Gaining Perspective

9 09 2012

I’ve been feeling fragmented lately.  Things just don’t seem to fit together well anymore.  2012 has been a year of change and reassessment of priorities and relationships.  Grief does that.  It brings a new perspective on life.  It also makes time pass slowly – days seem like weeks, hours seem like days, and minutes seem like hours.  Grief forces you to live in the ‘now’ because the past is painful and doesn’t exist anymore, and it is all too apparent that the future may never come.  I’ve been reflecting on my life. Less than a year ago, Beth died suddenly, aged 64.  I’m faithfully putting money into my superannuation scheme so that when I finally retire at 65, I’ll have enough money to eke out a living and do some things that I’d LIKE to do instead of what I HAVE to do.

I’ve got twenty years of my working life ahead of me.  I started to think…  Do I want to be spending  my life this way?  Is this really what I want to do?  Could I really do this kind of work for another twenty years?  Can I really tolerate ‘cublicle land’ for that long?  Do I want to spend two hours a day commuting through traffic?  Could I be doing something else?  What do I want to do?  What if I don’t make it to 65 either?  Would I be content that I’d spent all this time doing something I don’t really care about?  

Sure, I’ll be able to take a trip when I retire but why am I working so hard now for something that might never happen?   Urgghhh.

When those BIG questions in life start rolling around inside, they gather momentum and before you know it, everything is being questioned.  Nothing remains safe – every rock will be looked under, every cobweb blown out in the quest to rearrange, restructure, revitalise.

I needed a new perspective.  I felt like I was looking too closely at things and needed a bigger picture.  About a month ago, just before midday on a Friday I heard a helicopter zoom over my city office and knew instantly that a flight in a chopper was something I needed to do.  I don’t like flying and have been trying to work through the reasons why, so that I can take trips without being totally anxious.  I decided a helicopter flight would help me gain some perspective on life, conquer my fears or just scare some sense into me!!!  I booked for us to go for a Saturday morning flight over the city to the coast and back.  

It was fantastic.  I’ve lived in this city for over 30 years and could pick out roads, parks, sporting fields, buildings.  It was all so familiar but looked so different. It was just what I needed.  Sweeping views of the Swan River, the city foreshore, the port and coastline.  I loved being high above it all looking down and caught in a perspex bubble.  It was a perfect day and I didn’t know it then, but it started the ball rolling.  I flew without issue and realised I needed to make some big changes.  Life would be different from now on.  Life would be for living, for enjoying.  Now and in the future.

Perth city | Langley Park Foreshore | heading east


Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

28 08 2012

Fruit stall – Melbourne, Australia.

A trip to Melbourne gave us the opportunity to wander through a different city and even enjoy the ‘mundane’ parts of life.   I enjoy the fact that I slow down enough to notice things.  This fruit vendor was all set up for sidewalk trading, opposite the Melbourne Town Hall on Swanston Street.  It’s funny; when I saw it, all I could think about was action movies that featured car chases through a city.  They inevitably ran into a fruit stand at some point, spraying oranges across the intersection while the bad guys got away.  Nothing much happened here.  We carried on walking and went to China town for dim sum.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

21 07 2012

This week we’re challenged to look Inside.  Whilst in Melbourne, we visited the La Trobe Reading Room inside the State Library of Victoria.  It is a magnificent room and a spectactular heritage space.  The octagonal walls are lined with books and three levels of balconies rise up towards the restored dome ceiling.

La Trobe Reading Room: State Library of Victoria.

I love libraries and this one was fantastic.  As you enter through double doors there is a busy silence. People are studying and reading – you can almost feel them thinking.  The desks are custom built from Queensland oak and radiate out from the centre of the room.  The top is lined with leather and rests on your chosen angle.  I settled into a chair and looked around, wishing I was more than a passing tourist.  We took time to explore inside and visited the various galleries on each floor as well as Mr Tulk’s cafe.  It was a delightful and serendipitous day, a real treat to find and one I’d love to visit again.

Here are some more interpretations of “Inside”:

Alice through the Macro Lens

Beyond the Brush

The Journey is the Destination

Share Your World – 31

9 07 2012

Here’s another week of Share Your World from Cee.  Here are her questions for this week.

1. Do you plan things out usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)
A bit of both.  I like to make plans when travelling but also leave some room to get distracted or take more time with something.  I have a lot of things scheduled in my working week like meetings and deadlines so I like to block out some “open” time on the weekend when I can be spontaneous.

2. If you could live in any OTHER time, when would it be and why?
It would be interesting to hang around in Galilee in about 29AD to see if I could find out more about the one who is being called the Son of God. I bet he doesn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes.

3. Do you prefer reading short stories or novels?
I prefer a longer story or series so that I can get more involved with the subject or character or plot. Ideally, I prefer to listen to a story than read it, whatever length.

