I enjoy searching the web for nuggets of wisdom. This is what I found today :-)
This is a photo of me taken in the last couple of years. Each year I make Christmas Puddings following my mother-in-law’s recipe. When she passed away I inherited her bowls, old kitchen scales, rolling pin (to crush the almonds) and even the frayed apron. The responsibility for producing the Christmas Pudding is now solely up to me! Such responsibility :-). I still have the apron and don’t have the heart to throw it out and get a new one!
I get tired of hearing people talk about retirement. Retirement belongs to the previous generations – our parents and their parents (if they lived long enough). I am not suggesting that we keep working at a job we hate or find too difficult. I am saying that we need to pause and reflect on this phase of our lives. You may need to keep working at your job due to financial pressures but is there the capacity to reduce your hours?
Consider the following:
• Is there so much more you would like to be doing with your time?
• Do you have interests that you would like to pursue now but don’t have the time?
• This period of our lives (say 45 – 80ish) is likely to be very different than it was for our parents who were born before World War II
• If you are anticipating using your time to catching up on years of reading, and are happy to do that, then that is fine. Read no further!
• Maybe you want to spend more time with your grandchildren or are artistic and enjoy you leisure time in these pursuits and find them to be gratifying.
• Do you get up each morning and wonder what is the point of getting up as you did yesterday what you will do again today and the day after?
• Do you get irritable because the world seems to be run by young people – eg doctors, the media, some politicians that don’t look old enough to vote?
• Does your brain still function the way it used to, or is it even better now that you have abandoned a lot of the crap that came from working full-time and the office politics?
• Are you unsure of how to dress – you don’t want to be masquerading as a young person? How do you see yourself?
• Are you able to graciously profess your views without getting defensive when younger people see your views as obsolete?
• Consider how you plan to spend the next 20-30 years? Do you want to sit around getting old and immobile? If you are still actively involved in sport, then good for you!
• Is there a way we can collectively find a valuable place in society that breaks the common stereotypes of the over fifties?
• Does social media provide us with an avenue to express ourselves and perhaps help others at the same time?
• How would you feel about using some of your skills or developing new skills to assist the community to improve health, education and environmental outcomes?
• How would you feel about gaining your community’s respect and gratitude for the use of these skills?
• Would you be prepared to work for a nominal amount that Not For Profits could afford?
• Can you see the difference between this idea and the tremendous work that thousands of volunteers already do each day in Australia (and other parts of the world)?
• Can you make sense of all of the above and are excited about contributing ideas on how we can change this concept into reality?
If you would like to get more involved with me on this project you can email me on email@example.com
Thanks for reading :-)
For some time now I have been thinking about taking some sort of action in relation to raising awareness about the ageing of Baby Boomers and the need for attitudes (in general) to change. We can look at the ageing population as a burden on the government/community or we can look more positively at this cohort of people and somehow leverage off their knowledge, skills, experience and understanding for the betterment of our society.
I started by setting up a website at http://www.encoreaustralia.wordpress.com but I ran out of momentum (for now at least). I would love to have a brainstorming session with a small group of people who share my thoughts on this topic but I don’t really know where to start. I have looked at goals, project plans, research, values etc. I have also researched other websites throughout the internet (there are lots on this topic).
I am unsure what I want to achieve so I guess this is hampering my progress. I think best when I am among a group of people of similar minds. I may have to resort to a brainstorming session between me and my whiteboard!
Any ideas to get me kick started? I would really appreciate any feedback.
***I watched the above video about a pride of African lions and cubs that accepted a man into their space. He plays with them like they are kittens or playful puppies. It almost goes wrong when a hyena gate-crashes the party. The lions start to get cranky and the man has to make a hasty exit.
I think most of us like to have some connection with other species – dogs and cats tend to be the most popular. What is it that drives some people beyond the safety barrier and put themselves at risk? Australia’s Steve Irwin is a good example of someone who died doing what he loved most – getting up close and personal with wild creatures.
