

Oh and did I mention I had a splitting headache?!?!?!

Feeling a little frazzled and disappointed with how it was all panning out,  I muttered to myself that this party was supposed to be all about celebrating life. And that’s when it hit me. This party was all about life. With all it’s ups and downs, disappointments, sudden changes and need for adaptation – the party was turning out exactly like life!

As was touched upon in a recent post, it’s the valleys and mountain tops that make up life. One without the other just wouldn’t satisfy, no matter how much we rail against the trials and dark times we go through.

So, instead of wallowing in the things that had gone wrong, I decided to embrace them and roll with the punches because after all, life really is a party 🙂

Compromise…is it a dirty word?

In life, we can’t escape the need to compromise. It is part of successful living, indeed without a little compromising, life will certainly be one of conflict and general unhappiness, either for you or those around you! Usually both, I would venture to suggest.

The word compromise has a double meaning though. We say that our position in warfare has been compromised if there has been a breach of protocol. Or our reputation is compromised if we are caught in a misdemeanour and is often associated with ‘selling out’.

However, the main dictionary definition for compromise is an amicable way to reach an agreement between two parties. It is a mutual giving up of some ground to the other side.

Commonly, we do think of compromise as a dirty word, though, don’t we? Often, a lack of compromising leads to marriage break downs, business partnership downfalls, committee dissolutions, and even, when we fail to compromise some issues with our children, teenage rebellion and fractured families.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not uphold the view that we must compromise on fundamental principles, or that we must compromise on who we are or what we believe in. I certainly don’t believe in the philosophy of ‘anything for a peaceful life’ but I do value the art of successful and mutually beneficial negotiating and compromising.

Compromising is a skill. And like any skill, it needs to be practiced to be perfected.  We are all out to have our way, though, and often will strive to win at all costs, with compromising being seen as not having anything at all to do with winning and everything to do with giving in or giving up.

The price we pay for a lack of compromise is often high and almost always brings loss, to ourselves or others. Yet, when both parties seek to come together in the spirit of ‘compromise’, it is more likely to end in a peaceful resolution, than not.

In my experience, the key to successful compromise in conflict and life in general, is listening. When we truly listen to the other side of an argument or discussion, we will often find areas we can compromise in without giving in entirely to the opposing viewpoint. In fact, by listening, we may discover no compromise is necessary at all; that in fact, we are on the same side after all and what was needed was simply to be heard.

The other quality linked in with being able to compromise, is, I think, humility. It takes graciousness and a humble spirit to give a little in our position on a given topic or issue. Most of us, at our root core, do not find humility easy and often confuse it with having a low self-esteem (maybe that’s a topic for another time!). If we begin to exercise some humility, we may find the process of compromising comes a bit more naturally.

Compromising will be necessary at some time in our life, more often, maybe, than we recognise. How are you at compromising? Are you determined to be ‘right’ and for your way to be the only way? Or are you willing to give a little and receive much in return?

Turning the page

Okay, so today is my birthday. My last year in the lovely thirties. I felt like when I turned 30, I really ‘came of age’. Now, looking down the barrel of 40 next year, I still feel like I have so much to learn and experience.

As I turn the page on another year, it’s a good time to reflect and take stock (I tend to do this more on birthdays than New Years!). So, I have a husband who I love more now, than ever, who is (most days!) a pure delight and joy to be with; three children who continue to inspire, challenge and bring me such exquisite joy that sometimes I have to catch my breath; a successful business that (again, most days!) I enjoy being a part of; friends who are worth more than any material possession; and I live in one of the most beautiful, free and giving countries in the world.

It’s been a good decade, generally speaking. There have been the valleys, along with the mountain top views. But I like that. Without the dark days, how would we ever really appreciate the sunshine? I have enjoyed the thirties, finding my voice and figuring out some significant aspects to life and relationships has been wonderful.

I am not particularly daunted by the idea of turning 40 though. I have so much still to do in life that I kind of like the assurance in myself that I think being 40 will bring. Feeling more settled within my own skin and having a firmer grasp on my strengths and weaknesses, will bring, I hope, a productive decade.

I am not in any rush, however, and plan on living it up the best I can while still this side of the half-way mark 🙂

Nothing to say?

I read with interest this week that on average, only one out of one hundred people who read a blog will comment. That’s a pretty low statistic since it would seem to me that most people find it hard to shut-up (including me!) a good deal of the time, and that we are usually clamouring to be heard!

So, why don’t we comment on blogs? We seem to be happy to comment every five minutes on facebook status updates; in fact, excessive commenting in general seems to be an epidemic. Is it that some blogs require too much thought to comment on? Or is it a case of ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’?

What do you think? Why, in a society where we all seem to be desperate to have our say, are we mysteriously quiet on blogs?