I got begged: Iceland

Someone who follows my blog asked me during the week when I will blog again. Text’s exchanged: “when I can be bothered”, “when I get time”, “when I have something to write about”, etc. It’s not that I cannot be bothered but because I don’t know what to write. This is no longer a place to express my real thoughts. The texts continued: “how was your holiday?”… There’s a good starting point.

For those who don’t know: I went to Reykjavik in February. After watching a Joanna Lumley documentary a few years ago I had my heart set on seeing the Northern Lights one day. If only I had waited a few more weeks and I would have seen them over Surrey and saved myself some money… I joke. I’ve had a great experience.

?????????????????Whilst planning the holiday I watched a lot of videos on You Tube and visited a lot of websites about Iceland. All the pictures and videos that I saw painted Iceland as a picturesque land. Anywhere can look welcoming in a video or photograph: London, for example. The reality of getting off the tube and walking around in the cold light of day makes you realise that London is not as pretty as photos depict it to be. I sort of had the same idea that it would be the same for Iceland but I was wrong. It really is the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen.

DSCN0876 Hotel CabinThe only thing that let the holiday down was the hotel. We twin room but my friend and I might as well have been sharing a single bed. My friend joked that we could shower from my bed because we were so cramped. The breakfast wasn’t brilliant either. I got excited that we were having a different breakfast one morning because they had arranged the food in a different order from the morning before but to my dismay it was the same. On our final night the receptionist informed us that the restaurant would be open early for us to eat breakfast before we left for the airport. My friends response: “oh, goody”. Apart from the trivial gripes about the hotel, the holiday was a very enjoyable one. I would return tomorrow (if I could) but there is a bigger world out there for me to see.

?????????????????We planned our activities around each other. Logic. Aha. We decided that after a late night flight (were we were both swabbed for explosives) that we might like a relaxing first day so we booked the Blue Lagoon. I would go back to Iceland for the Blue Lagoon. Shivering and the onset of hypothermia between the changing rooms and the water was worth it. I went in looking 27 and came out looking twenty years younger… I went in looking ok and came out smokin’ sexy… I had heard horror stories from other people about them finding toe nails floating in the water but the most ‘yucky’ thing I came across were stands off hair when I took a handful of the silicone stuff from the floor under the water. My friend and I went around the Lagoon a few times, finding the hotter water and for the first time in many, many months, I felt relaxed.

The Blue Lagoon did open my eyes to something though. Body image.

Whilst I am very comfortable with my body I appreciate that my body is not what many people want to see. I couldn’t find a cubicle so I did the gymnastic thing where you have to be double jointed in several different places to change under a very damp towel; where you have to try not to fall arse over tit in a bid to keep yourself covered. I also had to keep my head down. If I just lifted my head, just a tiny bit, I was faced with flabby naked bellies and hairy lady parts. Don’t worry, I don’t have a photo for that.

I embrace a confident body image: no matter what the size, shape or state. But I was quite overwhelmed with just how many naked woman I was changing with whilst I was at the end of the bench, trying to keep myself covered.

We had planned quiet days for Monday and Tuesday to explore the city. We found a nice little coffee shop in Reykjavik where my fiend had free wifi to check Facebook. Our reasoning was that Monday was supposed to be a late night because we were scheduled on the Northern Lights Mystery Tour, so we wanted a relaxing day. As the week progressed onwards we both resigned ourself to the fact that we probably wouldn’t be successful: Monday was cancelled due to snow; Tuesday was cancelled due to rain; Wednesday we were unsuccessful; Thursday was cancelled due to over cast skies. That left Friday…

So, we explored Reykjavik over three days. We found the coffee shop. We looked around the little shops. We read menus as we passed places that served food. We found a glove speed dating gate for the lost and found gloves. We noticed that the traffic flowed: the only traffic I saw was at traffic lights. The roads were in good conditions despite the incredibly icy paths which, for my friend and I, proved to be a challenge in staying upright at times. The houses and shops were painted in different colours which really brightened the city up. The lazy natives even kept their Christmas lights up – but that’s no surprise considering the sun didn’t rise until 10am and then set at 5pm. We walked along the sea front, I climbed up a hill and slid down, we found a KFC, we stumbled across a Penis Museum (we didn’t go inside :-( ) we hugged a wooden Viking and we went up to the top of a church where we got an excellent view of the city and the harbour.

