Monday, 30 August 2010

The Gallery - One Sunday in August (or Desperately Seeking Serenity)

2010 has not been our best year.

Like so many in Greece, and elsewhere, the Ovver Arf lost his job in February and although we've managed so far, we're now reaching a critical point. Though I'm working and earning a decent wage, it's just not enough.

The economic outlook is still extremely gloomy here and the job market is utterly static. And during the summer, Greek business goes into semi-hibernation, even at the best of times, so there's nothing to be done til everyone gets back into the swing of things some time in mid-September.

Although the money situation is bad, the worst of it is the effect this shitty state of affairs is having on my Beloved. It's tough on anyone to lose their job and not find a new one quickly but for a Greek man with a strong sense of familial duty (no matter how misguided that may be), it's a real double- or even triple-whammy.
His self-esteem has plummeted and I fear that he is teetering on the precipice of a depression - though of course his male pride would never let him admit to that.

I watch him go through the motions every day, being the life and soul of the party, telling jokes and being the one everyone wants to sit next to. But I see the emptiness in his eyes, I feel the deep sadness welling up in him, and I sense that inside he feels like he's looking into a deep, dark pit.
And it kills me that I can't just wave my magic wand and make it all better...
As an antidote, we are making an effort to get pleasure from the small things in life. The things that cost little or nothing. The things that remind us that we're still alive, that we're loved and that we're living in a beautiful world. That things will work out in the end, one way or another.

That's what this past Sunday was about for us - desperately seeking serenity in our small blessings....

...things like waking up and looking past your geraniums and basil bushes to a beautiful morning.
Like knowing that our son is growing up happy and healthy....

....and that he has friends, the most precious thing life can give us.

That we have access to clean water...

...and plenty of food, every day.

That we can take solace in a glass of iced coffee, a trashy novel and half an hour to ourselves...

...and that there are people we can reach out to, talk to, to remind us that we are not alone.

This Gallery and its accompanying self-indulgent burbling was inspired by Tara at Stocky Fingers, who this week set The Gallery theme as "One day in August". She did so in honour of the three Mummy bloggers who set off on the day in question (Sunday 29 August) for Bangladesh to help raise awareness for the work being done by Save The Children there.

It's rather humbling, especially after wallowing in my own bout of self-pity, to be reminded how lucky we all are and how much we take for granted.

True, we all have our problems, but having to miss out on summer hols and not quite knowing how to make the next mortgage payment pale into insignificance when compared to the dilemma of a mother faced with the choice of risking giving her child contaminated water or seeing them suffer the agonies of dehydration.


  1. You are absolutely, categorically, definitely NOT alone, that I can assure you. xx

  2. Beautifully written.

    What does your husband do?

  3. I know that, and I know how lucky I am to have a friend like you. I just wish I could make the Ovver Arf believe it when the Black Dog descends upon him.
    Oh well, we shall keep trying to not sweat the small stuff, but get simple pleasures from it instead.
    Speaking of which, time for a cuppa and a shower, methinks...

  4. Thank you Susie.
    In reply to your question, he has been in Sales/Promotions for the past 20 years - rising to Commercial Director in his last job. He has sold anything from chewing gum to fish, industrial-sized dying machines to football kits, potato chips to lifestyle clothes. And he is DAMN good at what he does.

  5. I believe that when one door closes, another opens. we just have to make sure we are not staring at the closed door for too long.

    Men in general take this hard because a lot of their self worth is wrapped up in their work and what they do plus the added stress of not being a provider is even harder.

    What does he like doing?

    Ask him to do this. On a top of a page write in a perfect world my life would look like this:

    have him list anything that comes to his mind for two minutes without thinking.

    Then go over the list with him. First anything that is written in negative, have him reframe. For instance if I wrote I would be thin, that is coming from a negative-i don't want to be fat. Instead i would write, i would be energetic, in shape and comfortable with my body.

    Then help him pick through it all and see if you maybe find a new passion for him something that cann take him in a new direction workwise.

    If he likes reading have him read infinite possibilites by Mike Dooley, the power of now by eckhert tolle and when change happens change everything by neale donald walsch.

    Lots of happiness to you guys. Sending you positive vibes and strength.

  6. What a great post, very well written. I hope your hubbie is able to find his joy again soon and that new door that Susie mentions opens for him. His time will come again.

    Mich x

  7. Lovely photos, I hope your Ovver Arf finds work soon. Jen

  8. Fabulous post, it must be so tough right now and it's amazing you can remain humbled by the pain of others. You are not alone. Love the photos too! x

  9. What a great post. Sometimes we do have to remind ourselves of what we HAVE rather than what we used to have, or what we wish we had.