Being Good Enough is Enough

Deeply religious people have been known to say, it’s God’s plan. When something terrible happens.

The death of a child, a loved one getting an incurable disease, or any number of horrible things that happen to humans.

Others don’t believe in God but believe our lives are mapped out already and there is nothing we can do to alter it.

Are we destined to live a life already mapped out.

One of my favourite films deals with just this topic. The Time Machine starring Guy Pearce and based on the novel by H G Wells.

Guy Pearce plays a man whose wife is murdered. So he invents a time machine so he can go back and stop his wife’s murder.

Yet every time he alters history his wife still dies but by a different method.

Is there some reality here. Are we destined to live a life already mapped out. Each decision we make leading ultimately to a pre determined conclusion.

Maybe this is why modern life is so stressful. We are like a small boat fighting against the rushing currents of a swollen river.

I don’t think so.

I would ask myself why I didn’t have the desire and determination?

For a large portion of my life I had a feeling I’d not fulfilled my potential. As a boy school work came easy, my Sister had to work a lot harder at her studies.

Unless it interested me though I wasn’t bothered and managed to do enough to get by. Without that urge to be or do a specific thing there was no real motivation.

I would look around me at people I knew and wonder why they were getting promotions. How they could set up their own businesses and be successful?

Often I would ask myself. Why I didn’t have the desire and determination to do similar?

It’s not that I lack intelligence. When needed I can interact with others. Yet time and time again I find there is no motivation, no desire to do any of these things.

I need this or that to be happy.

It wasn’t until I read this article by Rafael Euba on the BBC website. Titled Why Ambition Won’t Make You Happy.

In it he compares and contrasts the outlooks on life of Don Quixote and Pancho Sanchez. One forever seeking adventure and the other content with cheese and wine.

It was then I realised. Without all those talks as a child being told I could do or be anything I wanted. I’d probably have spent a larger chunk of my life satisfied with what I had.

I wouldn’t have that feeling of I’m better than this.

Perhaps I would have been more content, instead of thinking. ” I need this or that to be happy.”

But was this life they wanted for their children really better than theirs?

Education was initially only for the rich or religious. During industrial times the children of the poor started work young in manual or menial jobs. Serving the rich and powerful.

Once this was outlawed and education became available to all. They were encouraged to “better themselves” Many parents would openly say they wanted their children to have a better life than them.

But was this life they wanted for their children, really better than theirs?

Brands are the gods we worship nowadays.

As a society we increasingly base success on wealth. To better themselves means leaving the working class and becoming middle class. Striding out from the middle classes to join the upper class.

But changing class doesn’t guarantee we will be happier and have a better life. You would undoubtedly have more money and possessions, but that leads to a different set of problems.

If we are content with what we have then there is no need to charge at windmills. To chase the Holy Grail.

Will we possibly miss out on that feeling of ecstasy when we achieve what we were told was impossible. Yes. Will we also avoid that feeling of despair and inadequacy of we don’t achieve. Also a yes!

Once we have a certain amount and believe that we should want more. We are then either setting ourselves up for disappointment or applying pressure to ourselves to achieve this. Some of that pressure is external though.

With the birth of subscription TV and the internet we are subjected to more and cleverer targeted advertising.

Telling us we need this phone and to drive that car. Live in this area and wear certain clothes.

We live in a world of big business. Brands are the gods we worship nowadays.

You’re either an Xbox or PlayStation fan. Apple or Android. Mercedes or BMW.

We are told that these advances in technology enhance our lives. For example we can now communicate with family, friends and loved ones from the first reaches of the planet.

Yet never have their been more relationships fail and people with mental health issues.

We have cars that can travel from 0-60 faster than I can walk to the end of my driveway!

But in doing so produce so many chemical emissions that have consequences to both our health and the planets.

We are told that we need the latest and newest version of everything. Even washing up liquid is marketed as being our best ever. We’ve probably been using the same one for years doing the job perfectly well.

Where once something broke and we either fixed it ourselves or knew someone who could repair it. Now it’s uneconomical and we buy a replacement.

All of it designed to get us to spend more and spend more often. Yet it’s just a few rich people getting richer the more we spend and consume.

So it’s time we started looking around us and realising what we do have and being contented with it. That’s not a bad thing.

Being good enough is enough.

Here are some other posts you might enjoy.

Stranger Danger

Children Do The Stupidest Things

Oldest Rep On The Island

Too Poor to Watch Tottenham

I had a flashbacks to a childhood memory the other night. As I get older and childhood gets further away they are becoming less frequent, so stand out when they happen.

The moment in question was watching the 1986 Milk Cup Final on the TV. It stands out for a number of reasons.