The Golden Circle tour was dissected with mixed feelings: my friend and I thought that there was too much sitting in a coach; I found the tomato greenhouses boring; we both wish we could have spent more time at the hot geysirs… But, it was during this trip that I learnt about the country (when I was listening instead of snoozing), like, they only have one breed of horse in Iceland (at least they know what Tesco put in their burgers). The tomato greenhouse was – - – well, once you’ve seen one tomato greenhouse, you’ve seen them all.

?????????????????The Gullfoss water fall is set within some really, really steep crevices. Looking down I felt a bit dizzy. The tour guide gave us a little talk about how it was once (upon a time) considered as being a source of electricity – that’s all I learnt from that. This was also the venue of our unsuccessful venture out to find the Northern Lights on the Wednesday night; my friend and I reckoned it was just a business opportunity for their ridiculously expensive hot chocolate sales (1,500 Kr for a hot chocolate and bottle of coke = £9+)…

DSCN0788 geysirsNext stop was our favourite part of the tour. We found the hot geysirs and we watched one explode over and over and over again (Facebook readers: I posted the video when I got home). We learnt that this natural phenomenon has sprung up underneath people’s houses meaning that they’ve had to move out – I can’t imagine that it would be much fun to have boiling water burst through your living room floor whilst trying to watch the Grand Prix.

Then we stopped at a place where, with our current government, I wish could happen in London. We stopped at the rift where the Icelandic parliament fell down because of the tectonic plates are pushing further away from each other. Looking down I wished that it was Downing Street that I was looking down upon.

After a long day sitting on a coach, the following day we had a long afternoon sitting on a boat. We went whale watching where we found a Humpback whale. Like with the Northern Lights, this trip was reliant on nature. If the whales weren’t out playing, we weren’t going to see them. Just like if the weather wasn’t on our side, we weren’t going to see the Northern Lights. We were successful, though. As excited as I was to be at sea, though, my mind was on something else: the main reason that I had wanted to come to Iceland in the first place. The Northern Lights. I knew that there was no 100% guarantee that I would see them, but I had my heart set on it. When our trip was cancelled that night my friend put us on the list for the following night.

I suppose this is where Sod’s Law comes into play. We were booked on the Northern Lights Mystery Tour that night. We had to be waiting for our transfer to Keflavik at 3:30am (?). I was doomed by the prospect of another breakfast of ham, cheese and bread. We had to pack and make sure that we were ready. If the trip went ahead we weren’t going to be back until quite late.

?????????????????It was the perfect bookend to the holiday. We were warned that if we were successful then we might not be able to see them with the naked eye. But, as bright as the moon was (and it was very bright on the cloudless night), whilst standing in minus-figure temperatures, in the middle of an iced-over golf course, shivering so badly that my nipples were chafing inside my bra, wrapped up like an eskimo – we saw the Northern Lights. They danced. They were not at all how I expected.

They move quite slowly – which I had learnt from the documentaries that I have seen. I thought that they would light the entire sky. Wrong. They make an arc across the sky and dance. They fade in and out. They move. Once you think that they have disappeared they reappear.

Our coach driver stopped on the way back from Keflavik where we watched them for a while longer. This time I was more focused on watching what was happening rather than taking photos. I wanted to enjoy them, and I did. I watched them dance, brightly in the sky. Even now, nearly two months later, I don’t think I fully appreciate what a spectacular phenomenon that I have seen.




There have been ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, but 2013 has been a good year. I don’t like to think about what 2014 has to offer because I’d like an element of surprise. I already know of one extremely exciting event that is happening – I’m going to Reykjavik in February with Alison. After seeing a documentary that Joanna Lumley starred in, when she went to the Arctic Circle (via the Ice Hotel) and saw the Northern Lights, I remember lying in my hospital bed and saying to the nurse “I’m going to see them one day”. Sometimes ‘one day’ does not happen, but I’m making that ‘one day’ happen for me in 2014, and I cannot think of a better person to enjoy this trip with than someone who has been in my life for more years than she can probably care to remember.

