I'm back on the writing wagon today after an unplanned moving house-related hiatus. I guess it was not such much unplanned as poorly planned. Did I really think I was going to blog surrounded by chaos and packing boxes; no internet and no space? Yes I did. I will know better next time.
While it's good to be back, I'm writing today with a heavy heart and a determination to enjoy every moment of the coming Christmas and summer break with family and loved ones (despite the fact that I'm still surrounded by packing boxes). The news overnight that two hostages were killed in the siege at the Lindt cafe in Martin Place in Sydney has tilted my world as little, as it has for so many of you I'm sure.
Once upon a time I worked around the corner from the very spot in which seventeen people were trapped, terrified for so many hours and two of whom ultimately lost their lives. I lunched at the MLC centre opposite on a regular basis and I wandered past all of those buildings, especially around the Christmas period when it was great to be out amongst the busy crowds, with people shopping, viewing the beautiful Sydney CBD Christmas decorations and generally enjoying the summer sunshine.
Terrible things happen sometimes. Senseless, violent and wasteful things. We all know that, as much as we detest it. When something terrible happens to someone with whom we identify it affects us greatly. Psychologists call this the ingroup/outgroup mechanism and it's part of social identity theory. It explains why the death of two people in the Sydney CBD can have a much greater impact on our emotions and our view of life than the many hundreds of deaths that occur as a result of senseless violence across the world every single week. This is close. Katrina Dawson, one of those killed, was a professional woman with young children, most likely caught up in this awful situation because she left her office and went to grab a morning coffee with colleagues. That could have been me. It could have been you. It brings our own tenuous grip on life into question in a very stark way.
Of course this is not the only tragedy that has taken place in the last few weeks and there are positives emerging from it. Every terrible thing is an opportunity to learn, as sad as it may be. So today, in a reflective mood, I'm going to share with you the things that I've learnt over the last few weeks. The good, the difficult, the sad and the funny. As life must go on.
1. We moved house two weeks ago. We have too much stuff. Even after trailer loads heading to the tip and many, many trips to donate goods to the Salvos we still have too much stuff. I've been an interested casual observer of the Simple Living Movement for a while now. I think it's time to get a bit more personally invested.
2. Teenagers can be fun but enigmatic creatures. Last week I ran a Leadership Training session for some very switched on teens heading in to Year 12 at one of our local schools. They were smart, fun and funny. They were there to learn more about themselves. I hope they did as I emerged knowing very little about them. They keep their cards close to their chests it seems.
3. Kids are a great reminder of what's important and they're oblivious to stuff that drives us nuts. I'm reminded of this as I curse and lament the obstacle course of our belongings strewn throughout the house and backyard as we struggle to get on top of the task of unpacking and getting the house set up. My boys dart in and out of the boxes and belongings, make cubby houses out of randomly placed furniture and generally absorbing the chaos with not a care in the world.
4. You should not do DIY when you're stressed. There is a hole in our bathroom wall thanks to a towel rail, a hammer and a spike in my blood pressure. I told my husband that I was frustrated and hit the wall with the hammer. He observed the hole later and concluded that it had been more of a 'frenzy'. He might be right.
5. I was able to escape the drudgery of packing, moving and unpacking for a quick trip to Daylesford with the main man. We are so lucky to have so many pretty places to visit so close to home.
6. A tooth is a greater treasure to a six year old boy than the two dollars the tooth fairy might bring. After the disappointment of the tooth fairy TAKING HIS TOOTH AWAY when she first visited he has flatly refused to leave the second tooth out for her, keeping it safely tucked away in a small container amongst his other treasures. Our kids teach us every day.
7. There's more to a Christmas tree than its looks. For many years I have had a rather spectacular eight foot artificial tree fully decked out with lights and colourful decorations gathered from travels, as gifts and of the preschool-made variety. This year, thanks to a much smaller house and a distinct lack of energy for unpacking and packing away one.more.thing we have a small, rather misshapen but living tree. The kids and I decorated it together one evening last week. It's not beautiful but it's full of joy.
8. For all that there is bad in the world, there is an equal or greater amount of good. People power fuelled by the people's media (social that is) has given us #putyourbatsout in tribute to cricketer Philip Hughes and #illridewithyou showed us that we are bigger, better, stronger and kinder than any madman (and racists) trying to bring us down.
And the week(s) in pictures.... xx