We domesticate animals and yet sometimes we forget that they are still animals. There are awful cases where a family dog has turned on its owner or a member of the family, with disastrous impact for all concerned.
On the other hand, we use other species to our benefit. I think of farm dogs trained to round-up the sheep or cattle. They are working dogs and not pandered to like pets. They have a role and it generally doesn’t include sitting on the couch!
There are people who collect reptiles and yet others who are fascinated with dangerous spiders. People try to outsmart the bulls at rodeos and horses and grey hounds are used for our sporting pleasure.
I have experienced some amazing encounters with creatures who are just as curious about us as we are about them. For example I once found a bird on the ground and I thought it couldn’t fly so I picked it up, sat it on my car seat, and drove home with it. On the way it must have tired of car travel and flew out of the open window. It was quite a special experience.
*** For my creative writing group, I was finding it difficult to come up something on the designated topic – it had to include something about African wildlife – so here it is :-)
“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?
Some people are really sensitive about their age and try to hide the truth from others – leave them guessing! For me, from an early age I looked older than my contemporaries. I think it is fair to say that trait has stayed with me so I just accept it. In fact, I often tell people how old I am just in case they think I am older!
My 29th birthday is the only one I really stressed over. Leaving my twenties behind seemed really significant at the time. I had three young children by that time. Sometimes I reflect on my life in decades, as follows:
0-10 All that childhood stuff
10-20 Probably the worst decade of my life – being a teenager is tough!
20-30 I enjoyed trying to be the model “Earth Mother”, baking my own bread etc and enjoying my young children
30-40 Wow! What happened? My life turned up-side-down with a broken marriage and being single again with young children
40-50 Life started to really improve at this point. I had a good job, mortgage and started getting my act together (at last!)
50-60 Well, I am not quite there yet. I have my sixtieth birthday later this year but this decade has been really good so far. I don’t know how I feel about turning sixty. I am aware that quite a few people I went to school with haven’t made it this far and I feel really grateful that I have.
60-70 Well, I feel fairly positive about the future. I have strong feelings about people in my age group continuing to play an active part in our world (however that translates for each of us). You might want to check out my other blog at http://www.encoreaustralia.wordpress.com. It has some great links relevant to this age group.
I am looking for ideas on how to celebrate my sixtieth, so send them through please. Big parties have no appeal, nor does jumping out of a plane – something a little less dramatic would be good :-)
I want to upgrade my mobile phone. Now that doesn’t sound complicated, does it? I have a pre-paid phone but I am looking at changing over to a contract. I went to the Telstra Store and was approached soon after arriving. He only wanted my name though and told me I was second in the queue. I decided to browse my options and selected three phones that I wanted more information about. I browsed for about ten minutes.
At last I was introduced to a salesperson. I said I was interested in the Nexus – she checked and said they didn’t have any as they were not very popular. OK, I moved on to the Samsung Galaxy 4 Mini – again she said they didn’t have any as they were now outdated with the Galaxy 5 being available. Righto – next I asked about the Nokia – and, you guessed it, they didn’t have any of these either. She went to check on the computer to see if any other Telstra Stores had them. I said, ‘Thanks, but don’t worry as I will go home and order one online!’
I also asked about my pre-paid credit disappearing and if she could check it out for me please. She advised me to ring the Pre-paid Mobile number but assured me I wasn’t alone as a lot of people had complained about losing their credit for unknown reasons!
I visit my elderly aunt every week. She is in the dementia ward of the local Care Village. She turned ninety recently. I notice each week that there is a fellow sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. He has a beautiful smile and says hello to me as I pass by.
As time goes by, we start to exchange a few words about the weather or comment on the flowers in the well-cared for grounds.
