Yesterday, for what is now the fourth time in my working life, I was made redundant. It’s a hideous word, when you come to think of it. Redundant; useless, unwanted, superfluous. Whatever word is chosen when you’re shown the door, it tends to sting. I was briefly annoyed. When I say annoyed what I really mean is, I was pissed off. All the thoughts rolling through my head were so focused on me. I’d worked hard, rarely taken time off, done a job that wasn’t even my own and in which I had no experience. Yet for all that hard work it seemed I was just one too many balloons at the party. Sitting on the train on the way home my brain kept rolling over the experience. It kept talking to itself while I tried to read. “What am I going to do now?” “How am I going to support myself?” “At 43 it’s going to be even harder to get a job than it was the last time?” None of those lovely thoughts …
This morning – at least in Australia – we’ve woken up to the news that, unsurprisingly, Donald Trump big noted himself by telling a journalist as a star he could get away with grabbing strange women by the pussy.
In 2004, with the balance of power in his hands, former Prime Minister John Howard made a small amendment to the Marriage Act 1961, entering a definition of marriage as between ‘a man and a woman.’ Twelve years later, the now Liberal Government of Malcolm Turnbull are unable to undertake even an open vote in the House of Representatives to introduce a Bill to approve Marriage Equality. Whether we agree or disagree with the 2004 amendment, it shows the big difference between the past and present Liberal Governments. One had the guts to do what they thought right, the other is beholden to the far right wing of their party, unable to make any independent move in case they are rolled from their role as Party Leader.
Dear Prime Minister, I wasn’t sure how to address your government’s latest announcement yesterday. The age old belief that announcing unpopular moves late on Friday no longer has the same power it did in the years before social media. Social media now means an unpopular announcement now trends on Twitter within minutes of the announcement and, if it’s on a Friday, that announcement has the weekend to fester and build momentum.
Back in mid 2013 I read an article about the discovery of an abandoned Temple complex in the far north of Scotland. The article queried how a temple had come to be located in such a desolate and unforgiving landscape. Not only that, but how based on archeological evidence a thriving town had grown to support the temple complex.
Back in the day, before the internet, social media and phones that did more than actually make phone calls, dating was a world I didn’t really understand. I never have done really. I never knew how to meet people. At times I’m shy to the point of catatonic breakdown, and I still never really know what to say to strangers. I’m not great at small talk.
There’s something about old photographs I just love. I could lose hours wandering through google, looking at photos of couples and families long gone. The moment, forever frozen in time. Photography, particularly those from Victorian England, set my imagination ablaze. I find myself looking at the ghostly images of other days, other eras, and my mind begins to wander. What where they thinking? What stories did they have to tell? Where they happy, sad, indifferent to the experience?
Late last year I attended a breakfast in Sydney, where the guest speaker was discussing ways that you could grow your career. One of the concepts that has stuck in my mind is that of the “oh shit” moment. A moment each day where you look at what you’re doing and think “Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into.” The presenter argued the case that if you don’t have an oh shit moment from time to time – preferably daily – you weren’t pushing yourself enough and were simply coasting through life.
Writing for me has always been a source of therapy. The good gets recorded, the bad and the moments of “oh dear Lord what have I done now.” All of it is a fodder for the worlds I create and the characters who dwell in them. Last year I started real therapy, and was surprised the Hollywood image of the therapist’s couch didn’t exist. The room was small, square, with a comfy lemon leather chair. I felt a bit ripped off really.
I often find myself thinking about people who reinvent themselves. People who take risks, push themselves out of their comfort zone and see greater success – whatever that may mean – then they would have achieved if they’d walked only a specific and expected path. Sometimes, what is easy is not always the best path to take to get to where you need to be.