Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Mick said...

It's been such a crazy week.  Last monday there was so much happening, I could only lurch from one thing to the next.  It actually seems like such a long time ago.  But I guess that proves that a lot can happen in a week.  It started out with a job interview. An interview with another organisation.  Such a huge moment for me.  After 23 years on the same campus, here I was throwing my hat in the ring somewhere else.  I was the first to be interviewed and they were running over 15 minutes late.  Such a good thing for my nerves - NOT!  I did some things ok, and stumbled on at least one question.  As the weeks gone on I've resigned myself to the fact that I haven't gotten the position.  But that's ok.  It's good experience and it feels like another step forward.

I suppose part of the reason I've been able to shrug that off, is because of the other thing that happened last monday.  Peter and I had made an offer on a property on the saturday.  And after a phonecall from the estate agent saying the vendor had rejected the price, we juggled the numbers and came back with another offer.  A couple of hours later, and another phonecall from the agent, told us we were successful!  We could hardly believe it.  We had begun searching for a home 10 months ago!  It had become exhausting spending our weekends at open for inspections or getting pipped by higher bidders.  A couple of months ago we'd decided that trying to find the place we wanted in the 'hood we liked was impossible with the money we had.  So we'd started looking at compromises.  And as it turns out, we've found somewhere that ticks a number of boxes, and will be a great stepping stone back on the property ladder, and hopefully a good investment.

So this week has been spent doing paperwork, contacting the credit union, conveyancer and archicentre for a building check.  We had until friday to raise any issues and make changes to the 150 page contract.  We had to do our contract signing via email ie. print out the documents, sign them, scan them, and email them on to the next person.  Life has it's complexities when your husband works 3 1/2 hours away.  But considering everything, I think we did a great job.  I guess the distance has made us good communicators and that helps with making fast decisions.  No time to second think anything.  It's gut instinct all the way.  So now we're shuffling the last few bits of paper and making plans to move.  Settlement is in 30 days and we both feel like the time is right to move on from where we are renting.  Spring sunshine always helps with the feeling of new beginnings and growth.

So I guess when I sum up the week, I can see that there's been ups and downs.  But in reality, the song that's been playing along in my head is the Rolling Stones 'You can't always get what you want'.   The other night the Ladies and Gentlemen concert from the 70s was on telly.  Such a great period for the Stones music. 

"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need"

The reality is that you can't always get what you want.  But you have to keep trying, and sometimes, the more important thing is to get what you need. 

I was talking to a friend during the week, about relationships.  We were chatting about whether it's possible to get everything you want from one person.  Is it too much to ask or expect that someone would be so perfect?  I've been thinking about this, and I guess in some ways it a lot to ask of someone.  It's also a lot to ask of life.  In reality you don't always get everything you want.  Life is never perfect or complete.  Perhaps the thing is to always work at it. And by striving, you can get what you need and be more fulfilled.  There's no guarantees that the hard work will pay off, but I think you have to be willing to try.  Sitting still is what will kill you.  I hate the feeling that you're treading water in life.  And maybe that's why I'm so happy at the moment.  I didn't get everything this week, but I did get more experience in interviews, and a new home.  Peter and I have run ourselves ragged and faced some challenges, but we finished the week smiling.  That's a pretty good week.  So I'm with Mick and Keef on this one.  If you're lucky, you might just get what you need.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I have learned from September 11

I had the pleasure of catching up for an extended morning tea chat with my lovely mate Sarah, from work.  We hadn't seen each other for a while and we both unloaded about what has been going on in our lives.  She mentioned that she tries not to chat about work stuff, as she fears it would be unprofessional.  That comment got me thinking.  Hell, as this blog is evidence - I'm an open book.  I think as I've become older, I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve more.  I've had a few colleagues comment that as they walk past the library and look in, they wonder who the unhappy looking person is on the help desk.  Then they realise it's me.   I was a little startled to hear that.  I know when I'm helping people I am smiling and positive, but obviously there are moments between patrons where how I'm feeling is very much apparent.

And I find that very sad indeed.  I'm afraid I can't hide who I am, and in reality I am having a hard time at work.  I told Sarah how I wished we had Managers that inspired me, made me WANT to work for them, that were emotionally intelligent and understanding of the trauma losing 6 colleagues through forced redundancy has caused.  I also wish we had more mentoring and positive reinforcement rather than being told we are critical and negative.  Ok, so I guess you're wondering how this all fits in with September 11.  As the ten year anniversary arrived on sunday, there was a lot of footage on the TV reminding us of the horror.  I remember the anxiety I felt a decade ago, like the rule book had been thrown out and that I felt unsafe.  Just in general. I found it confronting, harrowing and terrifying.  I didn't watch a lot of the specials or read a lot of newspapers about the anniversary.  But what I did tune into was a documentary called Rebirth (check it out on ABC Iview while you can or go to

It didn't show the planes or the jumpers.  What it did do was talk to five people over the course of the last 8-10 years since September 11.  Each person was affected by that day.  One person survived getting out of the Twin Towers, and the rest lost a loved one.  It was a show not about hate, but about grief, acceptance, forgiveness and humanity.  It was about people.  I am lucky enough to be pleasantly surprised by people, and how amazing they can be.  A young woman who lost her fiance said 'grief tells you that you loved someone so much that it hurts to lose them'.  I thought that was such a beautiful sentiment.  A young man who lost his mother said many years on, that he couldn't hate Osama bin Laden.  He was some guy in a cave, and it just seemed stupid to try to hate him.  His focus was on his Mother, not who took her away from him.

