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Learning to be myself.

(22 Posts)
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 26-Sep-13 11:35:38

In the second of this week's guest blogs, we hear from June Heathcote, GN Local editor for Conwy, on the freedoms of finally being oneself at almost 70. So, does it come easier later on?

gracesmum Thu 26-Sep-13 11:50:10

What a lovely article!! June sums it up beautifully, especially the crippling shyness, lack of self-confidence or fear of rejection which afflicted many of us when younger. She describes all the best sides of GN - the warmth, acceptance, support, humour and contact it offers. In the light of some of the sniping that has occasionally muddied the waters, this reaffirms my belief that this is truly a good place to be.

AnnB Thu 26-Sep-13 14:33:05

Great June, I wish I could persuade all our younger relatives to read this and share the joy about how good it can be! They are probably too busy on Mumsnet and with working but at least you have expressed it in a much better way than I could, so I can report back to them and pick out some key phrases. Thanks!

kittylester Thu 26-Sep-13 17:26:41

Exactly June. flowers

rocketstop Fri 27-Sep-13 11:10:27

Huh, How can June be 70 ? She looks great. It's not fair !
Sound advice indeed from this lady !

moomin Fri 27-Sep-13 11:10:47

Spot on June - I can identify with the "younger you" and the need to conform to others' expectations.

goldengirl Fri 27-Sep-13 12:01:44

I feel sad that it has taken June until she is almost 70 to be herself.

I must be very lucky but I've always 'been myself' - well, I like to think I have. It's not been easy but I don't like being pushed around. It has led me to being an outsider on occasion because I've not gone along with the crowd but even though I've wished to be part of a group on occasion if I didn't go along with the way things were going I prefered to not to participate. Perhaps it's because I'm an only child and my parents instilled a determination in me.

Over time I've never been short of friends and have been invited to reunions, lunches etc with people I've known for over 40+ years. What I do feel though is that I've not really got any bosom buddies compared to other people but those I call friends I could certainly ask for help in a time of need and have been told I'm a very good listener when I've been asked for support in turn - and if I'm honest with myself I'm quite happy with that.

thatbags Fri 27-Sep-13 12:14:45

Good blog. I'm usually pretty good at doing what I think should be done, but sometimes I hesitate because I'm unsure or fear if not disapproval then something similar. I was hesitating about doing something I feel is right for me (and, I stress, not 'wrong' for anyone else) just recently. Some of the good sense in that blog gave me the shove I needed. Thank you, June.

juneh Fri 27-Sep-13 18:07:03

Thank-you all for your responses. It feels good to hear from you. I think what I have been talking about is a realisation that over time I have changed, as we all do. I am happy being older it's just the body and all the aches and pains that let me down nowadays.
Mostly it is that sense of being at ease in company, especially strangers.
I do find it easy nowadays to just start up a conversation, where as when young I would have had an internal struggle about whether to say this or that. Often standing back appearing, what my mother described as 'reserved' or 'standoffish' that was how I must have appeared in my crippling shyness. I am not sure when all that changed but it was gradual.
I think it happened because as the years passed, like most of us, I realised that we are the same under the skin, with our basic insecurities and worries when in new environments. Since retiring to Conwy I have put myself in different situations, in order to meet people because I believe it is important to have friends of like minds as we age. As life takes its various twists and turns it is good not to be alone for me at least. smile

MiceElf Fri 27-Sep-13 18:14:30

I've just read this June, and it's a lovely piece. I was always very vocal in certain situations, but in others very shy and overwhelmed. Those who know me now find that hard to believe! As you say, age brings many compensations, partly I think, for me, the ability to be a little more detached and see the 'bigger picture'. I really enjoyed reading your account, good luck with the Conwy group and local site.

nonnanna Thu 17-Oct-13 06:15:03

I'm a little late reading June's blog but it's an excellent account of how many of us have felt. I was talking to friends and old work colleagues about it last night and it was amazing how we could relate to this. Surprisingly it was the ones who we consider to be the most extrovert nowadays that admitted to being shy in their youth. Very interesting, thought and conversation provoking. Great job, June.

