INTERROBANG

Musings on life, the universe and an elephant named Flobo

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Pressure is something that seems an intrinsic part of life. Pressure and temperature applied to carbon atoms create diamonds. Pressure combined to people can either make or break us.

Some people thrive on pressure. I’ve been told by quite a few over the years that I am one of those people who don’t feel content unless I am under pressure. I don’t think that these people are correct. I don’t believe that I seek out high pressure environments. I am not a surgeon or anything. I just seem to always end up in the fray whether I like it or not. I don’t try to seek out drama in my life. It finds me. I suppose the reason I tend to end up in these situations is because I always aim to be better than I was the day before. This may seem simple. Believe me, it is not. Trying to be better in some way than the people around you is a walk in the park compared to trying to be better than yourself. After all, how much do you really know the other people? You don’t. All you have is your perception of the persons skills and abilities which you weigh against your own and hope you come out on top. Fighting against yourself is more difficult. You already know all the tricks up your sleeve.

It is easy when facing the battle of the wills to start letting things get on top of you. When reports are starting to pile up, it is oh so easy to just let yourself sit back and let the pile keep stacking until it has that nice lean to it and it all comes crashing down. It can be easy and tempting to just lock the door on everything. Throw the bolt and pray for everything to just disappear. However, problems don’t tend to just disappear because you wish them to. And if I’ve learnt anything over the years. Some people won’t disappear. No matter how many times you have to close the door over on them for a while.

We live in a high pressure society. Everywhere we look there are more people and elements just waiting with that shovel to pile it on. We put pressure on ourselves to be the best, we put pressure on our partners and our families to live up to certain expectations, we put pressure on individuals to think and act a certain way (which ever way we think people should act). We put pressure on kids and pester them from a young age to discover what they want to be when they are older and then come up with a list of extra curricular activities to match.

Why can’t we just sit back. Take the foot of the accelerator and take a breath. Things can happen in a moment that take time to put right, however, with all the pressure and rushing that we do to get through our days, we are missing all the important moments.

Let the email sit unread for a minute and enjoy that drink and breath of fresh air. Turn off your phone at the end of the day and enjoy the family time. All the issues will still be there when you log back on. Stressing about things isn’t going to suddenly make your mind work any clearer.

No matter how much we may want it, if we apply too much pressure we aren’t going to turn into stars or diamonds. We are slightly more complex than carbon atoms. Plus, I could do without being a lump of rock no matter how shiny.

At the end of the day I know that I am incredibly guilty of piling on the pressure. My mind seems like a constant swirl of worry and doubt and little dreams and nightmares that play out behind my eyes where everything comes crashing down the second I stop. I need to remember to relinquish control of things. Shit, I need to realise that “control” is abstract to begin with. It is an illusion which gets us through our days and helps us sleep at night. If we don’t have it, we want it. If we think we have it – we fear to lose it.

What are you waiting for? Slip those shoes off. Stand barefoot on the grass and look up at the stars. Have a drink or two. Eat that chocolate and forget about things for a while. What is important will remain important. What isn’t, will slowly fade away.

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Tonight I started watching the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” and it got me thinking. Not about the pursuit of happiness, seeking a dream job and never giving up. No, it got me thinking about tears.

There are three types of tears. Basal tears, which are the eye juice that keep our eyes from drying out. Reflex tears which are useful for protecting us from irritants. Cut up an onion and it is Reflex tears that you are crying. Unless of course you had a strong attachment to said onion, in which case it is emotional tears that you shed.

I’ve never had a strong attachment to an onion. So for the purpose of this blog. I am going to focus on Emotional tears. When shown a picture of someone crying, most people would no doubt assume that the person was feeling sad or scared. It seems like a rather obvious conclusion. Tears = sad. Frowny face, sad. Smiley face, happy. Simple. However tears aren’t that simple if you think about it.

Yes, we’ve all had those times when we are so overcome with pain and hurt that we break down and have a cry. Those tears that literally shake the body and choke you up as you don’t think you are drawing in enough oxygen to sustain you. When the racking sobs have finally subsided, you are generally left feeling completely exhausted, have one hell of a runny nose, a super sexy splotchy face (with runny makeup if you’re not careful) and probably a headache. I know that whenever I get upset I end up with what is basically a migraine. I would fill my purse up with painkillers every time I had to attend a funeral, if only pain killers did a thing for me.

