When do you become a grown-up?

I’ve been feeling like a child in recent weeks. My mother’s passing has caused this. It’s made me wonder about adulthood.  When exactly are we grown up? I know for sure it’s not turning eighteen – even if that’s what the law says. I cringe when I think of myself at that age pretending to be all grown up. Behind my smiling persona was the same five-year-old that craved pleasing others.

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Losing My Mother; Gaining Your Wisdom

Me as a child and how I feel now.

It’s been almost two weeks since my mother passed away, and I’ve had such an outpouring of support that I can’t thank people enough. It’s helped me understand how at times of pain, there is much love. Many of you have reached out with lovely words and I thought I’d share some of them. They contain much wisdom, which can hopefully help others too.

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My Mother Passed Away

My mother in 1968, when she was twenty

We got the call you don’t want to get last Saturday. My mother had been struggling with cancer for months. She recently had to be admitted to a care home. She had lost much of her mobility. I had been coming to my home-town Oxford every weekend to visit her ever since. The call was from the care home. They told us that mother was coming to the end of her life. They seemed to know about these things.

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If You Are Praised, Be Sceptical…

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher from around 100AD. He along with Marcus Aurelius are known for advocating Stoic philosophy. The core principles revolve around focusing on what is within your control and also on your thinking patterns. These ideas have continued with contemporary techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and self-help gurus like Byron Katie. But it’s always good to go back to the source material, here are some of the key excerpts from the works of Epictetus:

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Secrets On the Exercise Of Power

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“As for preserving justice, this means keeping intact with humanity and justice, and searching out what lies within hearts, in order to mesh with them.

Searching hearts means finding out what rules them, by way of external you control the internal. If matters have complicated twists and turns, you go along with them accordingly. Continue reading “Secrets On the Exercise Of Power”

Four Ways To Overcome the Comparison Mindset

We often look to others to compare, contrast, and evaluate success or failure in our own lives, and this mindset can be an incredibly powerful creative and motivational force. It’s entrenched in our biology, that desire to strive higher than those who surround us, and facilitated readily in our social media culture – even celebrated. Yet the value of the comparison mindset can easily be outweighed by envy, jealousy, and a loss of self-worth, feelings which tear down others and eventually ourselves. But there are ways to guard against this – here are four:

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No Place Like Utopia

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Doomer, prepper, primitivist, romantic, survivalist, millennialist, catastrophist* : these are all types of people that believe one way or another that civilisation as we know it is coming to an end. Many take the next step and join or set up communities that would survive such an outcome. Dylan Evans was one such person. In 2006, he quit his job as an academic and sold his house to fund the “Utopia Experiment” – a post-apocalyptic styled community in the Highlands of Scotland. Continue reading “No Place Like Utopia”