All posts tagged: over 50

I know this is so wrong… but I promise I’ll do it today…

… I think the devil made me do it 🙂 I know one reader in particular (Hi P!) is going to tear his hair out at my folly. What’s a dumb thing you can’t help doing, even though you absolutely KNOW you shouldn’t? Drive a bit too far before filling up with petrol? Too long time between dentist appointments? (Damn, I do that too). Release your foolish failures here, it’s a safe space 🙂 In gratitude for being silly sometimes, without huge repercussions, G xO

So grateful to be locking down here in the rainforest for COVID-19

Who wants to join me in a meditative new resolution?

Like all of us, I’m glad to have made it unscathed to the end of this year. Surrounding me have been lockdowns, high tensions about vaccination rates (we called it the ‘strollout’ at first here in Australia), and now the surging stress of Omicron. *sigh I am utterly blessed and grateful to live where I do, with my trees, birds, and nearby creek. My latest New Year’s Eve plans have all been shelved, with Covid cases soaring both locally and nationally, and a party in my pyjamas and living room is more appealing by the day. (Or an early night. I could handle an early night.) But today, I came across a blogging recommendation for the Insight Timer app. Have you heard of it? At least three of my friends swear by it, and I’ve been meaning to check it out… So I downloaded it, and listened to my first 20-min talk sitting on the [pictured] verandah in the early sunshine, after several days of rain. It felt great. Then I started thinking about all …

“You should get your gun licence”; words I never thought I’d hear, nor consider

Hello from the glorious Australian rainforest, full of fecundity and native animals. But we also have feral pests, and that’s who I’m battling at the moment. This young female koala was photographed 2 days ago on my driveway: I want to offer a safe place for her to grow up and breed. I’ve written before about my challenge to catch & dispose of feral cats wandering our property; my wildlife camera also caught footage of a fox. One wild cat can kill 1,100 animals/lizards/birds a year, and foxes have been named as one of the most destructive invasive species in Australia (introduced in the 1800s by British colonists who wanted to continue the sport of fox hunting). My horror on seeing one in my garden has been increased with the news that some foxes have learnt to climb trees, seeking baby koalas (NO!), and sugar gliders or possums, who are all tree-dwelling (and previously therefore thought to be safe from this nasty apex predator). NOT ON MY WATCH FOXY. So I’ve lent my camera to …

A year has passed since I nearly died; this makes me both happy & sad

Today, 12 months ago, I rolled my car right over on a wet road, and wrote about it here. Somehow, I came away with only concussion, whiplash, and a frozen shoulder (which is now thankfully almost fully ‘thawed’). The ambulance workers couldn’t believe I wasn’t more badly injured; neither could the 2 doctors on duty, and the smash repairs guy who towed away my car looked at me incredulously: “There’s not a straight panel on it! How are you not dead?” Obviously, I’m so glad I’m not dead. As are my son, my beloved, and my family and friends. It absolutely rocked my world, for in 37 years of driving, I’d never even had a car park prang. It shocked me to feel so vulnerable in my concussion and whiplash, then had to accept my shoulder was in fact ‘freezing’ in April [they are often triggered by a traumatic event, and occur more often in women over 50 FYI]. The shoulder was agony– if I knocked it, it felt like I’d been hit by lightning, …

It’s official: Buddhism teaches that your buddies are your blessing

Hello Everyone, from the lush rainforest in Australia, where once a month I sit in a circle of women studying meditation and Buddhism. This month was the last meeting for the year, and our wise crone leader Yoda Carol chose to reflect on friendship for her talk, or ‘Admirable Camaraderie’ as Buddha called it. She’s lived in the same intentional community hidden in the hills for nearly 50 years, having been one of the founding members. She’s travelled the world, facilitating conflict resolution for all kinds of humans, from big corporations down to divorcing families… so her wisdoms come from plenty of lived experience as well as her decades of Buddhist meditation and study. She asked us a simple question, which I’m going to ask you: “Do you always call, or are you always being called?” Buddha talked of cultivating friendships, to offer and receive full kinship, as one of the most effective paths to Loving Kindness. So when did you last reach out to someone, in these strange times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and …

I don’t want to win the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award…

