We take many journeys through life and they are not all connected with travel. Major life journeys I have enjoyed include studying at university, getting married, building a house and of course having children. I love the way you start at some place with no clear view of where you will end up, and the journey unfolds as you go along. I have long believed that life is about the journey not the destination. Writing the book of my friends life has been another journey that has led me to delightfully unexpected places.
I am enjoying the wonderful absence of urgency and stress. We have had two weeks at home after the trip to New Zealand and there is plenty of time to do anything that needs to be done, but nothing seems particularly important. I love lazy mornings with slow starts, problem is my lazy mornings can easily run into the afternoon.
Make new friends but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold
This old refrain keeps echoing through my mind. These eight weeks have been full of precious new and old friends and family. The intensity of the delight in reconnecting with people has surprised me.
We have had many conversations with friends about how much you need to work at our stage of life. Could work look differently than it does now? Longer leave periods? Part time? Less stressful jobs? Can you retire too young? How much money do you really need to retire? How do you have Continue reading →
Our stay in New Zealand provided a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with a family who changed the direction of my life. I have altered their names in this story to protect their privacy, so let’s call this family the Smiths.
When I was 15 years old the Smiths moved to Wellington, they entered my life just as I was moving from childhood to adulthood. They were only there for a year but this family had a profound impact on the formation of my identity and the choices that I would make about education and work in the future.
I became close friends with Megan, the oldest of the four Smith girls and one Smith boy. This family was so different from my own. Dinner around our family table was mostly a quiet and sombre affair whereas dinner around their table was full of Continue reading →
It is such a rich experience to stay in a friends’ home, rather than in the anonymous blandness of a hotel. Friends delight in introducing you to the best of their world, the places that mean the most to them and the people who give meaning to their day to day lives.
We have just spent four nights with our friends Suzanne and Darryl in Puketurua, a tiny place in the middle of the North Island, New Zealand. I met Suzanne and Darryl when I was about 18 years old, with my ex-husband. Our relationship was full of the laughter, passion and intensity of two young couples in love and at the threshold of their lives. Over the last forty years we have only seen them a handful of times, nonetheless they have embraced Steven and when we catch up it’s as if we saw them yesterday.
Here are four of the diamonds from their lives that they shared with us:
The Table on the Deck: We ate all meals in this beautiful rural vista, fresh country food accompanied by the sound of cows lowing. These were joyous meals full of laughter and great conversation. Despite some tough times this couple has maintained a great passion for life, and each other. Suzanne and Darryl reckon that lethargy and joylessness Continue reading →
I value kindness, that old fashioned virtue of helping out another human being in a gentle and unassuming manner. Simple acts such as picking up a toy dropped unnoticed from a pram, giving directions to a stranger, checking on a neighbour or giving a heartfelt compliment can make such a difference to the recipient’s day, way beyond the magnitude of the act. More profound acts of kindness take time, effort and commitment. As a psychologist I have heard many sad stories where small acts of kindness would have made a significant difference to someone’s life. Kindness can be contagious and I like to imagine that even the smallest kind act can Continue reading →
I left New Zealand when I was 19 years old, my first experience of running away. Since then I have tried to come back every two or three years to see my family. Each time I feel compelled to reach out and touch the ghost of my childhood and wonder whether others have similar experiences. I devour chocolate fish and pineapple lumps, (New Zealand confectionary delights), candy floss, mixed lollies sold in paper bags, hokey pokey ice creams, spearmint milkshakes which must be served in an icy cold aluminium container and for a savoury dish, bacon and egg pie with sliced tomato on top. I could buy these in Australia but somehow it would be traitorous to eat them there.
Then there is the drive past the family home, sold when my mother died 15 years ago, Continue reading →
Whenever we think about undertaking a bike trip in unknown territory I get scared that I won’t be able to do it. I fear I might become stranded somewhere, half way up a hill, too tired to go any further and with no way to get home. Physical exercise has never been my thing so contemplating riding 152 km does not come easy to me. I’ve had to turn back on one bike trip and get frustrated trying to find information that gives me a real sense of how difficult the trip will be. I want to be challenged but not distressed.
I’ve been cycling to work most days for a year, a round trip of about 15 km, not bad for a 58 year old. It’s been a challenge for me. I’ve never enjoyed exercise but started leisure cycling when we moved to Brisbane 8 years ago. I’d enjoyed riding a bike as a kid so to me it was the least painful way to do some exercise.
On holiday in 2013 I was cycling with a group of women who were in their 70’s and they made it up the hills. I didn’t. This challenged me Continue reading →
I don’t think I was having one when I bought the Harley at age 45, but I was probably a perfect fit for the stereo typical label. It was just a time in my life when it was what I wanted and could afford it. Did it matter that I didn’t even have a motor bike licence? Not to me it didn’t.
Hang on…..before you get all righteous, let me explain.
When I returned from Papua New Guinea in 2000, I was fortunate to get in early on the Peter Lik train………destination, world domination. I was employed by Peter as his group CEO at the time when Peter had one small photographic Gallery in Cairns, North Queensland. Within four years, Continue reading →
This week I discovered an unusual way to get to know people.
As I have said, one of the major reasons for this blog is to develop the discipline of writing often so that I will actually complete the book that I am committed to. It’s the life story of my friend, a Forgotten Australian, so called because they were abused and neglected in institutional care. The working title for that book is now Not Forgotten, who knows what it will be called eventually.