Mishap Thu 17-Oct-13 10:17:59

It takes a while to have the courage to be oneself and to avoid being influenced by trying to impress others - a hangover from being a teenager. I seldom worry about what people think about me these days; and I have noticed that recently when things go wrong or I have made a mistake, I do not get in a panic, but simply hold my hand up to it. When I think of the nights I have wasted lying awake worrying about things I cannot change!

Good blog!

annodomini Thu 17-Oct-13 11:02:15

That's my attitude too, Mishap. However, in my case, it was my divorce that allowed me to become myself. I should thank the 'other woman'!

Chris1603 Thu 17-Oct-13 23:23:18

As I get older I care less what people think.

Eloethan Fri 18-Oct-13 14:57:06

I have to confess I'm not quite sure what it means to "be oneself". To some extent, I feel I'm a different person in different situations and with different people.

It's also interesting to hear how other people perceive you. I've often been described as "calm", whereas I can often feel quite anxious and edgy.

juneh Fri 18-Oct-13 21:34:59

Eloethan I think that being oneself means being true to oneself with whomever or whatever at the time. I know people tell me even now that I don't look anxious and I can always seem confident even when I am scared inside especially in new situations. The important thing I think is that I do not let my anxiety prevent me from doing or saying what I want at the time.
Perhaps you are not a different person in different situations maybe you are what you need to be?
I don't think that it doesn't matter what people think of me in fact of course it does, but I will not put myself out to please others just in case they might not like me if I don't. Does that make sense?
You might like to come and chat on my forum Gransnet Conwy one of the local sites.

juneh Fri 18-Oct-13 21:36:37

That should have read

glassortwo Fri 18-Oct-13 22:29:00

I have just caught up with this thread, june great blog.

juneh Sat 19-Oct-13 11:09:05

Just to respond to an earlier entry it hasn't actually taken me till nearly 70 but it has been a process rather than an event. As a psychotherapist I have had to do a lot of personal therapy over the years having look behind all the defences built up to protect that inner child who lived within a very dysfunctional and violent family and throughout my youth suffered the consequences of that.
I think that morning as I sat with the other women in our get together I felt suddenly clear about who I was and how my life had moved throughout the years. I felt happy to be free of the grief of the past and realised how far I had come thinking perhaps how lucky I was to have taken the life path I did when there are so many options.

Do you ever think about how different your life might be if you had taken another direction? smile

Lindsayjane40813 Sat 19-Oct-13 21:50:26

How I can empathise with June. Indeed, I have struggled for the best part of 56 years to be 'myself'. Always afraid of not being liked. Of being challenged in someway. It's only as I finally achieve some sort of maturity that self respect has dawned. Being as worthy or important as anyone else is an extraordinary revelation and something I am working on daily. I cannot really issue any reason for this momentous feeling of somehow 'arriving', but here I am! Maybe becoming a Granny has something to do with it? smile

ffinnochio Sat 19-Oct-13 21:54:14

ljBecoming a granny is as good a reason as any. smile

Grannyknot Sun 20-Oct-13 14:05:54

Hi June, great blog. Re the question "Do you ever think how different your life might have been if you had taken another direction?" I've been pondering about that quite a bit lately re the person we are because of who we are with, because - in recent years we reconnected with a couple we knew when we were in our 20s - so forty years on. Sadly, the wife died about 2 years ago very quickly after being diagnosed with lung cancer (when we had only just started socialising with them again). When I phoned to offer my sympathies, I said "You'll have memories of a wonderful wife and mother". He was silent for a moment and then replied "She certainly was a wonderful mother". I left it at that but it sort of stayed with me.

We invited him for a meal not long after his wife died, thinking he would like the company, when he called and asked could he bring a lady friend? Long story short - he has hooked up with a widow, a neighbour, and they could not keep their hands or eyes off each other during the visit. Since then, it is apparent that they are very much in love and I have never seen him happier, I've known him since he was in his 20s. Having married so young - he was 23 - I've been wondering about the rather taciturn person he was before.