I’m not one for ‘fresh starts’. I know that a lot of people see the new year as a new beginning. For me the new year is not that spectacular. It’s another division in my life. Nothing will change because we have a new combination of numbers to add to the end of the date. Nothing will be different from when I go to bed tomorrow night to when I wake up on Wednesday morning – except for the date. For me the new year is just a division into which I can say “this happened in…”.

Lots of good things have happened in 2013 – more good than bad. I’ve had my share of loneliness, fear, frustrations and generally facing the unknown, but I’ve also had a lot of relief, excitement, success and fun. I’ve proven to myself that I have integrity and will stand up for what I believe it no matter what the cost; and I have proven to myself that I am loyal – not only to others but to myself.

There have been a couple of times when I’ve felt proud of myself this year but the one moment that stands out more than any other time was logging onto PIP to get my end of year results for a module that I was lacking all confidence in. The module revolved around numbers: algebra, statistics, Excel. It was a subject I cried over, trying to do calculations and making equations balance. So, when I finally got onto PIP I was very proud that I had a B+. I don’t know how I did it but at some point I must have learnt something.

The biggest highlight of 2013 has come quite recently though. After seven years, I am free of the Haematology Day Unit. I’m the first person to admit that I have not always been the easiest of patients to look after but the nurses in the Day Unit have been amazing. They have always gone above and beyond in every aspect of my care. I’ve always had someone to talk to, I’ve always had someone providing me support. It was scary to be told that I no longer had to go there on a weekly/fortnightly basis, but at the same time it marked a humongous step towards what my life was before I was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia. My only ties now are regular trips to the Haematology Clinic for a regular blood count and to make sure that things are still going as they should be – and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be. It wasn’t nice saying goodbye but it was everything that we have all be working towards; that development was everything I had been wishing for since 2007.

I’ve met some incredible people this year, too: colleagues, students, people, friends of friends… People… I’ve formed friendships (I’ve also lost friendships). Someone won my heart, others lost my trust. Some are honest people, others I wouldn’t trust as far as I could through them. In their own ways, they’ve impacted my 2013 – whether they’ve made me laugh, been an ear to talk to, been someone to play against, been someone to enthuse with, been someone to drink with, been someone to make me feel like nothing else mattered in the world. Some have just been incredible in how infuriating they are.

This year I have really stood my ground in a few areas: on how people should be treated, on how we should proceed with a project, on how you should only take up one seat on the train if you only buy one ticket (for Ieva’s sake, I’ll stop here on the trains ;-) )… At times during 2013 I have noticed how much I really have matured throughout recent years – there have been times where I’ve had to proceed with caution, I’ve been trusted to do things, I’ve been responsible mostly and I’ve handled things in a way I ought to be proud of.

However, with thanks to my brother, there is a cloud which looms over me. He keeps reminding me that I’m in my late twenties. I’m supposed to be an adult, but I don’t feel any different than I did ten years ago. What predominates my life? Having fun and being happy. Which, by the by, neither require alcohol for! But with that comes my biggest bug bear – that people comment on me as being “funny” – in particular, a nurse praised my sense of humour as what has helped me a lot throughout everything. People have commented on me as being “funny” – something which is really, really irritating. There is more to me than being funny.

As I said before, I don’t see the new year as a ‘fresh start’. I know that some people do but personally I don’t. I see it as being another day. Like the rolling of the months. I only have one resolution: to carry on as I am. I like where I am now in my life. That being said, I cannot wait to see what 2014 will bring me. Hopefully, in 2014, there will be more time spent on the beach now that I have a better grip on my time management!! And to please Mrs Ganglybean, who has told me on many occasions: “don’t ever change” – 2013 may be going and 2014 may be coming, but I’ll still be Becky, just to prove (in spite of you all) that there are no ‘fresh starts’ over here.

So, all that is left to say, to those I have not already said it to, is:

Have a very happy 2014!!

I’m turning into Grandad…

…or, rather, I’ve turned into Grandad. I would make some intellectual comment along the lines of “it must be a genetic disposition” or that “it’s learnt behaviour”, but the bottom line is that I’m turning into a miserable, moaning young lady. I’ve recently found myself moaning about teenagers, in particular. Ok, there is a ten year age difference between myself and some of the teens I’m whining about, but they are teenagers.

