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Monthly Archives: January 2012

At different stages in our lives, different things are important to us. In childhood, we crave stimulation and variety, but we also need guidelines, boundaries and role models to help ensure that we survive this vulnerable developmental stage whilst also sating our indomitable curiosity about the world. In adolescence, we might be drawn to rebellious pursuits and tumultuous relationships. In adulthood, it might be our careers, reliable romantic lives or a desire for children that take centre stage. In our later years, we may find our contentment in grandchildren, travel or personal hobbies and interests.

The below table sets out Freud and Erikson’s separate theories on what we need at any given stage to develop into the people we become.

Approximate Ages

Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

Birth to 1 year

Oral Stage

A child’s primary source of pleasure is through the mouth, via sucking, eating and tasting.

Trust vs. Mistrust

Children learn to either trust or mistrust their caregivers.

1-3 years

Anal Stage

Children gain a sense of mastery and competence by controlling bladder and bowel movements.

Autonomy vs. Doubt

Children develop self-sufficiency by controlling activities such as eating, toilet training and talking.

3-6 years

Phallic Stage

The libido’s energy is focused on the genitals. Children begin to identify with their same-sex parent.

Initiative vs. Guilt

Children begin to take more control over their environment.

7-11 years

Latent Period

The libido’s energy is suppressed and children are focused on other activities such as school, friends and hobbies.

Industry vs. Inferiority

Children develop a sense of competence by mastering new skills.

Adolescence

Genital Stage

Children begin to explore romantic relationships.

Identity vs. Role Confusion

Children develop a personal identify and sense of self.

Adulthood

According to Freud, the genital stage lasts throughout adulthood. He believed the goal is to develop a balance between all areas of life. Intimacy vs. Isolation

Young adults seek out romantic love and companionship.

Generativity vs. Stagnation

Middle-aged adults nurture others and contribute to society.

Integrity vs. Despair

Older adults reflect on their lives, looking back with a sense of fulfilment or bitterness.

 

Similarly, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (pictured below), also highlights what matters to us at different stages in time:

 

What spurred on my current interest in what we all want out of life was a discussion on topical chat show ‘The Wright Stuff’ during which panellists, callers and audience members shared the four  thoughts, emotions or pursuits that shaped their life’s – the things that mattered. One caller explained that exploration, adventure, consciousness and ethics were what mattered to him, my mother ventured health, love, contentment and happiness and achievement for all those she loved. One particularly apathetic panellist, Frankie Cocozza could not see beyond the superficiality of sating his own desires for fame, sex and drink. But what the show was inviting us to do was look deeper, and to think about what we really do want, not what we think we want, say we want, pretend we want, or what others want for us.

 What are your deepest darkest desires? What is your untold wish? What would bring you happiness? What do you want life to give you? What do you want from others? What matters to you?

 Do you want power, success, contentment, love, to make a difference, to win awards, to be recognised, to be applauded, accepted, to push boundaries, to be free?

At any given stage in time, what we want may change. We may decide we want to learn to paint or play the saxophone. We may end relationships, pursue new careers or move house. What these changes really reflect is that something in us wants something different. I believe deeply, that outside of what culture, society, religion, media, and even those that love us dictate; we know for ourselves instinctively what would make us happy. If we hack away at the superficiality of appearances, material possessions and renown, what do we really want? A desire to be beautiful and admired would suggest what we truly want is acceptance and admiration. Cravings for material wealth would suggest a desire for stability and security. Renown would suggest we want to be recognised for an achievement and for others to recognise what we are capable of.

In light of this, I have tried to narrow down my own wants and dreams, my own expectations and desires for my life into four sections, which truthfully is a difficult thing to do.

 

Health

Until my mother suggested health, this one did not even enter my mind, but without health, mental, emotional and physical, we can’t achieve much at all. It’s easy to take for granted the ability to walk, see, hear, speak, sleep soundly and know that another day is sure to follow. Someone suffering with cancer, dementia, depression or severe arthritis, can’t necessarily see past the pain and misery of day to day existence to the dreams that lie beyond. Health is important and essential for all else to follow. For this reason, I hope that life blesses me with good health so that I can make my dreams come true.

 

Adventure

All the worlds a playground and I believe each person deserves at least one adventure. We are obsessed with films, music, games and the internet. This suggests to me that we all enjoy getting lost in alien worlds, that are often virtual and artificial, but how amazing would it be if our adventures could be real, tangible, could become a memory? Your idea of an adventure might be a love affair, travelling the world, going on a road trip or camping in the woods. I have a deep desire to see the world and take it all in for the rush of the new and the exciting and for the newfound appreciation of home when I return. I hope that the world always interests me and always offers voyages, exploration and adventure.