  • We weren’t often allowed to watch TV as kids.
  • It was the first football match I ever watched.
  • Oxford United (my home town team) won.

My adopted parents are American. Obviously as Americans soccer, as they called it, wasn’t a major sport of interest. But our local team had made a cup final so we watched and supported them.

They only went and won. That was back when they were an ok team. Any team with Ray Houghton and John Aldridge in it couldn’t be that bad now could it.

Later that year I ended up spending time as an in patient in hospital. I soon became best friends with another boy called Baz. I remember him asking what team I supported. Not having a clue about any team I threw the question back at him.

Spurs was his answer and there and then they became my team too.

It would be 14 years before I would make it to White Hart Lane to see them in person. A cold January evening game. The Worthington Cup semi final first leg against Wimbledon.

Sadly I’m not able to say I witnessed a piece of magic from Ginola, or a save of the season contender from Ian Walker. In fact it was one of the dullest games of football I’ve witnessed. Then again George Graham wasn’t famed for his free flowing attacking football was he?

However the quality of the football is irrelevant. As a football fan that first trip to see your team is one you never forget.

We were sat in the East Stand Upper tier. Near the corner flag. In the section beside us was a chap with a massive drum! I’m sure he wouldn’t be allowed to bring it in these days, but back then he did and he banged it for the full 90 minutes.

I managed a few more trips to The Lane before I moved to Ireland. The most memorable being a 2-1 victory over Arsenal.

As a football fan Dad there is always that dream of going to watch your team play with your kids.

When he starting taking an interest in Soccer, step son number two decided to follow me and picked Spurs as his team. Buddy was in a Spurs kit before he could walk and has stuck with them.

Young boy standing in front of a fireplace wearing a Tottenham Hotspur Goalkeepers jersey.
Buddy one Christmas with his new Spurs Jersey

Unfortunately for them Spurs haven’t enjoyed their most successful period of late. It hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm and frequently they ask. “When can we go to a match”

We did go on the Johan Cruyff Stadium tour whilst in Amsterdam. The location of arguably one of the greatest ever Spurs matches.

View From the Dugout in the Johan Cruyff Arena

Herein lies the problem with supporting a team in another country. It’s not cheap. In fact it’s practically impossible, when it’s a Premier League Team.

With the way matches are scheduled these days it requires an overnight trip to watch a match. I couldn’t take one and leave the others behind so we’d all have to go.

I thought this year would be year. Buddy is making his Confirmation in March and asked to go to London and on the Tottenham Stadium Tour.

Once the Confirmation date was announced I quickly checked the fixtures. Hoping for Spurs to be at home against Aston Villa or Sheffield United. We might be able to get tickets to watch them.

As luck would have it we are at home that weekend, and the match has been moved to the Sunday so we could go. This is where our luck ran out. We’re only playing United! There’s not a hope that tickets will go on general sale.

Although from looking at the website even with 62,303 capacity not a single match has gone on general release.

It seems that we are now priced out of going to watch them play. Membership would be needed for all of us. That’s £100 before a ticket has been bought. Then at least £150 for match tickets.

As a carer for two special needs children money isn’t free and easy. £250 for one match isn’t feasible. I’ll just have to hope that when they grow up and get jobs one of them might take their old lad to a match. At least I’ll get the pensioners rate!

It looks like we’ll be watching the match on TV in a pub near the ground. We do have tickets for the stadium tour booked though.

Stranger Danger

They say having children alters your perspective on things. That’s certainly true for some things.

Since having a daughter I’ve become a lot more attuned to the gender gap. I’m also increasingly aware of the need to address climate change. My frankly abhorrent attitude as a younger childless man of, I won’t be here so who cares has long been abandoned.

Missing Person Poster

In some areas though I’ve not changed at all and frankly in one particular area I’m a bit surprised.

Fear of Abduction

As a child I felt my parents were over protective. I wasn’t allowed to the play park, because it was situated 15 yards past the speed bump that marked the distance I could ride my bike unaccompanied.

I can only ever remember being sent to the shops alone by my parents once until I was well into my teens. Though the fact I managed to lose the tenner I’d been given to buy bread with might have had more influence in this, than any fear I’d be abducted did.

My Sister and I were well aware of stranger danger. Not to accept sweets or get into cars with someone we didn’t know. Although our lives were so well controlled there weren’t many times those situations could arise.

Still I felt, like many kids do, that it would never happen to me. Upon doing some research I’ve found that I’m actually not alone. In fact a large proportion of the population also believe this. It’s called Optimism Bias, and occurs in any manner of situations. From being involved in a car accident to being trapped in a burning building.

It’s why so many of us don’t heed the warnings about sleeping with the doors closed. Running dishwashers and washing machines at night or when no one is home!