Another level of tears on the emotional scale would be the kind shed when watching chick flicks or reading a sad book. Waaaaaah, why won’t the silly bitch just stop being a moron and be with the hottie? Will I ever find someone like that? OMG, why can’t I look that awkwardly funny when I get dressed up and go tumbling down the stairs in front of a crush – and that guy actually seemed concerned about her?! Awwww, that old couple is just so sweet…. Yeah. We know what these movies can do to us. Whether it is watching an alien dying while a little boy cries over him, a cartoon dinosaur feeling guilty for the death of his Dad, or someone in a show going through some issues – it is enough to reduce us to a soppy mess that raises the share price of Kleenex with every ad break.

Also on the scale of tears are happy tears. These beauties are shed when we are so giddy with excitement and happiness that we can’t control ourselves. From winning the lotto to simply being reunited with somebody that you love. These seem like the more laid back of the tears, however no less important.

Like our smiley tears, the laughing tears can occur just as frequently. These little gems love to rock up when we are trying our hardest not to have any light bladder leakage. I haven’t had kids so don’t really have to worry about this one too much. However, I am certain that everyone has no doubt laughed so hard at least once in life that they were certain they were going to pee themselves. It’s not a pretty subject. But we’ve all been there.

I think people put too much emphasis on emotions and labelling it as either good or bad. At the end of the day, it is our emotions that separate us from machines. Boys should not be taught that it is weak to show emotions or cry. I don’t see being human as weak. Girls on the other hand, have known the power of tears for a long time. We know that men can become uncomfortable around emotion and so we use that knowledge to our advantage. Sometimes it works and we get our own way. Other times, well we end up single, eating a tub of melty icecream as we laze around in our pajamas and cry at the couple on the screen. No formula is perfect.

I think if an Olympics sport existed for crying. For quite a few years I could have been a star athlete. I don’t cry anywhere near as much now, although for years I was always quite concerned about dehydration. I was far too soft and let my emotions get the better of me. Now I like to mix it up and ensure I am experiencing all the tears on the spectrum.

This brings me to the end of this particular post. I shall leave you know to cut up your onions and work on your Oscars acceptance speech (unless you prefer to practice for the Nobel, Man Booker, Grammys etc… it’s your acceptance speech so accept any award you wish).

Remember, paper towel makes a poor substitute for a good tissue after more than two tears and if you are planning on crying a river – do so in the shower and avoid sanding your face off with the tissues. Those things are only soft for a little while.

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I have been spending a lot of time walking through the city during my lunch breaks at work. Partly because I like to be able to leave the office behind for a little while and have a break and partly because, it is another excellent place for people watching. Trains lately have been slightly disappointing on the people watching front… what is it with all of these people acting “normal”.

Seeing a busker deep-throat a long balloon will certainly draw a crowd. Those playing instruments and singing are more likely to be passed with ease. We as a society seem to gravitate towards the “freaks”.

Throughout my trips, I have noticed that not many people seem to be able to stick to the left-hand side of the paths while walking. It has always seemed like a rather straightforward approach to allowing large groups of people to move collectively together however it doesn’t quite seem to have caught on in Australia. We Aussies certainly like to do things our own way. Walking across one of the main crossings in the city, people are walking two and fro from all four corners of the intersection at once. Most days it seems like perfectly timed precision and we time our foot falls with one another to enter what I shall refer to as airspace, a mere moment after it has been vacated by a person travelling in a different direction without collision. It is quite beautiful to witness. Occasionally, someone is out of sync with the group or decides to mix things up a bit by changing direction suddenly – must have forgotten an item at the shops and the whole system seems to collapse as people bounce off one another like bumper cars.

Seeing the usual precision of the street crossing has gotten me to thinking. Why do we keep to the left? Yes, it makes sense a large part of the time, two flows of people can move easily in opposite directions without causing chaos. However, what if you are coming from the other end of the street and are on the righthand side and need to enter a shop that is on the left? Chaos – you are fucking with the system.

Should it then be a rule that you can only enter shops if doing so from a set direction? Surely that wouldn’t be good for the retail industry. Should we throw out the social rules all together and live in a state of anarchy and be bouncing off one another at regular intervals and jolting people out of the little bubble of self-absorption they are in as they have eyes glued to social media? That may not be a bad thing. Although I hate it when randoms bump into me. Get out of my bubble!