4. As a kid was there any kind of candy that you didn’t like to get?
White chocolate and I still don’t like it!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement

7 07 2012

The Camphor Laurel has a warm and pleasant aroma that works its way into your senses without even asking.  I spent a while watching a block of wood spin ferociously on the lathe and gradually become a candlestick.  Layers of the moist and soft wood were pared and stripped away with different tools and different pressure, until it revealed itself.  A bit like our own journey I suppose.

On the Lathe – Woodturning Association of Western Australia

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge check out the daily post on WordPress.

A new name – A new identity

27 06 2012

I’ve changed my name.  After nearly twelve years together, I decided to adopt my partner’s family name and it feels really, really good.  In Western Australia, we are not able to marry or celebrate a ‘civil partnership’ or ‘registered relationship’ so changing my name is a visible sign of our commitment as well as the love and rings we share.

I’m quite surprised actually because I’ve never had any inclination to change my name but I’ve never really liked it either.  I have always been called “Louise” even though it is my middle name.  It has been awkward and annoying to continually explain that it’s not that I don’t like my first name, I’ve just never been called by it.  People insist I tell them what my “real” name is.  So, my “real” first name is now Louise and I’ve taken my partner’s family name.

Despite not really liking my original full name, I have been quite possessive and fought to protect it.   Some time ago I worked for a company which changed its corporate logo and lettering format so everything appeared in lower case.  everything.   It became the standard format for all stationery including business cards and name badges.  Apart from the fact that I think proper nouns should have a capital letter, it irritated me to think that they could ‘brand’ my name to match theirs.  (I now work at a company that uses all capitals – hahaha!!)

2012 has been a tumultuous year.  We’ve muddled through a year of grief with the family after the sudden loss of Beth last year.  It affects all we do.  Six months later, we still have ‘crying’ days which is only natural as we miss her presence every day and it is only really starting to sink in.  During the time we’ve spent with the family, they have drawn me in and brought me close which has been beautiful.  Beth was always the one to ease me into the circle, to create opportunities for me to be included.  When she died, I wondered where I’d be without her and where I’d stand when the very close family drew in even closer.  As it turns out, I was right in the middle there with them.

A name for the rest of the journey

So it seemed only fitting that I change my name to reflect who I am and how I feel.  Names really do hold so much of our identity.   I feel like I can let go of a lot of things now, a lot of stuff from the past that belongs with that me.  I won’t forget or banish them, but they’re just not me anymore.  This is a new threshold, a new name for the rest of my journey, and I like it.

Even in Beth’s passing she has helped me to feel included in the family and proud to stand with them so I’m glad to make that official.  I know Beth would be proud that another has joined her clan and I’m glad I’ve finally taken the plunge (even though the paperwork is a nightmare!!).  We saw Dad on the weekend and he’d prepared a sign for ‘The Newest Member’ which was stuck on a six pack of beer.  I was so glad to see him although he did say:   “Now you’re one of us, you’ll have to drink beer you know“.

Oh dear, if only I’d known…  🙂


Share Your World – 26

4 06 2012

Cee is a good friend of mine and she has set up this weekly challenge to “Share Your World” by asking us all to answer some questions about life, the universe and everything!

Click here to visit Share Your World – by Cee

Here are this week’s questions and my answers! And don’t forget to visit Cee’s blog if you’d like to find out how you can be involved.

1. What made you smile today?

I needed to go out for a couple of things from the shop and as I drove through my local neighbourhood I saw about a dozen shiny Hot Rods taking a drive out to the hills.  They looked great and seemed to be enjoying a clear winter’s day.  (I liked the red one best!)

2. Do you have any hidden talents?

Not really.  I think my talents are out there and people see the things I do.  There are things I enjoy that I haven’t done for a while so that might seem to be a hidden talent when it comes out again – things like cake decorating or bricklaying (strangely enough, it is the same set of skills on a different scale…)

3. Are you usually late, early or right on time?

It depends.  Generally, I strive (and prefer) to be a little early or close to right on time, because I hate feeling rushed and running late – unless it is to a party, then I prefer to arrive late and leave early.

4. What is the difference  between being alive and truly living?

To me the difference is being open and deliberately aware.  When I’m aware of the moment, I’m truly living, despite what is going on and what I’m feeling or doing.  Awareness and connection to my own body and the world around me means I’m truly living, even when it is not something pleasant, like pain or grief (but that’s real life!!).  There are so many things I do on ‘autopilot’ like driving to work, or taking a shower.  I can do them without even thinking, without even taking any notice of what is going on in me or around me because I’m thinking or dwelling on something else.  Even though I’m alive, I’m not truly living at that point.  I’m not experiencing anything other than a figment of my thoughts or imagination – reliving some moment that happened or worrying about something in the future.  When I truly live, I can actually feel my heart beat and know that I’m present, connected and here – fully and truly living with whatever is happening, now.

thanks Cee!!

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