Have you ever wondered what life is all about? Do you feel that all you do is work, look after your family, work some more and then wonder where your day has gone? Your week, the month, the years!
Do you have dreams of having a Sea-change or Rural-change just to get away from the grind? I did! For years. And it wasn’t until my husband was made redundant that we decided this was a time to change the way we lived our lives. So we relocated to Brisbane. Two years on we haven’t looked back.
We moved here 2 weeks before my 50th birthday. I was overweight, sick, depressed, tired and so sad. I had lost my smile. I had been a pretty happy person. On deep reflection, I knew I did not want to enter the next stage of my life like this – a walking shell of a woman.
So I decided to stop and slow down. To stop multi-tasking, to take deep breaths and to not bring work home (I am a teacher). To find balance in my life and live the life I yearned for. This included being more sustainable because I think this planet is pretty special. This goal has given me the biggest purpose of my journey to a more balanced and serene existence.
I have started to meditate and I am working hard to commit to this daily.
We all want to feel loved. When my daughter was having a hard time at school with some girls who were just not too nice because they were dealing with their own sense of who they were and their place in the world, I use to say to her “… no matter what, know that you are well loved”. She has grown up to be a kind caring young lady who will look after her friends and is always there for them. Even when she was in that horrid what-happened-to-my-sweet-little-and-who-is-this-mean-rude-girl phase she was always so kind … well … to everyone else … I was not privy to that affection. That’s okay … unconditional love is when your daughter knows you will love her no matter what … pure and simple.
As John Lennon sang “All you need is love”. I believe that love and kindness are two very important elements that go hand in hand. Love and kindness truly do make for a happier and serene world. Can you imagine what our world would be like if, when you accidentally cut someone off in traffic, they smile and gave you that “all good” look? Or if you were taking your time ordering the coffee you like to have, the way you like it, and people smiled and were reminded that we are truly blessed to have choices. Or instead of all those conflicts happening across our world, people decided to drop their guns and bombs and learnt to smile and shake hands and accepted that one’s culture, one’s religion, one’s class and one’s gender is what makes our world so rich. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful global village us earthlings live in!
Change. There are many definitions of change. The two that sits strongly with me and which define our own journey over the past 16 months is: “make or become different” and “move from one to another” (Google 2018). Our change has been a major one. A new city. A new life. Our daughter at Boarding school living apart from us. It has not been easy and it will continue to be bumpy for another six months. It has been a miraculous and positive experience for us even when we were enduring a number of adversities. What we know for certain is that we love our new city and our new life.
Audrey Hepburn is my ageing guru. This is a woman who is the queen of graceful ageing. Although, she was a smoker, which thankfully I am not. For me, Audrey is the epitome of grace and feminity. I have always set out with the aim to look after myself. I never took drugs, other than panadol for a headache, which thankfully isn’t often. I don’t like putting foreign substances in my body. When I had my caesarian, my Obstetrician had to cajole me to take the morphine so my milk would come in. He knew I was looking forward to breastfeeding and so I eventually relented. I rarely went out and binged with alcohol. I wish I could say I never had, although, I can literally count how many times I overdid it with alcohol on one hand … okay, maybe two! I have a two glass limit.
I read an article very early in my teens that alcohol ages. I took note. Actually, I also recall reading in Dolly Magazine, which was the teenage girl’s bible of its day when I was growing up, that smoking created a “cats bum” mouth. That image was enough to avoid smoking for life. “Avoid” is the operative word here because I do need to confess that up until me reading about how smoking ages you, I did use to succumb to peer-pressure smoking. I was your typical Catholic Private schoolgirl who stereotypical use to sneak one with my girlfriends and think life was an adventure and that it was cool. I use to think I was so sophisticated. You really are so delusional when you are young and inexperienced!
I turned 50 on the first of January and with this came a bowel screening kit from the Australian Government and a reminder that I now need to get my breasts checked. I am finally here. When I first got married 23 years ago (I have also just celebrated another Wedding Anniversary) my Mum and Mother-in-law were both turning 50 and it was such a milestone for them. I remember thinking “Wow”, they are both here. Now I am “here”. There is so much to adjust to.
I am a little sad that I am not as fresh faced as I use to be. I use to like that I had this youthful innocence with a fresh look. I don’t feel that I was ever a beauty but I was sweet looking. I liked that. I do get told that I don’t look my age … that I look younger and sometimes people are genuinely surprised. I like that too! I know this is basically pure and unadulterated vanity and even a little shameful for me, but I do get a little sad when people do say that I look younger, that they put my youthful looks in my early 40s. Even how young I continue look in terms of my true age, has now also slipped into the middle age category. For me this is still old! I hate that I have to tick those boxes on forms. How vain I know! Of course, it is unrealistic to think that people no longer tell me that I look truly young .. you know 29 or early 30s. I’d even take late 30s! I do miss that.
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