Keeping to the left in stairways and on escalators also seems like a good idea. Allows those who don’t want to wait in line to quickly move up the right hand side and get on with their day without having to wait for the mechanics of the travelator to slowly wind them up the incline. Perfect in principle until you can’t get around someone due to bags that they are carrying or because the escalator is too narrow for two people to comfortably stand side by side without getting awkward and smooshy.

Keeping to the left is all well and good in principle however we have got to understand, sometimes doing so just isn’t right.

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It has been a big day for Australia with the announcement that the same-sex marriage (SSM) votes have been counted and the majority has voted YES. Given the emphasis on marriage and weddings, I thought I should share some of my experiences.

Some of you may know, that my fiance and I have been engaged for two years and together for coming up on 6. Not a bad innings for someone who had complete plans on remaining single and not tied down in any way… ah plans, how seldom they work out.

My fiance and I have had numerous discussions since he surprised me with the proposal (he was never into the idea of weddings so it took me by complete surprise and I thought he was joking to begin with) and over the weekend, we decided to start concreting our plans and start moving forward with the whole event.

Now, at present we have a couple of things on our plate that require some more immediate attention. We do have to move house in around 6 weeks time so the most pressing thoughts for the moment are finding a place to live, however, I will admit that I have unexpectedly been caught up in wedding fever.

I am not a bridezilla or a girly girl and I can honestly say that I have never been the type to laze around and day-dream about my perfect man and the perfect wedding and the whole “princess” experience. My man may not be perfect for some but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else. And as far as the perfect day – I am still trying to figure out exactly what that would entail.

I have been one of the main planner for quite a few weddings for friends of mine over the years and I must say, it is bloody hard to plan your own wedding. Having to be the person to make all the decisions can be a drain. Friends had come to me over the years with themes or rough ideas for how they envisioned the special day and with that knowledge and what I knew about personalities, I was usually able to help them figure out something that would be special for them. The same cannot be said when trying to figure out what will be special for me.

I think one of the biggest pieces for me is that this will be my 2nd trip down the aisle. The first one (when I was 20) I had very little say in how any of that day unfolded and was pretty much told to sit in a corner and shut up while others planned my wedding and then forced to wear a hideous dress that made me look way larger than I was – because it was the dress my hubby-to-be liked. I was forced to have people at the wedding that I didn’t even want in my life and I was never able to enjoy the day. It was like the perfect portent to troubling times ahead.

This time, I want to do things my own way. My fiance and I have the budget we wish to stick to and want a relatively small event that suits us. I want to have sweet ceremony that suits us and the fact that neither of us really likes to be the centre of attention. I want to be able to say to the man who I love that I am his and that I want him to be mine and that whatever we face in our future we will get through together. And after that, I want to have a rather casual meal (thinking buffet) with the friends and family that mean the most to us and then carve up the dance floor and celebrate our life together.

I don’t want to feel obligated to invite every man and his dog. We both have rather large families and even with immediate family, there are individuals who don’t care about our nuptials and would just be taking up a seat that could be used by someone who cares about us and will enjoy our day with us. Some noses will no doubt get put out of joint – although how anyone can plan an event without pissing off at least one person I do not know.

At the end of the day, it is a day about my husband and I. Neither of us is more important that the other and I absolutely hate hearing brides who go on and on about “their day” as if they are the only person concerned. With my trusty Wedding planner all organised (I do love to make lists) it is time to get down to business and start slowly planning this thing out. After all – not much I can do to move house until I find the right listing. At least I know I’ve found the right man. ♥

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Okay, so I freely admit that this is going to be a little bit of a rant post. Over the course of the day it has absolutely astounded me. I see really moronic stuff happening so often. Do people think? Do they realise that they put themselves in danger as well as others?

Let me start. Why is it that people feel the need to park on the street, in busy yet rather narrow streets when they have perfectly useful EMPTY driveways? I see this daily during my drive to and from the train station. Why force people to have to drive head on into traffic, and pray that the person coming the other direction is going to give them time to get around the obstacle of the car parked on the street? I use a number of streets on a daily basic and I see this constantly. It is certainly enough to make the old sphincter pucker (apologies for the crudeness yet it is certainly apt).

Also, the lack of people able to give way when they are at a give way sign and instead they will go speeding off narrowly avoiding traffic coming in the other direction. I wish I could say that the moronic behaviour was restricted to the roads – if I could I would just avoid using the roads and stay well clear of the side walks as well. Unfortunately, idiots are everywhere.

