Research overview – getting focused

Needless to say, I have not been paying attention to this blog as much as I’d planned to.  In my defence, I have been swamped with research stuff and a few other things that need attention.  I’ve always appreciated the difficulty balancing studying with home life and employment, after all this not my first degree and I do not come from an affluent family.  I don’t mind admitting I’m finding this tough going.

Anyway, since my last I’ve passed my 6-month assessment. Woohoo!  The woohooing did not last too long as it’s now full steam ahead for the next assessment point and this one’s a biggie; it’s the first chapter.  It’s been decided I’ll write the chapter on Ari Astor’s Midsommar, which is one of my favourite post-millennial horror films.  It’s trippy and dark and creepy as f*uk, and it stays with you because it has that reality factor.

So the main crux of my thesis is the matter of coerced reproduction (CR) and analysing how ritual engages with this topic in post-millennial horror.  It is believed by some that Horror genres are a bit low brow and are only for distraction purposes, but analysis has demonstrated that horror films are born out of times of collective trauma – we are living one now so expect an explosion of horror literature soon.  Analysis also demonstrates that horror opens up and engages with existential dialogues as a way of individuals seeking a way of coping with collective traumas.

Why study Coerced Reproduction? Folks, there is something scary happening in the world with respect to reproductive autonomy; the new laws in Texas demonstrate this and they are not the first governing body to interfere with reproductive choices.  It has been a topic of discussion for the last decade that global birth rates are decreasing to the point where governments, specifically in more developed countries, are being encouraged to act. 

I’m not saying my research will instigate any major changes but I do hope to open a dialogue regarding this as it is a matter that needs discussing before any further rights pertaining to reproductive autonomy are impacted negatively.

Hello Again

It’s been quite a while since my last post and it’s fair to say I am more than a little rusty.  I dare say a great number of us are out of practice in terms of communication skills.  The world has changed beyond all recognition in the last 18 months, and so have we as individuals and communities.  I do admit to being a bit hesitant in returning to ‘normal’ life, not so much because of the pandemic but because I’m not used to having to communicate in person.  Hiding behind a screen did, does, have it’s benefits for those of us who are not always able to do so face-to-face with confidence.

I confess these periods of lockdown have created a conflict within me for whilst I am devastated at the suffering and incalculable loss this pandemic has caused, is still causing, I have found solace in solitude. I am appreciating being invisible, not being open to the scrutiny of others and experiencing the anxiety that sense of scrutiny comes with. I wonder how many other people are having those same thoughts as the vaccines take hold and we are permitted more freedoms?

This pandemic has taught us all something about our humanity as it has brought out the worst and the best in people, and it has taught me I must do better, not just wish for it.  It really hasn’t taken me to the rip old age of 46 to figure that out, but it has taken these periods of lockdown where you cannot escape yourself to identify the reasons and the excuses that were, are, hurdles to personal advancement. 

So, why come back now? I guess I stopped writing as I felt like an imposter writing under the Pseudonym of 40 Something Student, when I stopped being one.  Well, my news is that I have returned to my studies.  I took the plunge, gave up my career and went back to University full time.  It is a sacrifice but it was the right thing to do as I mentioned in a previous post, I was not happy. I’m aware I was in a privileged position to make that jump but I have worked hard to get in that position.

A quote by Mark Twain keeps popping into my mind lately, it goes;

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear –it is not absence of fear.

We can all agree that fear has been in abundance of late, and we have all needed to find our courage to ride out this storm and for what is to come