Sometimes my aunt is agitated and doesn’t want to see me so I spend a bit more time with ‘the old man’ sitting outside. One day I introduce myself as Jenny and he tells me his name is Bill. Bill is also in his early nineties but he still has his wits about him. I often wonder about his past as he doesn’t seem to have any visitors and he doesn’t give much away about himself. He always asks after me and my family though. I can tell by the lines on his face that he has seen a lot in his life – not all of it has been good either.
Over the next weeks and months we get to know each other a little better. My aunt doesn’t even know who I am now but I still visit once a week and tend to spend a bit more time chatting to Bill. He tells me what mischief my aunt has been up to over the previous week. She keeps wanting to go home and tries to escape at every opportunity.
One day, I will muster up the courage to ask him to tell me a bit more about his life. He prefers to be the one asking the questions.
It just so happened that my most recent visit fell on Father’s Day. My Dad passed away some time ago and I spontaneously bought a box of chocolates for Bill. I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I casually gave them to him, saying, ‘I thought you might like these, Bill’. I was a bit nervous as I was unsure how he would respond. He was very quiet at first, then I noticed his eyes brimming with tears. I touched his hand and sat quietly beside him.
‘It is so kind of you, Jenny. I want to share something with you – if you have the time?’
‘Of course, Bill’, I replied.
He sat quietly and I could tell he was summoning up the courage to speak. He said, ‘I always look forward to your visits. I know that you really come to see your aunt, but I like to think that you come to see me too. You see, I don’t have any family. My parents died years ago and I had no brothers or sisters. I married a beautiful girl, Kathleen and we had a daughter called Jenny – just like your name.’
Bill paused again to catch his breath and then continued, ‘When Jenny had her tenth birthday we took her to the Zoo as a special treat. She really loved nature and especially animals. It was on the way home that our lives changed forever. A drunk driver went through a red light and smashed into our car. Kathleen and Jenny died that day’. He paused again, tears rolling freely down his cheeks now.
He went on, ‘I was in a coma in hospital for two weeks after the accident. When I came around and they told me about Kath and Jenny, my world fell apart. I didn’t want to go on living without them. Physically I got better over time but I was emotionally dead from that point on. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and years. The pain is still with me today, like it happened yesterday. However, I slowly learned to see the good in the world again. That is why I like to sit outside and look at the gardens and watch the birds. And now I am an old man.
Your kindness is like a ray of sunshine in my life. Please forgive me for my emotional outburst today, but it is so long since anyone has shown me such kindness. Thank you Jenny.’
I was very moved by what Bill told me and I wrapped my arms around him and no words were needed.
My son sent me a link to a website a while ago and I have since subscribed to it due to its simple wisdom. There is a link below to the Zen Habits site and topic of Being Prepared for Anything. The site offers a seven point Survival Kit using the following headings:
2. Watch your internal response
3. See what you’re holding on to
4. Let it go
5. Respond appropriately
6. Stay in the moment
7. Be grateful and accept the moment for what it is.
If the topic and the Survival Kit are of interest to you, and you would like to learn more, I really urge you to visit Zen Habits. I find it often touches on something that is relevant in my life and it sometimes provides Aha! moments for me.
Who is this old man? Does he have a name? Is he rich or poor – kind or mean? Where does he live? Is he educated or just street wise? Is he loved and has he known happiness?
I joined a creative writing group today and we are tasked with writing a story with the topic of “An old man”. I found this unidentified image on the internet and I want to delve into his life and personality so he becomes alive in the story I am yet to write.
From looking at the photo, what do you see? Do you think he has had a hard life? Does he have any secrets? Is he famous? Perhaps I can use your observations in my story :-)
My elderly aunt was being cared for in the dementia ward of the local retirement village. It was about four years ago that I visited her from Western Australia. She had very few personal items with her and she asked me to go to her home and bring some toiletries etc back for her. The staff also gave me a short list of items she needed.