I overheard a woman in MacDonald’s over the weekend (yes I was having a sneaky burger and forgetting my healthy eating for the day) complaining that her fast food wasn’t healthy. Ummm… it is MacDonald’s.

We humans certainly aren’t the smartest of creatures, no matter what we like to tell ourselves. We throw ourselves out of planes for the sake of an adrenalin rush – not that I am knocking this. I intend to do the same thing one of these days. We eat horribly unhealthy, sometimes completely questionable food although we are, for the most part, not restricted to this diet and have a wide range of dietary choices available to us. We leave the house during torrential rain and storms in order to take selfies and capture the carnage for our social media feeds, despite the roof next door to us being torn clean off.

Not all stupid things are dangerous. It seems to be a bit of a sliding scale although I am sure you can agree that standing in the middle of a road hoping a car will stop, isn’t the brightest thing to do. Attempting to catch a knife that has slipped off the counter top is a sure way to end up with a visit to Emergency.

I wish I knew why we did these things. I am certainly not suggesting that I am in any way above being a moron either. I do dumb shit all the bloody time. It seems to be the human condition.

Popular culture has raised some morons almos to the class of heroes. The 3 (or 4 depending which you count) Stooges, Dumb and Dumber, even the Looney Tunes, make these idiots into what are essentially pop icon heroes. Things are fun and innocent as long as you can get a laugh out of it…

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It seems that we have no way to escape it. We can hope to be better than the crowd yet at the end of the day, we are all going to have moments of sheer stupidity.

We  will take risks with our lives, and those of others and be surprised that things ended as well as they did – hopefully. We will berate others for the dangerous things that they do. Yet we won’t take into account the things that we are personally guilty of.

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It is an absolute jungle out there. I just hope that the “monkeys” don’t all get released at once. Chaos can be interesting yet if it is not controlled in some way, it is destruction.

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I have a problem. It may not seem like a big problem to some, however it is enough to drive me cray-cray. In roughly 9 weeks, my lease is up and I have to move house. Calm down, yes, I told you it wasn’t the end of the world although for me, it kinda is… let me explain.

I have a few serious issues when it comes to moving house. Firstly, I very very rarely feel comfortable in a place. Take for instance both of my childhood homes. I would gladly burn them both to the ground for all the comfort I felt whilst being forced to live in them. This is not an over reaction. Those houses are bad vibe central for me. I have to date lived in 3 places I felt comfortable. Firstly, my grandparents place which I used to visit regularly and have extended vacations at during the school holidays. It is unfortunately forever lost to the sands of time and now only exists in my memories. Secondly, the last place I lived with my ex-husband. Only made rather comfortable by the fact that he was rarely home and for the most part, the townhouse was set up the way I wanted it and it was for essentially my domain – until I got kicked out. And now this place. A decent little 4 bedroom brick lowset in an interesting neighbourhood which is residential with a splash of rural and industrial thrown in for good measure. I don’t mind the house although I am really over seeing the old termite damage in the walls that the owners have never gotten around to fixing. Not to mention the hot water system that needs replacing. All in all, this is the first place that my fiance and I have made our own and for that I could not exclude it from this list.

My second issue, more of a curse, is packing. No. I am not complaining about packing being a horrible chore. Quite frankly if they gave out Olympic medals for it – you would be looking at a Gold Medallist. Packing to me is an extreme sport and I am quite happy to spend some hours packing away my books and carefully wrapping up my sentimental knick knacks whilst listening to some tunes. I tend to pack early and upon moving – after the initial cleaning of which ever place I have moved into, I am generally unpacked within 2 days. The only things that can delay my unpacking are if waiting for furniture to be delivered (that threw a spanner in the works when I moved into this place and had to wait a week for the new furniture to be delivered) or if I have to get out the industrial strength cleaners and hazmat suit because a previous tenant has left some questionable items behind (yes I have discovered dildos, penis pumps, and a porn stash left by previous tenants – needless to say that that room became my ex’s study and not mine).

People may think it crazy that I have already started packing up my house – of course starting with my bookshelves, but I need to be organised. The fact that I do not yet know where I am moving to is enough to drive me completely crazy. I exist in a comfortable world where as much as possible is planned out and my future address is certainly a detail or rather high importance to me. Once I have an address, I can properly schedule the packing and unpacking of all boxes and arrange the boxes in my garage into “rooms” to make it easier for the removalists to not mess with my system. This will be the first time we are using removalists (kinda over the back-breaking labour after the amount of times both we, and our friends and family have moved).

