Life has been feeling a little serious lately. I’m not sure why, but there’s a lot going on. I’m about to resign from my job, torn between staying and hoping ‘things’ settle down and leaving and embarking on a new (yawn) journey. I keep finding myself remembering a few months ago, when life was a bit more settled and perhaps I had a little more hope. I could enjoy a free afternoon either sitting out around the side of the house on my chill-out lounge or reading a book without other thoughts crowding my mind. I was looking forward to December being a time of more relaxation and planning things like yoga classes and looking forward to a holiday in March of this year.
Fast forward to now, the reality is, December was awful, January is nearly over. The holiday is in doubt due to a disappointing reality check and I’ve had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. My symptoms have seemed worse in the last 2 weeks with uncomfortable tenderness on the soles of my feet when I walk, a feeling of swollen limbs when I wake up and pins and needles. Yoga classes are off the cards with a suggestion that 3 minutes exercise a day is all I should be aiming to achieve right now.
The year stretches out in front of me with some exciting possibilities thrown in to the relentless likelihood that very little will change in my physical capabilities. As I’ve said before, things could be worse. I can live like this. I just get tired, have very little social life or interaction with nice people and I constantly feel let down. My GP pulled me up on this phrase on Thursday, saying in almost every situation in life things could always be worse and you have to acknowledge how things are. I guess I’m trying to avoid myself wallowing.
It’s my birthday on Tuesday and people keep asking what I’m doing for it. I have a funny relationship with my birthday, most people probably do, however mine falls on an iconic Australian holiday – Australia Day. In my early years, it was disappointing, being in the school holidays, there were no school friends around. A club called the 26-ers, which I don’t think exists anymore, invited people born on Australia Day to march in the parade, but no-one would ever come with me and I can remember wanting to go to the 9:30pm fireworks at night but not being allowed to and standing on the front verandah trying to catch a glimpse of the lights in the sky from 12 ks away. I struggle to remember much more than my Mum would ask what special meal I’d like to have cooked for dinner. In later years, I can remember a fun birthday in London, with some Aussies and some new English friends (who didn’t care about Australia Day) at a mexican restaurant called Sol in Clapham in my first year living there when things were bright.
Only a few years, the public holiday changed to be on the actual day, so this year, Tuesday is a public holiday for everyone to celebrate being Australian – I suppose. I doubt many people actually know what the date symbolises and in recent years the rise of calling it Invasion Day has been strong. The 26th of January marks the date of the landing of the First Fleet into Sydney in 1788, with 11 ships full of expelled convicts that Great Britain had no more room for. British people had been here for almost 18 years previous but this date began the colonies. While I don’t call it Invasion Day I do understand the sadness that Aboriginal people associate the holiday with. I recently read a very good book about this exact time called ‘The Secret River’ by Kate Grenville describing the first contact between settlers claiming land for themselves and Aboriginal people who had lived on the same land for 40,000 years or more.
But back to me! Australia Day being a public holiday means that people are ALWAYS busy and if you arrange a party for your birthday on that day, you almost always get people dropping in and out, or not coming at all, because they have other parties. Probably my most favourite birthdays were the beach party years. My friend Adam, who lived next door, brought the tradition with him from Cairns, of setting up camp on the beach (we lived one street back) having a barbie, listening to the Hottest 100 and drinking homemade mango daiquiris! The Hottest 100, a music poll conducted by Triple J, gives you a fun recap of the years music and keeps everyone guessing and arguing until 7pm about what will be number one.
The parties since having a child have been subdued and even my 40th was a complete fizzer with everyone leaving by 7pm after only arriving about 3! Better make the 50th a good one hey?
So this year, I got the suggestion from my daughters father that he would like to have her all day because he’s not working. Jeez if I don’t have her with me, what will I do? Sit on my own at home? So I said no to that, just showing again how little he understands me (and perhaps any Mum). I think we may head to Glenelg for the citizenship ceremonies in the morning and watch some people who asked to become Australians (not were born here) be bestowed the honour, because I’m sure that will be uplifting and maybe attend someone else’s Australia Day BBQ in the afternoon, even though that makes me feel awkward because if people find out it’s my birthday they will suddenly feel awkward too (like I have no friends who care about me!).
The following day I’ll go out to afternoon tea with my Mum, my Aunty and my daughter (the cafe is closed on my actual birthday) and I’m looking forward to that, just the 26th can go away as fast as it likes thanks!
Enough whinging! Things could be worse. Australia is a wonderful country to have been born in even with it’s unpleasant past (show me a country that doesn’t have an unpleasant past) and Adelaide is a pretty easy-going city to live in. So I guess I should celebrate that.