I opened the door to her home – it felt a little strange without her there and it had a musty smell about it because the doors and windows were shut tight. On the list was some talcum powder. I checked the bathroom and there were several tins of powder but they were all empty. I decided to treat my aunt to some nice new toiletries instead.
Much to my surprise, my aunt was very upset to learn there was no talc in her bathroom. She believed that someone had broken in and stolen it. Things were not as they should be!
Unfortunately this event came to be a symbol for me of her dementia. She really believed that someone was stealing from her vacant home. I could believe that, but I couldn’t believe someone would steal talcum powder (and leave the empty containers in situ).
It was true that something was not as it should be – sadly it was my aunt’s deteriorating mental and physical health.
No matter how much personal growth I experience, there are times I am disappointed when I don’t meet my own expectations. I don’t know where this comes from – but every so often this little voice tells me I am not good enough. Is this something we all struggle with? How do we silence that voice of doubt?
Yesterday we lost power at about 1.30pm. Fairly unusual for this to happen. It was cold without the air-conditioner. As time went by it became obvious this was more than a short-term power failure. My husband and I spend a lot of time on our computers and I was right in the middle of doing something when the computer shut down. I worried that I lost all the work I had done.
As it got closer to dinner time I worked out we could still have a hot meal as we have gas burners. We have plenty of candles and candle holders so I gathered them together so we were prepared when it got dark.
We had no TV, no computers, no tablet, no music – except for those downloaded from the smart phone. Only trouble was it used the battery up. My Kindle battery was nearly flat. Anyway we had an early night (no electric blanket), confident that the LED lights on the alarm clock would start flashing and signal the return of power. It didn’t happen.
This morning was very cold and we dressed with several layers of clothes. I boiled some water on the gas stove so we could have coffee. Our showers were OK as we have gas hot water. But … no hair-dryer! Bad hair day coming up! My electric toothbrush worked OK because it was charged up.
We went out for coffee (had to walk as the car was locked in the garage and we couldn’t get it open). We hoped we would get home to find everything OK but the news was worse than we expected. The power came on very briefly and we managed to release the car from its prison before we lost power again.
What to do? We went back to our local pub for lunch and met several of our neighbours there too. At about 3:00 pm the power came back on. We restrained our excitement in case it didn’t last, but it has, so far.
There are a few theories/rumours about what the problem is. It appears that the generator for our village has broken down and a new part is required and it is not available in Australia. What? Anyway, the hired generator is working OK for now.
I never realised how much I take electricity for granted :-). The more comfortable my life is, the harder it is to deal with challenges like this. I am very grateful that I have so many comforts on a daily basis and it is a good reminder to not take them for granted :-)
We had some friends stay over for the weekend and it was lovely chatting and catching up on the news.
I found myself saying more than once, …Ha, so I am not the only one who does that(thinks that/fears that etc.).
It occurred to me how valuable it is to have friends where we can share these inconsequential things and realise we all have much the same fears, hopes, dreams etc. It is reassuring that whatever our experiences in life might be, it is likely shared by many.
Perhaps this is the basis for our friendships.
NB The photo was taken by me at Lake Ballard (a dry salt lake) in a remote area north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The sculpture was created by well known sculptor Antony Gormley from the UK.
The idea for this post came from some questions raised by Eric Tonningsen‘s blog Awakening to Awareness.
So, what do you like to talk about? I don’t mean the casual exchanges and polite conversations with people who pass through our lives.
I have a real desire for deep and meaningful conversations – usually in a one on one situation. I like to think about possibilities for our shared future. I search for answers to the questions about why we still go to war knowing the enormous costs – especially to loss of life, property and our shared interests and history.
I also love talking to children aged from about three years old and above. I love the simplicity of how they see the world and I marvel and how much a child can see from such an early age.
It is also good to hear the wisdom of people who have lived a long life without becoming embittered by it. There is so much we can learn from our elders.
People who have hit rock bottom in their lives can also have a great clarity about what is important and how to do it – or at least where to start that journey.
