Are you listening to what your mind is telling you?

Your subconscious mind is always at work processing the millions of experiences and sensations your brain receives every day. It’s an enormous bank vault containing everything that’s happened to you ever since you were a small child. It will go on receiving and collecting data until the day you die.

Not only that, it’s constantly working hard trying to make sense of all this information for you.

When you get that uneasy feeling that something’s not right, or when you do something without thinking, that gut instinct comes courtesy of your subconscious. …

A short story from Siberia

“Doctor, I’m sorry to disturb you. Alexey Voronkov’s grandson is asking to see you.” Vadim’s secretary hovered uncertainly in the doorway of his office. “He says he doesn’t want to come in, but could you come out to him?”

Intrigued, Vadim rose from his desk and followed Katya into the waiting room of the oncology clinic. It was Friday afternoon. He noted with satisfaction that the place was almost deserted; this meant his team had worked efficiently to clear their patients before the weekend. Vadim sometimes worked Saturdays on difficult emergency cases, but most of his operations were scheduled for…

This is how I’m doing it; with a sprint, not a marathon.

First, a disclaimer

I’m not a doctor. I’m not even a patient — yet. But I am a 54-year-old-woman who has gained fourteen pounds (6.3kg) since going through menopause, and I now weigh about thirty-five pounds (15.8kg) more than my average adult weight.

Close to home

Several members of my family have developed type 2 diabetes after fifty and are now taking medication to control their blood sugar levels.

In each case, the doctor told them initially that their conditions could be controlled, and even reversed, by making lifestyle changes.

In each case, these lifestyle changes proved too limiting and too long-term. Good intentions are all…

A short story

The happiest man in Moscow is not Russian at all, he’s Cuban. But his wife, Yelena, is Russian, and this story begins with her.

When Yelena was nineteen she had one passion in life and that passion was for dancing. Since the age of seven, she had taken dance class after dance class — ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom, modern. Yelena took them all and was good at them all. …

A short story

Tap. Tap. Tap.

The noise swam into my sleep but I pushed it away. This dream was far too good to abandon. The tapping came again and I made the laughing girl in the red dress click her heels on the dance floor. Hanging on, just hanging on.

“Eduardo, wake up.”

It wasn’t the girl in red speaking. I shrugged the gentle hand off my shoulder and groaned, turning over in my warm cocoon.

“Eduardo. I need you.”

Urgency and pleading sank through layers of consciousness and the girl in her red dress faded away. …

Adventure and uncertainty ahoy!

If there’s one thing we can count on in life, it’s that we can’t count on anything. We’ll allow the exceptions of death and taxes, as Bullock and Defoe wrote, and Franklin made famous in his letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy.

… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes

Benjamin Franklin

Our brains make us naturally resistant to uncertainty and change because we interpret them as threatening. We can’t predict their outcome and so we try to avoid them. This aversion is a basic survival instinct for Homo sapiens.

However, if we think…

The gift of a sunrise from my son

How many sunrises have you watched in your life? Have you ever seen the sun rise over the sea?

My answers to those questions are ‘not enough’ and ‘only once.’ It has taken me until the age of 54 to watch the sun come up over the sea, but I experienced that beauty today.

Like most nights, I found myself making a trip to the bathroom in the dark last night (one of the many joys of middle age). As I emerged, ready to crawl back into bed, my 22-year-old son appeared on the landing beside me, jacket on.


Or do the challenges just change?

We live in such a youth-orientated world, we’re often made to feel past our sell-by dates as we hit middle-age and beyond. Popular culture is mainly aimed at people in their teens and twenties. The media, fashion, music, and leisure — by fifty-plus, we’re no longer the target audience.

It’s easy to feel out of step, especially if we’re struggling to get to grips with new technology. Life certainly doesn’t feel easier when you can’t work out how to follow a church service on Zoom in lockdown, or download an app on your phone to pay for parking. …

And how we learn to accept that paradox

The early years

When you’re seven, life is infinite. The teenage years are still around that next bend, over the hump that is ten. Adulthood feels like an improbable dream. Jobs? Relationships? Children? They’re so far ahead you can’t imagine them, so you believe they will probably never happen to you.

(I remember being nine years old and getting ready to go abroad on holiday for the first time — to France, as it happens. Because I couldn’t picture myself there, I was convinced I was going to die before reaching foreign shores. Spoiler: I didn’t.)

And then you’re a teenager and adulthood…

A Tale of Christmas Spirits

“I’d love it if you could join me,” the woman said, smiling at him.

“Well, it’s very kind of you. But I can’t impose on Christmas Day.”

“Nonsense! It’s not imposing if you’re invited. And you are.” She smiled again. “You really mustn’t be alone, tomorrow of all days. And I bet your house is still full of unpacked boxes. Can you even find your roasting tin and the pans you’ll need?”

“It wouldn’t matter if I could. I’ve no idea how to cook a turkey and I haven’t been food shopping. Truthfully, I don’t know if I can face…

Tess Wheeler

Writer, EFL teacher, early Gen Xer. Reader and beach walker. Now happy at home in the NE of England but plotting more travel and adventures in this second half.

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