The Power of Positively Not Liking People

Dame Helen Mirren has been recorded saying some solid stuff over the decades. One of my favourite quotes is:

“At 70 years old if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words “fuck off” much more frequenly.” – Dame Helen Mirren

Yup.  Felt that.

Stumbled across the quote in my late 30’s and it pops to mind a lot as I am rolling contentedly down the slope of the final half of my life on this planet.  There’s so much power in each of us, and it is actually a sign of respect for you and others to occasionally, and with conviction and respect say and feel that you simply do not like certain people.

It is three days until Christmas as I write this blog. I’ve had a magical month of martinis (in moderation) and mild mayhem with my magnificent friends and some colleagues I had a chance to chat with and get to know a bit better.  

I have also been forced to come face to face with a few people I simply cannot stand.  One or two of them attempted to speak to me and their efforts were met with a stony gaze, curled upper lip and a clear and concise:  “Yeah, so just don’t try to speak to me.  I don’t like you.”  or similar words to that effect.  I do not wish them ill, I do not hate them, I do not care enough to hate them, I simply lost respect or interest in them because of various basic behaviours that clearly put them in the camp of cowardly, greedy, boring or bullshit.  None of which I will tolerate in my autumn years.  I know too many amazing, complicated, and deeply interesting people to pretend to be able to tolerate those who have fallen out of favour with me.  

As my very calm and diplomatic fiancé often says:  “Nobody will ever die wondering what you think about them or anything else at least!”

I think that’s a pretty great way to live.  Clearly and intentionally.  We don’t need to be bitchy or rude to people on our shit list, and I genuinely still find myself actively celebrating wins and learnings that people I can’t tolerate enjoy.  I may even reach out with a message when something cool happens to them, as an olive branch or, in some cases, just to freak them out a bit because I know they’re s bit scared of me.  Don’t judge.  We all have a cheeky side, mine may just be a bit more overt than most.  You don’t have to do things the same way but I am taking the pains to write this article today to encourage you to consider how much easier it is for everyone if you give yourself permission to not like everyone. 

The people we actively choose to surround ourselves with define us.  I hypothesize that we are equally shaped and defined by the people we distance ourselves from.  Most people are fascinating and I find magic in nearly everyone I have met.  Some people’s paths are just paved with too much obsequiousness, social climbing, selfishness or general stupidity for me to want to step in time with them even for a moment.  

If you get too wrapped up in people you don’t like, or wish anyone harm or hurt because they’ve let you down or damaged you in some way, you’re the one that will suffer.  So I’d like to openly and actively suggest we all avoid stewing or festering, and opt instead to smile (or grimace) and say “sorry you don’t get to be anywhere near my shiny, shiny magic and we both know why that is” you’ve done them and yourself a huge favour.  You’ve let go of bitterness and you can drink the sweet nectar of knowing that you have clear boundaries and will not tolerate BS.  Good people respond to this and slimy sycophants stop swarming around when you employ this strategy.  Let go and wish no person harm, as when we hold a grudge too tight it is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will suffer.  Let it go and let them know. It feels really good and takes most people by surprise.  

That’s it.  Short and sharp.  

And oh my goodness I am looking forward to seeing more of the people I Love and respect in the year ahead.  Had to call time on socializing for a bit as I am peopled out after our 107 days in lockdown, followed by full on socialising, but can’t wait to get back out and about seeing all you shiny, shiny, wonderful humans.

Thanks for reading!

Own Your Own Joy

Joy is great.  Sometimes it eludes us as we overthink it or we put far too much pressure on ourselves and others around our expectations and the pursuit of joy.  Simple joys and lifelong passions are born and built when we don’t overthink things or try to be who we are not I feel.

We all react differently to different things. Some people love a good roller coaster some people would consider it torture. Damon loves the beach and could spend all day there, while I love a swim but the annoyance of sand everywhere after a frolic in the waves means I avoid the beach and tend to opt for forest bathing instead. My daughter loves crafting and crocheting while paying attention to painstakingly detailed patterns. The idea of following instructions for fun is laughable to me. Laughable, actually even thinking about it kinda stresses me out. Equally annoyed/stressed by sodoku, lists, or re-organising a linen cupboard. All of which are things that I know for a FACT bring people I know and Love joy. Weirdos. Just saying.