Obviously there are some who don’t believe this. My good friend Julie actually tweeted today about how her eldest won’t go to play with his friends for fear something will happen.

I Never Worry Something Has Happened To Them!

I’ve read hundreds of crime novels, watched just as many movies and TV shows in which children are abducted and or murdered. Just this evening I watched an episode of one such crime drama.

It centered around an abduction case that was five years old. Evidence of the missing girl had surfaced. Brilliantly scripted and acted, I was thoroughly engrossed and at the climactic finale felt my heart beating faster and found myself holding my breath. Until the girl was found safe and well.

Still every time the boys leave the house I never worry that something will happen to them. Perhaps when Little Miss OMG is old enough to go off without me by her side I might worry about her.

I don’t think I will though. There are many times the boys have gone off and when I ring their phones to see where they are, or tell them it’s time to come home. If they don’t answer, my initial response is “Little feckers are ignoring me” not “Something has happened to them!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had heart in my mouth moments. A young Buddy went missing in a shopping centre in Limerick once. Thankfully after 20 heart stopping minutes he was found safe and well in a shop playing with toys!

Looking into the statistics it would appear that even though child kidnappings generate headlines. They aren’t all that common.

According to a Home Office report in 2004, there were 798 child kidnapping reports, in England and Wales. Of those reports 447 involved a stranger. 375 of those reports were of an attempted kidnapping, meaning there were 72 successful abductions.

Children Do The Stupidest Things!

The internet is littered with memes of kids and adults doing stupid things.

Thankfully I was young and stupid before camera phones and social media were invented. So there is no photographic evidence of my stupidity.

I don’t even have the excuse of youth for some of my stupidity as this post shows.

The weather here has taken a chilly turn. It was well into midmorning yesterday and we were still below freezing.

This morning it was still -2 when Lucy woke me to let her out to go toilet. Quickest wee ever!

Whenever we get freezing weather it reminds me of the time as a 10 year old I fell through the ice into the River Cherwell.

Due to the extremely cold weather the school field was deemed too dangerous for PE. Rather than have us miss out, we were taken for a walk along the river.

Some of us child geniuses decided to sit on the river bank and kick the ice. You know where this is headed don’t you?

In my desire to be the first one to break through the ice. I managed to kick it so hard that when it inevitably cracked, the rest of my body followed my foot into the icy water.

To this day I can still remember that moment of shock as I plunged up to my armpits in freezing water.

I’m not sure how or who pulled me out. I do remember the walk back to school. My teeth chattering and losing all feeling in my toes! I also remember being given clothes from the left behind bag to change into.

It’s 2020 not 1920 Ray!

My good friend Mama-tude, aka Jen Hogan was on the Ray D’Arcy show on Monday.

That’s nothing new, she is a regular on Radio, TV and has a regular column in the Irish Times. She also has seven kids.

Now I won’t lie, she gets a bit of a slagging from us over the seven kids bit. Only in so far as you don’t come across many people with that many kids too often.

She gets just as much of a slagging from us for many other things too. Her love of jumpsuits and high heels, how she’s a big softy who gets emotional over anything and everything her kids do, being an annoying Liverpool fan etc etc

Poor Jen also got slagged for having to watch Love Island, but as friends do, I said I’d listen in to make sure she didn’t make an ass of herself on national radio. Not much I could do sitting in my car on the school run, but at least words of encouragement could be offered after the fact.

I was gob smacked to hear Ray introduce her as Jen Hogan, Mam of Seven! Seriously! Does the amount of children affect her views on reality TV?

The segment wasn’t about parenting related, she wasn’t being asked if the show was suitable for teenagers. It was purely for her opinion. So why then was she introduced as a Mam of Seven?

Would Ray have introduced a male guest as a father of five? I don’t think so, not with the plethora of other options available to him.

Being a father of four, soon to be five, I didn’t get the chance to listen live otherwise I would have tweeted the show. Obviously the person who puts there podcasts up on the website is a bit more modern in their thinking. She’s on their as a journalist.

I really thought we were past just seeing women as wives and Mammies. Come on Ray it’s 2020 not 1920!

It Was Meant To Be

I’ve never been one to believe in fate or any of the other multitude of beliefs that state our life is mapped out for us.

I get the feeling every now and then though that maybe some things are meant to be.

Take for example Baba 3.0 due in July. You don’t need to hear the details of the conception save to say there was a contraceptive failure. When I say failure what I actually mean is. Due to being told that Mrs OMG’s ovaries were past their best and conceiving would be practically impossible none was used and the withdrawal method only works if you actually withdraw.

Having had the “Shall we have one last child” conversation a few times since Little Miss OMG was born. Each time one of us saying “No! We’ve more than enough with the four we have!”