Issues such as euthanasia, the death penalty, the customs and beliefs of other cultures and religions are also stimulating topics. I do not like to argue and very much believe in the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. I can sustain a conversation with someone whose views are totally different than mine and accept that they have the right to believe as they choose. I also hope others will offer me the same respect.
Scientific topics are interesting but my depth of knowledge is limited. I try to keep an open mind. I also hope the scientists will keep an open mind as well and not defend their ideas for the sake of protecting a point of view. Science itself is evolving and we learn new things each day and sometimes dispose of past beliefs in the process.
I am currently reading “The Confidence Gap – from fear to freedom” by Dr Russ Harris and published by Penguin Portfolio.
I bought the book some time ago and read some of it and then left it sitting on the shelf. I have had some confidence issues so I thought I had better read some more. I am getting more out of it this time. I am learning (again) about listening to my thoughts and the chatter that goes on in my head. I sometimes think things like, “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”, or thoughts along similar lines.
The author suggests we listen to our thoughts and then acknowledge… I just had a thought that said … “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”. He recommends a range of strategies to help us get unhooked from our thoughts. He says that when we fuse with our thinking we cannot see the difference between who we are and what we think.
The next step is to say to myself … I just noticed I had a thought that said … “I can’t do that as I would get too stressed”.
It is amazing and sometimes alarming to listen to the array of thoughts that go on in my head. It is so easy to undermine our selves by giving credibility to these thoughts. I am not my thoughts however if I get hooked into thinking in a particular way that isn’t helpful then I allow these thoughts to decide how I live my life. I think I will read some more …
Too much rain can have devastating consequences. These photos were taken during a wet season in Fitzroy Crossing in the early 1980’s while I was living there. People were cut off from food supplies, the bore pumps were flooded and ironically there was a shortage of water for household use. One of my neighbours was bitten by a venomous snake and had to be driven through the flood water to get medical help. I wouldn’t go outside to the clothes line as I heard something splashing in the flood water and was worried it could be a crocodile. After some time, the floods subsided and the big job of fixing the infrastructure began – until the next big rains!
You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices is working. How do you pass the time?
I experienced something similar to this a couple of weeks ago. I decided to take a short flight to Perth in preference to driving and staying over night in a hotel before catching my 10.00am flight to Melbourne. I arrived at our small Busselton airport (5.45pm for a 6.45pm departure) only to learn that there was a BIG delay in departure time. In fact, the plane was in Perth and waiting delivery of parts (anticipated about an hour’s delay) before it could leave Perth.
I decided to wait at the airport and not go home and come back later. There were only four passengers heading to Perth. I soon learned though, the plane had to fly south to Busselton and then Albany before doing the return flight to collect the four of us waiting.
I had a good book to read so at first I wasn’t too worried about the delay. One of the staff asked me if I would like a tea or coffee and proceeded to make one for me in their staff room. I was very grateful. There was a vending machine and I bought a Cherry Ripe. Life was feeling pretty good.
Some time later we learned the flight had left Perth so at least things were moving. The mood lightened. There was a man in his forties also reading and another woman of a similar age. A young man in a wheel chair, well-known to the staff as he flies to Perth once a fortnight to visit family, kept up a lively banter with everyone.
No-one seemed too bothered about the delay and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. About 9.00pm a female staff member stated she was putting in an order for some food and asked us what sort of pizza we liked. The food and soft drink arrived close to 10.00pm. We all enjoyed the pizza!
The plane finally arrived to take us to Perth at 10.20pm. I arrived at my friend’s place at around 11.30pm. I felt bad that I had messed up their evening but it was out of my control. They kindly drove me to the airport in the morning. When I had checked in I decided to call my husband and let him know everything was OK but I couldn’t find my phone. It was getting close to boarding time and I was a little panicked. I realised I must have left it in the security check point – I was right! The rest of the journey was fine except that I lost my e-ticket at Melbourne Airport but one of the staff helped me out! What a journey :-)
To learn more about the Daily Post Prompts click here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/terminal-time/
Life seems so much easier when we feel confident about what we are doing. Confidence doesn’t guarantee competence but it is a good start. Here are some thoughts about confidence …
C is for capable. I have the basic knowledge to do the task at hand.