The point I am trying to make is that we are all unique beings.  My idea of heaven on earth and the happiest place I can think of is actually a Star Trek cruise.  Surrounded by fun, quirky, kind, and often traumatized (through bullying and harrowing life experiences) neuro diverse people like me.  It is the only week on earth I feel genuinely free to be myself without judgement and find almost everyone else on the ship fascinating and fabulous.  A Star Trek convention would probably be perceived as punishment to many of my neuro typical friends.

Finding what sparks our joy doesn’t have to be an exhaustive search.  Really embracing things that excites you, despite whether or not other people think it is cool or worthwhile is a step toward holistically living your best life.  If you like plants and gardening, every time you engage in these activities or actively seek communities who share your passion is building you a narrative and creating a community for you to find and feel joy and belonging.  

Conversely, if you are forever finding reasons not to pursue and embrace the things that you actually like, because you are too busy doing the things you think you should, your soul starts to shrivel up like a prune.  You don’t need to be a prune you are way better off being shiny and sparkly and satisfied instead of trudging through daily grinds doing things because you think you should, rather than enjoying the magic you could if you got really brave and honest.  

Today’s blog I am gonna give us both some homework.  Pop on a timer and brain storm a list of things that actually spark joy in you and write down as many as you can think of in two minutes.

Ready… steady… GO!  

Here’s my list:

  • My asshole cat with three legs who never catches any birds and I worship even though he is… well, an asshole. His beautiful sweet tabby brother brings me joy too.
  • Geeking out over soil health, EV, and clean tech advances and finding amazing plants and animals thriving on the farm where we are blessed to be Kaitiaki
  • Having a good sweary rant with my goddesses about the state of the world. We talk about ideas and plan world domination rather than get weighed down just gossiping about boring people and talking about boring things
  • Nature … just a huge fan of soil and birdsong and this week I am OBSESSED with the baby bananas we have planted.
  • NOT dealing with emotional/social/general vampires
  • Alone time with the spunky monk
  • WRITING
  • Hiding from society for days on end and turning off all my devices and embracing a digital detox
  • Memes that Jane/Debs/Ben and others post. So good.
Benedict Cumbercat and his doting mamma (me)

Kay that was a little over two minutes… But actively writing down a few things that fill me with joy was helpful as a kinda gratitude journal exercise, but also has me thinking about hundreds of other little things that bring me huge joy.  Laughing in the kitchen with the kids.  Deep chats with Stephanie and feeling so proud of the fierce and funny goddess she is.  Hugs.  Oof I do LOVE hugs, only from my inner circle though clearly.  

So the next step on this homework assignment for both of us is this.

Just make sure you engage in something that brings you joy.  I’ve already patted my asshole cat, am currently writing, and have actively shut down an interaction with a dipshit dunning krugered up dork who thinks he’s far cooler than he actually is.  Feels good to walk away from dipshits.  I know not everyone can, and we all have to deal with some vampires in life.  I’ve also scrolled a little bit and lolled at some memes.  Tonight I will enjoy dinner at harbourside restaurant with my beloved future husband and spunky monk and keep my phone in my purse the whole time… unless I look fire… then all y’all are getting a cute pic on the Instagram cause sometimes that sparks joy too.

So that’s the blog.

Hope you are sparkly today.

Thanks for reading.

Nice to See You to See You Nice

We’ve just joined the throngs of people who are catching up socially in outdoor situations. Guess we have been allowed to meet up in outdoor settings for a few weeks now, but aside from work and our already existing bubbles we kinda opted out of that scene until this week. Lately, being chill and mostly content with the tiny life I’m building with the spunky monk and our increasingly independent tribe of progeny, keeping mostly to ourselves suits my journey and keeps the PTSD and ADHD more-or-less in check. I still suffer from terrible anxiety and cycles of self-doubt and even self-loathing that can spiral out of control so I keep my circle small and only allow safe and lovely people near me. It is a strategy I strongly recommend! You’ll need to deal with assholes and toxic types from time to time as they still exist, but in your time and in your space, being incredibly selective and demanding respect, honesty, joy, and encouragement is a winning strategy.

