Middle-Aged Grinch Asks: What’s With Having To Be Perfect All The Time?

Found on paloma81.blogspot.com
Found on paloma81.blogspot.com


‘Do more of what makes you happy.’


But what if that’s putting dog food in your husband’s food because he upset you?


But what if my dog just died or my best friend just stole my husband?
But what if my dog just died or my best friend just stole my husband?


‘Start each day with a grateful heart.’


But what if my dog just died or my best friend just stole my husband?


It’s becoming increasingly difficult to live up to the inspirational shit reflected back at me on social media these days.


When I’m in a good mood, the concept of a Tibetan, Utopic existence of unlimited happiness where I drink a cup of fresh lemon with hot water for breakfast, don’t require alcohol at all and eat quinoa three times a day and feel full puts a smile on my face, but when I wake up like I did this morning, (a bear with a sore head because the Princess Spoodle is still in our bed and kept me awake all night licking), those words can be hard to digest.


I do wonder sometimes, if everyone really, really tried to be perfect and happy with their lot ALL the time, if we would all be able to sustain that feeling or if it would eventually get boring or if some of us would just become bitter and twisted anyway?


I quite enjoy having bad thoughts. They don’t harm anyone if I keep them to myself… (although therein often lies the problem).


It begs the question, though, of where those imperfections that make us ‘real’ and not Pinterest people come from?


And what’s with having to be perfect all the time, anyway?


Perfect people, in the sense of those people I judge to be sickeningly, SUPER NICE people, (those people who always remember your birthday and sacrifice everything for others), get on my tits almost as much as those people who harbour grudges on Facebook and rant on and on about how their friends ought to treat them.


Does that make me a bad person? Or just a person who has lived, dealt with knocks and knows that flaws are normal and can in fact maketh the woman, right?


In principle, I think I’m a decent person, but I also recognise that I’m far from perfect in spite of my best intentions. I don’t agree with the old man’s philosophy that a leopard can’t change its spots (although it’s a fabulous excuse for not trying) and I do self-analyse and try to change those aspects of my personality that I’m not proud of.


But my mean streak can be pretty stubborn and I do believe that part of the responsibility for my dark side is rooted in nurture’s knocks. Babies respond to love, people are ‘broken’ or tarnished by tragedy, sadness and abuse. Nurture shapes us and sometimes it’s hard to plane down those sharp edges from the past as we evolve.


Admittedly, I try to change other people too and I admit that that is a fault. I only really try to change the people I really care about, though. Many women want to change their partners (understandably) and many mums want to change their children to push them in the direction of successes they never personally achieved.


I have been guilty of pushing Kurt in his musical direction, not because I want him to be famous or wealthy but because I want him to carve a career doing something he loves, rather than flitting around and dabbling with no real direction like I did. NC now wants to become a high school teacher, (which I admit to thinking was a waste of her talents initially), but having had time to digest the fact that she won’t be the first female rock specialist in NSW, I have come to the conclusion that it’s a wise and practical goal for her and one she will be good at.


We parents continue to learn all the time.


It’s quite a female trait that, to want to ‘change’ people for what we perceive to be the better and it gets me in a lot of trouble at Dysfunctionality Box. But the old man is wrong in his accusation that it’s because I believe that I’m perfect or that ‘my way is the highway’; it’s more about being a control freak – a strength that has developed out of the need to be independent from an early age.


I don’t believe you have to be ‘perfect’ all the time.  I am drawn to imperfections – flawed people and those that have experienced life’s knocks are far more interesting.



The Secret to Visualizing Happiness In Middle Age

Pinterest tells me on a daily basis that happiness comes from being grateful for what we have – but sometimes that’s easy to forget.

Like yesterday morning.

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2010, GP of MalaysiaIt’s dire having to work Saturdays at the best of times for a billion different reasons, but the main one being that you can’t get shit-faced on Friday night.

Admittedly, in comparison to some peoples jobs, mine is pretty cushy and flexible and when Kurt Cobain is your progeny, that flexibility becomes more and more useful to cater for all those last minute emergency therapy sessions, brown-nosing of school Principals and urgent dashes to guitar shops for life or death ‘parts’.

But I do have to work Saturdays (sigh).

Nevertheless, yesterday morning I had attempted to swallow that bitter pill and was trying to visualise happiness. It was pretty easy to be fair – not only was it a beautiful Sydney morning, it was also a reasonable hair day and I think I might even have had a spring in my step as I collected my clients and began meandering out of the CBD towards Potts Point, chit-chatting inanely about the wonders of the city. I remember thinking to myself at one point, that although it was indeed a Saturday and the rest of the world was obviously having a fucking awesome time without me, life wasn’t too bad.