New Year reflections – this one hurt

Hello One and All!
So, that’s Christmas done for another year, and we’re almost at the end of 2019, I hope you had a good one. Christmas isn’t always the easiest time of year for some, for many complex reasons, and if that is the case for you then I hope you managed as best you could. Be strong, things can and do change. I’ve spent more than one Christmas on my own (not through choice) and it is a painful experience. However, some people really struggle with social situations and being in a room with a number of others, even if they are family members, instigates a such state of anxiety that being on their own is the lesser of the two. It’s not easy to understand but less easy to live with and would ask that we remember that even if someone declines an invitation, it does not mean that invitation isn’t gratefully received. But if they do decline to attend please just accept it and don’t question it. Anxiety is a cruel master.
So, did Santa bring you something nice or were you on the naughty list this year? I believe I must have been very good as my amazing Son has bought me flights to my favourite destination, Reykjavik. Just to clarify, they are return tickets, he didn’t give me one big hint to leave and not to come back! He just wants me have a few days away and relax. Or, he wants me out of the way for a few days perhaps……? To be honest I’m not bothered either way, I’m going to Reykjavik!!!!!
Relaxation seems to be a running theme through my gifts this year with pamper sets and fancy bath creams. Apparently, I have become somewhat highly strung of late and have been told as much by several of my colleagues, even my Mother. It’s traditional I suppose to have a period of reflection and self-analysis at this time of year. So, with the aforementioned in mind, I did just that and Reader(s), I did not like what I saw. I am not happy. There I said it. It’s really difficult admitting to yourself let alone to others that your life is not going the way you wanted or even hoped, but there it is. That feeling of being trapped in the great human hamster wheel, going round and round, and getting nowhere.
In the moment of reflection, it dawned on me that we’re entering a new decade in a few days (yes, I know, you don’t have to say it), 2020 is upon us. That meant it was 8 years since I started with my current employer and in a few months, 8 years since I met N, (N being my last serious relationship – sorry to go into this relationship stuff again but this is the epiphany I’ve been needing. That and a good slap). Our relationship was a challenging one (to say the least), and come June 2020, it will be 4 years since we broke up – we’ve not seen each other since and I cut off all contact in 2017, which was for the best. For 4 years I have been using this man and toxicity within the relationship as an excuse for my own actions and failures. I am not proud of that. I have allowed painful memories to become the excuse I used for not trying harder. For not being myself, I find that unpardonable and it is simply not good enough anymore. 2020 will bring my 45th birthday and something has to change. Perhaps everything has to change, especially myself. I need to change.
I read recently that the first record of a New Year’s resolution being made was by the Ancient Babylonians, (thank you History channel) and was something to do with the repaying debts and returning borrowed items. I wonder what resolutions you are all making, if you’re making any that is?
I’ve decided not to make any New Year’s resolutions for 2020, but I have made a new life resolution, and that resolution is; NO MORE EXCUSES.
I have let myself off the hook so many times. I’ve cancelled dates, cancelled plans with friends at the last minute, go home instead of going to the gym, and on and on and on. I’m not happy because I’ve let myself fail and that is no one else’s responsibility but mine, and I own that.
Reader(s), I apologise for the narcissistic tone of this entry and thank you for reading.
Happy New Year to One and All, I hope 2020 is the year everything changes for the better, for all of us.

Election day woes – to be sung in e-minor with a glass of something soothing

Disclaimer! This is not a ballad

It’s no good. I wanted this blog (when I get to do it) to be fun and entertaining, but most of all a diversion from the ‘B’ word and nastiness that seems to have exploded in our society in the last few years. However, on yet another election day, there really is no avoiding any of the issues that are there for all to see.

Firstly, I’d like to say, as someone who grew up in the 80’s when Live Aid happened and when the population came out to resist Thatcher’s poll tax initiative, and won. These last few years have been both heart breaking and terrifying. I’d always believed in the people of this country to be dignified, have integrity and to fight for what was right – even fight against their own government if that is what it took. I realise now this was a naive, ‘rose-tinted’ stance to take and we are in real trouble. In short, I became complacent and for my part, I would like to apologise.

Our way of life is under threat. The support structures we have become used to and on occasion take for granted, may well have disappeared within the next decade. As a divorcee, hearing the individual currently occupying 10 Downing St that women ‘need to be incentivised’ to stay married makes my blood run cold. Note, it is women these ‘incentives’ are to be directed towards. What format will these incentives take I wonder? Removal of government support for secure housing for women and children escaping from domestic abuse. Lowering rates of pay in order to make women financially dependent on a male relation? Removal of rights to access contraception, emergency contraception or abortion? To some this may seem dramatic, but please remember women have had to fight hard for centuries to gain these rights so it does seem credible a ‘man’ such as Johnson would not think anything of removing them. This is supported by the fact his chief advisor is a man who openly preaches that people on modest incomes are genetically inferior to those who enjoy a more affluent lifestyle. This opinion is as vile as it is factually incorrect.

