Personal development
18 Feb 2023

No, I’m not referring to great moments of history like Normandy in 44, I mean the smaller, more personal events that can liberate yo

Many times in my working life I heard colleagues – mostly male – talk about their “ball and chain”, typically the mortgage or the job, and looking forward to that moment of liberation when the mortgage is paid off, or when retirement comes, or even when the last of the kids leave home. (A bit harsh to look upon your offspring as a “ball and chain”, maybe, but it happens.)

All of these “ball and chains”, however, are things that these people were aware of. What’s more interesting – to me anyway - are the balls and chains that some of us drag round with us, not realising they are there until they are gone. 

To cite an example from my life: at university back in the 70s, my friends were almost all male, heavy drinkers and with a very limited outlook on life, to put it mildly. Life revolved around drink, sport, loud rock music, attention-seeking idiocies and bad hangovers. Anyone professing interest in classical music, jazz, art, politics, the environment, charity work - or even show the mildest sympathy for the many students with depression or other mental health problems - was in for a hard time.

Immediately after I graduated, however, I went on a holiday with an old schoolfriend in which we walked a long coastal footpath, met interesting people, talked a lot about books, films, theatre, travel, politics and more. I realised my friend, let’s call him Jimmy, had a vastly better mindset than me; it was a revelation, a real liberation - and I felt I’d lost a ball and chain that I didn’t know was there… Within a year of graduation, I decided that I didn’t want to see my small-minded, hard-drinking old crowd any more, I moved on and have never regretted this once in the last 40+ years.

I could give other examples from my life, but what about yours? Have you had times when you realise you’ve been dragging an invisible ball and chain around with you for years?

Oldie But Goldie

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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