Saturday, 23 November 2013

Half full or half empty – repeat

It’s late November and even though I am outside in my garden every day and I still have lots of plants in flower, it is definitely a quiet time of the year in terms of gardening. I have been blogging for almost 3 years and in my first year of blogging I didn’t have that many visitors. I have therefore decided to recycle a few of my posts from the first year and hope you enjoy them again even if you might have read them before. Here is the first repeat post.

Do you know the expression “Are you a glass half full person or a glass half empty person?” I can still remember when my grandfather explained this expression to me and my younger sister and brother – I must have been about 8 or 9 years old at that time. The expression really appealed to my already rapidly growing practical sense back then, and I have referred to it many times over the years. It’s an expression one can hear used in many different circumstances, and I heard it just yesterday on the BBC1 TV series ‘Silent Witness’. It made me decide to use it as a topic for today’s post. So, what are you? Is your glass half full, or half empty? Of course, you might say like Bill Cosby is supposed to have said; “it depends on whether you're pouring, or drinking...!” Me, I consider myself a half full person, and for people who knows me and knows what has happened to me over the years, that might sound like a contradiction, but perhaps having a reasonable positive outlook in life is what’s keeping me sane – and creative. I don’t doubt for a minute that being creative is keeping me sane, so we might go round in circles here, but this is a bit chicken and egg thing I guess. There is no doubt that I have managed to “attract more negative life experiences so far in life than most people manage in a whole life span”, as a psychotherapist once told me - and that was not having in mind my medical problems, but I still have a half full outlook on life in general. I think this quote from Bette Midler is quite well said; "Shit happens, deal with it! "Well, I deal with it all on an 'as and when' basis, with one foot in front of the other... and so on and so on...but sometimes I feel that someone has divided the quotas up a bit unfairly. There is definitely more shit coming my way than to a lot of other people I know of!

So, we’re back to the creative bit then, going full circle, because I am convinced that being creative makes me happy and contributes to my ‘half full’ outlook on life. I have never been a sporty person, I hated PE in school, moving about was painful and no one understood why, so my pain was largely disregarded. But I know that jogging for example is said to release endorphins in your brain, powerful hormones that makes you happy. The so called "runner's high" is said to occur when strenuous exercise takes a person over a threshold that activates endorphin production. Research lately on the role of endorphins in producing runner's high questions the mechanisms at work though; their data possibly demonstrating that the "high" comes from completing a challenge rather than as a result of exertion. So what if lounging on my sofa and being really creative on my computer makes me release endorphins and keeps me happy, and for every work I complete I get a rush of happy hormones?! Well, I’ve got absolutely no scientific proof for saying this, it is just a little theory of mine, but isn’t it a nice one? I really do feel less pain in my sore, aching joints when I am deeply buried in Photoshop on my computer :-)

OK, back to you, and your glass: half full or half empty? What gets your happy hormones flowing? Have you ever thought about it? Some people are miserable most of the time; I am sure you know someone too; those who blame the government, the council, the neighbour, the spouse, the kids, the dog....anyone, except themselves; it’s always everyone else’s fault and nothing is going to get them in a better mood until all their problems are solved, by anyone else but themselves. Definitely half empty people! I recommend some Creative Photoshop Therapy!

So in this dark end of November, what keeps you upbeat and happy, please share with us, it would be interesting to hear from you all. Me? I am off out in the garden to plant 30 lily bulbs, it is a cold but crisp sunny day and I can’t think of anywhere else I would like to be, except for perhaps behind my computer, creating something. Oh, by the way, the photos are from previous years, but it won't be long until the spring flowers are here, only 6-8 more weeks or so - that thought makes me happy! Until next time, take care.

22 comments:

  1. Maybe seeing the first snowdrop or a new bird visitor to the feeding stations.

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    1. I can’t wait for the snowdrops to appear, hope we get an early spring this year!

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  2. I would say generally half full, but sometimes have to work at it! Just getting outside does it for me too, even on a day when it's been very cold like today. There is always something new to see, like the leaves falling off the Cornus tree and revealing next years buds.

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    1. I do get ‘cabin fever’ if I can’t get outside for a few days because it’s raining too much.

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  3. Despite I had and have strugggles enough in my busy life, the glass is always half full, I just won't accept a half empty glass. My most happy times are being outside with my dog, preferably early in the morning, watching the beauties of nature but my followers will know that already. And then writing and photographing about things which make me happy. It is a good feeling to escape from the miseries life can give us.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more Janneke, over the years I have learned to accept and expect completely different things in life than what was important before.