I was a teenager once. I was moody, miserable and a pain in the backside, like most other teenagers, but I don’t remember doing half as much as the teenagers that I see today doing. They have their own language, they wear so few clothes that they might as well not bother putting any on, they seem rude and lazy but yet want to reach for the sky and have it all. I see and hear it everywhere: on my commute to Oxford, when I’m shopping, when I’m driving around… Everywhere there are these teenagers. They feel like an alien species to me. Have we bred a new kind of teenager?

A few months ago I was on the train and a girl got on. Don’t get me wrong, I wore makeup as a teenager. A lot of teenagers that I know wear makeup. I even know a teenager who plasters the stuff on. Well, this girl got onto the train, sat opposite another commuter and I, got her makeup bag out and put her phone (on speaker phone) on the table. I watched her take makeup application to a whole new level and cover her spots, apply her undercoat, apply another coat, touch up more spots and paint on her liquid makeup – it was hard to believe that she was a GCSE student. It was only through conversation with the girl on the other end of the phone that I realised she was a student: with her skirt up her backside and her boobies flowing out the top of her shirt. But, I see this all the time. I see girls wearing shorts up their bums over the top of tights. These girls call it “fashion”, I call it “hypothermia waiting to happen”. It is chucking it down with rain and instead of doing something logical (because that isn’t in the teenagers vocabulary – no matter what generation of teens we look at) like wear a coat or take an umbrella, they complain that they are cold and wet. Yet, I sit there and think “I had a coat” and “I had a pack-a-mac” and “I had an umbrella”. So did most of my friends, 10-15 years ago. Maybe we are trying to breed a new generation of teenagers who are resilient to the elements? Maybe I really am getting old (like Grandad) and feeling the cold more than this generation who are coming along?

They moan more than I remember moaning. When I was a teenager (about 17) I had a job and did my own thing, but I rarely bitched to the world and his wife that I was tired. I don’t remember hearing my friends at the time complain about being tired. Nearly every teenager I come across now complains about being tired. “I’m so tired”, “you wouldn’t believe how tired I am” – yet, all the while, making plans to do things later in the evening. When I was a teenager, if I was tired, it was simple: I’d come home from work and go to bed. Even now, as an adult, if I’m tired, I go to bed – and I KNOW what tiredness is. When you suggest the “going to bed” concept to a teenager today they look at you as though you’ve asked them to join you in robbing a bank.

When they’re not moaning about being tired, they’re moaning about having no money (the older ones again). They “need” money. The teenagers I’m on about probably want for nothing. They “need” money but they don’t want to do anything to help them earn the money. In the world of a teenager they should do the same amount of work and yield a bigger pay cheque. In the world of a teenager a tree should pop up in their back garden which grows crisp £20 notes…

When they’re not moaning about being tired or skint they’re moaning about their “love life”. Yes, I was 17 once. I got “heart broken”. I got hurt. I won’t deny that those emotions exist to teenagers because they do. But they all want a bigger and better model. I listen to them and it feels as though they rarely have anything nice to say about their boy- or girlfriends. They don’t want a “boyfriend” or a “girlfriend” but a “man” or a “woman”. It begs the question: why are they still with their boy- or girlfriends if they’re constantly moaning about how much they get messed around? Then there are the teens that complain that they don’t have a boy- or girlfriend; as though to be someone’s “partner” (for a teenager, I use this world in it’s broadest sense) is some kind of a fashion trend – as though it’s the “in thing” – “everyone else has one so I should too”. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older or a bit wiser, but it seems to me that these teenagers are too immature to be in a “relationship” to begin with – if they annoy you so much, dump them (“but I love him/her”…).

This generation of teenager are more ruder than my generation. Only tonight I was asking someone a question and as he was answering I had a teenager in my ear asking “what? who? what?” WAIT! Shut up and wait! They come in half way through and need to know everything that’s being said in case they’re missing out on something. I don’t remember my friends and I being like that. We said “excuse me” – but then, I was brought up to do so. If we wanted to get information out of a conversation which we weren’t a part of we listened. We didn’t butt in with “what? who are you talking about?”. Maybe I was just brought up in a different way to these kids?