 

Success

Your successes and achievements may not comfort you when you are sick but I believe each person is born with their own unique interests, talents and motivators. To live life making a living out of the talents, passions and interests that bring you joy and fulfilment is something that matters a lot to me. Essentially we live in a world of offices and retail and many of us have to settle for these positions at one time or another. I wish that I am free to use my talents and interests to provide my source of income and bring about my own success.

 

Love

I would think this one would be on everyone’s list. It is after all, the most important thing. Love for your family, friends, neighbours, communities, animals, nature and yourself. Love for the small things that make you smile and the big things that change your life. Joy and gratitude for the things that go right, and acceptance and tolerance when things go wrong. Love makes the world go round and I wish that my life is filled with people and things to love, and that they’ll love me too. Individual relationships may not work out and people may let you down, but love is not restricted to one person or one experience. True love is the love of life and of living and of sharing that with all you meet, however long they may be with you.

What four things form the bedrock of your life? I hope that you achieve them and bring them into action whenever and however you can.

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Waking up to me, often feels like entering the seventh circle of hell. I feel like I’ve woken up during the apocalypse or in a Samuel Beckett novel. My brain a jumble, my face mashed into the pillow like a pie that’s fallen off a window ledge. Alongside all the horrific human experiences that we are routinely subjected to and must endure, visits to the dentist or appraisal meetings, waking up is one of the most doggedly determined – you have to deal with this particular beast every morning, without fail, for the rest of your life. Sometimes when I consider this, I die a little inside.

Now there is an unusual breed of people that I like to refer to as ‘day walkers’. These people thrive on the dawning of a new day and flutter out of bed like feathers, whilst you gradually pop up like a depressed slab of ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’. See us ‘non-morning-people’ are like the reluctant ketchup you have to bang to get out of the bottle. I mistrust these folk, just as I mistrust their creepy cousin ‘the chronic smiler’ or the ‘cheer up, it might never happen’ brigade. They are direct descendents of the ‘Stepford Wife’. Sometimes these people say things like ‘the glass is always half full!’ even whilst holding an empty plastic cup…or ‘go for gold slugger’.

These people are also satanic, possibly sociopathic and generally mentally unwell. They spring up out of bed three hours early, make a banquet for breakfast, and go for a morning run and/or swim/sky-dive/generally do-gooder activity. In fact, in the wee hours of the morning before my snooze button goes off, these people have probably begun to uncover a cure for cancer and are shimmying nearer to the application of world peace. They are at work at the start of play with perfect hair, skin, teeth and worst of all, irritatingly perfect lunches that look as if they were prepared by pixies. As I said before, these people are emotionally damaged and should be afforded pity. The best solution when dealing with such people is to slowly attempt to suck their joy away, by infecting them vicariously with your misery. If all else fails, it may be necessary to punch them in the face.

Even if I woke up to the melodic refrain of tropical birds and the gentle lashings of the water sucking up to golden sand, instead of bucketing rain and a dingy, hellish commute, I might still be tempted to draw the blinds and shut out the incessant interference of the outside world. They say the world is full of miracles, but unless it’s Christ’s resurrection or Tom Hardy at my door, the madness of my own brain will have to do.

Here’s how to tell if, like me, you just aren’t a morning person:

1)      You have a love/hate relationship with the snooze button with feelings alternating between relief and deep, unrelenting hatred.

2)      You invented the snooze button.

3)      You set your alarm two hours earlier than necessary with the intention of a productive day well spent, but the short sighted euphoria of making the most of your time is quickly clouded by fresh doubts such as ‘I’d only end up watching Jeremy Kyle anyway’ to ‘the outside world isn’t ready for me yet’.

4)      You prefer the world in your own head to the one outside.

5)      You seriously entertain thoughts of homicide between the hours of 6-10 am. In extreme cases, these thoughts may continue throughout the day in sporadic bursts as you are reminded that you were robbed of sleep.

6)      Slinging your feet over the side of the bed is akin to climbing Everest – unrealistic and unfeasible at 7.30.

7)      When someone wakes you up ten minutes before your alarm or worst of all, interrupts a well timed snooze session, you consider arranging their assassination.

8)      You don’t speak between the hours of 6 and 10 and when you do, you spout bitter, cynical, acidic bile of hate and Satan.

9)      You hate all the things you love; your partner for snoring, the sun for shining, your favourite TV show for keeping you up, the song you selected as your snooze button becomes as infuriating as elevator ‘muzak’.

10)   The most appropriate song to depict your mental state is ‘Smack my bitch up’ by prodigy or this. For those that can’t hear the link, it’s the kind of music you would expect in hells waiting room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2S2_kLodIc

11)   You wish you were a bear so that you could hibernate undisturbed.

12)   You try to convince people that you are a bear with some well placed cat hair shavings glued securely to the relevant places.

13)   You attempt to move into a cave in the woods to complete your bear metamorphosis, but the perils of orienteering, hunger and poachers act as a deterrent.

14)   All things come second to sleep, including but not limited to, a hearty breakfast, making the train, brushed hair, matching socks and spending five more minutes with loved ones.