Either way, at the end of the day, when packing is done, I always have time to sit back and put my feet up to look at the all important things online and perhaps add to my little bloggette.

I have found in life that there are some things you can never have too many of.

In the case of packing these things include:

  • good packaging tape
  • can never have too many boxes of various sizes
  • newspapers to shred to protect those valuable items
  • music to listen to
  • Alpaca puns

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If only I could be a snail and carry my house on my back…

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Gluttony isn’t one of the 7 deadly sins for no reason. Although it is a sin that all are guilt of. We no longer eat to live but live to eat. The simple reason: pleasure. Food has a way of tapping into the pleasure centre of our brains.

It seems that we humans are programmed to include food in large quantities into our every day lives and every celebration. Think of it. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the turkey, or ham. What is Easter without the chocolates and hot cross buns (personally not a big fan of the buns – no, not even the “chocolate” variety). Halloween is a time of candy and tooth decay. New Year’s is a time for parties and partaking in far too much alcohol whilst wearing a silly hat and thinking up new years resolutions.

Now, not even including the big events we have things like birthdays – did someone say cake…, anniversaries, graduations, sporting events, national and regional holidays.

In Australia most events include burning meat on a barbecue until it is only faintly recognisable as food and being scared away from the cooking if you are a female. It is after all, mens business. We ladies have to toss the salads and butter the breadrolls… and of course not forget to provide the potato salads and potato bake. Can never have too much potato after all – this is something I do personally agree with…

It seems that with all this emphasis on food, we can be slightly pardoned for being a rather obese human populace. Yes, some religions etc have fast days. I tried the whole, giving up something for Lent thing quite a few times when I was younger. It seems like the following things were not acceptable:

  1. Vegemite – when I can’t stand the stuff already… I just wanted to impose the enforced removal of Vegemite from the menu for as many people as possible.
  2. Speaking to my older sister. Seems that I had to give up something that was going to be hard for me. Although, anyone who has met my older sister knows that she can talk under wet cement so getting her to shut up would have been a real feat.
  3. My mums cooking. In particular, her take on Spag Bol (spaghetti Bolognese to non-Aussies).
  4. Church. I got my block knocked off for that suggestion…

 

Why is it that we put so much emphasis on food? I know that I, and everyone that I know, tend to turn to food or drink when we are going through different moods. Bored? Grab a chocolate bar or have some ice cream. Lonely? Cuddle up in front of the telly with some chips. Romantic occasion? Chocolate dipped strawberries, or how about some oysters (gag). We are all utilising the see-food diet and when we are actually on a diet, we all reward ourselves with “cheat” days and tell ourselves that since we just did some exercise, that we can eat some horribly, deliciously calorie laden food and it will be no harm, no foul.

I think it is time that we come up with some events that aren’t centred around food and the rest of the time, if we feel like having a chocolate or eating something naughty – let’s stop rationalising it. We are doing so because a) it tastes good, b) it makes us feel better or/and, c) because we bloody well want to.

Enough said.

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“Til Death do us part” sounds like a rather innocuous line of vows however personally, I think it should be removed entirely.

Anyone who has truly been in love knows that death doesn’t really part anything. You still love the person. You just don’t inhabit the same plane of existence. Also, with divorce being permissible in most places around the globe (yes, some places have slightly differing laws and impose different rules on separations etc) it seems completely illogical to have this line kept in vows. Invoking death on your special day isn’t terribly pleasant, although if you’ve kept your guests waiting on a sweltering day while you go to a nice windswept location for the happy snaps – they may be half heartedly wishing it on your as their stockings and bow ties start to dampen with sweat.

I have always wondered how many murders have been committed due to this line. After all, you see it in movies and TV shows all the time. No, I am not saying that TV or movies are reality. However they certainly can mirror it and expose our darker sides.

What about the stereotypical gold digger waiting for the old fart she married to kick the bucket. The old dude may be more spry than she gave him credit for so of course she has to help him on his way.

Or, those that don’t believe in divorce. Surely murder is a bigger no-no. But you can’t help how some people think.

For me, I just found it confusing when comparing what was required to get married and what was required to become divorced.

