Sometimes things do happen for a reason…

7 Mar

Why is change so hard for so many of us? And I put myself squarely in that category. We hang on to things for longer than we probably should. And stay with them because its easy. Your job, your car, your possessions…like the first tape deck I bought as a little kid with my pocket money which I’ve only just removed from the back cupboard to a pile for the… Op shop? But that’s unfair because no one wants a tape deck so probably off to the rubbish tip. Like my car…

I’d had it for 15 years and even though it was in fantastic condition with only 74,000km on the clock, it had no safety features…one air bag, no abs brakes, bucket seats with no padding and a… tape deck. There seems to be a recurring theme here. It was time to go. But it took someone (well two cars actually) ramming into the back of me and the car being written off for me to finally part with it.

But change is hard. It’s easier to keep the car rather than the hassle of getting it road worthy and advertising it and having people test drive it. It’s easier to shove the tape deck in the back room and close the cupboard door on it telling yourself you can’t part with it because of the memories.

It’s easier to keep the job that you love, stay because of the friendships you’ve made, remain with the company you’ve become attached to. Even though if you really stop and think about it you’d rather not work 12 hours a day and on weekends, rather not have to deal with the office politics, or stress about what’s happening even when you’re on holidays. You can convince yourself that’s what you get paid to do and you stay because it’s easy. And I would have stayed until I retired because yes I loved it…and I hate change.

I have often wondered since the big redundancy whether being there for 17 years, and having accumulated too much on the budget line, was the sole reason for being included amongst the redundancies. For many months I obsessed over the reasons why I was one of the unlucky ones. Why I was a number instead of a human being. Then someone crashed into my car and that was unlucky too. But maybe it wasn’t, maybe they weren’t.

To go back 6 months though I underwent a whole range of emotions related to that change. Heartbreak at the severing of my ‘life’ that was my career, anger that it had happened to me, a sense of loss, fear that caused anxiety attacks, numbness…depression. And while I still feel angry and hurt there is growth from change. I did the same thing managing a design studio for 17 years. I was pushed and challenged and loved my job. And was stressed and worked incredibly long hours and paid for it with my health. But I wouldn’t have left of my own accord no matter how many negatives. Because the positives outweighed them…didn’t they? But in the end it didn’t matter because change was forced on me.

At the time many said to me ‘things happen for a reason’ and whilst I took it in the spirit it was intended, with kindness and love, I didn’t really believe it. But wind the clock forward again and I do believe it. Maybe change, forced or chosen, can be a good thing because it challenges you. My back injury is better than it has ever been due to active rehabilitation, I have run more kimometers than I ever imagined I could including as part of a 1000km relay team, I have qualified as a Cert 3 Fitness Instructor and will soon have my Cert 4 in Personal Training. I am fitter and stronger and healthier than I have ever been in my life and I am free to look at a new career. In an industry that I have always been passionate about but never had the courage to do anything about because I thought all my skills were in advertising and design. Change was forced upon me…and now I wish it had happened 10 years ago. Maybe things do happen for a reason after all.

Thank you KG for that chat all those months ago and your enthusiasm and belief that started me on that road to change.

Surprise Treasure

2 Jul

Last weekend as I was lazily cleaning up odd and ends around the house in my quest to keep the local op shops in business I came across a bag of old books that my mum had saved for me. Several years ago now, before my dad died, he gave to me a number of his old books. Most just have sentimental value as we enjoyed the same sort of reading… classics, poetry, philosophy, art. A few are of antique vintage I guess having been printed in the late 1800′s, bound in leather, and take pride of place on my bookshelves. But this bag of books I came across were books that had been dad’s but mum only found when she was moving recently. Rather than throw them out she gave them to me and I hadn’t gotten around to sorting through them. And when I opened the bag I wasn’t surprised to find that most of them were old cheap editions of poetry. Except one. It’s a large old volume of poetry – The Oxford Book of English Verse. There’s been many editions since and I think I even have a more recent paperback edition. This edition was printed in 1949 and given to my dad in 1952 by his ‘friend’. I know this because the book contained several items that are so much more valuable than any of the books that dad has given me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first was a docket, hand written, for a suit that dad must have bought in 1952. It was from John Peel Men’s & Boy’s Wear in Swanston Street, Melbourne, for the grand sum of £6/15sh for a 13 Striped N/X/X. Maybe it was a shirt, maybe it was a suit. For £6/15sh I hope it was a suit. But I’ll never know what is was he bought, except that I am sure it would have been the latest fashion.

The second was a hand written card and the words ‘…sincere wishes that 1952 makes my dreams your realities’. There’s more to the message than that but in respect of those involved (and no, mysteriously it wasn’t my mum) I’ll leave it at that. But it made me smile at the romance of it all. I have a picture of her, and I know their history, but those words made me wonder at what might have been and wonder what happened.

