Who I am and why I blog

My husband Ken and I (Lesley) live in the beautiful Blue Mountains in NSW Australia. We have 2 adult daughters and one son In law. We retired, downsized and moved from the western suburbs to our current location 2016. I say retired however we both still work part-time. My husband and I were married in 1968 and are proud of the fact we are still together today. We are average people who have experienced good and bad in our life times and can say we have learnt a lot over the years.

We are in love with our current situation as we have each other and are surrounded by the natural wonders found in the mountains. We have great neighbours, our girls live within a half hour drive. We own our home and we have some part-time income to supplement our part pension. Our lives are busy and interesting. We both have hobbies and we both like living together. Ive heard this is not always the case when partners retire. We did both work together in our own business for approx 18 years prior to retirement so I guess we were pretty used to each other by then.

We have a meaningful group of friends who fill our lives with fun, interest and drama of course.

Why I chose to blog

I like to write down my thoughts, I like to have an opinion, I like to learn from others. I like to keep my mind active.

These are the reasons I chose to start this blog. I am not particularly profound in any one subject, I am certainly not highly educated nor am I specifically interested in any one thing. My childhood was not fantastic but not horrific. I married at age 16 which is usually intriguing to others. I have dealt with and been surrounded by illness including mental illness from a young age. I have worked continuously from age 14 and have experienced many highs and many lows. I have seen a lot of changes in the world during my 69 years. I have to say I am quite interested in human behaviour on a basic level. I have no education in this area and therefore no expertise but I have experience and I am happy to talk about it. I also find talking or writing in this way very healing and a good way of putting things into perspective. I do fear loneliness and isolation in my aging person and I am hoping that blogging will keep me in touch with the world if and when I do end up alone. I hope to engage with others via my blog and look forward to reading other blogs, hearing other opinions and hopefully providing and receiving some laughs through the process.

Doctors visits, tests and medication.

Increase in doctors visits.

This was something neither my husband or I gave any thought to before retirement. We have been relatively free of any serious illness throughout out life. Of course we are not immune so we have had the normal everyday occurrences of colds and viruses and short hospital stays etc.

Then we hit 60 and I think the body must have a trigger that comes alive around this time. As it happened we had a regular doctor at the time who was and still is quite thorough and diligent. I have always believed if you have an engaging active doctor it is best to stay with them if possible. A history is then gathered and changes are more noticeable for follow up. Of course it goes without saying one should always question any procedure or medication that is suggested. I feel we are lucky to have a doctor who does let us question and then thoroughly explains everything to us. She also does not prescribe medication unnecessarily or without follow up. I do remember having discussions over the years with ageing relatives about why they were taking a certain medication. The answer I received several times was I don’t remember, I must ask the doctor next time I am there. In my experience elderly people dont like to take up the doctors time, so they minimise the need to be there or they forget to ask questions. If you are reading this and have an elderly person you care for maybe they would let you go in with them as a support. I often wonder how many people are getting the correct care as they get older. We do heavily rely on what our doctors say. Furthermore we have less control of our faculties and therefore while have full control we need to find a doctor we can heavily depend upon for the future. Alternatively we need to ask for help.

Ken and I together have experienced the usual blood tests along with the occasional radiography scan, Colonoscopy, Gastroscopy or Endoscopy and so on. I am certainly not going to explain these procedures with my lack of medical expertise. I will also refrain from going into the gory details. I imagine there are not many people really wanting to know the nuts and bolts of my complaints.

What I would like to explain is a test I have just had which I believe could be quite daunting for some elderly people especially without prior knowledge. Please note here there is no pain involved with this procedure and it is completely safe.

I had a little scare recently experiencing heart palpitations and tightening chest. Ended up in the local emergency room for a few hours having tests. I was discharged with a suggestion that it was a reflux condition not a heart problem. I followed up with my doctor who wanted more tests done to confirm. After several tests and a visit to the cardiac specialist I was asked to have a Cardiac MRI.  

Typical MRI Machine.

I had previously had an MRI for bursitis in my shoulder so I was prepared for it or so I thought. I was referred to St Vincents hospital in Darlinghurst which is a bit of a travel experience on its own. I drove in with the assumption there would be a car park attached. This is the case however it was full so try finding a car space near the centre of Oxford street in the middle of the working week, in a pandemic was a bit challenging. Around and around the tiny, often one way side streets saw me heading quickly into a panic. Finally I came across a private medical centre car park which seemed accessible. I drove in parked and headed for the exit. I did not really know where I was but as it turned out luck was with me as I was just a little way up the street from my destination.

So it’s a pandemic and I have to sign in, but of course there system is slightly different to the norm. My QR code was not recognised. Wait in line, sign the book and then fill out a 2 page questionnaire. Finally I am allowed to proceed to the department. Now to go through the admin procedure of forms to complete, cards and referrals to present, payment to be made. Nurse takes you to another room, takes your temperature, blood pressure etc. She asks you about your medical history and why are you there. Asks you to clarify what test you are having and then more questions. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging so naturally there are magnets at work here. Do you have any metal in your body? Maybe, I have a replacement knee but not sure if it is metal or plastic. I have dentures and not really sure if the holdings are metal. Are you claustrophobic? well not that I know of but I have not spent much time in small restricted areas, I guess not? Are you on any medications, thankfully one only. Hate to think if I had a multitude of pills to remember.

It is time to put on the dreaded gown and follow the nurse to a room where she tells you what is going to happen. We will lay you on this bed, strap your body down, put some padded bolsters around your body to hold you firmly. A devise is placed on your chest to be used to send radio wave signals where needed. In my case an intravenous line was inserted in my vein to allow a later injection of contrast material required to help with imaging. The last attachment was headphones. These are to dull the apparently irritating loud drilling sound the machine makes and also allows the technician to instruct you.I was given a push button to call if I needed to. The very pleasant nurse then explained I would slowly slide into the tunnel of the machine, I would hear someone speak through the earphones instructing when to hold my breath and when to breath. You are then told it is important to remain completely still. Please relax and it will only take about 40 minutes and I am just outside the door if you need me. Final step was to inject the die and we are ready to go. Every aspect was explained and every precaution taken considering the magnetisation capabilities of the machine. The nurse was very pleasant so there was no fear in going ahead.