15)   You are not only unsociable in the small hours, but also on the brink of violence, insanity and delusions, like our friend Milhouse and his ‘reverse vampire’ theory.

16)   Sometimes you get up so late that you don’t really understand what ‘morning’ is.

If this is you, then you aren’t alone my friend. Don’t let the time Nazi’s stop you from having a lie in!

Paris Hilton is Barbie incarnate. From her Repunzle-esque butter-blonde hair to her bottomless blue eyes to the general pristine, fresh out of the box perfection and cleanliness she radiates, there’s no doubt about it – she is Hollywood’s Z-list blonde. She’s pampered, preened and perfect. Notorious heiress and scandalised socialite, she rocketed to fame off the back of a homemade porn tape released by an ill-fated ex boyfriend. Plus she’s got that Disney star grin.

She became a household name and poster child of spoilt, shallow and stupid (and sexy) whilst being silly and skedaddling about and getting up to various sensationalised scandals and shenanigans with former friend Nicole Richie. Paris was the clown-footed beanpole and Nicole was the cheeky cherubic one. The two cavorted around caravans and harassed their new households for money in the send-up of their selfishness ‘The Simple Life’ and since then, I don’t really know what Paris has been up to, aside from collecting a menagerie of exotic animals and brushing her hair in front of the mirror whilst attempting and pretty much succeeding (for a time) at breaking into the world of film (she took a pole through the head in ‘House of Wax’ and hooked up with a black actor to quash those racism rumours).

Paris Hilton 14

It seemed that the reality TV star crown had passed from Paris to the Kardashian sisters (one of which, Kim, also leapfrogged her way to fame thanks to a porn tape). It was now the turn of the doe-eyed, deep-tanned brunettes to saunter about acting moronic and moany, ‘entertaining’ us with their day-to-day stints in ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. But Paris seems to have awakened from her dead-pan, fish-eyed slumber in latest reality offering ‘The World According to Paris’. It’s not exactly Stephen Hawking’s answer to how the universe was formed, but there you have it.

So what do we learn about Paris? In her syrupy, sugary, sickening voice over’s, Paris informs us that she’s having to crash at sister Nicky’s pad after her residence is broken into. We also learn that Paris is somewhat intolerant of new assistant Lexie’s side job as a writer of porn scenarios forcing her to choose between penning naughty sex scenes and working for Queen Parie. But there must be more right? Yes…there is. Paris can’t stomach her 8 am community service stint, nor can she stand close friend Brooke’s, (ex of Charlie ‘Winning’ Sheen) new assistant, whom she refers to with ironic short-sightedness as a ‘hungry tiger’. Paris has also bagged herself a boyfriend, Las Vegas club owner Cy, but the fabric of their wafer thin relationship is stretched to breaking point when a married with children ex begins to bombard her with texts.

For me, reality TV is a guilty pleasure. You don’t admit to watching it in the cold, harsh light of day. You watch it by candlelight, half hidden behind the sofa, with the curtains drawn and the subtitles on with cheetos in your hair. Then you go to work and talk about that awesome documentary you watched about the dangers of climate change. The truth is there is something inherently watchable about trash TV, and that includes the slew of ‘em from Jersey Shore to Teen Mom, and there is something fascinating (yes I said it) about trying to decipher whether Paris is a carefully constructed image, a sort of blur between Marilyn Monroe and a Cindy doll, or just a genuinely vacuous little girl lost in Hollyweird. In the world of silver screen blondes, she’s the curdled cream that rises to the top of the milk jar – the antithesis, the send-up, the satire of the beautiful, breathy blonde.

For the most part, Paris shows herself to be cold, narcissistic, judgemental, hypocritical, delusional and insufferable and her ‘world’ is equally so. Paris doesn’t realise that she herself is a ‘hungry tiger’ – desperate for a crumb of fame and to bask in the limelight of reflected success. If I can admire Paris for one thing, it’s her inability to bow down to the boob job brigade, but as Paris confides that the baby girl voice has gotten her everything she’s wanted and jostles her way through adult relationships like an emotionally immature, attention-whoring 13 year old, you realise that Nicole Richie might have settled down and levelled out, but Paris is still projecting…well, Paris, a facade with all the depth of a Disneyland ride. She hasn’t really changed and she’s not quite ready to show us the ‘real’ her.

I’m not usually one for passing on the dreaded ‘chain email’, but I promise you this email won’t threaten you with the sinister implication of death if you don’t forward it to at least seven of your friends, nor will your crush kiss you at midnight should you decide to pass it on.

This is tried and tested advice from a been-there-done-that 90-year-old, and I think it’s worth blogging for you all to read 🙂 They say youth is wasted on the young, so sometimes it takes someone who’s lived a good few years to remind us of what matters and what doesn’t.

___

This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of Cleveland, Ohio .

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry..

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”