As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to know the ‘whys and wherefores’. An inquiring mind or a busybody, take your pick!

I suspect that everyone wants answers, but in life’s journey we often don’t find them easily and, when we do, they are sometimes not what we expected. And there are some questions best not asked; some we can ask of a friend or a partner or an expert, and many others we can take to God in our prayers. As we trundle along our life-path some, like me with my new-found solitary lifestyle, can become melancholy, even morose, re-living the past or seeking answers to help us cope with a new and different lifestyle.

Over the past couple of years, Covid-19 has disrupted the world and changed our personal lives forever. During that time many, like me, have also lost loved ones for other reasons. For most of us it has been, and continues to be, a stressful time despite fewer ‘social rules’, and those who live alone may still feel isolated even now as we all try to regain some peace and contentment.

But having an enquiring mind has its upsides, for me anyway. Inquisitiveness pushes me to keep going when all I really want to do is quietly curl up and escape! Sometimes ‘curiosity killed the cat’, and other times I think that ‘ignorance is bliss’. Finding the middle road on our journey is always a challenge – blindly taking the easiest road can lead to extremism – and we can see plenty of that today in politics. The trick is to take neither the easy nor the hard road, but to stay on the middle road, albeit with lots of detours here and there. Even then it’s not easy…. because there are so many other diversions and byways…

And when we have an illness or disability, or a partner so afflicted, or just plain solo, it’s easy to dwell on the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. We can become centred on the negatives and keep asking the unanswerable questions! It took me ages to even recognise the severity of Dorothy’s (my wife) Alzheimer’s condition, then its permanence and finally, her death. We all need to move on from the past and focus on the present. Travelling along that path I found some other ‘p’ words which have become a guide for me: the reality of the present, a plan for a future, a positive mindset with a different priority; all of which required me to pause and ponder more often. That’s easy to remember, harder to practice!

Many thinkers philosophers and scholarly writers have, over millennia, espoused the concept of a ‘positive mental attitude’. I’ve learned (and keep re-discovering) to stop asking the ‘why’ (and especially the ‘why me’) question/s and have resolved to be more positive, to pause and to pray; only then I can move on with a more peaceful pattern to my life. I must practise what I preach because those p’s are a heap better than the q’s!