I am good at breathing slowly and relaxing when having needles or tests so I took a deep breath, exhaled and closed my eyes. The first sensation I felt was the sides of the tunnel on my body, definitely smaller than I thought. Once I was in place I opened my eyes and was a little shocked to find the roof of the cylinder looming very close to my face. This I did not expect as previous MRI tunnel was a lot bigger. My arms which were by my side touched each side of the tunnel. The next surprising part was the breathing. it was explained a voice would be heard instructing me to breath in, breath out and then hold breath for about 10 seconds.That’s fine, no big deal I can do that. A very pleasant voice was heard through the head phones telling me when to start and stop. Then the drilling noise started, quite loud, quite scary at first. All good I was expecting it. What everyone omitted to say was that the breathing ritual would happen about 60 or more ( I lost count) times during the 40 minutes you are in the tube. There is no pain or discomfort. I was not scared at all but  continuously worried that I was not doing it correctly so each time it happened my concentration would increase and I tried harder to breath at exactly the right time etc. until I became exhausted. I had this unrealistic fear that at the end the voice would tell me I had to start all over again because I had not been doing it correctly. Finally, when I was beginning to doubt my capabilities I heard the assistants lovely voice saying all done we will bring you out now. 

It was such a relief to slide out and feel space around me once again. The nurse took of all the apparel off and kindly said you can sit up slowly and stand when you are ready.  I could not actually lift myself to a sitting position Either I was too tired or too relaxed from all that breathing and my body felt so heavy I had to ask for her help.Once up and moving I quickly returned to normal. The nurse had asked me prior to starting if had I had an MRI previously and I said yes. That was the wrong answer as it was a totally different experience to the previous one.

Reflection

Looking back on it now, It was interesting and slightly amusing adventure. A test one should not be frightened of but one that could be explained in a little more detail for someone who is even a just little anxious. I have inserted a link here to a youtube video which explains the procedure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-jj4KrmYPI

My results were excellent with no need for further investigation. Come back in 4 years. Sounds good to me.

Questioning how we Celebrate.

I want to pre-empt this ramble by saying that I, like most people enjoy the fact that traditional special days allow me the excuse to do something fun with people. I am sure my boss would not understand if I simply asked for a day off because I felt the need to celebrate. Public holidays give me a day off from work or house duties and other allocated days of celebration give me an excuse to eat more cake or to drink more wine. Often with the added pleasure of seeing my friends and families on these days. None of these are bad things and I am not about to advocate for the removal of any of these special occasions. Having said that I have never pushed heavily to celebrate these days because the reasons behind the allocation of these special days simply do not comply with my personal beliefs. Furthermore many of these events are so commercially driven that it makes me angry and disillusioned.

Birthdays

This should be the easiest to understand. We are born, we have no say in the matter, we have no control over how, when or why this occurs.The mother, in fact, is the hero on this day. She is the one is deserving, having spent many months carrying an extra load and doing all the preparatory work for us to enter the world. We then just pop out into the world after many months of complete loving protection. For for this hard work we get to celebrate one day a year for the next how ever many years we stay on this earth. Consider for roughly the next 20 years we still have no control over our lives, in fact it is our parents once again doing the hard yards in keeping us alive during this time. At this point in the discussion I think Mum and Dad should be having “The Birthday” celebration.

I will admit the next 20 years we may, and I emphasis may, earn the right to be recognised and the right to feel appreciated. These are the years some of the human race finally figure out that we have reached adulthood and maybe it is time to stand on our own two feet. We have to start making decisions for our futures. We have to work to cover our own finances, we get to choose how, when and what path we will go down. So the question here is, for this and the next 20 years should we be rewarded and congratulated every single year simply for living.

Now we get to 60 and this is when I do believe we should get to celebrate once a year or for that matter all the time. There are several reasons why. Firstly we got here, that is in itself a huge effort on our part so I feel we deserve some recognition at this point. Every year thereafter is a bonus also worthy of reward. Secondly we may have actually achieved something in our lives, good work ethic, great relationships, financial security. For those who have not had an easy ride up to now, they need to be made to feel hopeful that something good is around the corner. The third reason is if we have been lucky, we will now actually have the time and the finances to enjoy those celebrations we have already had 60 times over but have never necessarily appreciated or understood why we were being congratulated.

Public Holidays

In Australia the government allocates, at the very least, 9 public holidays to celebrate each year. All employers are responsible to pay their employees a full days wage if the public holiday falls on a work day. This of course is in addition to the other 30 odd days a year the employer pays for unworked time off. The employer receives no benefit, no compensation and no production on those days. This is a large cost for the business owner whether it be the government or private enterprise. Of course we as employees will all argue we deserve it. Well that is certainly an argument for another time. There are several reasons for these allocated days and one wonders the significance of these days in the modern world. Let us take a closer look.

  • 4 days are based on religion whether you are religious or not.Therefore many of us are allocated time off to celebrate something that means absolutely nothing to us and in fact it may be something we totally frown upon.
  • 1 day is based on the introduction in Australia of the 8 hour working day back in 1856. Not sure we need to continue to recognise this day 165 years later. I understand it was a major achievement back then but currently the push is for a 4 day working week so the 8 hour day will then be redundant or will we then change the reason for the day off.
  • 1 day is given for the Queens birthday. There are many historical reasons given for why we all are given a day off to celebrate this milestone many years ago. In reality how many people actually reflect on this event on the day allocated and how many people in this country actually support the monarchy.
  • 1 day is given on 1st of January each year was introduced by Caesar partly to honour Janus the Roman god of beginnings. I do find that hard to relate to in todays society. Actually I think we keep this day as it is required as a recovery day from the New Years Eve parties the night before. This makes much more sense to me.
  • 1 day is given to celebrate Australia. For many people, Australia Day is about celebrating the values, freedoms and pastimes of our country. It’s a time for BBQs in the backyard, having a beer with mates and proudly flying the flag. On the surface, Australia Day seems to be about unifying all Australians, and yet ironically, it’s a divisive day for a growing number of people.The controversy of this day is increasing year by year and I wonder how beneficial it is in this modern society.
  • 1 day is given to commemorate the landing at Anzac Cove and is a mark of respect for those who served and sacrificed their lives in the Great War. This is the only one which I feel is warranted as the act of war changes our lives permanently. Many people who live in todays modern world have not experienced or witnessed the atrocities of war. Remembering is what helps us avoid further wars or at the very least reminds us to be prepared for possible controversy which will likely result in war.

The basic fundamental aim of celebration of public holidays is to unite people and to create peace in the world. I question if that is what we are achieving when we celebrate those listed above.