O is for often. When I do something often I generally become more confident in my ability.
N is now. I will focus on the task at hand, now, and not try to do tomorrow’s work today.
F is for follow. It may mean following a recipe, some guidance, a style manual, or the instructions in a manual.
I is for interest. If I have a genuine interest in what I am doing, my interest will help me feel more confident.
D is for determination. If I aspire to do well – chances are, I will succeed if I am determined enough.
E is for elements. If I understand the basic elements of the task, I can then tackle them one by one until the task is completed.
N is for new. I am always be open to learning something new. It is ok to acknowledge I haven’t done something before, however, I am willing to learn new things – in fact, I love to learn how to do new things!
C is for cheerful. If I can approach whatever I am doing with a cheerful attitude, my chances of success are greater.
E is for effort. I need to put in some effort and do the work that is required to the best of my ability.
Put all these together and you cannot help but have the CONFIDENCE to do whatever you need to do.
Here are some things that work for me when I feel overwhelmed …
1. Close your eyes and listen … try to hear sounds nearby and then further and further away. Focus on listening without judgement.
2. Stop what you are doing and focus on a small task – something that you can make a start on immediately. Decide to focus on that task only for a short period of time. It could be for five minutes, an hour or a day.
3. Keep breathing. If you are in a public situation and feel overwhelmed, just breathe as normally as possible, say little, smile occasionally and keep doing what you are doing. No one will ever know the inner turmoil you may be experiencing and maybe they don’t need to know.
4. If practical, get outdoors in the garden, beach, parkland etc. Being outside in the fresh air can do wonders for the spirit.
5. Allow yourself a ten minute nap (might be a bit hard if you are at work). Sometimes time out helps improve clarity and perspective. Keep it to a short nap though as you don’t want to indulge negative emotions that may arise.
There isn’t much talk today about being a housewife. In fact, it is often seen to be an offensive label. How can anyone be a wife of a house, after all? There are attempts to change the image to names such as domestic goddess or similar. Is it what we do when we are not in the paid workforce?
But really … most of us live in houses and most of us like them to be clean and livable. Someone has to do the work, and fair enough if it is shared among the family. We want clean bathrooms, washing done, floors swept and the cupboards stocked with food and supplies.
Why is it that I don’t mind doing domestic tasks for someone else but would rather not do them for myself sometimes. Then there is that regular question – what do you do for a living? I can respond with information about the one day I go out to work and skip the details for the other six days of the week.
Scaling back from full-time work has raised these issues with me, surprisingly in a similar way to when I first left the workforce to start a family. There seems to be some fear that being out of the workforce may cause me to disappear into thin air – to stop existing in a way that is recognised in our culture.
I believe our culture needs to value this role more and recognise the contributions, big and small, of people who are not in mainstream, paid work.
What do you think?
- what is a blog?
- how do people find my blog?
- why do I do it?
- what does someone have to do to start a blog?
- what do I like about blogging?
I find it hard to respond to these queries as there are many answers for the points. Blogging has become a part of my life over the last few years and I am reluctant to let it go.
I try to explain about some interesting people I have met through blogging and their eyes seem to glaze over. I have learned a lot from other bloggers. I am more aware of where people are geographically located and I know more about cultural differences in other places in the world. I have also learned how much we all have in common.
My technology skills continue to grow as I keep blogging. I noticed in my recent online studies that I wasn’t daunted by some of the technical challenges that would have overwhelmed me if I didn’t blog regularly and look after my site.
