Showing posts from 2015

The Freedom of Getting Older

I was going to title this 'The Freedom of Being Old' since I think that would resonate with the 20 somethings I have in mind while writing this.  Certainly I would have considered someone my age (43) 'old' when I was 23.  However, one of the things I have learned is that age really is relative.  My grandmother, in her 80s, would refer to me as 'very young' in my 30s (which I thought was strange because it was not my perspective). Also...I suppose growing up is a process.  And that's what I want to talk about.

Magazine stands would have you think that ageing is one of the worst things that could happen to you, especially if you're a woman.  Not only is that not the case but there is a greater amount of freedom in being who you want to be when you're older than in one's mid-20s.  And I can only appreciate it now, having seen both sides.

When I was 25 I felt a huge amount of pressure to 'be grown up' and 'succeed'.  We put a huge …

Liminal Spaces

Throughout the course of my 43 years I find myself unintentionally but continuously occupying liminal spaces.  The spaces in-between.  Not this but not really that either.  Continuously a bit on the outside of things.  Which I don't mind.  Obviously it must work for me if I regularly find myself rejecting the middle/conventional to live on the periphery.

This was recently brought home as I had two house guests from America visit.  During the course of the week I got to fall in love with Dublin and Ireland all over again, as I showed them around.  That's a great feeling when its renewed.  I also found myself listening to them in awe as I realised some things I take for granted as being 'American' have changed.  For example, kids always went back to school after Labour Day when I was growing up.  This isn't the case anymore.  I found myself feeling strangely disconnected from the country I grew up in.  Its a little thing, but one of the many ways we identify as bein…


It wasn't long before a quick look at my Facebook page reminded me its #ThrowBackThursday.  I'd never posted a pic in regards to this so I thought I might as well.  Luckily, I have three full photo albums chronicling my 20s (1990s). Oh, the memories!

My hair used to be much darker, before it turned grey/white.  I actually like it more now.  Its thicker and less frizzy.

I was never skinny.  Even in my 20s.  I've always carried around a bit of weight.  It may look better on me now.

I'm really glad I've always taken pictures of where I lived (although at the time it seems weird) as I have pics of houses, as they looked at the time, which I can check my memory against.  Google maps is great but it doesn't go back in time (as far as I'm aware).

I'm also glad I liked to save things like ticket stubs / concert tickets / wedding invites and stick them in between the pages.  What a flood of memories they bring back.

I think its easy, for all of us, to be somew…

The Kids Are Alright

You know how some older people just bitch and moan about the younger generations coming up? So wrong.  I'm confident, from what I see from people in their 20s, in both Seattle & Ireland that the world is going to be a better place when they are in power.

This past week I've been lucky enough to host one of my cousins (Anna) from Seattle and her good friend (Danielle), who are spending a few months in Europe wwoofing. Its been really fun.  And I knew it would be.  I enjoy showing people around my beloved adopted home and knew we'd have a good time.  But I didn't expect all the extra cool things they'd impress upon me and teach me.

I don't have much family nearby and it was truly amazing to have two young women who are such great and strong role models for my young daughter.  Studying science.  Activist minded.  Healthy on the inside & out. Able to express their real thoughts and emotions without inhibitions.  Courteous, kind (to themselves, each other …

A Heady Perfume of Memory

I had to pop into Boots this morning (itself a nostalgic experience as it's predecessor was one of my favourite chemists in Dublin upon moving here in 1995. Every time I step over the threshold I regret they've taken the old pharmacy's initials out of the mosaic) and as I had some time to spare, indulged myself by taking a trip down memory lane via their perfume counter. Nothing like a smell can trigger my memory so acutely that for a few seconds I am actually brought back in time.

My nostalgia initially brings me back to my junior & senior years in high school, when I wore Coco Chanel and Bijan exclusively. When I smell Coco, I can see my bedroom exactly as it was circa 1987.   During the Easter break of my senior year I was lucky to go on the school sponsored holiday to Greece. One whiff of Carolina Herrera and I'm right back there.

My years in university are punctuated by a Victoria's Secret perfume, Connemara, CK One (remember what a BIG DEAL it was that C…

Disney World - The Happiest Place on Earth

We have just completed our first family pilgrimage to Disney World.  I had only been once (30 years ago), when I was 11.  Much has changed.  I cannot stress how fabulous a time we had.  That's no bullshit.  Disney works hard to make the experience as enjoyable for grown ups as for kids.  I went into the holiday thinking that grown ups who go there must be missing something in their lives to need to lose themselves in fantasy.  Having spent a week there, Disney just makes your vacation as easy and enjoyable as possible.  It is possibly the most efficient corporation on Earth.  If we hired them for two weeks, they'd have our Irish Water issues sorted out in within the fortnight.  No lie. 
I previously thought Irish natives were a bit mad for talking up Florida so much.  I mean, its just Florida.  Heat, humidity and cockroaches.  Maybe something's happened to me over the years living here, I don't know, but I actually got it this time.  The sun was amazing.  I can still s…

St Patrick's Day: Patty's or Paddy's?

Hello fellow wanderers! Today is two days before the annual Irish bacchanal. If you live in Ireland, you know that every year, about this time, people born and raised in Ireland tend to get very tetchy about the fact that Americans say 'Patty's'.  Oh, yes.

Apparently (to them), it sounds like nails on a chalkboard.  Some have created whole websites about it. Yesterday, one of our national newspapers, The Irish Examiner, ran an article with the headline, "For feck's sake: There's no such thing as Patty's Day", that rejoices in shaming people for the gall to use 'Patty's'.  There's even a twitter hashtag, #PaddyNotPatty.

Sorry, indigenous Irish St Patrick pedants, but you don't get to control a celebration that was made by the New World.  That's right.  I'm long enough living in Ireland to remember the Patrick's Day parades of the 90s.  Anyone else? It was embarrassing that cities in the Americas & Australia had far…

Marriage Medieval Irish Style: Not Your Gran's Marriage!

In November of 1995, while the Divorce Referendum was front page news all over Ireland, I was starting research on my Master's Degree looking at marriage practices in the late medieval period.  It was not lost on me that in 1995 marriage practices were much more restrictive than 1,000 years previously.  I found it amusing that The Church, now irrevocably entwined with Irish identity, was considered an Anglo Norman import and not wholly welcomed by the Irish Gaelic but forced upon them in the years following the Norman Invasion.  Our definition of 'culture' and 'identity' is in a much greater state of flux and fluidity than we humans may be comfortable with.

Did you know...

Medieval Irish marriage, divorce and concubinage practices were divergent from both continental Europe as well as Roman Church practices. "Throughout the Medieval period, and down to the end of the old order in 1603, what could be called Celtic secular marriage remained the norm in Ireland, a…

New Beginnings

I love the week between Christmas and the New Year as a meditative, contemplative and quiet period during which we look both back and forward.  Its a uniquely liminal space between the known and the unknown.

The old Roman god, Janus (for which January is named) is the diety of thresholds and beginnings.  His image is one of two heads, facing in opposite directions.  Just as we look back to the year that was and forward to the year that will be.

We take stock of the last year.  What worked? What didn't? What surprised us? And allow our aspirations to manifest in goals for the New Year.  Where do we want our lives to go? To change? To improve?

Every year at this time I find myself looking around and seeking "What can I get rid of"? What do I no longer have use for? What am I still holding onto that I no longer need? I always enjoy decluttering but especially during this time of year, when its specifically to make space for things to come.

The new pajamas that I never real…