Mothers Day/Fathers Day

Always something I have disagreed with. These and the many other days of recognition are ridiculous in my mind.

Society pressures us to recognise, congratulate and glorify the roles which we ourselves choose to take. I am a mother because I chose to be. I do not agree that the world should celebrate that decision. I believe it is much more meaningful to receive a bunch of flowers or a thank you out of the blue, not when society tells my children that is what they should. How much actual love and thought is put into these days. How much sadness is caused to those who have lost that special person in their life, how much anger when someone is told to honour someone who is not worth honouring. How many memories, some good and some horribly bad are resurrected on these days. I know some people will argue with me on this note and thats fine too but I do not like the abundant commercialism that comes with these declared celebrations or special days.

The dictionary word celebrate means “acknowledge with a social gathering or enjoyable activity” We could do this any day or any time without prompting if we just thought about others before ourselves a little more often than we currently do. I apologise if this post is a little cynical, something that is creeping in as I get older and less tolerant.

Reflections

We would certainly feel lonely and isolated without having planned celebrations and I suppose that is the good side of these accepted traditional days. Special occasions are a reason to connect with others and to feel a part of society. It is often all we need to restore some happiness in a life that is full of sadness or lacks motivation. My preference though is for a little more spontaneity. I have to say I always find the most fun times to be those that are are unexpected. I welcome your comments.

The Pandemic 2020

From My Diary

31st March 2020 I wrote the following words in my diary.

I woke early this morning, just a little worried as things are so uncertain but trying to stay positive. We will get past this with a little patience. The virus is spreading rapidly throughout the world. The government is trying financially to help the many people now out of work, the small business’ that have now closed. The associated mental health problems of isolation and the vulnerability of those in dangerous or difficult situations.Its a tall ask. We have to pull our weight and do what is asked of us. Unfortunately many people are being reckless and putting us all at risk.

Today I visited with our eldest daughter. She suffers from ill health so we are trying to keep her locked down as much as possible as her immunity is quite low. This results in extreme loneliness and fear of the future. My youngest helped out by getting her groceries and dropping them at the door. We all enjoyed  a nice chat even though we were all separated by a screen door. We all need each other at the moment. We are not in total lockdown yet but I feel it is very close. 

Changing to something more positive we have been trying to get back into our walking daily and have managed a couple of days of neighbourhood walks and then one afternoon went for a stroll around Wentworth Falls Lake. Certainly a substantial walk if you do the whole round trip. The weather being mild helped us cover the distance. Some is bush track and other parts are on local roads. The whole walk was long but easy. It cleared the head and strengthened the heart so that’s a good thing for all. It has been raining on and off quite frequently in the last week.  so we have been restricted to the house. Of course the garden needs the rain and we have the pleasure of wondering through the yard so we should not complain but it is a little restricting when activity is at a minimum at the moment. Let us hope we are back to normal living soon.  

Reflection

One thing I have relied on heavily during this time is social media. More me it was Facebook which i personally thought was a good thing prior to the pandemic. In this environment I think it has helped in many ways.There are those who, in the past, have scoffed and said it was a trivial pastime. I will agree it can be trivial and it can be negative, however in this time of social isolation it is interesting to note some of those people who ridiculed previously, are now joining the many many people reaching out for something to pass the time. What I enjoy is the tiny snippets of peoples day to day living, the vast amount of jokes or silly games. The sharing of photo’s, poems, conversations and stories that come from many different walks of life. It is vital at this stage to stay in touch with the world and it is also vital to not let the negativities push you down. 

Around the lake at Wentworth Falls

4th September 2021 – 17 months later the following words were written.

Another of our monthly weekend visits to Wiruna (Ilford) passing without attendance. Cases are averaging 1400 a day now and daily deaths have increased. A small number of people  constantly flouting the rules and keeping us in this situation.The rush is on to get NSW vaccination uptake to 70% double dose. This is when some restrictions will be lifted. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to take up the vaccination. In a democratic society  it  is each  individual persons rite to say yes or no. I can understand that and readily accept that. What I cannot accept is those people who are freely moving around not wearing masks, not keeping distances, travelling where they should not be. The majority of the people dying each day are  not fully vaccinated. The number of people who are sick with Covid is high but the majority are now are managing the virus and this tells us that the vaccine is working. I am not naive and realise that some will die even if fully vaccinated. The idea is to help as many as possible. Thats the best we can do.

We all understand the vaccine will not eliminate Covid but it will help minimise the effects of it. We all know that even when the vaccine rates are high it will not solve the problem but if it eases the problem then it is worth the effort.The world is tired of isolation. People need to interact with others, We all need to work and we all need to feel we are worth something.There is so much  blame being thrown around but we all need to understand it is no one person at fault. This is particular virus is new to all of us, mistakes will be made and we will all learn from them. Everyone, whether it be World Health Organisation, an individual  governments or the  Doctors, and specialists are trying to solve this situation the best they can. Having to deal with disrespectful individuals, hounding reporters and changing scenarios just makes it that much harder.  I wish people were more considerate.

Reflections once again

It is amazing we are still here after so much time of confusion and restriction. We have managed ok and I think we have learned a few lessons. I have had many conversations with friends about what we have all missed out on but more importantly what we have gained. I feel we have learnt the value and the necessity of staying in touch with family and or friends. We have learned we can do things differently with just a little thought and rearranging. I for one have seen the beauty of my surroundings and have discovered simple ways to pass the time. Lets hope I am not adding another virus related story to my diary in the future.

USA Trip 2017-Part one.

Nevada, Utah and Arizona

This was a trip Ken and I took just after we sold our business and moved to our current house. We had visited the USA back in 1997 with our youngest daughter. This trip exhausted our budget and with a retail business it would be another 10 years before we could afford our next trip. We decided this time to spend more time in the midwest while encompassing the eclipse of the sun in Casper Wyoming.

There are a lot of places we visited which are not listed on this map as google would not allow me. I am sure you get the picture. It was a big trip and for the purpose of this blog I will only give the highlights and I will do it over a series of blogs. I have to say at this point, our accommodation was varied, mainly 3 or 4 star motels. Rooms were always clean and staff pleasant on all occasions. Some were beautiful laid out and others standard. Food was plentiful and of reasonably good standard. Car travel around the West and Midwest of USA is easy. Roads are all fantastic. So we begin our journey.

