The Return of Joy

9713544-risk-profit-and-loss-crossword-stock-photo-forexMy son tells me that inspiration comes from focus, so here I am focussing on my laptop screen waiting for it ………………….. and the love of my life just rang me and it arrived!

Not to be too corny but life does present us with many twists and turns on the road we travel, decisions must be made and consequences accepted. A couple of months ago we made a big decision with life changing consequences;

Adrian’s work life began as an apprentice bricklayer, then when qualified he worked for The Education Department, followed by working for himself and then about 15 years working for other construction companies in management/admin roles. This worked for us at the time, regular income, company car, paid holidays, sick leave etc. Then it stopped working, not suddenly but insidiously over time.

I watched my husband slowly wizen, I listened to him verbalise his grievances yet take no action, the family bore the brunt of his frustrations and our home had a pall over it. We walked on egg shells not wanting to annoy him, wanting him to feel happy and valued, at least when he was with us.

It was while he was accessing sick leave that our fork in the road was arrived at. Even while not ‘at work’ he continued to work via ‘phone, and though I wasn’t the cause of his anger I was greeted first thing in the morning with a swearing peppered tirade of how angry he was with whatever had just occurred on the ‘phone. I turned and went back to bed. This was not for me.

When I arose the second time I articulated what each sign post was pointing too- the first to continue in his current employment alone or the second, leave work and we stick it out together. And with those so obvious and simple choices a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. We don’t always know we have a choice until someone else alerts us to it. He chose the second path. He has is own business again, and knows he is a competent and successful operator who has the greatest respect from all he encounters in his daily work. He has shown our children that happiness is most important and that risk taking is not just ok, but necessary to reach your full potential.

Profit and loss can certainly be measured financially but the loss of happiness, contentment, self worth, and joy is also measurable. These should always be in the black.

And with that, joy returned to our relationship. When I hear his ring tone on my ‘phone or hear his ute come up the drive way I beam rather than brace myself to be his sounding board. It doesn’t get much better than that






Our kids just spent two weeks in Japan together, as our daughter’s flight from Melbourne to Hobart took off I reached for my ‘phone and followed it on my Flight Tracker.

We can see the airport from our place, could actually see her plane approaching and watch it land- my husband saw it land, told me it landed  but the Tracker said it hadn’t- I believed the tracker! What a wake up call!

How much of reality are we missing as we choose to view our life and the lives of others via a device?

Calm water, sun shining, dogs having a ball on the near empty beach, and instead of letting the joy of it all engulf me, I am tripping over as I try to film it to show my husband.

Driving up the Far North Queensland coast as the Coral Sea comes in to view, glistening, but I miss seeing the tip of Port Douglas become visible as my husband tells me to photograph it. I look at the photo, but missed it in reality.

Travelling through Melbourne on  a tram, my husband has his map app open , tracking our journey, he doesn’t see the sites around us right out the window or the characters sharing our ride.

Meeting my granddaughter for the first time, I almost forgot my phone! Grabbed it though and took photos that we will treasure but it meant that one of the  first times I looked at her was through an iPhone 6s.

In this time of almost complete connectivity to each other all around the world, why is  it then that I spend a fair amount of time feeling just a little bit lonely?

Watching a movie or a TV show, my husband will often be looking at his ‘phone at the same time, me too sometimes.He puts his ‘phone so close to my face to show me a meme, I’d rather his face that close to mine with the imminent possibility of a kiss!

When we sit at the bench after work, a time we’d always used to talk and debrief and share the happenings of the day, my day seems less important than that of those on Facebook. I’ve noticed too how often people are in the same room and laughing, but not sharing the laughter, each is watching something different on their ‘phone. Surely the joy of a good laugh is having it with someone else?

My daughter was meeting a friend for lunch, the friend had lost her ‘phone- my daughter wondered how she would let her know if she was running late? How long should she wait before she worried or gave up? This an added layer of anxiety that has crept in for us all as we expect to be able to get in touch immediately. I remember telling mum I’d be home on the 3:15 bus, if I missed that 4:15 and so on. I moved to Darwin for a year and sent the odd letter and called every few weeks. I went to Thailand and got home before my postcard did. She wasn’t worried yet now she expects, well demands really, that we all text her as we board a plane and when we land so ‘she doesn’t worry’.

I’m not saying I’m anti-technology and I love that we can stay in touch so easily now, I love that the world is literally in our pockets at our finger tips but I do wonder if we’re losing touch with those right next to us to stay in touch with those who we would probably never call, visit or often don’t even know.

We have stopped asking  questions of those wiser than us ,preferring to quickly ‘google’ anything we want to know. What rich conversations are we missing out on as we head to Wikipedia instead of to our knowledgeable elders?  Who aren’t we meeting as we use our GPS when we used to stop and ask a real person for directions?

As I ponder this I realise that I’m suffering from FOMO- not brought about my friend’s holiday snaps on Facebook and instagram, or the steaming coffee shots followed by the cocktail later in the day, or the celebrity stories of having it all. Nope, I’m fearful of missing out on my life, of missing out on contented moments with the love of my life, of truly listening to my children when they are talking to me, of meeting new people, of gaining knowledge from my friends:  I’m fearful of missing out on NOW!

So I’m going to limit the device use and enter into a contract with myself to be with people not screens, perhaps I’ll call it INMO- I’m Not Missing Out!









Clowns to the left of me , jokers to the right


After fairly hopeful news from the oncologist we went to what we were sure was the last appointment with the surgeon who removed mum’s melanoma. What a downer!! Firstly the registrar had no idea what was going on with the oncologist and asked inane questions about whether or not mum was going to have chemo, a decision we will be making next week with the oncologist. Then the surgeon comes in, clearly so underprepared and garbling: saying the exact opposite to the oncologist ” I feel so sorry for you, so much uncertainty, chemo doesn’t work for melanoma, you could be dead in few months, no point making any plans really blah blah blah” Mum was devastated and I was furious. Bloody clownl!

Going where the weather suits my clothes

We made it! My husband and I are in fabulous Port Douglas. This holiday had been booked for months but I really didn’t think we’d get here because of mum.                             But she’simage doing ok  and was happy for us to go. So here we are with an average daily temperature of 30 degrees Celsius , a beautiful pool, so many choices of bars, restaurants and cafes and each other. 8 days in a tropical lighthouse.

Actually, I’m inviting you in

imageMy mum asked me to drive her to a Drs appointment to have a lump cut off the top of leg, almost on her butt really. The appointment was on the 15th of September. Didn’t think much of it, ducked off out of work for an hour and all was good. The next week, 22nd Sep, we went back to have the stitches out. I was just going to drop her off but I had a feeling that I should find a park and join her. The surgeon came out to greet her and asked ‘Is this your daughter?’ Mum answered that I was. He then asked if she’d like me to join them and she said no. Mum is an incredibly private person and wouldn’t want me in a room where her pants might be on display while she got her stitches out!! The surgeon almost shut the door then clearly had a change of heart , reopening it and saying very definitely ‘ actially I’m inviting you in’. My anxiety levels began to rise then.

In a nutshell, he told us mum had an aggressive malignant melanoma, already 33mm deep. He explained a depth greater than 4mm had a very poor prognosis!!! I swallowed my vomit and clutched mum’s hand. She remained expressionless. This woman with fair skin, who had never sun baked a day in her life and certainly wouldn’t have had her bum on display if she had, had a deadly disease usually associated with the sun.

We were told CT, PET and MRI scans would all be needed and surgery was booked for the 30th, when the rest of the tumour would be removed and lymph nodes sampled.

I needed my lighthouse.