And then, when they’re not at home or out getting drunk or working, they’re hanging around in intimating groups on street corners. They’re talking in their secret teenage language which requires a Google search to find out what they are saying. This doesn’t stop on the street corners though. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It spills over onto social networking. There are millions of teenagers sitting in front of their computers, using Facebook, and they can’t even write properly. Watching their conversations on Facebook statuses is like watching monkeys learning to read and write. Everything has an acronym. If it isn’t being shortened down that way, “the” becomes “da”, “my” becomes “mai” (it’s not even shorter!), “really” becomes “reli”… I can understand shorthand – especially in messages when you’re on the go, where “you” becomes “u” and “thanks” becomes “thx”, etc… But to change entire words? On one of my 13-year-old sister’s Facebook comments there was a hyperlink for a Bing translation (!) for the evolved English vocabulary of today’s teenager.

But the ultimate test of me becoming Grandad came this evening. As I left Sainsburys I saw a group of lads huddled together and thought I bet they’re up to no good… As I thought it I felt a wave of despair shudder through me as I came to the realisation that I’ve become Grandad.

Twenty-one points of interest

There’s a thing on Facebook doing the rounds: you get a number and give that many points of interest about yourself. Claire has given me twenty-one. I felt that it may take a while so I think it’s worthy of a blog post.

  1. Not many people outside the family know that about my hearing loss. Growing up, it wasn’t that bad, but after a really bad ear and throat infection when I first got diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, it got worse. I have a hearing aid but I never wear it. I’ve adjusted to the hearing loss. I only really notice it if I hold my phone to my right ear and wonder why I cannot hear anything.
  2. I hate having my photograph taken. The best photographs of me, as an adult, have been taken without my knowledge.
  3. When I got sick I shut a lot of people out of my life – to protect myself. My biggest regret is isolating myself from my best friend, Gazza. I miss him. We still talk but not (about) as much as we used to.
  4. My brother taught me how to knit. My skills are limited but it gives me something to do. My great-aunt gave me up as a lost cause when she tried teaching me crochet.
  5. I get lost very easily when I’m driving outside of Farnborough. I refuse to use a NagNav. If I want a voice in my ear bossing me around, I would take my mother or grandmother with me. I’m stubborn like that.
  6. I once took a sip of tea, realised it had sugar in, spat it out and didn’t tell my friend (at the time). She drank it. This is not the reason we’re no longer friends.
  7. There are three foods I refuse to eat: mashed potato, lamb and peppers. They all taste disgusting and make me want to vomit. There are also certain food combinations which I dislike, like, cheese and burgers. I like them both, but I don’t like them together.
  8. Until last week I thought that the Princess Royal and Princess Anne were two different women…
  9. I like taking and playing with photographs. They’re not the best photos in the world, but I like taking photos. I’m a bit snappy happy.
  10. I am comfortable with my body. I have a belly full of scars, but I’m still comfortable with my body. Skin is only skin. My skin will never change who I am.
  11. One day I would like to marry and have three children. I would also like to live in a castle, own a flying pony and find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
  12. I am doing my Leadership Qualification with Guides so that I can officially be a Guide leader. I enjoy Guides very much. It’s not all about cooking and art. It’s about Dragon Boating and visiting Cadbury World, too.
  13. I have been single for eight years through choice: the choice of others, the choice by life and my own choice. Others aren’t interested, life didn’t permit it and I don’t like guys that easily.
  14. Although most people only see me in jeans or leggings, I own dresses and skirts and sometimes wear them. In fact, this week I bought a new dress (£5 = bargain!).
  15. I love the X-Files. I think Alex Krycek was sorely misunderstood. If I could see a future in astrobiology, I would look into a career down that route. I firmly believe that life came from outer space – especially as they keep finding new species of bacteria which come back with the space ships.
  16. I am able to laugh at myself very easily. It’s better that I am laughing at myself than the rest of the world doing it for me.
  17. People tell me I’m funny. I don’t think I am. I just say what’s on my mind. I also like jokes – the dirtier, the better.
  18. If I wear a watch, I wear one on both wrists. I don’t know why, I just do.
  19. My filing system is a pile on a shelf in my desk. It works for me.
  20. I have little time for idiots. They piss me off. It’s best to avoid them than to watch them in action or hear them speak.
  21. A little known secret: I am a nice person. Really. Honestly, I am.

