Book Review: It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In

Today I review a book that is a little different to my normal fare. Sent to me all the way from Australia, although available to buy in the UK, It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In is a 50 page picture book suitable for anyone who sometimes feels confused and lonely in our beautiful world.

Narrated by a sleuth of teddy bears, led by the fluffy author, Mawson, it ponders how one’s importance to a special Some One can change over time. It accepts the pain of loss, makes suggestions about how to cope, and offers hope for future happiness.

The opening premise is that everyone wants to be loved and to have their love appreciated. There is still so much love on offer in our big, bright world.

The problem can be finding that special Some One when the world is so big. We can be primed and ready to give but still have to wait, and time passes slowly when waiting.

The bears remember days of fun and adventure when they explored and played with their Some One, before that Some One chose to go out into the wider world without them.

They ponder how hard it is to keep playing the games that had been such fun, and the difficulty of caring for a Some One who isn’t there.

The bears do their best to occupy themselves but life is so much better when their Some One returns.

The story explores the possibility that one day this won’t happen, that their Some One will be gone, and life must still go on.

The context, of course, is wider than a lonely teddy bear. The story progression offers a reminder to make the most of Some One’s company, be they family, friend or partner, to enjoy each day for what it is. Mawson and his furry friends appreciate the happy days and are perplexed when they end.

If Some One goes, although it will hurt, there is the possibility of one day being found by Some One else. Until that time there are games to be played, even if they aren’t quite as enjoyable as before.

The book could offer solace for anyone in need of company for their adventures, a child who has been let down or an adult who has been left behind or lost a loved one.

The reasons for change may be baffling, but ultimately there is hope.

I admit that I have a soft spot for teddy bears. This little story made me well up, made me want to hug every one of the bears in my (ahem) extensive collection. It also made me appreciate the humans who join me on my adventures. It is a lovely, poignant story with delightful illustrations. It would make a thoughtful gift, including for yourself.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the furry author’s Some One.

My own little bears enjoyed reading it too.

 

 

A square peg in a round hole

I am currently feeling alone within my family. Throughout life we are all constantly changing; recently I have come to feel that I have diverged from the place that my family has moved to. It seems at times that I no longer fit comfortably and easily within my own family unit.

It could be an age thing. It is said that age is just a number, that we are only as old as we feel. If this is the case then I have reached my dotage. Such a view could be partly a result of living with teenagers who regularly berate me; who ask me about the pet mammoth I had when I was a child. More than that though, it is the ache in my bones and in my soul.

The media tries to convince us that we are young for longer now that life expectancy has increased. I have no wish to be young again. Youth was a painful time filled with insecurity, pressure to conform and a need to be seen to succeed. I could never be all of the things that those who cared wished me to be, despite how much I tried back then. Age has given me the confidence to be myself, the experience to realise that there are many routes to achievement. I have learned that success is a subjective concept.

Preoccupation with youth is not new. I think of Dorian Grey, fictional but still someone to whom many can relate. History and literature recount many examples of powerful, old men who took younger and younger women to their beds in an attempt to feel young again themselves. How many marriages break down for just such a reason, and not one that is only confined to men?

Ageing is not something that I fear. I watch others as they try to hold back the years with cosmetics, procedures and clever tricks of concealment. It is not what is on the outside that makes me feel old, it is the person in the mirror who stares back at me through my tired eyes, weary from never being quite enough for those around me. It is the being that I am inside rather than the body that carries it around.

I feel as though I have lived through several lifetimes already, and am now expected to find the strength to demurely live through more. I do not claim to have had a hard life. Always there will be those who have had things much worse and somehow come through. This knowledge does not invalidate how I feel, although it does add an element of guilt.

Do I sound self pitying? I do not feel sorry for myself and do not expect anyone else to. I wish to be supportive of those I love, but the principle reason for my existence is not to sit at the bottom of a pile pushing them ever upwards. The expectation that I will always put up and shut up is crushing my spirit.

This Lent I have been taking the time to consider my well being, both physical and mental. I have enjoyed walks in the fresh air, beautiful views of the countryside around my home. I have visited the gym, taken long swims that offer me thinking time, been mindful of my consumption. Left to my own devices I can easily work with my body and mind to improve my health.

What I cannot work out is how to change the way I am treated. I do not know how to persuade others to act more gently or kindly towards me. I retreat into myself as an escape from the hurt that they inflict when they mock and deride me.

As with most personal blog posts this is a snapshot of a detail, not a panorama. It is a particular issue in a life filled with variety. For now this has bubbled to the surface, but it will sink again if other aspects of my life distract. I find it sad though that I am currently at my happiest when I am alone. My family has moved to a space where I do not feel that I am welcome.

I created this family, have held it together; perhaps that is why I feel so despondent when I see that I have diverged from their path. I need to work out a way to carve out a space for myself, to return to their fold.

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