We flew into Los Angeles and moved quickly onto Las Vegas where we stayed at New York New York Hotel. We had been to Las Vegas before so it had lost the wow factor that you experience on your first visit. It is however worth the trip as the hotels are unique, opulent, entertaining and nothing like you will see elsewhere. Our main aim in Las Vegas this time was to see the Hoover Dam and the outskirts of Las Vegas. We were not disappointed, We did a tour of the power station and then walked over the bridge.The whole experience was very informative and interesting. Photos do it little justice. We then travelled through some absolutely stunning countryside via Moapa Valley, Red Canyon and Dixie National Forest to reach Bryce Canyon. Again this was somewhere we had briefly visited before. At the time it was snowing and was stunning to see the red rock against the white snow. We were really looking forward to seeing it without snow coverage. We were ecstatic as it is a breathtaking place in any season. We spent many hours walking above and down into the vast array of red pinnacles jutting up from the earth with the green of the trees giving a stark contrast. We highly recommend a visit to Bryce Canyon. Proceeded on through Kaibab National Forest,a serene drive with a corridor of continuous rows of dark green pine trees to our next stop the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Having previously visited Grand Canyon and all its enormity we were intrigued as to what this aspect would offer. No disappointment here. The first views from Bright Angel point right through to Point Imperial, the highest point of the Grand Canyon were all spectacular with all of the walks being easy and rewarding.

From there we made our way to Page via the Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Highway, Marble Canyon. On this drive even though the cliffs are distant it is stunning to see the depth of colour changing before your eyes with the sun and clouds creating a beautiful serene drive through the valley. At Marble Canyon we stopped at the historical Navajo Bridge. This bridge was opened in 1929 and at that time it was the highest steel arch bridge in the world. Progress saw the need for a second bridge with the first then becoming a foot bridge. The purpose and construction is well documented in the local museum. The view of the stunning jade blue of the free flowing Colorado river below is worth the walk across the bridge. Near to our destination we made a stop at Horseshoe Bend Overlook. A small sandy hill starts the flat rock hardened trail to the edge of the cliff face. There were no guard rails or safety barriers around the rim which proved a little scary in places. The drop down is 1000 feet and there have been several deaths reported. I do understand from Google that there is a fenced viewing area now. It is a picturesque place and worth the effort. We are now on the last leg of this part of the trip. We stayed at Page for a couple of nights, there is many places surrounding and it is quite an established vacation town. Our first visit was to check out the town and Lake Powell itself. The Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado river is 220m high and was built from 1956-1966 by US Bureau of Reclamation. Lake Powell is considered one of the largest man made reservoirs in the U.S.Its impact on the Grand Canyon and other ecological changes has been much debated over the years. That afternoon we had Antelope Canyon was on the agenda. It is a protected by the Navajo Parks and recreation and only authorised tours can be arranged. Navajo Indians are the tour guides. Tour begins on an open air 4 wheel drive tour truck for a bumpy 20 minute journey to the canyon.The guide then walks the party through the slot canyons pointing out favourable photography spots and giving a running commentary on how the canyons developed. The light streaming in through small crevices in the ceiling creates a magical atmosphere. Once through the 800 metres of spectacularly formed walls of varying contours swirling in and out and around, you finally emerge to the outside surrounds with a picturesque resting spot.I understand in todays tours a further walk is given around the canyon to the exit. We however returned to walk back through this wonderful natural phenomena. Last but by no means least for this part of the journey was a visit to a lesser know area at Big Water visitor centre about 20 minutes north of Page. The centre is one of 4 in the Grand Staircase Escalante national monument. This particular centre focus’ on the early geologic and paleontological discoveries within the area.It was well presented, knowledgeable staff and good exhibitions. Interesting as it was what we were looking for was directions to see the Toadstool Hodoos trailhead. With directions in hand we headed off to see what we could find. The trail which could be easily missed starts a short drive further along Highway 89. It is a flat walk following a small river-let winding in and out. Eventually we get to the Hoodoos. Quite a surprising scene opens up before us. The Hoodoos are formed by Dakato Sandstone boulders sitting on Entrada sandstone pedestals. Over millions of years the softer Entrada sandstone is eroded away leaving a boulder sitting on top resembling a mushroom. Each one is unique in its form. The area surrounding has varying colours, primarily large white cavernous rocks dotted with red toadstools. It is an absolute secret gem not to be missed. Best visited early morning or late afternoon to avoid visitors and the heat. You will see these formations in other area’s of Utah but this particular trail has a good concentration of them and felt isolated and untouched when we visited.

Every place we have visited so far has been spectacular in its own special way. I hope you enjoy the gallery of photos below.Most of these were taken by Ken as he is able to catch the beauty much better than I can.

This is where I will take a pause until the next blog as the next destination was Monument Valley and then Mesa Verde which were both highlights of this trip.

Please feel free to ask any questions or make comments. Feedback is always good. Thank you for reading.

Is anyone every ready to retire?

I wrote these words on 10th December 2014 and filed them away in my laptop. I was obviously contemplating some major moves we were making toward retirement. They are just one hour of one day in my life. For a moment I was sad when I read the words from 5 years ago. Problems and fears will always be there I think the trick is not to dwell too much. Life is constantly throwing us curve balls and most of which we navigate and continue on.

Today I sit in a cafe.The tears roll down my cheek and I brush them away. It is 2014 and I am 62yrs old. Still young enough to have many fun times and many life events. I have never been one to reflect on life whether it be the past, the present or the future. I have never been one to question where or why. I usually accept and move on but this week I have been sad. Nothing is different in my life right now, but I find myself questioning everything. I am trying to look at the positive things I have. I have a great husband, we have a successful business, we have two daughters whom we love dearly.We have our own business with fantastic staff working for us and we are selling our home and building a brand new one. We’re hoping to retire soon and hope to travel and to enjoy our years in a peaceful and serene setting. Then why am I questioning and why am I not happy?

