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 →
How do you celebrate your national day, and do you really know what and why you are celebrating?
It’s a bit sad when you have to resort to Google to confirm what the origin of the day is all about, but that’s what I did. For the record, Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January each year and marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and raising of the flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. (Thanks Wikipedia)
Whilst that’s the historic significance, today I’d suggest that most Australian’s use the day to celebrate our freedom, wealth and safety, the diversity of our community, and the spirit of “mateship”, all attributes that allow us to call Australia “The Lucky Country”. That’s how we spent the day.
Whilst we don’t get hung up on tradition, we always seem to find ourselves spending the day with close friends, sharing the good weather, great food, chilled wine, stories from the year just past, and our plans ahead. Always with plenty of laughter. Where would we be without others to share 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.
The enduring book club has been meeting now for about ten years. We were originally all connected through our work but our paths have now separated. There were a few more of us, but now we are just five. We are all counsellors, psychologists, case managers and social workers. We plan to meet about once a month….. but it usually ends up with a bigger gap as we struggle to find a shared date that fits. We sometimes remember to talk about the book.
I love this warm, funny, smart, caring group of woman. It’s a safe place to talk about the challenges of our work, to get suggestions and Continue reading →