Thursday, April 19, 2018

Motherly Advice....Don't make your own life difficult #4...reassess your life...often...

Don't be a follower, be a leader.
That was one of my Mums mantras. She badgered us with that one. It worked. For better or worse, none of us are 'followers'. We all walk to the beat of our own drum.
So it amazes me sometimes, what folk will do, just because somebody else thinks its a good idea. Or even because I thought it was a good!
I've shared recipes like those for Ricotta cheese and Greek Yoghurt, seen here, and had some friends rave about them, others not so much. Often, when pressed for what may have gone wrong with the recipe, they'll shrug and say 'I guess I just don't like Ricotta Cheese/Greek Yoghurt'.
Then why did you make it? Because everyone else said it was good, has been one response.
Gotta laugh.
Don't be a follower.
Don't make cheese and yoghurt if you don't like it or eat it, just because someone else says it's a good idea.
Don't buy a pasta machine and roll your own pasta dough if the time taken to do so, and the effort involved, takes you away from more important tasks.
In fact, don't make things from scratch if it doesn't suit your lifestyle.
Making from scratch, is touted as the ultimate money saver. And it certainly can be. I'm one of the loudest voices on that topic. It has suited me for a good portion of my life.
But nowadays, we save money differently....
Fast food around here no longer means copycat KFC made with gluten free flour.
It's more likely to mean vacuum sealed cooked brown rice, turned into a tasty fried rice loaded with diced vegetables. Sometimes the vegetables are even of the pre-diced and pre-packed kind. Shock-horror. I know. Me. The Queen of Making from Scratch.
But sometimes it can happen that what was once worth making from scratch, or DIY-ing, is no longer so. Sometimes, you make new compromises to save money, time and energy.
Once, the most important thing here, was to save money.
Now, as we accept that our energy levels are not what they once were, and we hanker for meaningful time with the granddaughters, and the get-up-and-go to exercise, garden, clean and renovate, we accept that often saving energy, is more important.
Life changes. It really does. And faster than you expect sometimes.
Maybe you have a newborn, or you're caring for frail or elderly parents. Maybe like me, your child rearing years are coming to a close and you find you have more time, but less inclination.
Maybe, it's simply that in growing up, your family has morphed and become more health conscious, rather than dollar conscious.
Simple gluten free crepes with lemon and sugar, were up until very recently, a greatly anticipated treat for my daughter.
She's made the leap from school to tertiary study now, and let me tell you, it's a whole new ball game.

This is her usual breakfast nowadays. Seasonal fruit, muesli, and some odd combination of spread and granola on her toast. I cannot complain. It's certainly healthy enough!

This is her usual lunch. A bowl of vegetables is okay too. But for a Mama who has prided herself on her baking and cooking from scratch, it's a rude awakening.

This bowl of lightly steamed vegetables, dressed as if they were pasta with olive oil and Parmesan, got the nod.

But long gone are the bakes and risottos of yesteryear.
Now it's Quinoa...

...and Field Mushrooms dressed up as Pizza.

I've had to completely reassess my grocery buying habits and the way I plan meals and treats. It's a headache, let me tell you. Some days I just don't feel like me anymore.
Speaking of feeling different, the self has gone through some changes too. Two years have passed since a ripped jean or 3/4 pant have lived in this Mamas wardrobe.
Now it's all scarfy things, cardigan things, and even brooches.

Hells Bells.
Sometimes it frightens even me.
Fruit virtually drips from our 3 1/2 year old fruit trees and I have to hurry up and use it all. So baking still happens, as does jam and chutney making. But there's no more Jam Drops unless the Grandies are visiting, and chocolate brownies, even when made with mashed banana, are apparently an absolute no-no. Lemon butter, lemon slice and preserved lemon get a look-in, but sadly no more crepes with lemon and sugar. Sugar is a no-no too.