Then I got a flat tyre… with clients in my car…in the middle of the CBD…and with a schedule of back-to-back appointments lined up for the day.

To add salt to the wound, I was driving a hire car whilst the local smash repair place attempted some state of the art (very expensive) plastic surgery on the superficial wounds incurred by the old man, who these days can’t seem to navigate walls when reversing in car parks.

Needless to say, the hire vehicle was not covered by my personal roadside assistance.

I can admit now to experiencing an emotional implosion as I stood there looking at the saggy back tyre while my clients fretted behind me, anxiously waiting for me to wave my wand and get us out of this awkward situation.

(An emotional implosion, as opposed to an emotional explosion, is where you become so anxious that you almost lose control of all physical faculties but have to carefully conceal this state because you are supposed to be a consummate professional, while you try to ascertain the best way to handle a truly fucked up situation. Your inner voices may well be hollering FUCK! WANK! BOLLOCKS! SHIT! I’M JUST NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THIS LEVEL OF SHIT! but you must feign calmness and find a solution).

I knew the professional thing was to remain calm, but all I wanted to do was kick that fucking hire car, desert my clients and march off to the nearest café for a double shot coffee with a Whisky chaser.

But I didn’t. Professionalism prevailed.

Twitching only slightly, I managed to pack my clients off in a cab with vague promises of meeting them in a couple of hours time, once I had miraculously mended the unreliable fuckmobile.

Surprisingly, I managed to orchestrate the repair quite quickly, as it appears that I can still hold my own with semi-retired, short-sighted NRMA men, even though I have become invisible to men with working penises between the ages of 0 and 55,

But of course, that two hours of stress had to present itself physically in some way – everyone knows that you don’t get away that easily with ‘life shit’, and of course it did – in the form of the most ginormous, throbbing and weeping blister on my little toe that reduced me to walking like Detective Columbo for the rest of the day.

So when I finally dropped my clients back at their hotel at the end of the day and looked at the blood seeping through my new orange suede shoes, I sat in that pile-of-shit called a car and I cried until I had proven that my waterproof mascara was not in fact waterproof and my eyes were as red and puffy as my little toe.

Until I remembered how I had started the day – visualizing happiness.

I buoyed myself up again with what I have learnt from Pinterest – that shit only happens to people who can handle it, and how shit makes us stronger, and all that inspirational crap about life that I normally chuckle over psychotically – and I decided that I would not let a little flat tyre beat me and that I would change my attitude to life.


Because I’m middle-aged now, and frankly I might be running out of time to find the meaning of life and real happiness. Sometimes I admit that I get bogged down by my own cynicism. And anyway, you’re far more likely to live longer if you are insanely happy, rather than when you moan about everything. Just look at Tibetan monks and Hari Krishna people.

Not that I ever allow my wine glass to be half empty, but I have decided to make it half-full ALL the time from now on. I am going to be positive and happy and try to see the best in every situation, and above all be grateful for the wonderful life I have. Because according to Pinterest, ‘happiness’ doesn’t cost anything, (although obviously in my case, it might constitute a radical personality change).

So I spent last night thinking about all the truly awesome things in my life.

I thought about what a beautiful day it was in Sydney yesterday morning….although the flies were particularly irritating while I was waiting for the NRMA guy to change the tyre, dressed as I was in my corporate attire in 27 degrees heat.

I thought about how much I missed the old man who is away for the next ten days…..although fortunately he has left his credit card and I am sleeping better and they are ten hours behind in the UK.

I thought about Kurt’s recent attempts to give up smoking…which would be great if he wasn’t ‘dancing on the ceiling’ with withdrawal symptoms and replacing tobacco, (I suspect), with something else.

I thought about how wonderful the other day had been when NC and I had sunbaked together around North Sydney pool…until I remembered catching a glimpse of her pert breasts in that barely-there bikini and looking at my own flattened baps in comparison in my burqa-style Speedo.

But then I did only gain 1kg this week and I suppose that I don’t have to worry about STDs, pretending to be interesting, shaving my legs or pregnancy anymore…

I’ve decided that the secret to visualizing happiness in middle-age is defining the macro from the micro first…

When I was five years old my mother always told me that ‘happiness’ was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me that I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them that they didn’t understand life.‘ John Lennon

My Personal Top Ten Genetic Mutations

A slight mutation in the matched nucleotides c...
A slight mutation in the matched nucleotides can lead to chromosomal aberrations and unintentional genetic rearrangement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I inadvertently tuned into this super-intellectual series called Sex, Death and The Meaning of Life on tv.