Marriage = Proof of identity, proof that you haven’t married before or if you have that you have a divorce decree or death certificate, both sign a form saying you intend to marry, get someone official (minister or celebrant) to do the deed and then all three of you sign on the dotted line. Apart from the nightmare of having to choose outfits, guests and setting, it is a rather straightforward process that takes about a month beginning to end.

Now, Divorce on the other hand is more of a bloody marathon. In Australia you have to be separated for at least a year (I think it is a year and a day for some reason) just to make sure you really really really want out – shame you don’t have to make sure that you really really really want in, in the first place. Then you have to assemble all the documents, get legal advice, pin down the ex and get them to sign the documents and make sure they fill out the form correctly in the first place (my ex couldn’t even spell his own name properly in the end), submit the forms and get it witnessed at the local court then get a court date so you can stand in front of a judge and tell them you want out before waiting a month for the paperwork to arrive in the mail.

I was so happy when mine came that I celebrated and burnt my marriage certificate. Not like I would be needing it again… It was amazing I didn’t burn the house down since I was more than a little intoxicated at the time. Shhh, keep that to yourself. And I skipped the court date and left that up to my ex because I couldn’t handle facing him again.

Why does it have to be so bloody complicated? I think divorces should be similar to marriages in the first place. Sit down like human beings and figure out what you both want. If kids are involved, probably get a mediator in and of course – ask the kids what they want. Then get dressed up in you want – I think it would be more comfortable to go dressed in your pajamas. Unless of course you are in that stage where you are mortified at seeing you ex at the shops when you’ve forgotten to wear your makeup, haven’t changed out of your sweats for 2 weeks and have a bird’s nest of hair sitting awkwardly off your head because you have no idea where your brush has got to. If that’s the case go all out and dress up. Personally, I would dress down. Then like the M*A*S*H episode where Winchester thinks he got hitched to some nurse while in Tokyo on leave, have someone pronounce you unmarried – sign the bit of paper and be done with it. I think this would be a far more civilised approach and would probably save lives with people not resorting to whacking people in order to avoid the mess of a divorce.

These may be the ramblings of a divorcee but admit it, my divorce idea isn’t bad is it…

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It is hard not to spend time looking back at things and obsessing on the past. However, as George Santayana famously said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. So how should we look back just enough to learn from our mistakes, whilst moving forward. Personally, I do not want to be one of those looking back so far while moving ahead that I trip over. I am clumsy enough without setting myself up for failure.

Our pasts are what shape us, although I also think our visions for the future have a lot to do with determining the people we will become. Some like to plan every little detail of their lives out, anxious not to make the same mistakes repeatedly while others simply wing it. I have always chosen to attempt to learn from others mistakes. I reasoned that this would certainly save time, although I seemed to always find time to make plenty of my own.

I know that I spend way too much time obsessing on the past, agonising over every little memory and wondering  how I could have been so foolish, or so blind. Hindsight is 20/20 after all. How could I have been so naive? So willing to throw myself under the bus for the sake of others, who would not have so much as thought to do the same for me?

I think a lot of my problems stemmed from my willingness to put others ahead of me. I reasoned that I could not attempt to be happy if those around me were miserable and would go out of my way to improve everyone else’s lives. Usually at the expense of my own happiness and at times, sanity. Now, I am certainly no saint. I have a mean streak just like everyone else. I was just always too soft to show it. The only time “the bitch” would be unleashed was in defence of others. Usually my mum or siblings. I always hated seeing people getting picked on. And although I was small for my age, and quiet, I would always throw myself into a fight in defence of others.

Looking back, we get to reconnect with those that we have lost and keep their memories alive. I have lost a number of incredibly special people to me and for a long time I couldn’t think of any of these family or friends without my eyes filling with tears. I realised that I was concentrating too much on what had been instead of living the life I had left and looking towards what will be. One of the hardest things about losing people is when you really just want to have a chat with them. Discuss what is happening on a favourite television show or ask advice. I have never felt more alone than when I was going through my divorce and had lost all of those whose advice I would have sought. I remember standing at the end of the jetty where my Grandmothers ashes were scattered and literally screaming at her for no longer being around. I shocked myself that day. I was never much for screaming and the emotional intensity left me feeling incredibly drained. I remember going back to my parents place and drinking bottle after bottle of cheap red wine, desperate to numb the ache I felt.