 

So, where does Brexit come into this? Simple. Our welfare systems, including the NHS, are protected as they are written into our EU membership charter. If we leave out of the EU that protection is removed, and there is no way we can trust the current (or any future tory) government to protect it; especially when a number of them stand to make considerable personal gains by permitting it to be stripped of its assets. We need to comprehend the sheer greed and callousness of these people, and that they do not see the ordinary person as human, let alone as any sort or peer and equal.

I have friends who are of the opinion that I am catastrophizing the situation, and they are correct, but only because I do see the catastrophe that could happen because of another tory government.

 

Sorry for the gloominess, I hope with every fibre of my being I am wrong but where hope is concerned I am inclined to agree with Neitzsche.

I think I could use a hug.

Let me bring you up to speed…..

Well, another 6 or 7 months has passed since my last entry; this really isn’t going very well is it….?

 

I withdrew from my PhD programme a little while back, (let’s just call it artistic differences) and have since started to question my motives, drives and future ambitions as a person does when you make a big decision such as this.  I know from doing what I do for a living that it’s a massive undertaking to do a PhD in any topic and should only be done with a specific end goal in mind.  I am upset that I felt the need to stop, but ultimately it was the right decision to make at this point in time.

I suppose I shouldn’t call this blog ‘40SomethingStudent’ anymore.  I know I could evoke what others call the ‘University of Life’ card, but I personally hate that phrase.  Sorry but I do. I hope very much to return to study when I’ve had time to regain some of the confidence lost from my recent attempt.

 

So, what else has been happening?  Well I took a quick look at what I’d written previously and got annoyed with myself for sounding like an extra from some pound shop American sit-com; enough of the dating angst!  Though, funny story.  I did meet someone and we seemed to hit it off straight away, I even let myself get a little hopeful about this one.  Big mistake. On our third date he proceeded to tell me about OUR retirement plans, where we were going to live and how we would spend that retirement…….oh yes, he was deadly serious.  Needless to say I did the usual emotionally scarred, commitment phobe thing and ran a mile.  Oh well.

 

I had a bit of a wobble last month, I wasn’t very well at all and did the thing where you cut off everyone around you.  Things got very dark for a while and had a few unhealthy thoughts.  I finally was able to admit to myself that I am not happy.  It’s a difficult thing to admit to yourself how you feel in those terms.  Those exact terms.  I am not happy.  The stupidest thing though is not being able to understand why I’m not happy, I have wonderful family and friends who give me more patience than perhaps I deserve.  I enjoy what I do for a living and count myself very lucky as not many people can claim that.  On the whole I’m not anti-social, I like to have time to myself but have plenty of activities that I participate in.  It is so frustrating.

 

Another event that happened most recently is that I lost my lovely Grandmother at the ripe old age of 99.  I know that most people think there’s something particularly special about a much loved relative.  I am no different, but she was.  She was the kindest and wisest person I have ever known, and utterly fearless.  She was always on hand to listen, offer advise but she would not put up with any nonsense, and heaven help you if it were she who caught you getting up to any mischief.  She was a wonderful woman who I will remember ever fondly.

 

I’m sorry today’s entry has not been the cheeriest, maybe next time will be sooner and chirpier.  Look after yourself folks.

First date conundrums

So, facing my first, first date in a little over 18 months, and I don’t have a particularly good feeling about it.  Nope, let’s not mess around here – I already know this is a non-starter.  How do I know?  Well, I’ve established 3 things which, from now on, I am going to be using as my basic yard rule when it comes to a potential mate;

1: Do you follow any sports including and especially football?

2: Do you like Game of Thrones?

3: Do you watch any soap operas?