A day of realisation

Today has been a day of realisation. Most of what I have realised I already knew, but it’s good to have had a think.

The bridge is open. We knew that it would be closed but it’s nice that a local bridge is open again. It wasn’t until it was closed that I realised how often I drove over it – it’s on the route for work, the train station I use, Tesco, where some of my friends live, the local convenience shop… It’s a thrill to have it back again. When I saw that it was open on Wednesday night I was beside myself with excitement – it cut at least five minutes off of my journey. It’s pretty sad, I won’t deny that – but the miles I’ve been clocking up diverting myself around the bridge was scary!

Time has flown. My babiest brother started “big” school this week. I’ve been the main childcare provider whilst my mother has gone off and done various other things over the past four years. Together we have reached many milestones together including neither of us requiring a nap every single afternoon. We’ve had lots of fun together – playing in the parks, walking together, watching TV. He’s taught me how to draw Dalek’s and the Tardis and I’ve taught him the art of dunking a biscuit without losing it in the tea. I’ve watched him grow from being a baby into a funny young boy. I’ve peeled his grapes, rubbed his back, read him books, found him Doctor Who websites to look at. In return he’s given me some form of a routine during my post-transplant recovery – and something to keep me occupied with. It doesn’t feel like it’s been four years. It doesn’t feel as though he’s old enough to be starting school.

As a nice touch to this, our neighbour on the beach (and keen photographer) presented me with a photograph of my babiest brother and I walking in the low tide. It’s a pleasant reminder of the adventures we’ve had together.

People do listen to me. I learnt that yesterday morning. Mr and Mrs G told me to open the boot of their car. BANG! They had wrapped their present in two black sacks. It was mysterious. I pulled one black sack off and I realised what it was that I was uncovering me.

Judge me all you want – it was a shopping trolley. Yes, Mum, the same as your friends mother. Yes, Dad, one like Grandma used to have.

A couple of months ago Mrs G and I were shopping in Farnborough and I said to her “if Nanna starts asking what I would like for my birthday, I’d really like a shopping trolley like that” – and pointed at the shopping trolleys. Mrs G must have thought I’d lost my mind but she knew that I was serious. How often do I say that I want something? Shopping, for me, is a chore. If I know that I would like to go to more than one shop, I have to really psyche myself up before I go. There are bags upon bags. There is juggling with already-bought-shopping and shopping-I’m-yet-to-pay-for (because I rarely remember to pick up a basket).

When it came down to it, I was too embarrassed to admit what I really wanted for my birthday so I suggested something else. I didn’t remember that I’d told Mrs G until I realised that the present I was opening was what I had already mentioned about. Nothing more was said at the time when I mentioned it so I thought it was one of those things – you mention something and that’s the end of that. Instead, I realised, that Mrs G was properly listening to what I was saying.

That I’m not really a friend to someone. This is the hardest and most painful realisation that I have come to today. I’ve gone from being someone’s friend to being a nobody to them overnight. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong – try as I might, I cannot understand what I’ve done. Even though that hurts it doesn’t stop me from being here should they come back.

So, it’s been a day of realisation. Sometimes, that isn’t such a bad thing.

Just getting it off my chest…

My brother keeps reminding me that I’m turning thirty in three years. That doesn’t bother me. Not really. He keeps telling me that I’m now in my late twenties. That doesn’t bother me. Not really.

I can cope with my brother reminding me that I’m getting on a bit. I can sleep in peace knowing that he is only 18 months behind me. Age is just a number. I don’t feel any different than when I was 17. Except now I can drive, I have my own money and I have independence (to a certain extent). Sure, I’ve grown and matured a lot since I was twenty, but that was forced upon me; it was non-optional. I’m not going to turn into a different person by turning thirty. I’m not going to grow a third leg or another head. However, people around me make it feel so huge. People around me say things and I just want to punch them in the face. People around me try to “comfort” me and I just want a big red block button appear above their heads for me to click.

Growing up I thought that I would leave school, go to college, get a job, meet and marry the perfect guy, buy a castle and have maybe three kids. Three out of six ain’t so bad. I left school. I went to college (twice). I have a job. I haven’t found the perfect castle. Who knows about the kids. But this isn’t the point. The point is, my life didn’t go to plan. The point is, going by my own standards, on paper, I’ve achieved nothing. On paper, it looks like I have spent the past seven years, sitting on my backside.