I suppose one of the hardest things in life is our inability to predict the future. This is one of the things that keeps it interesting, yet also makes it next to impossible to plan for. Should we plan for the worst and hope for the best? Throw caution to the wind and just live every moment to its fullest? I certainly don’t have an answer for this. I am stuck somewhere between the two. I like to live cautiously although my heart longs to soar and feel freedom. I am a homebody who dreams of casting off material possessions and holing up in a little cottage near sea swept cliffs to ponder life, write and live in peace.

I hope you were not reading this post expecting any answers, especially meaning of life kinda stuff – although if you want to know the meaning of life, the universe and everything I have it on good authority that the answer is in fact 42.

If you have made it this far, let me leave you with this thought. Don’t refuse to look back and forget where you come from and what you have been through. These are the things that provide us with strength and show us the hardships we have faced and conquered. As well as this, make sure you are not looking too far ahead and always searching the horizon. What you are looking for will not be there and you could spend your entire life missing what is around you in the moment. Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the present (and assuming you don’t have more than two eyes) keep yourself in the present.

 

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For those not aware, Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November each year. It is called the race that stops the nation and people gather in offices, if they haven’t been fortunate enough to get the day or afternoon off, to watch a bunch of jockeys race horses around a track.

You may be able to tell from my description of the iconic horse race that I am not terribly impressed by horse racing. Personally I think that it is a rather cruel endeavour, especially when the horses end up lame and need to be put down and I will also admit that I find horses an overrated animal. Gasp… yes, I actually said that. I think cows have far more personality than the average horse.

This year, I was not in an office that took part in sweeps – it seemed rather pointless in a smaller office, however I did place my first ever bet. Growing up around a number of family members that love to watch the horses, it is quite surprising that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I went with one of my colleagues to the local pub and he talked me through to process. Hey big spender… I spent a total of $8 backing four horses to either win or place. I have never been one for gambling and apart from occasionally feeding $20 into the pokies, I would say my main form of gambling is scratch-its. I do not know why but I love spending a couple of dollars at a time scratching those little cards. My OCD also makes me scratch the panels neatly so a $4 scratchie can last me a good couple of minutes…

Anyway, I am getting away from myself. So, the office gathered at race time, lounging around in front of one of the TV’s and pigging out on crisps and popcorn while the horses were led into their – stalls? The gates opened and I sat there, bored from the very beginning as I am far too deaf to be able to figure out what the hell is being said at such breakneck speeds and all horses pretty much look the same to me.

The horses crossed the finish line and the winner and runners-up were announced. To my amazement, I won! One of the horses I had so carefully picked based mostly on the colour of the jersey worn by the jockey, and the horses name, had won! A nice little profit of $13 for a little stroll down to the TAB.

Yes, it may sound foolish to some but the fact is, I hardly ever win a thing. I remember winning a raffle at the Primary School fete when I was a kid. The prize was a doll with a little blanket that had been carefully embroidered. I pretty much hated most dolls when I was a kid – give me a teddy bear any day. However this one was special as it had been donated by my Grandma. In Grade 2, I won an award for being the best pupil for the year (I don’t know if this was based on scholastic achievement or manners) and received a book voucher which I promptly spent on Fairy Magic by Shirley Barber and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs. It amazed me at the time since I am still pretty certain that my Grade 2 teacher hated me (I certainly got told to stand in the corner often enough – although probably because Mum loved to charge into the classroom and start bossing everyone around when she could hear it was getting out of hand from the tuckshop below). In Grade 7, I won the election to be one of the School Captains. I was quite horrified when my name was announced and I had to make a speech. I wouldn’t have entered the election if it hadn’t been compulsory… having enough kids to cover both School and Sports captains when you only have 10 pupils to draw from is a challenge.

I, like many others, would love to win the lotto someday although I don’t tend to play it often. The story around the family grapevine is that one of my Great Grandmothers used to pray every night that no one in the family would ever win for fear that money would spoil us. Thanks Great Gran… I would love the chance to prove that money wouldn’t really change me so if you can get around to reversing that prayer of yours that would be swell.

It is easy to get super excited by winning little prizes (good work for those who manage to win big) and forget about everything else that has been won in life. I am incredibly lucky to have won the love of a good man. I am incredibly lucky to have won the friendship of another man. I am lucky to have won the right to be called Aunty and be the go to person to tell tall stories and run around with the kids.

Luck is all around us. We just have to keep our eyes open to it.