Again, this reinforces that relationships between people are the most important thing.  It's great to love and be loved.  To share laughter and be hugged.  Friendship can never be underestimated in my book, and I guess that's what September 11 has taught me.  Connect with people.  Love with all your heart.  Be honest and open.  Sarah and I also talked about real estate (as Peter and I have been on the look out to buy somewhere).  We both said how much we hate the game playing associated with trying to get the right home for the right price.  And we hate the politicking that can go on at work.  I'm just crap at it.  Now I hope you can see why I might be having issues at work.  I can think of more important and productive things to do. We both chorused 'why can't everyone just get along'.  I guess it's yet another reminder for me that I think the interactions we have with others are the important and rewarding bit in life.  I need to hang on to my integrity and be true to myself.  I couldn't focus on allegiances and alliances to get ahead, as I'd rather have a real relationship any day.

Anniversaries are good.  They are a reminder; a marker in life to look at where you are, and perhaps who you are.  Take stock or have a wake up call.  What I have learned from September 11 is to love people and cherish friendships.  This song was part of the documentary and gave me a lump in the throat.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

hearts and minds

There are lots of positive things to be said about getting older.  The gaining of wisdom, experience and confidence is something I embrace and continue to look forward to.  However, there can be some drawbacks.  I've been at the doctors a bit lately.  It seems the older you get, the less able you are to outrun the genetic crap-shoot of your own DNA.  Yes - after years of gloating that I was the only one in the family NOT on numerous pills, I have had to take a look at myself in recent weeks.

Once you turn 40 doctors love to send you for tests.  It's like your body odometer has clicked over the magic number, and now it's time for a full service.  After blood and urine tests, a kidney scan and an ECG reading, my doctor uttered the words 'most things are ok, but your heart is working a little harder than it should be'.  I have to say, it sounded like quite a poetic way to say I had high blood pressure.  It was not a surprise either.  It has been up for a few years, and I found out I had a heart murmur when I was 19.  Those simple words have been running around my head though.  My heart is working a little bit harder than it should be.

Given all that has gone on in the last couple of years, it shouldn't be a surprise.  Stress was pretty high on the agenda in ending a long-term relationship and the subsequent hellish 18 months of legal battles.  But unfortunately, after that ended, I have found other things to fill the stress void.  My workplace used to be amazing.  I have made lifelong friends who have become dear to me, and have helped me grow and shaped who I am.  I've always enjoyed what I do, as I like helping people.  But recently there has been tumultuous changes, and the way in which this was done has knocked the wind out of mine and my colleagues sails.  And worst of all, recently there were forced redundancies and some good people will be without jobs in a few days time.  It made me cry.  Cry for my colleagues, and cry that my workplace has become a heartless machine.  It is not the place I once knew.  Peter calls me a grief sponge.  But I feel I can't help it, being surrounded by so much unhappiness.

I have now reached the point where I am going beyond looking for another job within the organisation.  I am looking outside.  It feels like the blinkers are off and I can see the rest of the world.  I have spent more than half my life working in the library, at the same campus.  It made me terrified to think of leaving.  But the events of the last week mean I cannot look our managers in the eye.  I don't respect them as managers or as people.  It is a very sad stage to  get to, but perhaps I'm one of those people who need to hit rock bottom before contemplating change.  So I put in my first job application at another organisation on the weekend.  And I feel ok about it.

I have been watching Judith Lucy's Spiritual Journey and it's given me food for thought.  More than just turning 40 and trying to find where you fit in, and find the answer to what life's all about.  I loved the cynics take on spirituality and finding centeredness.  I don't really dig on religion, or some of the oddball new-aged practices.  What I found compelling was Judith talking about elements of Buddhism and Yoga. Clearing the mind of the hurried rush of life, and finding a connection to nature and to people.  She talked about the mad swirl inside her head, and how meditation helped her find peace and quiet.  This new perspective helped see what was really important.  For some inspirational viewing check out her chat with Brett Kirk (around the 8.07 mark).

Perhaps I'm beginning to see that 2011 is a transformational year.  Time to be nicer to myself, and look after both my heart and my mind.  Let go of things that aren't working for me, and take steps towards the type of life I want and to being the happy and healthier person I'd like to be.  Sounds easy, right.  But how often do you make time for yourself?  Do you eat properly?  Exercise enough?  Feel fulfilled mentally, emotionally or spiritually?  HA!  I can see you shaking your head.  We're all guilty.  But hopefully by being aware, and having a little wake up call in the form of high blood pressure, I will take the steps I need to take.  I have applied for a month off work, as I'm exhausted and Peter and I have our first wedding anniversary coming up.  Now I'm counting the days.  In the meantime, if you know of anyone who wants a slightly shop-soiled librarian free to a good home....give them my number.