Life changes folks. Yes it does. And it IS scary.
I have to tap myself on the shoulder sometimes and just go 'who ARE you, now?'. It's mind boggling.
But we have to adapt.
The child rearing years draw to a close. A new era dawns. Grandchildren call. As does retirement.
It's rattling at times.
But here's what you can do.
Stop making yoghurt or crepes with lemon sugar if nobody eats them any more.
Stop wearing 3/4 pants and comfortable shoes, if the time has come to wear a pretty dress and heels, and put you first again.
Roll with the punches, go with the flow, accept the changes that life brings, and embrace them.
Some people in your life will think you've gone batty, because you're no longer being a follower.
But YOU might like it.
Be a leader, not a follower. Find yourself again. Reassess your life.


  1. Dear Mimi,
    I don't really do well with change (and there has been a lot of that lately) but as my husband reminds me, that is just the way life works and we have to adapt. And so I am learning to cherish memories but not cling to them with a death grip to the point where I can't enjoy the present. Life has seasons, chapters, and we have to live in each as it is happening. We are about to enter yet another chapter as my husband is going to graduate from fire academy in a week and a half. After two difficult years, we are welcoming this change, but I know that it will bring a whole new set of challenges. The trick, as you say, is to not make life complicated. Take it as it comes, trust God, and do what you need to do. And really, enjoy it. Why shouldn't we when we are blessed beyond measure?! Thank you for your encouragement and motherly advice :)
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, I'm sorry it's taken a few days to come back to respond. We had a frantic week last week! I like what you said about cherishing, but not clinging to memories. That's an important skill to learn. Otherwise you get to the end of life and have all manner of regrets, I think. I know that whatever challenges you and your lovely husband face, that you will do so with grace, strength and dignity. It's not always about the outcome, but how you deal with what leads up to that. Yes. We are here. Living, breathing. Why wouldn't we enjoy life. Thankyou. Mimi xxx

  2. Mimi, honest to goodness I was laying in bed thinking these exact thoughts tonight. It's too bad we can't be this smart at a younger age!! :)

    1. Lol Stacey. Yes if only. The wisdom of a lifetime at twenty. That would be very handy! Mimi xxx

  3. Mimi, I do love your posts, they are so timely for me.
    It surely is hard to let go of some of the comfort things but it's so liberating too.

    I'm embracing the change, letting go of things that have weighted me down.

    1. Dear Laurie, I agree. Sometimes worry, regret and clutter of all kinds, does weigh us down and it's incredibly liberating to release that from our lives. Let go. Love life. It's so short! Mimi xxx

  4. I agree that change can come on suddenly and cause a massive upheaval in life. I am a planner and goal setter and have usually achieved what I have set out to do. Where we are now is nothing like I had planned two years ago.
    In that time our adult daughter decided University education was required for her to achieve her goals, and she moved back in with us. Our son and his partner welcomed their first child into the world. He has since been on military deployment twice. Bluey was diagnosed with the big C and spent 10 weeks in hospital. He has since had another ten days in ICU for unexplained sepsis. Both times our local hospital could not accommodate him and much travel was required for me to see him and then bring him home.
    Our life goal is now to live each day as best as we can. I no longer look forward and goal set where I want to be in the next few years. At first this felt like we were marking time and going nowhere. Acceptance of our life, as it is now, has been liberating. It took time but we have finally done it.

    1. Jane you and Bluey are a perfect example of how you think life is going to be one thing, and it ends up being something completely different. And it does teach us to take life as it comes. Each day is a new day, a new beginning, and it's never too late to make it something special. As Stacey said, it's a shame it takes us a lifetime to realise that life shouldn't be about 'things', but 'experiences'. We get there eventually, if we're lucky, eh? Mimi xxx

  5. I so enjoyed this post. You are right, things do change and sometimes way sooner and quicker than we could ever imagine or want them to. My health has made us reassess our lives in a huge way. I can no longer work outside our home and with my very limited energy (I have Fibromyalgia and ME among other things), I have to pick and choose wisely how I choose to use what little energy I have and be careful not to overdo it or I will be in even more pain than normal and not good to anyone. I can no longer do the heels and fancy dresses and have to seek out comfortable, soft and non binding clothing along with shoes that feel like house slippers. ;) It's a good day if I can actually even blow dry and style my hair after washing it. For years I was upset about all the changes that needed to be made, but I have made my peace with it and have learned to let go of some things while embracing others. I am able to spend more time with my youngest 11 month old grandson since he now lives 2 houses down from us. He brings us great joy, as do his parents. My older 2 grandsons, ages almost 5 and 6 years old, can help me make dinner when they spend the night and we enjoy cuddling up and reading together. I still try to bake our bread and my Kitchenaid is a huge help getting the dough mixed and kneaded for me, but cookies, which were once made from scratch, are now made from sale priced mixes. Dinners are no longer elaborate meals, but rather simple ones that can be baked in the oven, the crockpot, or the Instantpot or take 15 minutes or less of standing time at the stove.