 

Any man who answers no, no, yes is NEVER going to make it past the front door.  That is just a given, my Son would rip them to pieces (metaphorically of course not actually) and he’d never be included in any conversations, especially as, for a bonus question, he answered ‘don’t care’ to anything to do with politics.  I can feel my Son’s contempt from here – and the date hasn’t even happened yet.

 

So the question I need to ask myself is, why do I not just call the date off?  I’m forever annoyed over my lack of time.  Heaven knows I don’t need the expense of an afternoon on the town right now and I suspect this guy will turn out to be a bit of a bore.  So why not call it off?

 

A question I cannot answer at this moment in time.  Humans are such very strange creatures…..

About internet dating….

My plans to write a little everyday has not exactly gone to fruition – this is not as straight forward as I thought! One of my main frustrations, as stupid as this may seem, is that there is so much I want to write about and have only minutes sometimes to dedicate to writing. I really want to keep this light-hearted but with so many calamitous events occurring lately, I’m finding it hard to keep positive. This are more than a little tough out there at the moment for many people, it’s easy to lose focus on good things. As I’ve mentioned in my bio, I am one of those inexplicably terminal singletons. Not through choice so much, just don’t seem to meet many men who view me in ‘that’ way. I have been married and in other significant relationships, but the forever-after factor always seems to escape me. My closest friend of 20 years (ish) is a big advocate of internet dating sites, and a number of our mutual friends have met spouses/significant others through this method, and I have tried it on a number of occasions. POF. Tinder. Match. Emotional scarred.com. Commitment Phobe.net. I’m pretty sure I’ve created profiles for them all (and more) at some point. So, if there’s men out there wondering why Blonde Yorkshire Lass has not responded or been on-line for a while please don’t be offended, I just got bored. The most recent time I tried on-line dating (a few months back), I was daring and tried 2 different websites at the same time. I’d just come out of a brief relationship (lasting approx. 6 months) and was determined not to let myself ‘be out of the game’ for a significant period to time, like I did when my last long term relationship ended in 2015. Are you following me so far? Anyway, spurred on with the support of my friends I once again created a profile, found an up to date picture I didn’t hate that much, and duly opened myself up for rejection from complete strangers. I tried opening up communications with a few guys who seemed fairly normal and who had a decent level of personal hygiene, and ok I did, eventually, get a date. However, on the date, the guy informed me he was from the other end of the country visiting this area for work purposes which would make maintaining any form of relationship near impossible. So, as nice as he is, it was a no from me. Walking home from what was, in all truthfulness, a lovely evening, I decided never to do the internet-dating thing again. I’ve come to realise that I am more miserable with the self-selling and rejection that comes with internet dating than I am not being part of a couple. I mean, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we subscribe to this Argos catalogue-style selection process? And the profiles that are little more than lies, just like the sodding catalogue. The bookcase looks great and sturdy, and just made for you but when you get it home and attempt assembly, you find the instructions are gibberish and there’s several screws missing! You’re out of pocket, have several papercuts and suspected mild concussion, and the case will break within 3 weeks! What drives us singletons to place ourselves in such vulnerable situation that we do risk constant rejection or are prey to those who think nothing of deceiving others of their true intentions? No, seriously, can someone please tell me why it has come to this….?

Hello, and I’m sorry

Hello and welcome to this inaugural entry to my blog.

Firstly, an apology, I really have no idea what I’m doing with this – it’s my first blog and I’m not exactly an IT whiz. So, if I make any faux-pas please forgive me I am new to all this.

Secondly, I am a tad dyslexic so if I do make any spelling/grammatical errors, try not to hate me for it.

I am finding it near impossible to write organically knowing that what I write may end up being put forward to public scrutiny, it’s bloody scary! These are strange times we live in and things in the political sphere are getting quite dark. I guess I’d like to reach out and lighten the mood by discussing everyday stuff, can’t do any harm, right?

I’m Andrea, and as the title of the page suggests I’m a 40 something PhD student, terminally single, primary food giver to a diva dog, and part-time pizza enthusiast; nice to meet you. Here to discuss life, pizza and any other random topic that comes to mind.

Let’s see how this goes.