We made the decision for her to take The Morning After pill. So with promises of pancakes from McDonalds for breakfast, to sweeten the fact we were dragging the kids to town on a Sunday morning. We headed to Boots.

A few minutes in the booth answering medical questions and she was duly given the pill and off we went about our lives.

Her periods aren’t what you would call regular so when she was late, we didn’t really think much of it.

In fact I laughed and said “You can’t be pregnant. You’re dodgy ovaries and the morning after pill. Not a hope”

Eventually after a few more days and no period, she sent instructed me to check Dr Google to check the effectiveness of the Morning After Pill.

It turns out that if a fertilised egg has already attached itself to the lining of the womb then the Morning After Pill might not work.

This news had me being despatched to the chemist for a pregnancy test.

I’m a man and there are 30,000 different kits. So after the obligatory phone call to check which one was needed. I paid and went home.

30 secs later she emerged from the toilet and showed me the test. As they can’t all follow a standard format I had to seek clarification.

“I’m pregnant!”

So there you have it perhaps some things really are meant to be.

The Oldest Rep on The Island

In just under 10 days there will be FOUR iPhones entering my house.

This fills me with dread. Regular readers and Twitter  followers will know my mobile phone has a shelf life of about 3 – 6 months!

Before it gets broken, invariably the screen gets smashed off the concrete! Fingers crossed the kids take after their Mother. Her phones last for ages!

The OMG Daily Broken Mobile / Cell Phones
Some of my old phones!

It’s nothing new. Way back in the early Noughties when mobiles were just becoming widespread I was frequently losing or breaking them. I left my Ericsson flip phone in the back of a taxi after a night on the tiles. In my defense it was tiny!

Perhaps the most intereting story of a lost phone of mine is this one.

It was the beginning of Summer 2002.

I was in a job I had liked, until the manager left and was replaced with someone who I didn’t see eye to eye with. In January I’d split up with the rebound girlfriend after the previous one had called off the wedding, the year before. The world cup was about to start in South Korea, a change was in order.

I’d toyed with the idea of holiday repping some years before. I contacted a tour operator with my CV looking for a job for that season. Within 3 weeks I was on a plane to Corfu. At the ripe old age of 27 I was about to become the oldest rep on the Island. Ipsos here I come.

All went well. Watched some football, had a few drinks, made some friends and did some work. There were some mishaps, obviously. This is me we’re talking about. I might tell you some of them another day.

Anyway back to the phone story. A friend of mine had told us that Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame was playing at a club in Kavos and they were taking a group of holiday makers down to see him. A couple of friends said they were going to hire a car and go down to watch him, but wouldn’t be staying as they had work the next day. I asked was there room for me and it was sorted. I was going to Kavos, the party resort of the Island.

At my weekly cashing up meeting with my manager she told me I had training the next day so didn’t have to do hotel visits. Result. I could go to Kavos drink loads some Ouzo and not have to get up early.

Fed, showered and in our best clobber off we went to Kavos.

Had a few drinks on the strip first and headed to the club. Red Vodka’s, Ouzo and Flaming Sambuca’s were all consumed. I bumped into the reps from my company who said they had a free bed in their apartment and were heading up for the training so I could crash at theirs and get a lift with them the next day.

I’m a lightweight so felt a bit tipsy after all this drinking. I wandered out to the beach  to get some fresh air. Not before getting one of the girls numbers so if we got separated I could ring to find out where their apartment was. See not completely stupid! There was a beach fire going and sun beds arranged around it, with people chatting. I plonked myself down on one and joined in.

Sunrise

The next thing I knew was waking up to the beautiful Kavos sunrise.

All alone on the beach. I went back into the club, where the only person about was a cleaner, sweeping the floors. I got my phone out my pocket and headed for the doors to the street, getting the number ready to call.

Not paying attention to where I was going was my first mistake. This caused me to stumble down the step and drop my Nokia 3310, the original not the remake,  which as they were want to. Split into three pieces, front cover, back cover and the actual phone bit. I bent down and picked up the front cover as it was closet to me. The back cover and phone were further away and a chap on a moped stopped to pick these up. I walked over and handed him the front cover.

He put it back together and then sped off down the strip with my phone in his hand. I limped after him, (I’d twisted my knee falling down the steps) calling him the few Greek swear words I’d learnt. I still remember them!

So there I was, with €2 to my name. No phone to ring the reps and find out where there apartment was, a busted knee and wearing clothes for clubbing not for a day in the Greek heat!

I used one Euro to ring a friend to get the phone cancelled as it was a contract phone and the other to ring my boss. How did I get back to my resort? You’ll have to come back another day when I share that story.

As you can see mobiles and me don’t mix. Perhaps I need one on a string like my mother did with my gloves as a kept losing them!

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