Here’s what I think. Mindset and morality are essentially contagious.  If you hang out with angry, mean, judgemental, greedy, scared people that behaviour will be normalized.  You will be susceptible to catching it.  If you hang out with joyful, interesting, quirky, kind, and hopeful people, well their light will brighten the shininess of those things inside you.  Seriously.  We become who we surround ourselves with.  I choose to be surrounded with superstars and will suffer no fools or two-faced self-serving shenanigans.  I tolerated that shit in the past, but my huge heart and shiny, happy, generous soul are far too wonderful a resource to be squandered on shitheads.  Same goes for you.  You will have your own magic and there’s always good bits and bad bits fighting it out in each of us, but trust me, you deserve shiny not shitty people.  Being that energy is how you attract it too.  It’s like an infinite loop of shiny.  Don’t get trapped in an infinite loop of shitty.

Saying all that, we still have to deal with strangers and meet new people.  Sometimes that’s cool, sometimes it is a challenge.  How we react when we are challenged says a lot about us and changes the energy of that situation and countless ripples of situations that are affected by us in that moment.  

Let me try to explain, using an example from last night. 

We have been trying to catch up with our beloved friends for months and months.  Lockdowns and chaos often intercepted our plans countless times, but last night, although we were running late, we finally managed to lock in a BBQ with this beloved family who have over the years become very close to us.  

We were going to make dessert for the dinner, but work on the farm kept us much busier this week than we’d anticipated, so we rushed to New World and bought frozen desserts and then planned on grabbing a nice drop of wine at the bottle shop just around the corner and on the way to our friends home.

We unplugged the car and Damon parked up and I rushed into the store.  I was reminded at the door to scan in (something I am usually epically good at remembering) and I rushed around and grabbed a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a really decent bottle of Central Otago Pinot.

Got the the checkout, and the very young clerk asked me for ID. At first I laughed. But he was quite serious.

Quick selfie… clearly I’m in my 40’s???

Flustered, I pulled my mask down really quickly and said:  “Oh that’s incredibly nice of you, but I am 43 see” and put it back in place.  He didn’t budge.  I said the ID was in the car, as I only rushed in with my phone.  He politely said I had to get it.  

I mumbled “Oh FFS!” and rushed out to grab my purse.

Damon and the kids laughed their asses off for a minute or two, and for some reason that still escapes me, nobody passed me my purse with my ID.  Instead, Damon huffed in half chuckling half annoyed with his wallet in hand.

In the end, the clerk refused to serve him as well, and we rushed off empty handed and relayed the story to our hosts who thought the whole thing was quite a compliment and probably owing in no small part to the little house on the prairie pigtails I was wearing that evening.  

So here’s the rub of the story I am trying to convey in today’s blog.

Being ID’d at the age of 43 is a huge compliment, but I kinda felt it was quite genuinely absurd too.  How many underage people pull up in a Tesla to buy a $60 bottle of wine on a Wednesday evening I thought.  Truth is, I am used to getting my way and being treated really well in most situations.  I am a spoiled, powerful, wealthy, occasionally whingeing white woman.  And both Damon and I were less than awesome in this situation.  I could have/should have calmly collected my ID as he asked but the whole situation was just so surreal, and we were in a rush so it played out with almost Cohen Brother movie absurdity instead of just being simply resolved.

This kid was following procedure and actually doing a pretty great job in what I am assuming could be a stressful customer service role.  But it all happened so fast and both Damon and I acted without grace but I look at it as a learning exercise.  

I could choose to leave a terrible review or never return to that store.  Or I can think about how the kid trying to serve us might see the situation.  I could have been upset and stomped around and let the whole situation ruin my evening, or I could do what I did and tell the story (with my kids and fiancé as witnesses) and then carry on with a truly magical evening filled with great conversation and huge belly laughs with some of my beloved sparkly people.

I chose the sparkle.

Today as I reflect on the situation, I think I may even put a good google review up stating how professional and polite the clerk was.  

So that’s my blog.  Crazy wonderful evening, punctuated by a strange but interesting learning event and an opportunity for me to reflect on the kind of person I am and want to be.  

Now I will be heading out to run errands and have to deal with many more strangers, and I just hope that I manage to be sparkly not shitty in each and every one of these opportunities today.  

And gosh I am grateful for our gorgeous friends.  The laughter and hospitality last night has left me almost stunned by how blessed I feel to have such special people in our circle.

Hope I soon get to see more of my favourite sparkly people too.

Thanks for reading.