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  4. Hi Helene
    First of all, thank you for the explanation about the AGA... now I know what that thing is, which we haven't here in Swizterland.
    When I saw your first photo I thought... oh my god, do they really have alread daffodils in London?! Hihi... I'm happy to read that they are from spring. The dark and cold winter time I use for my crafts, making soaps, sewing sweet little things, knitting and so on and so on. So I'm that occupied that winter goes by rather quickly... sometimes much too quickly.
    Have a cozy Sunday and a good start into the new week.
    Alex

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    1. Well, we are early here in London but not that early, no daffodils yet! But it won’t be long before my crocuses and snowdrops start to stick their noses up above the ground :-)
      Have a good week!

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  5. Seeing or being in a garden does it for me! Even when it is cold outside I gaze through the windows at my gardens and it makes me happy. Blogging in winter keeps the smile on as well and traveling to see other gardens works even better! Have a warm and enjoyable Sunday!

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    1. I suppose pottering around our garden is number one for all of us, no surprise there, and I tend to do a lot of gazing out onto the garden too – planning new things to do.
      Have a great week!

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  6. I'm never sure which I am - when life throws it's worst in my direction I tend to go along the 'Shit happens - deal with it' route, yet stupid little things often take a lot out of me.
    I try to get outdoors into the garden each day, no matter the weather there's always something to see or do and that usually lifts the half empty feeling!

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    1. I fully agree Angie, and if there isn’t something to do I can usually invent a task just to have something to do – or get my camera out and take some photos, like I did today :-)

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  7. For the most part, I'm a glass-half-full person. But I've had situations in my life when I've been stuck and couldn't break free of terrible situations for a while (mostly work-related). In those situations, I had trouble staying positive. Fortunately, for most of my life I have been very blessed with good family, just enough money to meet my needs, and postive mentors. Overall, life is good. :)

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    1. I know what you mean Beth, sometimes situations gets us stuck for a while, having friends and family around is important :-)

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  8. I'm half full person, Helene. I can't wait the new plants grow and flowers bloom, as you say ' only 6-8 more weeks' I can say: only 5-6 months and I see them in my garden! Despite of frost you're planting bulbs, so happy gardening!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I think many gardeners are keeping happy by gardening!
      All my lily bulbs are now in the ground, we still haven’t had any frost, its’ been temperatures down to 2-3 degrees at night but no ground frost yet in my garden so most of my herbaceous plants are still standing even if some of them have stopped flowering. My clematises are still flowering – I love gardening in London!

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  9. Hi Helene
    Half full = optimistic = Me! I am rarely down in the dumps and carry on most days with a smile on my face. I certainly do not face the physical challenges that you do so my hat's off to you because you always seem like an "up" person despite your difficulties. How wonderful that spring is so close for you - we haven't even hit winter yet!!

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    1. Thanks Astrid, I try to see the positive in things even if I am in a difficult spot at the moment, I kind of manage to prioritise what’s important to deal with and what’s not and also see what things I can’t possibly do anything with anyway and not fret too much about those things as spending energy on that is rather useless. Difficult at times but it gets better with practise and I have got a lot of that!

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  10. Helene, I enjoyed this post! I immediately remember explaining this concept to my middle son long ago when he kept complaining and I called him a pessimist. "What's a pessimist?" he asked. So I held up a glass with water filled about midway and asked how much water was in it. "Not enough to drink!" was his reply. So that's a pessimist!

    I am glad you are an optimistic person, despite a life of trials. I think gardeners generally have to be optimistic persons, or we would give up! I try to keep my glass brimming. It would be so easy to let circumstances pour all the water out. I once heard joy described as not depending on our circumstances but rather how we react to our circumstances. So I like to think of myself as a joyful person.

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    1. Ha, how fun you told the story about your son! I didn’t tell the whole story about what my grandfather taught us, so here comes the rest: he was actually telling us the same, the difference between a pessimist and an optimist, and he used two glasses – not with water but with coca cola. Now, you have to remember we were just kids too, I think my brother was about 5 at that time, my sister 8 and me 9 probably. We didn’t drink cola very often, only on special occasions (this was 1970s). My grandfather poured two glasses of cola half full and said that one glass belonged to the optimist who was happy to have half a glass of cola, the other glass belonged to a pessimist who was disappointed to only have half a glass of cola. Then he asked if we understood what he meant. Both my sister and I nodded. Then he turned to my brother who sat very silent and looked at the two glasses as if he was pondering about something. Finally my brother said: “Why is there only two glasses when there is three of us?!”
      I guess my brother had been worried losing out to his two big sister yet again :-)

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  11. Half full- you have to be in life as it is the only time it happens to us! It makes me very sad when people who I love, don't understand it and choose to be half empty-so sad...
    I enjoyed reading your post, thank you for sharing, Helene :)

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    1. Thanks Aga, glad you appreciated the post. I guess we can’t decide what personality we have, but we can certainly choose to have interests and hobbies and things that fill our life and that I am sure will help to put a positive note on things even if we have a difficult time otherwise. Gardening is an excellent choice :-)

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