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Today my challenge will be to write a short post about the following topic:
“What is the best lesson you have learned?”
When I was in my early 30’s my marriage broke up and I found myself in a situation where I had few possessions (including money) and three young children to take care of. I was also living in a remote Aboriginal Community in Northern Australia.
The lesson I learned is that I am stronger than I think I am. Sometimes I just pretended that I was strong and often that was enough. I also learnt that I was the only person I could rely on to get through the difficult time.
When I rang my Mum to tell her what happened she said that I shouldn’t even think about coming home. I was quite shocked at the time but now I realise that the path I did choose turned out to have a lot more going for it than if I had returned to my home town in Victoria.
That was about forty years ago. My sons grew up with me in Western Australia. We did miss (still do) having extended family close by but it forced me to go out and meet people and in many ways enabled me to rebuild my life without the constraints and limitations I would have faced if I had returned ‘home’.
As I get older I see many people on their own – having lost their partners and perhaps their extended families. I do feel passionately that we need to be aware that some people suffer from loneliness and isolation. This is even more so with Christmas approaching. I find Christmas a bit challenging however I try to make the most of it and put in a little effort! I don’t think I am alone in this!
Do you fancy joining me in a 30 Day Creativity Challenge?
First, let’s jump ahead to the back story – next year (late March) I will be leading a small group of seniors (through our local University of the Third Age) in a course titled, Unleashing Your Creative Spirit. I thought it would be good to get my creativity muscles toned in the lead up to it.
If you are interested in joining me in the Challenge you can read about it in the following documents:
Today I went to Bunnings to get a few garden things and at the entrance there was a colourful display of plants called The Big Kahuna. Now, you may have heard of the movie:
The Big Kahuna is a 1999 American businesscomedy-drama film directed by John Swanbeck, and produced by Kevin Spacey, who also starred in the lead role. The film is adapted from the play Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck makes few attempts to lessen this film’s resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the film takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.
I grew up in a small country town in Northern Victoria called Cohuna – about 3,500km away from where I currently live.
Surrounded by dairy farms, and situated on the banks of Gunbower Creek, (an anabranch of the Murray River), the town is a popular holiday spot as well as a regional sports centre with a wide range of facilities. Cohuna is the main access point to the attractions of the vast red gum and box forest covered Gunbower Island, which lies between Gunbower Creek and the Murray, and is home to diverse native birdlife, kangaroos and emus.
So, the reason I am telling you all is this is because I just had to buy the flowers with that name! And here they are …
We have given the garden a bit of a makeover this week so it was good to add a splash of colour with the Big Kahuna name tag!
Last week we had a few days in Kalbarri. Here are some of the photos taken during our stay there – most are taken at Rainbow Jungle Bird Park. Many of the birds were in enclosures and I didn’t enjoy taking photos through the metal grids. Some were free to fly in the bigger enclosure. We stayed in a AirBNB house with a pool (which we only used once!) and great views of the Indian Ocean. Here is a link to some common Australian native birds.
Well I have heard of people who have ‘near-death’ experiences where their life flashes before their eyes. I didn’t know that having a 65th birthday could also bring on this phenomenon!
A little bit of background – nearly ten years ago we moved from Perth to the South West of Australia. I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the region so there are not a lot of cues for past memories. It is a bit like living in a bubble where much of the past fades almost to non-existence.
For my 65th we decided on a family catch-up in Perth with an overnight stay at Joondalup Resort. As it happens I used to be a regular guest there every Monday evening in my role as President of the Joondalup Rotary Club. I used to work in Joondalup too. The next morning we had breakfast in the street where my old office was. It was across the road from the Chinese Restaurant where I often went for a $5 lunch special (in the 1990’s). Also in the same street is where my original office was and I met a lady who came to see me looking for work. She had only been in Australia for three months. I was able to assist with some contract work and she stayed on for over 20 years. She is still a good friend today and actually outstayed my time at the Department.
We traveled to Kalbarri after breakfast – approximately 600kms north. We passed through Yanchep where I often took my three sons when they were little. Lots of happy memories there. Further along we passed through Geraldton where I lived for a short time in 1993-1994 until my marriage broke up and I moved to Perth.
Our destination of Kalbarri held some memories too. While working in the region I visited there to assist a community group who had funds from the Department to set up a local bottled Spring Water enterprise using unemployed youth. Then there was the Greenough Village where we investigated an employment project.
I won’t go on as it is probably boring to anyone except me! I felt the need for the trip to come to terms with reaching 65 years old. I am grateful that I have reached it and hope to have a few more decades yet.
I am currently doing a course from University of the Third Age Online. It is called Unleashing Your Creative Spirit. I am keen to run this Course in 2020 through our local U3A.
I have met a lot of people in early retirement who find themselves wondering what has happened to them with all the changes of no longer being in the workforce. I have noticed that lots of people, me included, have a list of project we have always wanted to do when we got the time.
Well, we have the TIME now but struggle to make these projects happen. I have been wondering why that is. Some of my projects include learning calligraphy, making personalised greeting cards, sewing (I bought a nice new but basic sewing machine) photography (I purchased a digital camera) and writing. I also like doing WordPress websites for friends.
This course is great in that it looks at what motivates us to be creative and at what situations create blockages. It emphasises that a part of creativity is actually ‘work’ and organisation. That surprised me, silly as it may sound. I had thought that being creative was purely stuff you did for fun and quite different to what we do for work.
It was a bit of a light-bulb moment when I realised the ‘work’ aspect of creativity is the main cause of my not completing my projects. A small project I am working on involves using some photos of wildflowers to create greeting cards. My first big hurdle was I didn’t know how to print the photos even though I have a modern printer. I did persevere and had success!
I feel I have learnt a lot already and I can see lots of opportunities for exploring new skills and enjoyment along the way.
The Philosophy discussion group that I facilitate considered Confucius last week. Who would have thought that the topic would be so relevant – the 70th anniversary of Communism in China and the unrest in Hong Kong?
Some of the comments that came out of the discussion included: ‘Confucius spoke of unity but what we see in China today is uniformity’; ‘it is so difficult to examine an Eastern Philosophy when we (in the group) all grew up in Western democracies and can only try to consider Confucius’ (and China’s) ideas from a distance’ :
An article written (Why is Confucius Still Relevant Today?) for the National Geographic in 2015 interviews writer Michael Schuman, author of Confucius and the World He Created shone some recent light on where Confucianism sits with modern China. I did find him to have quite set ideas though.
Over the past week I became quite distressed at issues happening throughout the world and I know I am not alone. I have been looking hard for the positives but today I came to see I am powerless to change anything. I think I need to detach and let go … I found the quote below this evening and thought it to be relevant.
Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.