Too many questions. I have never been afraid of being on my own, always thought I would cope with whatever life throws at me, but I have to say the simple things I wanted are slipping away and I have no control over them. I cannot stop ageing, I cannot guarantee good health. I am worried my husband will get sick. My eldest daughter is quite ill and I cannot see an end to it. I have no real knowledge of how my younger daughter is and I can only assume and hope with all my heart she is happy. I am worried if we die, what will happen to both of my daughters. Will they drift further apart, will they support each other. Of course finances are always of concern. Will our new home be what we want, will we be able to travel. Will we be able to sell our business. Will we live long enough to enjoy this new home. Will we be able to afford to do the things we have worked so hard for. Will we have enough money to fulfil our dream of travel to other countries and to explore Australia. I want to try new things and have adventures.
My visions of my ageing life were not like this. I thought we would have healthy children who would be happily married and would have their own children. I envisioned my husband and I being grandparents with lots of beautiful babies to look after. I dreamed of fun holidays, fun Xmas days filled with happiness, laughter, stupid jokes and lots of memories. There would be leisurely lunches with my husband. Dinner parties with my family and friends. Lots of great activities with my anticipated grandchildren. As the years quickly pass by I realise what I want is not always what one gets. I need to accept this and move forward.

My visions have to change. Some of these things i cannot have. This should be just another hurdle to jump. Why is it so hard this time. Am I running out of time. The tears continue until I realise I am the only one who can change what I am feeling.
I am questioning what was meant for me in this life. I am questioning what I have achieved if anything. I know my friends would say the normal moral boosting statements. You are a lovely person, you have great kids and a successful business. You have travelled and have some great friends. You have a nice home and you are about to retire. Yes I agree with those comments and I am grateful for these things, so why am I feeling useless and out of control. I don’t want to be grateful the bloody sun is shining or I am healthy or I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I want to feel like I have achieved something, I want to feel there is a reason I am here. I want to feel alive. I do not want to just exist waiting for the next hurdle and sighing when it’s done.

The writing finishes here and knowing me I would have proceeded with the day and put the thoughts aside for another time. It is interesting to read this now and know that most of my fears and sadness were momentary and were normal. It all passed and there was no ill affects and more importantly it did not kill me. I lived for another drama and more changes.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

So the question are we ever ready to retire is, No. Are we ever ready for any changes in our life, No. What I have learnt over the years is accepting change is easier than we think. The drama of change comes with our own negativity. Once we process the idea and accept the idea clarity is found and the drama becomes normality.

What will I do when I retire?

Trying out new things as we age.

When I was a child I started playing netball and softball. My sister and I also loved to make up disco style dance routines in our very early teens. I believe that from your teenage years through to early adulthood you find your way by trying different things, joining varying activities, sewing the wild oats as we used to say. I expect this is the time that short term interests of which some become long term loves that we continue to do for many years. This was certainly the case for my husband who had a passion for astronomy which has never diminished to this day. My story is a little different. I expect marrying so young took me down a path of responsibility and commitment and I recall my concentration was on my work and my learning how to be part of a relationship. I did retain the sporting bug and continued to play and coach both netball and softball in a minor way. My husband had a couple of casual jobs on top of his full time work. One of those was as a barman at the local rowing club. As he was working I would go to the club with his mum and dad and a few friends for a meal and stay after to listen to the band. A group of us would dance the night away to the latest hit parade. Ken was pretty happy about this arrangement as dancing was not his thing in any shape or form. I did eventually try my hand at some classes for swing, rock n roll and line dancing when it became popular. Another thing I tried in my late teens was making my own clothes. They were certainly not designer outfits but they were wearable and I did have relative success with different styles. It was never something that I was really excited about so the passion dwindled quickly. In my early adult years ie the 1970’s new things to do came about by word of mouth or seeing something in a magazine or on the television. There was always the logistics to consider as I did not drive and we had very little money.Many things were considered but rarely eventuated. Then our first beautiful child came along and her hobbies and interests became mine. In the back of my mind I figured my interests could wait for a few years.Another curve ball and 13yrs later a second gorgeous baby graced our life. Family life would fill the next 20 years and finally reaching retirement I felt I needed to try my hand at something new. In the depths of my thoughts I worried I would end up a very bored person sitting in front of a television for years to come. I worried I would end up like my mother, lonely and idle for hours at a time.

We have to start somewhere.

My first venture was to foster my interest in being part of a team. My idea was that I would be active and I would meet new friends.  Of course at our age the body has some say in what activities we can do. My old interests of netball was quickly squashed and along with that some of my confidence. Tennis was an option but my small amount of experience in that area relegated it to the bottom of the pile. A sport I had watched on the Olympics many years earlier presented itself once again. Lawn Bowls became the focus. This would allow me to meet up with local people, to be part of a team and to be active. As it ticked all the boxes the challenge was how and where to start We had two bowls clubs very close to us. My fear around this whole venture was that I would become involved and spend the money on the appropriate gear and clothing and then discover I hated it or I did not feel the friendships were compatible. The Blue Mountains is vast but the villages or towns are small. It is hard to avoid people at the local shops so I was hesitant. We frequently had dinner at  the closest club and I learnt they only had a social  bowls team and I thought at the time I would prefer the challenge of competition if and when I learnt the skill.  I tried the second closest venue but the group of women involved did not immediately appeal to me. I ventured out a few suburbs and settled on a club around 20 minutes down the mountain. Now to the next step, contact and training. I had at this stage no idea whether I could do this or whether I would enjoy it or the even like the people involved. I had to force myself to contact them. There was always a thought in my head of my mother in the few years before she died. She had moved to a new area and was alone. She suffered from ill health and loneliness. She had always appeared to be a social person so I continually encouraged her to join a group or activity so she would have friends to call on if need be. She expressed how hard that was and I did dismiss this a little too quickly only realising now how wrong I was to do that. It is hard to just simply join something you have no confidence in. It does not come naturally to speak to strangers and it is certainly quite hard to learn new skills when you are in your sixties. After some procrastination I made the call. They booked me in for some training and the adventure started. I was told to come down on a certain day and they would introduce me to the group and allocate a trainer. I needed no gear or clothing at that stage, just a pair of joggers and comfortable clothing. I ventured down the first morning, nervous that I would be hopeless. I should not have feared as the women were lovely and the coach was tough but very friendly and very good at what she did. I practised and eventually joined into a game. It really is a great sport and covers a large age group. Some of the women were younger and others were 10 – 20 years older than I but they were fit and happy and social. One woman I learned to respect was 92 years old, she played bowls twice a week, golf 3 times a week, lived alone, and still drove herself everywhere. I aspired to be like her at 70 let alone 90. I remember a couple of years later this same lady sold her home and moved to be nearer to her sister. She had been in her home most of  her adult  life. She made this massive change on her own. She used her much loved Ipad, put her house on the market, sold it and then  bought another home in a completely new area. She organised the moving process. She then drove herself to her new destination in another state. A huge thing to do for anyone let alone someone in their 90’s. I admire her tenacity.  I have since left the club so I have no idea how she managed but I have every hope she settled into the new environment and I am sure she is still inspiring many others. I continued on with the bowls and was getting better at it when a knee operation eventuated. I have not gone back at this stage but I it is creeping back into my mind. It will happen and in the meantime new things have happened. More things I have tried in another blog for another day.