    1. Dear Debbie, I love how these posts encourage people to share their own experiences. You've had your share of challenges too, my lovely. I think we all go through the five stages of Grief as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, not just when faced with a loss of a loved one, but when faced with a loss of any kind. She calls them, in order, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. and I think it's important to acknowledge those stages, the role they play when life changes, and to know that they end. The trouble is that many folk get stuck on the 'Depression' stage of life, and never get to the 'Acceptance'. Everyone wants to be rich, or famous, or both, and accepting our lot in life is the key to contentment I believe. I think you've achieved that admirably, and proven that you can still live a life filled with peace, contentment and fulfilment, even when things aren't what you imagined when you were 20. It's the same for us all in one way or another. I love that you're doing what you can, when you can, and finding joy in caring for your loved ones. What more could you want? Mimi xxx

  6. You are so right, Mimi. Life certainly changes and often the most unexpected things happen and we just have to cope with life as it now is. I never imagined I would end up as a carer when we got married back in the 1970s but that's the reality as you well know.

    1. Chel, I agree. I never imagined that I'd have a severely physically disabled child. How can you possibly plan for that? You just end up managing. We all do. Funny how things go, and how we just step up when required. Love to you today. Mimi xxx

  7. Hi Mimi, just back from a couple of weeks away and catching up on your lovely blog with a cuppa in hand. Yes, so true, take the change challenge! I'd never call myself a leader but I am a little bit headstrong in some areas of my life. For instance I really don't like mobile phones (or talking on the phone generally), so I do them as little as possible whereas friends are constantly fiddling around with them. I don't do Facebook either unless it is to stalk my a nice way. I love looking at the lavish cakes you bake but there's no way I'd go there. I enjoy cake as a visual feast rather than a gastronomic one. I've noticed that soft drink aisles and biscuit aisles in shops are getting smaller and fresh fruit and veg is expanding which is a good change. I agree that change can be scary. The only thing I can say is that it is going to happen whether we like or not so it's probably better to engage with it at some level. Janiebabe xx

    1. Janie, it's always a joy to see a note from you. I'm with you on the mobile phones. I'm just not a phone talker. Facebook? Well I go there to share my thoughts on the blog, and really not much else. I'd rather be 'doing', than 'talking' or 'Facebooking'. But that too is a change, and it looks to be a permanent one, so I try. My kids are on Instagram more than Facebook, so that's less! That's an interesting observation you make about supermarkets, and very true. The Confectionary aisle is one side of half an aisle at my local supermarkets, and Sushi has replaced the area where the cakes and buns once lived. That IS a good change, and I think it's important to acknowledge that there are both positive and negative changes in all of our lives, and not to get hung up on the negative, right? Lovely to see you as always. I hope your time away was for fun and frivolity. Mimi xxx

  8. Really, really loved this post, Mimi. The first few empty nest years (especially after a life of homeschooling) rocked my world....some things change quickly the first year, like discovering many of the meals my children loved were not so loved by my husband, and others sneak up. I’m still in that shedding of the cocoon stage to find ‘me’, and it’s slower than I’d like, but it’s happening.

    1. Hello Jenny. I am glad this resonated with you too. It really is a whole different stage of life, but it's daunting at first. And yes, some are immediately obvious, and others sneak up on you, that's a good point. I just sort of realised that life is really so short, so it's best to jump in with both feet and make the most of it while you're still able. I've lost two friends and a relative younger than I in the last twelve months. They still had so much more to give and so many wishes on their list, and now they are gone. I'll welcome my call to my heavenly home when it comes, but meanwhile, I'll do my best to relish however many more years I am blessed with. I think that's the best way to look at it :) Love, Mimi xxx


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