I admit that I was channel-hopping at the time, in search of something mindless (that wasn’t tennis), and when I heard the word sex meaning of life mentioned, for some reason I decided to give it that cursory twenty-second window of opportunity to either a) distract me from the temptation of my third glass of wine or b) test me to see if I was mature enough to follow it.

Much of the programme’s content, (like how atheists prepare for death when they have no faith and hence no belief in an afterlife (WTF!), obviously flew completely over my head, but the highlight for me was a look at the Genome mapping of the presenter, Richard Dawkins.

You see I come from a family where genetic mutation has played a devastating role. Due to a particularly heinous gene in our family DNA, many of my maternal relatives have inherited the issue of high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, (hypercholestrolemia), and if left undetected this mutation can lead to heart attack very prematurely in life.

So the results of Dawkins Genome mapping were personally quite compelling. This study involves the creation of a genetic map assigning DNA fragments to chromosomes. My layman’s (idiot’s) understanding of the process is that those very clever scientists now have the ability to make a REALLY in-depth analysis of the genetic make-up of the individual, and can now spot all the mutations that a person may carry from their ancestors; and with such precision that they can even predict illnesses that people may be predisposed to in later life. The presenter’s Genome was so detailed that the mapping even confirmed that he is more likely to produce runny earwax.

Which got me thinking about some of the more minor mutations that I may have inherited; the ones that truly define my personality, and affect my everyday life quite intrinsically, such as:

  • My Obsessive Compulsivity – Because I am now forced to make a frustrating time allocation for the amount of time required to make a return journey to the house (usually 5 – 30 minutes after leaving) to check that I have turned off either the cook top, the iron or the aircon, when planning my day; I now refuse to enter the teens rooms if anything is littering the floor because the temptation to tidy up is too psychologically taxing; everything in my house seems to have evolved into a restful shade of Dulux ‘antique white’ (including the dog), and if a leaf lands on the lawn, I reach for a brown paper bag.
  • Not being able to say s…..ry – it rhymes with ‘lorry’.
  • Knowing I’m Always Right – I know this to be true.
  • My Lack of Co-ordination – proven by the permanent array of multi-coloured bruises that decorate my legs, the trophy stitches I acquired to my elbow during my first charity bike ride and the fact that I continually tip over during the balance poses in yoga.
  • The physical defect of having no discernible neck or inversion between my chin line and the top of my collar-bone, other than what appears to be an empty sack of tissue (embarrassingly similar in texture to the male scrotum). This means that 99.9% of photos taken of me have to be destroyed upon development.
  • My Un-roadworthy Driving Skills –see above for lack of co-ordination and the fact that I am always right, or this mutation might be linked to the fact that I even get lost with the aid of my GPS.
  • My Innumeracy – proven by the fact that no matter how many times the old man huffs with disbelief, I still cannot grasp the concept of the Exchange Rate system and spend much of my holidays abroad mistakenly believing that I’ve scored a bargain when I haven’t; or simply in a confused mental fug.
  • Wretching and convulsing at the taste of anything ‘sour’. The kids still think it is absolutely f*cking hilarious to pop a ‘sour’ lolly in my mouth when I’m driving. Which might go some way to explaining my questionable driving skills. (Executing Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ dance may also have something to do with my propensity for changing lanes without indicating).
  • My Infamous Dry Cough – the old man can testify to the dry cough that has haunted me for the last decade (luckily never metamorphosing into that terminal lung illness that I feared it would), with the unfortunate symptom of only appearing at night, when it is time to go to sleep. We have agreed to ‘separate bedrooms’ once the teens leave home and the pretense of still having a physical relationship can be put to bed.
  • My Intolerance To Small Talk – I can only talk to people who interest me and switch off rudely when bored. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be the caring, sharing type, pink and flowery and sugar-coated and my kids would undoubtedly have liked me to feign an interest in their passions of physics (!) and the history of the guitar (!!!). Unfortunately, the old man shares my intolerance so never invite us to a party because we are dull, dull, dull.  We cling to each other like limpets to a rock, and sneak out of the door at the first opportunity.

Which mutations do you recognise in yourself and who can you blame for passing them on to you?