Mhairi’s Week One

1st bead

The night before what felt like Christmas was a Thursday night. I had had issues with my beads and didn’t know how I was going to verify the number. I wanted precision. One of the things the beads are already impacting my life with, is that I want to lead a precise life. I don’t want to be vague in relationships and goals, I want no grey areas; I want serious clarity.

And so a rough estimate of my beads wasn’t going to cut the mustard. I thought I had over shot it when I was in the shop, but measuring them out across the table I realized I was missing a few. Also I had given myself an extra 6 months as a new life expectancy article had just been published.

The whole number of beads and days I had left didn’t in some ways seem so important as they were symbolic rather than actual. Obviously I hoped to outlive my beads, I was sure I would. My grandmothers are well into their 90s. I do power yoga and eat at least 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day so clearly I’m a contender for seriously ripe old age.

When people balked at 82.5 years being my estimated time on earth I replied it didn’t matter; that time beyond 82.5 and beyond the beads would be like borrowed time. Extra time. Then I began to think of the power of the mind, and if I thought I might die by a certain date (beads running out) then perhaps I would keel over just after dropping my last bead into the bottle. I didn’t want that pressure of getting down to my last 100. What would that mean to my perhaps fragile state of mind at that point? I didn’t want the final beads in the jar to push me over the fatal edge and cause my death. So I have decided to overshoot (perhaps) and go for 100 years. So off I go back to the man in the fashion district.

After having counted the beads I then had to cut them off their strings and put them into the jar. Everything seems now to be symbolic and loaded with meaning. Even unstringing beads. I was tired and it was getting late as I sat and cut string and pushed beads into the jar. Sometimes the beads would stick on the string and I would shove them, which would cause one of two to ping off and out of the jar. I realized that gently pushing them off the string was the way forward. But still I often shoved and dealt with the violent consequences. How true of life. Although we know we should be calm and merrily row, row our boat, often we do battle and then what happens? Pinging out of jars is what happens, as it happens. As I sat for over an hour dealing with jarring the beads, I contemplated which beads may represent days of happiness and successes and which may be the days of illness and pain. Perhaps the beads that I had pushed and which had rebelled against me would be my difficult days in the future. I became very meditative and as I ate chocolate and de-beaded my strings I thought about the beauty of life and how I did want to be conscious and calm and not react and shove. If I wasn’t careful, I could literally lose days like I lost some beads to the dining room floor.

I then wrote out words of how I want to live my life. What life means to me. Things like grace, beauty, considered, light and soft. I printed it out, cut them out and put them into my jar with the beads. It looks beautiful. It looks inviting. Classic. And my hope now is that I can live up to the beauty and graceful bar I have set.

The next day was the first day of the rest of my bead filled life.

I started by choosing a bead as if I was making a selection in a box of mixed chocolates; I wanted to be sure I got the caramel and not some ginger crème…forgetting for a moment that all these beads (life permitting) would be chosen at one point or another; from the very shiniest all the way down to the lowliest sweet lurid crème equivalents.

I was delighted to see that it pinged around the bottle full of vim and vigor and didn’t just drop down like a dead weight. This sense of life and springy-ness was extremely important as it reflected me, I thought. A bit like having a baby; one hopes that perhaps ones newborn will carry on ones own essence. I have read that in a romantic partner you often tend to go for a mirror image of yourself due to the fact that somewhere deep inside you actually just want to see a version of yourself. It seems my own narcissistic streak extends even towards the shiny coral pink beads I am currently looking at in a jar. So, yes, I was happy as Larry that this bead pinged around like a maniac and then dropped down, calm and sated.

Slightly odd was wondering where I would be when I popped my last ever bead into that jar. Where would I be living? What would I look like then and what would have happened on all these days in between…

I thought of the word grace as I popped my first bead in. I then spent the day thinking about what the word grace meant. How can I translate living gracefully into my every day interactions? I became a little obsessed and asked my 90 year old grandmother for her definition of the word. She helpfully recited things like kindness, compassion and other words of the same charitable ilk. Basically I thought if I carry on being this philosophical and mindful I will possibly attain nirvana by Christmas time.

One thing this bead thing has made me do has been to look for meaning in every single little detail. What is the lesson I need to garner from this or that? Things have felt raw; like my emotions are very much on the edge of the surface. It’s intense and in Technicolor. Every single thing in every single day feels important. No grey areas. There’s no attitude of ‘well I’ll just make do with this’ I want everything to be the best it can be. Each meal to live out to its best intention, to be the 100% tastiest scrambled eggs on toast it could possibly be even in its wildest dreams. This overriding thought has propelled me into driving to Wholefoods for things like almond slivers and fresh flat leaf Italian parsley. Nothing sloppy or below par. This could be the last lunch after all.

I am acutely aware of listening to myself. When I need time off and time to replenish. I feel in tune with what’s what as I never have before. Not that I have reached nirvana yet but I feel eagle like, in that way a bird of prey can adjust a tiny movement which in turn brings greater precision with their journey. That’s how I feel. I feel adjusted like a camera lens. With my life is in its sites.

I don’t want anything fearful to be driving me. Indeed I don’t want to make any decisions based on fear. This has led me to make an appointment with a financial advisor, as pensions and finance have traditionally been something I don’t like to consider. But this is a little like living a blinkered life; I’m choosing what I want to focus on as it makes me feel better and hopeful and excited. Well darling, now my eyes have been opened, I am readjusting to the light and all things are being dealt with. I want, after all, to have a big, wonderful and brave life. Not a life lived through the narrow margins of what I consider to be safe and nice things to think about.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *