Winning and Losing

My mother had a thing about being strong enough to be a good loser. When I lost the biggest tennis match of my early years, she said that she was incredibly proud that I ran to the net with a smile on my face to congratulate my opponent and that to her that was winning in the bigger scheme of things. I only forced that smile because I had been brought up on this philosopy and knew that she would be absolutely gutted if I ran off the court bawling crying and breaking my racket, just like I felt like doing.

This whole issue has stayed with me over the years and I am still a bit mixed up about what constitutes winning and losing. It has come to the fore again with the US Election and what seems like Donald Trump being a poor loser, in Mother’s scheme of things. Maybe he has some elements of right on his side and feels/is justified in believing that the game isn’t over. Or maybe, he’s a bad loser and is breaking rackets like a man possessed.

It’s said that no one ever remembers who came second but a big question lies in the lengths people are prepared to go to win. If someone wins fairly, then I think they and everyone else should be able to see and accept that. However, winning may not always be as clearcut as that especially when we enter the realm of loopholes, mind games and favoritism. If you win because you’ve used some underhand method, like canvassing for a job, have you really won or have you just sold your soul?

I spent years driving passed a big poster thing in Waterford City that had those lines about ‘What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his own soul.’ They would stay in my head for amost the 100 miles to Dublin and they are still in it.

My latest thoughts on all this have brought me to unlikely combinations in people’s lives. The most striking example is that of England and Manchester United soccer star, Marcus Rashford, who is engaged in hard-nosed elite sport on the one hand, yet has shown an incredibly socially conscious side in advocating for free meals for disadvantaged kids, like he once was.

Is it a matter of some people being able to flick switches between different aspects of their lives and being able to see how winning and losing are not as clearcut as we are often led to believe.

‘I Want to be Stan.’

I’ve noticed Stan does a huge amount of existentialist staring out to sea. I want to be Stan.

I’m all of a dither after seeing this comment from a brilliant Irish blogger called Tara Sparling. (She writes about books but in the funniest way imaginable.)

Anyway, I had to go off an see what ‘existentialist’ means and my puppy brains are all mish-mashed after trying to get to grips with it. Why do people have to use such impossible words?

Here’s the first definition I came a across and I think it’s best that I stay at this point:

Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.

This is pretty gobbledly-gookish, isn’t it? I’m wondering, though, if it’s gobbledy-gookish for someone to want to be me?  The gas thing about thinking that I spend my time staring at the sea,or anything else for that matter, is that those are the only times that anyone can manage to get a photo of me. Staring time is about 1% cent of my waking hours (and 75% of my dreaming hours.)

The Existentialist!

Seriously, though, can anyone ever get to know someone else? I mean, people and puppies can come across in particular ways or as having their own little or HUGE foibles but can we ever know for sure what’s going on in their heads and their hearts?

I’ve heard Jean talking about a thing her father used to say and it’s stuck in my little head through a lot. He used to say to Jean when she’d be complaining about something: Would you throw your lot into the pile and take your chances with someone else’s? I can tell you one thing, I wouldn’t throw my lot in for all the dog bikkies  in the world. You’d never know what you’d end up with ~ I mean I could be a poor little puppy that’s beaten and flogged every day and never given any food or fresh water and there are lots of puppies in that kind of mess of a life.

But, I’d say to Tara that she’d have a great time if she was me but it’s probably not remotely like the great that she thinks. I’d quite like to be her cos of her funny blog but I’m not taking any chances. I’ll just hang around here where I know I’m loved ~ existentially and every other way!

Being Me!

P.S. I bet you that Tara is going to win at the Irish Blog Awards that are being announced tomorrow night. Look out for her!


Do You Know Where You’re Going?


I was lost in the beauty of Mount Congreve Gardens last Thursday when a couple, who were probably in their late sixties, stopped me and the man asked politely:

Do you know where you’re going?

I struggled to come back to reality and while halfway there said:

Yes, do you?

The pair looked at me as if I was a bit daft and explained that they weren’t sure which path to take to get back to the car park. I had no difficulty giving them directions and they went happily on their way.


Wandering along the dappled path, I pondered on the many layers to the question: Do you know where you’re going?

It seems to me that some people make a very conscious effort to map out their lives from a relatively young age and visualise the paths or highways that they will take. In lots of cases, their journeys unfold as they have envisaged them. Others who adopt this strategy find themselves derailed by circumstances and have to make major adjustments.

And there are others who don’t have a set vision of where they are going but decide as they go along. Yet again, this approach can have mixed outcomes and probably involves a fair bit of going off the beaten track.

Pathless Woods
Pathless Woods

I’ve come to the conclusion that I certainly don’t know where I’m going nor am I fully sure how I’ve arrived here. But I’m definite about one thing: there is a glorious magic associated with embracing uncertainty.

Magical Moments
Magical Moments

Comfort Zone Malarkey

Comfort Zone Quotes - A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but n

I don’t know when all this stuff about comfort zones started ‘trending’ to use that terrible word that always gets me thinking of bell-bottom trousers!

Here’s the one that  got me really fired up:


Surely to goodness, life is about ‘finding your comfort zone,’ not jumping off it into a metaphorical bed of jagged rocks.

Have you ever trying growing  sun-loving plants in the shade? I have on a few occasions and they all died. A similar fate befell tender plants that I insisted on leaving out in heavy frosts.  I remain to be convinced that people are any different to plants in terms of requirements.

I contend that we prosper if and when we find our comfort zones ~ be it in school, college, employment, relationships, hobbies.  What a wondrous thing to see a people who are clearly comfortable in their jobs. For some reason, teachers come to mind here. I’ve known those who clearly loved what they did and both they and their pupils shone. Equally, I’ve known a few who were obviously not in their comfort zone and the consequences for the pupils (and I presume the teachers in question) was a living hell.

Where does the ‘get out of your comfort zone‘ leave older people who wish to remain in their own homes to see out their days? Should they be pressed towards ‘growth’ in a nursing home or some kind of assisted-living centre?

I certainly intend to pursue a path towards my comfort zone. Will you be coming with me or will you be the person I see out of the corner of my eye as I sit on the cliff top soaking in the sea air?

The Copper Coast, Co. Waterford
The Copper Coast, Co. Waterford




Too Sweet to be Wholesome

A dominant mantra in this crazy world of ours is all about surrounding oneself with positive people and positivity and it’s a mantra that makes me very uneasy.

A quick google looking for images on this topic yielded a whole pile of this kind of stuff:

negativity 4

negativity 3negativity 2negativity


Where I come unstuck on all this is where does it leave people who are sad, depressed, grieving …?

It would appear to leave them alone and palely loitering (John Keats) or else in the position where they are being expected to put  big smarmy smiles on their faces in order to look like they are on top of the world.

The other thing is that there is an inherent sense of  me, me, me and blatant self-absorption about all this.

Is this the kind of belief system we want our children to grow up in? I certainly don’t want it for any child of mine and shudder to think where it will lead if  it is soaked up by the generations who are being bombarded with it, especially 0n social media.

Having been hit with a pile of  this self-centred, individualistic awfulness on Facebook and Twitter this morning, I found this gentle image in the woods extremely reassuring and uplifting:

Caring Hands
Caring Hands