Living In The Smog

The smog will kill you if you don't rise above it.

The smog will kill you if you don't rise above it.

Sometimes life can be tough. We get caught in the daily grind of living, making decisions that affect the rest of our life. Some of the decisions are good and some send us into a spin. Usually, the decisions that send us into a spin are the ones that have been blurred by stress and not taking the time to think the situation through.

I've suffered more than my share of making myself miserable because I did something without thinking. I brought my son up encouraging him to think, think, think about everything he does and before he says it. He does it all the time, somehow I don't always heed my own advice these days. Am I too busy, too lazy, too caught up in what others might say or have I lost some of the self-confidence I've had because of life's struggles? Possibly all of these.

During the last four months I've been on a journey of self discovery. I thought I knew myself pretty well. I've always had a sense of adventure and an insatiable curiosity about others' lives. Six months ago I was given the personal papers of a woman who died last December. I glanced at the contents of the boxes knowing I would get to them sometime soon. I've just completed my third book which is under consideration with a publisher as I write.

I'm about to move house again, so it's time I looked at that box. This week I sifted through the papers and the bits and pieces and found some interesting information. However, my head is in a space where I'm not thinking clearly. The person who gave me the boxes phoned me recently to say she was closing her second hand store and would I pass on the boxes to the historical society when I finished. Yes, I would do that. Aware of my fast approaching move, I picked up the phone to see where the historical society contact lived. Can you believe she lived across the street?

Deep inside of me I had doubt about giving the boxes back, but because I'm stressed at the moment, I ignored that feeling and thought the story wasn't interesting enough. Our son is visiting this weekend. I found a phone number on a loose piece of paper. He insisted I phone knowing my head wasn't clear. The person at the other end of the phone was the deceased woman's daughter. She gave me the contact name for a person in Mackay who has researched the deceased woman's husband's family.

Extraordinary! All the pieces of this story are coming together because my son insisted I stop a moment and think about what I'm doing. I thank him for his commitment to me and my career and his own career, and for seeing things that I can't because I'm caught in the smog of life.

Are you missing opportunities because you're living in the smog?

Taming the Boogieman

This is boogieman territory.

This is boogieman territory.

This morning I woke up at 2.10 with the feeling someone was in my bedroom with my husband and me. I could only think it had to be the boogieman!

Until then, I was warm and snug in bed and the night was quiet, too quiet. I climbed out of bed and went into the kitchen where the refrigerator hummed its happy tune telling the world it was contented because it had a full belly. In the lounge room the street light intruded into our home, thankfully. I didn't have to turn the light on and destroy my night vision. I stood in the dappled silver light and peered through the lacey curtains. No boogieman out there.

By now I'm wide awake, so I peer out all the windows and am pleased to see the world still out there with no alien critters creeping around. So what do I do now that I'm wide awake? I spy the ironing in a corner waiting patiently for attention. Ironing is something I didn't miss on our travels around Australia. However, my husband is now back at work, and I like to support him as main bread winner, so I take the ironing board out, and turn on the iron. Meanwhile, I still feel the boogieman is somewhere close to me.

I switch on the light but there's no boogieman standing next to me. If he is, I'm sure I would have let out a scream that would wake half the sleeping world. Perhaps, he didn't like ironing either.

I take a shirt from the pile of freshly laundered clothes and spread it across the ironing board. I lift the iron and I give the task of ironing this shirt my full attention. It's fluro orange with a reflective stripe around the middle. My husband's job is Environmental Health and Safety Office for a large company that supports the mines in Mackay. The heat and steam come from the iron under my hands and it moves effortlessly over the fabric. With each push of the iron the wrinkles disappear.

I often play games in my mind about putting myself in the minds of inanimate objects in this world. I pretend I'm the orange shirt. What does it feel like to be ironed in the dark, scarey, early hours of the morning?

Hot! Even though it's winter. The best thing about being ironed is that my wrinkles disappear leaving me smooth and radiant. I feel young and new again, although I am a little faded from sunbaking after a swim in the washing machine. I don't like hanging around in the dark cupboard with the boogieman, ruins my reputation. My colour though means I glow in the dark, to keep the you-know-who man away. The best thing I like about being me is when the cupboard door is opened I'm shining and ready to hug my wearer. There's nothing nicer than being wanted, able to protect and just be a brightness in this chaotic world.

After I iron the shirt, I hang it on the door knob and I feel safe for the first time since getting out of bed. That colour and the reflective strip is a beacon to the boogieman to beware, here lurks danger. I complete the ironing and climb back into bed. Perhaps ironing has its uses afterall - to keep the boogieman away.

The Next Chapter Unfolds...

Life in the tropics.

Life in the tropics.

It's happened, before I thought it would!

Almost twelve years ago our family left Townsville to live on the Gold Coast so that our son, who is an IT guru, would have opportunities to work in that field. Our time on the Gold Coast was an interesting time full of challenges but a fun place to call home. Our son is now an adult and well on his way to an interesting career in IT.

Knowing he was settled, left me wondering where my future lay. Yes, of course, I'm a writer that was obvious, but where do I feel the freedom to write with no distractions. Part of our travels around Australia was to find the place where we were meant to be. Leaving my life behind on the Gold Coast was quite a challenge, but I also found it exciting to work out where the next chapter of my life was about to unfold. Living down south was exciting, but it wasn't for me climatically, so we headed north to the warmth, and discovered we belong up here in the tropics with humidity, balmy nights, open spaces, palm trees and the beautiful Great Barrier Reef at our doorstep. We were scuba divers at another time in our life.

Extended family living here also strongly influenced my decision to live in Mackay. In my adult years I've never lived in the same town as family, so Mackay has offered this wonderful opportunity for me to connect with them.

Another bonus was meeting author, Rose Dee, whose first book will be released in mid-November, 2011 by Even Before Publishing entitled Back to Resolution. It's great to meet and support each other on our writing journey.

So, it's official, we've decided to make Mackay our new home. Our house on the Gold Coast is on the market and we're searching for our new place to put down roots. We've lived in Townsville on three different occasions in the past, so it's no surprise we've returned to north Queensland. Mackay has regular flights in and out which are relatively cheap with lots of flights daily. The hour and a half trip to Brisbane means our son can visit often when he needs time out from his busy schedule, or I can return to the Gold Coast when I want to catch up with him and old friends.

My change of lifestyle isn't as dramatic as Gina's in my book, African Hearts. Gina was a woman with courage, understanding her strengths and moving forward to grasp new experiences. I learned from Gina that fear is real, but it can be overcome and there are many advantanges to going places that seem way too scarey.

Travelling in the van has given me the opportunity to meet many people throughout this vast country; connect with my readers and other writers; and to give me new fodder for my future projects.

I haven't been to Western and central Australia, but those places are still on my list of places to visit. It's time for me to be still for a while and focus again on my next work which is almost complete. When the time is right, I'll step out and seek all that the great central and west has to offer.

Where are you in your journey of life? Are you in a time of being, or are you caught up in the excitement and stress of change? If you're in the latter, hang in there, you'll soon be in that new place. I encourage you to hold on tight and enjoy the ride. You'll grow from the experience and have new resources to call on in the future when you next take a leap of faith.