I’m very proud of where I am today. I’m still Becky but I have grown up and matured a hell of a lot than when I was 20. However, people around me have started asking questions that I only thought were asked to other people.

Do you have a boyfriend? No. I’m single. I’m single by choice; by the choice of others. Isn’t there anyone you like? I refer you to my previous answer. Aww, that’s ok. I know that’s ok. You should go out and meet men, try online dating… but I don’t want to go actively searching for men like a predator…

They’re the people I want to punch in the face. But then they go on and I fantasise about violently murdering them.

Don’t you want to get married? No. But if the right man came along, yes. Because, you know, otherwise I would just marry men for the sake of marrying them…

It doesn’t stop here. It gets worse…

Do you have kids? No. Don’t you want kids? Because I don’t have any yet, means I don’t want them? It’s a yes or no answer, Becky… One day. Why not have one now? Because I don’t want one now. I don’t want one with just any man. I’m still studying. I am not financially stable for a child. I still live at home - that shouldn’t stop you: *facepalm* I DON’T WANT ONE RIGHT NOW. Keep your hair on…

They’re the ones I want to eradicate from Earth with a block button above their heads.

This is my life. I’m living it the way I want to live it. I’m not hurting anyone (that I know of) by being single. I’m not hurting anyone by not having a child yet. These are the wonderful people that are making me dread reaching a milestone.

I don’t care that I’m single and childless. Do I wish I could share my life with someone? Yes. Do I wish I had someone to be happy alongside? Sometimes. I have family. I have friends. They’re all that I need.

And, if I’m nearing 37 and these things are still being asked, then I’m confident that I’ll be spending my 40th birthday serving the beginning of a life prison sentence.

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook

I’d like to think that you and I have always got on. We’ve been through a lot, you and I. You kept me company during those long nights at Kings College Hospital. You gave me some form of communication with the outside world. I was still figuring you out back then. I wasn’t sure what I could tell you or where I could tell you it. Yeah, it took a while for me to get used to you but we got there in the end. You were my lifeline to the outside world. You made me keep in touch with people.

Over the years we’ve had our ups and downs. I’ve cursed you a lot and no doubt you’ve cursed me. I’ve shown you my photos and you’ve shown me yours. I’ve shared links and so have you. We’ve exchanged You Tube videos. We’ve disagreed at times. We sometimes like what we share with each other. We have had a pretty good time together, I would conclude.

Last weekend I removed +150 people from my “friends” list. I went through them all and I unfriended them: we either had nothing in common, I was fed up of their posts, we hadn’t spoken in years, we hadn’t seen each other in years, we only “hooked up” out of a similar interest, etc. But now I wonder why I’ve kept some of the friends that I have kept? Obligation? Because they really are, on some level, a friend? Because I enjoy their updates? Because they make me smile? Because they are a part of a support network? My relationship with Facebook today is not the same as it was six years ago. At the beginning it was all about friends and family. Six years on I have had to go through that list and try bringing it back to what it was once all about for me. I’m happier for it.

But what defines a friend? Being online? No, that doesn’t do it for me. I’d rather we were friends offline than online. In my world, Facebook, you are not the be all and end all in my interpersonal relationships. I can maintain an offline relationship without you. I don’t need an Internet connection to define my friendships. Sure, instant updates of my friends are nice, but sometimes it takes away the personal aspect of being a friend. Being a friend. What does that mean these days? Being there? Knowing they are there? For me, communication is a big part as well as acknowledgement that I exist.

I leave you with what I was trying to tell you last night (with help from the wine): I cannot go back to yesterday and change anything I did, said or thought. Today I can only elaborate and/or apologise. Once upon a time, yesterday was today. Tomorrow will eventually be today but I can never live in the tomorrow because tomorrow keeps on changing. But a scary thought to me, this morning, is: what if something I do, say or think changes my tomorrow?

Tomorrow, Facebook, you and I will go our separate ways. For now, today is where I live. Tomorrow could be +1 day, +1 week, +1 month or +1 year. But I know that I can be without you Facebook, because, I don’t need an Internet connection for the people who I really want in my life.