I don’t worry about how many people read my blog and/or comment. I get a buzz when it happens, but it is not the motivation for my writing. I enjoy the interaction with like-minded people, whether it be few or many.
I enjoy sharing insights I have about life – I haven’t had any ‘aha!’ moments lately but sometimes they come out of nowhere and it is good to share.
The fact that I blog makes it easier for me to sit in front of a computer and write about other things as well. Tomorrow I will be working for about four hours in my job with the local paper. I HAVE to write and get it done in that time. There is no time for me to sit staring at a blank screen (or do any rewrites for that matter).
So, I have told you some of my thoughts about blogging – now I would like to hear from your point of view, if you would like to share.
I have been absent from WordPress in recent weeks as I worked on finishing my unit of study with Edith Cowan University online. The unit is Authorship and Publication. The main submission for assessment is my ebook, Beyond the Crossing.
As it is my first short story I decided to make it available as a free ebook to anyone who would like to read it.
With assignments now completed, I can start preparing for my trip to Victoria on Saturday. I am staying with my son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons for a week. After that I am spending a couple of days in Melbourne with my two sisters. Click on the link below to go to the page where you can download a copy.
I am feeling a bit stressed about completing my writing studies in the next two weeks. I still have a few hurdles to jump over and know I have to work hard to achieve a good result. I confess to a great fear of failing. In reality, failing this unit would not make much difference to my life but I will be really disappointed in myself if I don’t succeed.
There is also a sense of loss at completing my studies. It consumes my time, energy and interest and there will be a gap in my life once I am done. I find this hard to explain. Maybe it is about being part of something bigger – a sense of belonging to a student community (even though the study has all be online).
Then there is that great sense of achievement at completion and success – or gratification describes it more accurately – overcoming something difficult and feeling stretched and experiencing some personal growth.
Finally, for me, study is about wrestling with something in my mind – that is not about ME – something bigger than myself and something that better engages me to the world I live in, day-to-day.
So – PERSEVERE I will and hopefully I will meet my goal of a qualification at the conclusion of my study but also greater knowledge about writing and the industry.
And… if I don’t pass – the world will not end – I will have still learned a lot – and well, let’s wait and see…
All I can do is do my best :-)
Today I searched for quotes to motivate me to continue my work on a current writing assignment. I need to have a 2,500 word draft piece of fiction ready for editing by Monday at the latest. I have written about 3,000 words so far but it lacks energy. I need to do a lot more work on it. I am basing my short story on some of my experiences living in outback Australia.
I must be the most ungrateful person around. I have just landed a writing job for one day a week. I am really enjoying my studies even though I am feeling under time pressure a little. We are having guests for the weekend and I need to tidy up the house. So if that is all I have to worry about, then I am a very lucky person. A bit of hard work and a little stress in the next few weeks won’t do me any harm at all.
I met a friend for coffee yesterday afternoon. We hadn’t seen each other for a while. We talked about what work opportunities were about and what we both have done recently. I said to her, ‘I am not looking for work at the moment. I just want to focus on my studies.’
We parted and I walked the short distance home. I had only been home a couple of minutes and the phone rang. I had applied for a writing job last October but wasn’t successful. The newspaper rang me to ask if I was still interested and if I would like to come in on Monday for an interview. It is only for 8 hours a week and could be fun. I will wait and see how the conversation goes on Monday.This was the first time in four years since I left full time work that I actually stated that I am not looking for work. Isn’t life funny sometimes – the way things work out?
I wrote this piece for a recent assignment. I passed – not quite as well as I would have liked to. Oh well … It was based on research from the newspaper on the date of my birth.
2 NOVEMBER 1954
My sanity is slipping away. It wounds my pride, but I call Mum on Sunday, 31 October 1954 and beg her to pick Peter and me up from the farm the next day. My Mum is thrilled I have come to my senses.