And lastly was my dad’s business card. Without having him to ask I assume it was his first business card. He would have been 26 years old and by then a fully qualified women’s fashion designer. The address is St Kilda Street. I’m not even sure if that’s what is now known as St Kilda Road but I assume it is. And I can only imagine how he felt with that business card. I’ve never seen it before and I didn’t even know he had one announcing his status as ‘fashion designer’ but I’m excited just looking at it and imagining how he felt. But that’s more about the title than any other information and perhaps I’m reflecting the pride I feel myself. Because he later changed his name to Peter John so eventually there would have been mixed feelings about it for him. He did keep it though as a bookmark all these years and I know that he had read this book more recently because some of the bookmarks were recent scraps of paper. So it leaves me wondering what he felt, or was it just a bookmark in the end to mark page 530? And which poem was he marking? ‘Will He No Come Back Again’? ‘Written at an Inn at Henley’ or ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’? I have read all the poems marked and frustratingly I can’t pick which it was that caught his interest on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s interesting what you find when you are least expecting it. For me, on the weekend, I was simply tidying up and I came across a treasure trove in that single volume of English poems that have set my imagination alight for what was and for what I will never know but for what kindles a small flame of curiosity, and strangely happiness, about my dad’s secrets.

Seriously…

10 May

I have had an… IDEA

For Anzac Day

26 Apr

This is one of my favourite poems so what better time to post it than for Anzac Day yesterday.

Beach Burial by Kenneth Slessor, an Australian war correspondent. He wrote this at El Alamein during the second world war.

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs
The convoys of dead sailors come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.

Between the sob and clubbing of gunfire
Someone, it seems, has time for this,
To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows
And tread the sand upon their nakedness;

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,
Bears the last signature of men,
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,
The words choke as they begin -

‘Unknown seaman’ – the ghostly pencil
Wavers and fades, the purple drips,
The breath of wet season has washed their inscriptions
As blue as drowned men’s lips,

Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as enemies they fought,
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,
Enlisted on the other front.

Spam

25 Apr

I have just spent a week contemplating what I would do with this blog. I had forgotten my password and every time I requested a reset I got nothing. It fair did my head in thinking I must have set up another email account somewhere in the world and couldn’t remember doing it. I didn’t even want to contemplate starting another blog. But apparently Optusnet treats Word Press emails as spam! And there they all were, one after the other lined up waiting to be actioned in the spam folder which I don’t even see in my email client, only in webmail. So, the good news is my blog isn’t defunct and now I can get to posting those million and one posts I wanted to write during the week when I couldn’t access my blog.

Except now I can’t think of a single thing that had been going round my head.

Penguins, Polar Bears and Poop

27 Jul

Yesterday we discovered some very interesting facts about polar bears. Like males can weight up to 650kg, they have 42 teeth including large incisors that can lock on to their prey, they have no natural predators, their skin is black, their fur hairs are transparent and despite their ability to kill a man if they wanted to they are really, really cute. Just magnificent creatures really. We were lucky enough to see one up close and personal playing with his yellow toy (which he overwhelmed and captured) and where he was lumbering on the snow, he was graceful and agile in the water.

It was the little black and white chaps that amused me though. They clamoured near us in groups and were much taller (Emporer Penguins) than I imagined. They really looked like stuffed toys that waddled stiffly, wings outstretched,  across the ice.

But in the end it was the lady sitting in front of us that got the most laughs for the day. Watching the dolphins, minding her own business, she let out a shriek when a large poop came dropping from the sky all over her head and legs. They say that being pooped on by a bird is good luck so if that’s true then going by the amount of  poop that dropped on her she’s going to have a LOT of luck. Who knew a seagull had that much poop in them!

 

Mobile Magnet

17 Jul

I love all technology. I embrace new electronic gadgets with a passion. And I love that I am living in an age where I get to see and experience new technologies constantly. I know new things have been created constantly throughout the ages, it’s how we progress and evolve. But somehow I don’t think I would have been as excited by the agricultural age in the same way I am by the technological age. After all, I couldn’t have put a plough in my pocket and taken it out and about with me.

There is one item though that I have become a little concerned about lately. I have taken to keeping bobby pins in my coat pocket. You never know when a breeze will blow up and they will be required. I’ve noticed though that every time I put my mobile phone in my pocket and get it out there are numerous bobby pins magnetised to it, stuck out at all angles. I know they’re just bobby pins. It’s not like a giant lump of metal being drawn to the phone. It’s not pulling me off course as I get about or anything. And it hasn’t pinned me to the side of a car as I walk past. But, surely that’s not great up against my head.

So until proven otherwise I have decided that my phone and I will now have a relationship at arms length. I know it feels like a break up but it’s me, not you. You are much better sitting in my pocket, removed for email and sms’ing. My brain thanks you for your understanding.

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