Reflection

We waste a good chunk of our lives pleasing others and  conforming to society. We put our own needs on hold for way too long. I am not naïve enough to deny that finance is often a barrier to what we want to do.  We have to work and this takes a huge amount of our time. We often have no choice in the type of job we have and often it controls our freedom. If I have learnt anything in my lifetime it is important to try to do something you like even if it is only for one hour a week. We must have fulfilment to enjoy life in general.  There is no rule to say we cannot have fun. There is no shame in trying and failing. You will never know if it is what you want if you are not brave enough to give it a go. It is not always easy but once done your sense of achievement is rewarded. We all cannot  be good at everything but how will we know what we are good at if do not take the chance to step outside our comfort zone. 

Comments welcome

What have you tried and how did it make you feel?

Health and its many issues

Mental Illness in this Millennium – a layman trying to work it out.

It was an ordinary morning in June 2021 that I woke remembering a snippet of a dream.A group of young adults sitting around having a discussion. One young lady placing her hand over her chest expressed with sadness that she was in pain and believed she must be suffering depression. Having been in close contact with several people who suffered from depression I jumped in questioning why she felt this.  When I awoke that’s all I remember about the dream but it started a thought process which I had touched on many times over the past 20 odd years.

How does one who has not experienced mental health issues possibly understand what mental illness is? The umbrella of mental illness is very large. It encompasses such a complex range of behaviours. There is a lot of information and misinformation available. There are doctors, psychologist, psychiatrist, councillors, educators all with tools to help but not always helpful. There are books, papers, lectures and blogs which can be helpful but can also be harmful.    

Mental illness has been highlighted in recent years with the hope of bringing awareness and acceptance for those who are suffering. A much needed fight to remove the stigma around being mentally ill. The assumption  that someone with mental illness should be locked away. The thoughts that mental illness rendered people as NOT normal, strange, shameful or scary is something to be obliterated completely. 

Awareness and education is a great thing  and should always be encouraged. The need for money to be allocated for intensive research should be supported. The need to bring back institutions to help those in dangerous or destructive or self abusive situations is absolutely essential.Mental illness is too often silent and must be given a voice.

Having said this I believe awareness has a downside. It can bring false assumptions,  self diagnosis, self medication. Awareness can give people information to abuse and to misuse. It can offer people a false sense of entitlement. In the hands of the inexperienced  it can result in the wrong diagnosis and consequently  the wrong and in fact detrimental treatment.

The dream I mentioned earlier is the catalyst for this following statement, “What I have observed more and more is a behaviour which concerns me. It is the harmful reaction of normalising the illness to the point of minimisation of the illness”

Real mental illness should never be considered as normal. Accepted, yes but not ignored or passed off as a phase. Untreated it is destructive, debilitating, and painful, it silently eats away and constantly manifests itself. It can destroy both the person who is suffering and the family and friends it encounters.  It not only effects behaviour but can also result in many complicated  medical conditions.

Mental illness cannot easily  be identified by a set of  definitive criteria. As I said previously the field is enormous and the unknown is huge.

I continue to write without any formal degrees. I do not claim any expertise in the area of mental illness. I have no training in this area.  These are my thoughts only based on my experience with mental illness. My personal experience was not of my own mental illness but of family members and what I heard and felt over a 25 year span.My experience probably differs from others so what worked or did not work for me and my loved ones may have the reverse effect on other situations. Therefore I will not be presumptuous and give advice to anyone else during these blogs. What I and others should do is to encourage everyone to seek professional help at all times.  And at first you do not get answers please try again, there is someone who will be the person for you.

What I believe we can do as ordinary untrained people is discuss mental illness as you would cancer, heart conditions, dementia or alzheimers, cancer, or any other medical condition. Think about someone you know who has suffered a heart attack. If you do not have a heart condition you would not pretend to know what they are going through. You would possibly ask questions, what happened and then let them give you detailed  description. You would listen without judgement or input, you would express concern and tell them to call if there is something you can do. We certainly do not minimise, heart attacks, we encourage people to seek the opinion of a doctor, to follow up on any signs or warnings. We tell them it is serious and not to dismiss it.  We offer to make appointments for them, to drive them, we offer our help. Basically we confirm to them they are worthy of help.Do we react the same if someone indicates they have BiPolar, Depression, Anxiety, or any of the many other conditions referred to as mental illness. Most likely we do not. We often retreat in fear. People who suffer from Mental Illness are very worthy of our help and their illness is certainly worth your time.

Another thing I believe we should try to do is to maximise our understanding of ourselves and what our feelings and what our behaviours are telling us. Read the basics and ask questions of those who know and have experience with mental illness.We should not make assumptions and we should be careful in our choice of words to describe how we are feeling.

A good example of understanding the basics that comes to mind is the term depression as opposed to feeling depressed. We all have those times when we don’t feel like talking or going to work. We  feel out of sorts or off beat, unable to verbalise our problem. We cannot be bothered and we may feel that we are depressed. The end result is we often experience tears, anger or avoidance.  Usually a change in routine, a good nights sleep, a holiday or simply a chat with a friend etc will pick us up and we are able to move on. If we took the time to think about what we are feeling at these times we would probably realise something triggered our thoughts. Maybe we were grieving, overtired, overwhelmed, scared or angry.  Once we understand what we feel we can  justify it, and therefore can react accordingly. We are feeling sad, we need to cry, we feel life is boring or annoying, we feel depressed.

When someone is suffering depression or chronic depression it is not the same thing. There is often not an immediate feeling. It is something that is just there. They are not necessarily in a bad situation or feeling sad, etc etc etc. It is not something that is easily explained. As described to me they are not there at that time, they are not able to self talk, motivate, explain or describe. They are surrounded by a black cloud. Nothing exists. I experienced this once for a mere day. I did not realise what I was experiencing at the time and still cannot explain the time it happened. After the time passed I certainly identified with what had been previously described to me and it shocked me to have completely lost control of myself at that time. From then I understood in a miniscule way the debilitation that comes with true depression.  To live like that for any length of time, days, weeks or months is unfathomable to the average person. For someone who goes in and out of depression for years on end it becomes normal and therefore minimised both by themselves and by those surrounding it. It is not a passing phase and can be undone by going shopping as some would say. It needs professional help by way of medications and psychological assistance. A few other examples to consider.