Jack breaks down when I tell him I am leaving him. He is devastated. He says, ‘My life is nothing without you and Peter.’ He slowly turns away and Peter follows him to the kitchen. I think Peter is with Grandma Irene but Peter trails a few metres behind Jack. Irene is preparing for the Melbourne Cup BBQ on Tuesday and sees them both heading for the scrub, and smiles.
Jack returns alone around 11.00am.
‘Jack, what have you done with him?’ I screamed, as I pounded his chest. ‘How could you even think I would do anything to hurt Peter? You and Peter are my life,’ he replied. ‘He is only a baby – two and half years old, for God’s sake! Where is he?’ I shrieked hysterically.
Jack and I met on New Year’s Eve 1950. He was twenty-seven and I was nineteen. He is 5’8’’, slim build, fair curly hair, and deep brown eyes. His sister, Hazel, and I were nursing at Princess Margaret Hospital and she was a matchmaker. Jack was in Perth to enlist in the Army to fight the communists in Korea. It was the start of an incredible, magical romance.
My parents disapproved of Jack and said, ‘He is an uneducated, farm labourer and not good enough for a Claremont girl.’ I turned my back on them and married him in June 1951 in the Anglican Church in Boyup Brook. Jack worked on their small sheep farm just out of Boyup Brook, population around five hundred. We stayed with his parents.
His parents supported his decision to fight Communism and he would earn about £12/6 a week. His first posting was with the 3RAR, based in Japan. He left us on 1 October 1951 knowing we were having a baby. I was distraught. I was not ready for this! Especially with Jack away and living with his parents. Regardless, Peter was born, healthy, on 17 June 1952.
A telegram arrived not long after with the disturbing news of Jack’s capture by the North Koreans. He remained a POW until the war ended on 27 July 1953. When Jack came home in August ’53, he was a broken man – just skin and bone, sullen, and withdrawn. He took solace in drinking each day until he passed out.
If I keep loving and caring for him he would get well surely? I would find a quiet place and sob my heart out. I missed my friends and family in Perth. They wrote infrequently about their dances and trips to the theatre.
News spreads that Peter is missing. Jack’s father calls the police and asks the neighbours to help search in the thick scrub beyond the farmhouse. By midday there are around one hundred people scouring the nearby scrub. Peter is wearing summer shorts and singlet. It is around 69 degrees with a chance of rain. I stay at the house while the men search the scrub, I pray, ‘Oh my God, find him please!’
Hours pass and the searchers return with no news. It is nearing 6.00pm when they see Peter running through the bush towards them. Jack and I quickly race towards him and we both hold him and each other, sobbing with relief.
Just at that moment, my parents arrived in their BMW …
I have looked at old photos to research information for my writing assignment. It was great to see the photos again because it prompted my memory about so many things I had forgotten. One of them cashew apples. We had a cashew tree in our yard – you couldn’t eat the nuts without baking but the fruit was really yummy.
I found this photo of my Mum taken in 1983. She traveled by bus from Victoria to Fitzroy Crossing to be there when I gave birth to my third son. That is an incredible distance to travel by bus – around 3500 miles. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of her as I was in hospital a lot longer than anticipated. I think I spent one or two days with her and then she caught the bus home again! What a woman :-). She was in her early sixties at the time.
Now, back to that assignment!
In my current studies I am learning about writing fiction and really enjoying it. I am currently working on a 2,500 word assignment. I have the ideas in my head and some words on paper. On reflecting about this new interest, I found two really positive benefits:
1. I can use my own life experience and feelings and infuse them into the characters in my story. I can control the outcomes of these characters and explore avenues/roads I would have liked to travel. Also I can channel any sorts of emotional experiences into my story.
2. I have something to think about. If I can’t sleep, I can play around in my mind with the characters or the plot instead of thinking about worries or problems. If I find myself at a loss for something to do, I can expand my ideas or even come up with a new angle.
I found this quote and thought how appropriate it is in the information age!
As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself.
Read more at Arthur Schopenhauer