When I was 41, I asked my 6 yr old son for 3 words to describe me (for my online dating profile). “Nice. Funny. Health-food-drama-Queen.” Note his 2nd choice: ‘funny’. I use that word to describe myself, & even got employed to do that as an Events’ MC sometimes (in the old days before Covid when we did arty fun stuff regularly). But I feel like the ‘funny’ has been sucked out of me, especially in the last year of lockdowns; Mum dying 4 months ago has also put a dampener on my comeback, even though restrictions are easing. Four years ago when I had my ‘blogging intensive’ 1:1, the expert told me to be humorous, grammatically-correct at all times, and authentic. Yet I feel like I’m currently in danger of winning the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award, and I don’t want to! I just can’t fake the joy… and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the latest lesson learnt from my grieving. Part of my self-care routine to find joy is dancing; this weekend, …

Biggest loss since Mum died? Not being her ‘kid’ any more

It’s been nearly 4 months since she left, & I’d say I’m grieving ‘well’. We’ve all heard the saying that everyone grieves in their own way, and of course it’s true; Dad’s sudden death 13 years ago knocked me flat, thumped me with depression, and took about 5 years to recover from (such a “Daddy’s girl”). But Mum? Not so much. It was a relief mainly, and expected, after a long slow decline. Plus we weren’t nearly as close as Dad and I. I’m aware I’m in a process of letting go, as I adjust to being an orphan. I’m well-supported by family and friends, and I’m so grateful Mum is free of suffering now. Yet the other day, it struck me that I was missing an essential dynamic: I am no longer a daughter. It’s a role I’ve known my whole life, and played dutifully, even when I was being the ‘difficult’ one, which I admit I feel I got typecast into for many years. There was the ‘jealous’ one when my new brother …

I am the Keeper of Stories now Mum’s gone

As I let the bath water cool around me last night, I remembered being 10 or 11, paddling in the chilly English sea. Forty-five years have passed, yet I can still recall the sand sinking beneath my toes, and the seaweed slithering against my pale legs. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore; it had been fun briefly, in the novelty of visiting the beach for the first time, but I was cold, and wanted to get out. I was only knee-deep in water, and Mum had taken my younger brother back to the warm dry sand, telling me to follow when ready. But I was trapped! Writhing and heaving between me and my family was a two metre-thick band of brown kelp, some strands as thick as my skinny legs, freezing me in fear. What lurked beneath? My vivid yet anxious imagination created snakes, grabbing hands, various sea monsters, and perhaps a pirate’s dead body or two for good measure. I couldn’t even wave to Mum, who was fussing with my brother and had her back …

And now for something completely different: my Top Five Tips for trapping a feral cat

It started innocently enough: I borrowed two 24-hr wildlife cameras, and set them up on my 2-acre rainforest retreat on the East coast of Australia. Can you imagine my horror when amongst the cute snaps of pademelons, the lace monitor, wallaby mums with joeys in the pouch, and yes, a hurrying koala, I saw a big tabby cat? I was shocked to say the least. Then the other camera revealed a second fat brindle cat, and even a fox! My image of our property as a wildlife sanctuary crumbled. Feral cats cover 99% of Australia, and are the Number One threat to our native wildlife (foxes are 2nd). “On average, each feral cat in the bush kills a whopping 740 animals per year.  In a year with average conditions there are about 2.8 million feral cats, but that figure can double when good rain leads to an abundance of prey animals. “On average each pet cat kills about 75 animals per year, but many of these kills are never witnessed by their owners.” – Professor Sarah …

Six weeks since Mum died: letting go and setting free

No one really wants to organise a funeral celebration. No one wants to go to one. And of course, none of us are ready for it to be our own. But when it IS my turn, I’m having a Humanist one, which is what I created for Mum’s send off last month. She wasn’t religious, and the rest of the family certainly isn’t; a church service would be an uncomfortable nightmare for everyone… so I decided a quiet beach in Wales would be perfect. But I’m in Australia, my brother and children in Norway, various family friends around the UK, Canada, and USA: thank goodness for Zoom! By luck (or divine intervention?), the first celebrant I emailed to ask if she was free in 3 weeks to conduct an international online ashes scattering ceremony said yes. As I sat with the reality of needing to organise this farewell, despite my tiredness and grief, I gave thanks for being exposed to ‘unusual’ send offs and life celebrations where I live in Northern NSW, such as same …