  • Feeling depressed vs. Depression or chronic Depression
  • Feeling anxious vs. Anxiety or Chronic Anxiety
  • Feeling indestructible or being a risk taker vs. having Bipolar
  • Dieting vs. Eating Disorder
  • Feeling sad and frightened vs. PTSD Post traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Being clean and tidy or fastidious vs. having OCD

I value others opinions and experiences so ask you to comment below if you wish.

Living Long Enough to Have Clarity

From my diary

I wrote the following thoughts in a notebook. I cannot recall anything significant on that day so I have no idea why I wrote it. It was in the first year of our retirement so possibly the first time in many years that I had time to reflect. These are just my thoughts and feelings at the time. Having just reread it I still feel the same. I do feel it has taken me a lifetime to be able to put this into words.

What is this feeling I have right now? (27/01/17)

It wasn’t something you bought on a whim; it was not a gift from someone else. You cared for it and protected it within yourself for many months wondering and marvelling and dreaming of the future to come.  I cannot speak for adoptive parents here as I am not one but I will take the liberty of saying I think the anticipation and desire for them would amount to the same feelings.

We go through  enormous and excruciating pain to let this little marvel join us in this very unpredictable world. Why do we do this, of course there are many reasons and I think the main reason is that we want something to cherish and to call our own. We all want something special in our lives. There is also a part of us that is selfish and  wants to show the world how clever we are. We want to prove to everyone that we can do it better. We want to produce another Einstein or Elvis. Ours will be the most attractive baby, they will walk and talk before our friends child did. They will excel in school and will be up standing pillars in our society. They will change the world.  After all I will do better than my parents did. I will be the perfect parent.Those thoughts we all have. They are real and they are selfish, but let me tell you how quickly that selfishness disappears.

Whether it is your first or your tenth child, or your newly adopted child the overwhelming changes you experience are hard to describe when you hold this parcel in your arms for the first time.

With large, deep inquiring eyes that look at you with wonderment, Eyes that have never seen you before but for some reason trust you implicitly. Your gut is on fire. Your heart is pumping with a feeling you have never had before. Your sense of achievement and fulfilment is indescribable. You are strong and you immediately become the protector, the mentor and the teacher. Your senses have just been manipulated by a little person with a brain 1/3rd of the size of your own, with a body, which will fit in a shoebox.You have just lost control because you are totally under their spell.

It is impossible to comprehend the size of the commitment you will now need to endure life in the future.  You thought you had huge responsibilities previously, to your partner, your parents, your career and to yourself but it is nothing compared to what lies ahead.

This is the first of many sleepless night you will have, but it is different to the ones to come.  This first night the feelings of joy and wonderment will be interrupted by thoughts of inadequacy, anxiety and fear.It will be overwhelming. A glimpse of what your future looks like is quickly haunting your every moment. Immediately you will want to map out their life right there and then. Your intentions will become clear. You will make sure they are healthy and safe. You will afford them every opportunity you possibly can. You will hope for great things for them. You will want their life to be without complication. You will want their life to be better than yours. You will be proud of them, revel in their happiness and enjoy their achievements. You will protect them at all costs.

Then the doubt will rear its ugly head and seep into your mind. So many questions you will ask yourself again and again.How do I do this, can I do this, am I strong enough, am I smart enough. What do I teach them, how do I raise them to be kind and considerate. How do I show them humility, how do I guide them and how do I know what is right for them.I do not understand myself, how on earth am I going to understand the needs of this child. Who put me in charge? What have I done?

Never fear mother nature is here. This negativity you feel can and will be overcome. Natural instinct will kick in. Our body and our mind both know what needs to be done.Self-talk, the first of many discussions you will have with yourself.  Self-doubt will always be there but if you allow it self-confidence will get you through.Somewhere from the depths of this brilliant body we have, there comes strength we did not know we had. Determination, commitment and dedication to their future starts right here and believe me that strength will be tested continuously in the years to come. It will not leave you until you die.This feeling is called LOVE and it is different to the love you have experienced before.

Those feelings you had when you first encountered this new acquisition to your life is love. Every time something is difficult in your life reflect on those first moments and then on every other beautiful moment your children will bring to you. There will be so many glorious, memorable, uplifting times you can reflect on.They are easy to recall as they multiply as the years go by. Every parent could fill a book with funny, awesome and gratifying moments their children have given them.  Remember them, treasure them. They are priceless.

What I am feeling is the love for my children. It is a special feeling for me alone and one I will keep forever.

Other than your family who or what has had an influence on your lifestyle or life choices?

I think for me it has been employment and the people who you spend a great deal of your life with on a daily basis. I do not recall any one person having a profound effect on me, but I do recall learning from many.

Work

Work commitment was discovered by me when I was first thrust into the workforce at aged 14. My first job was in a supermarket and it was really survival of the fittest. If you wanted to keep your job, you did whatever was asked of you. I had no formal training, no degrees, no experience. I had no time to think of what I wanted  or desired. At that time,  it was  Mum, my sister and I in a flat trying to pay the rent and eat. To keep my job, I learned everything I could to be able to excel and to become what I thought was necessary and that was to be indispensable. Later in life I would discover one is never indispensable as there is always someone available to step into your shoes very quickly. It  did serve me well in the beginning and a strong work ethic is still with me today.

Feminism

I think another major occurrence which influenced how I developed was definitely the 60’s liberation of women. Being 16 and married in 1968 was both remarkable and difficult.There were negative people in my life with doom and gloom predictions for my future. These comments tended to instil a rebellious attitude and a need to prove them all wrong. I believed  I had no choice but to think independently and to stand up for myself. I had the backing of a strong independent thinking male in my husband, so it was not hard for me to voice my opinion. I worked in an office situation in the early 70’s and the inequality of pay and workload was extreme.  Men were in positions of power, influence and control. Women had to be quite blunt to be accepted and unfortunately, we had to become like the men we often worked with if we wished to gain respect within our jobs. Therefore, I had to be arrogant, entitled, and forceful. Attributes I don’t necessary like but back then it was the only way I could find to show confidence in my ability. There were many men who accepted my independence and even encouraged it however there were twice as many who did not and who wielded their power relentlessly. I do personally believe during that time a lot of women lost some of their femininity and became emotionally vulnerable during this time and hence lost a little of themselves. It became all about the power instead of the real issues of equality. As women we could not show our anxieties or our insecurities. These would be considered as a weakness in the employment world. Sadly, this is still the case for many women in the workplace today and yet men in the modern world are encouraged to  show and discuss  their vulnerabilities openly.

Friends 

When I say friends, I am talking about those people with whom we have built strong relationships. There is a handful of which I count in this group these days. There of course are those that we thought were friends who are now not in our lives. What they have all taught me and how they have influenced me is wide and varied. Compassion, thoughtfulness, empathy, and the importance of conversation. They have taught me that it is ok to have different opinions, it is ok to have individual tastes in all things. It is not ok to judge too harshly especially without the facts.  It is important to work at life, by that I mean we get caught up in our own needs and forget that others have needs also. It Is wise to look to others for support. It is very  wise to listen as we all have so much to learn. I have learned to value friendships as many people pass through life with you, but true friends stay with you and support you no matter how your life changes.  As we age, we realise just how important they are. Friends differ to family as they are who you choose to be around. You have no say in who is your family, but  your friends are those people you want to be in your life. What I think about friendships in the environment in the modern world is that we need to work  little harder at maintaining our friendships. People have everything at their fingertips today. They travel more, they try new hobbies, they get preoccupied with work and life in general. It is easy to get so wrapped up in your own life that it is easier to forget the value of others.  When you become a senior your needs change considerably and you realise the absolute importance of friends.

In my case two of my dearest friends passed away over the last 12 months and I can honestly say I cannot explain it but felt both were more painful to me than the loss of family members.

How have particular family influenced your life/thoughts/actions?

The term influencer is thrown around a lot these days. It would appear the title of Influencer is given to one who has built a loyal following through their online content creation. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok are huge avenues in which one can market oneself. The internet has opened up the world and things are approached in a different way. As a member of the senior age group I thought I would answer some familiar questions asked when trying to evaluate ones life. Some questions are more intense than others so I will give each question its own blog.

Mother

When I think of my mother, my immediate feeling is not what I wanted it to me. I do not recall loving tender moments with her. Our life, which was her life, was full of sickness, unhappiness and survival. Nothing bad happened to me personally and I have no thoughts of blame for my mother. Her circumstances were pretty tough. She married young, had two children, she did not cope well with life in general. She divorced and married again. Second husband was an alcoholic and she had a third child to him who was very sick for many years.  Our lives were ordinary, financially a struggle, however we never went hungry and I do not recall any physical violence or abuse. It is funny but even though I did not  have loving thoughts of my mother on her death I do recall a huge and painful  loss. What I do recall is that she struggled through in difficult situations and she always  meant to do right by her children. I feel now as an older person that I have a better understanding of the depth of pain and suffering  people endure. Unbeknown to ourselves those close to us suffer in silence and others judge without knowledge. I understand the shallowness of our thinking  regarding things we know nothing about. I understand that we do not understand ourselves very well and to judge others on what you think you know is wrong. When I look at what I gained from her, I find she instilled in me  strength in the face of adversity, patience and determination. 

Father

The father whose genes I have is not well known to me. I was introduced to him in my late teens. He was a complicated, confused man who struggled until his death to understand himself let alone others. I do not believe I gained any attributes from him as he was not part of my day to day life.  He did however have a love of music and of the guitar.

Stepfather

This is the person I think of as my father. I do not have strong feelings here either. He served me well as a father figure in the fact that there was food on the table and he tried to do the right thing by us. He was an alcoholic whose priorities were survival. Hold onto the job and keep going seemed to be his motto. I do not remember any great achievements, any special moments. Definitely nothing to which I aspired. I do remember he also loved music as did my biological father. Maybe this is what I gained from both father figures. I do love the freedom music brings and have always loved to dance.

Sister 

I have loving thoughts of my sister but we are not close as our lives were chaotic throughout our childhood times. Our parents’ sadness influenced our happiness. My sister rebelled where I just plodded along without questioning. We spent our early teens together to some extent and I have some fond memories of this. My life changed dramatically at aged 16 when I met my current husband. My sister and I then continued down roads where we would not have the opportunity to develop strong life long bonds. Without having strong role models in our parents it was easy to be influenced by the people we met from then on. My sister survived some extreme challenges in her everyday living and as I moved along with my life I was quick to criticise her behaviour. I am older now and have experienced my own challenges. I now  know that I judged easily but I did not walk in her shoes. I guess she influenced the way I think now which I hope is to be a little less judgemental.

Brother

I have loving and sad thoughts about my younger brother. He was sick as a child and I spent many hours with him which makes me very sad that I am not a strong part of his life now. Again family chaos, divorces, separations destroyed what could have been. He moved away from him when he was only 7yrs old. We met again much later in our lives. I have feelings for him and we casually stay in touch, the bond we should have is not there. He fought to stay alive in his early years and I think watching him go through that helped me to build resilience and compassion.

Husband

This man is the strongest, most stable, most influential person in my life and yet he has a vulnerability about him that only few would see. He has taught me values, commitment, love, laughter, loyalty and humility. Having been together from such a young age there was a strong need on my part for acceptance and stability. Both he and his family gave me that without question and under difficult circumstances. Together with the strength I had gained from my childhood and the protection and space he gave me to be able to grow and learn I was able to continue my life with a more positive attitude. He is also the most honest person I know who will not break the rules or the laws. I would like to think I was always an honest person but he has certainly cemented that trait in me.

Eldest Daughter  

She has taught me that nothing is as it seems. She has taught me that we can physically and mentally endure much more than we think. She has taught me that the mind is a powerful, scary and a  potent part of our lives. I have discovered that the love of a child is different to the love of a husband. They are equally as strong and as vulnerable as the other but they present as a slightly different form. The influence she has had on me is to open my eyes to others more and to value my health more.

Youngest Daughter

She has taught me to question things. She has taught me that it is important to understand and learn about what you stand for. To stay strong in your beliefs and to think outside the box. She has proved that having commitment and conviction results in brilliance. She has taught me that love is not always on show to the outside world but that does not mean it is not there.Together with her husband they have taught me to chill, to be a quiet achiever, and to see there is strength in silence. She is teaching me constantly.

Reflection

Wow, it is quite empowering to write this. To actually think about these influences in your life. I think it helps to make you realise a little more about yourself. It helps you realise how you have become the person you are today.