As the end of the school year looms and all those poor Year 12 kids are being bombarded with talk about the importance of their final school results, let’s all take a chill pill - and let the kids do so also.
How many adults in your life know how you fared in your final school year? How many of your friends and relatives achieved past exam results of which you either know or care?
Who really knows or cares about school exam results once they are over – done and dusted?
Life is not so cut and dried that everything can be put in boxes, labelled and ensured of outcomes.
Life is for living.
Life is for enjoying and making the most of friendships, family life, happy pursuits and empathy with one’s fellow man. Of course it’s not all ‘beer and skittles’ but, even the tough parts are part of life’s education.
Life is for seeing nature at its best; for each person making their small part of the world a better place. It is not dependent on a numerical score at the end of Year 12 schooling.
It is not a competition. (Year 12 may seem like a comp but life shouldn’t be one!)
It is not a race to the top – of any endeavour – whether to do with money, ….or…….popularity, or ‘cleverness’ … whatever.
Life is to be yourself – and to be comfortable and content in being so.
Robert Ingpen (that's one of his drawings at the top), the amazing artist and illustrator has these wise words:
“You are born with two brains. The main brain is the one that your parents insist upon you using for the rest of your life so you can get a life; the other one is the one you use yourself when you want to go off into the forest and do your dreaming.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I think what I’m trying to say is that there is so much more to living than worrying about Year 12 results - and that a big part of finding contentment and genuine success in whatever you do, is to sometimes to ‘do your dreaming’ and leave stress behind.
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go." - Dr. Seuss
A couple of days ago, driving along a highway, a car passed me with a large skeletal finger ‘statement’ firmly stuck on the back window.
Who was this abuse aimed at? Not me, surely? Was it just for any other car driver who happened to be in the vicinity of the ‘rude finger’ car?
What was its purpose?
What made the driver of this particular car think that this sort of visual affront was appropriate? Was he an angry man or did he think it was funny?
More questions popped into my mind:
Who would buy such a thing? And then stick it on the back window of a car.
And is there a particular symbolism in the finger being skeletal?
What sort of a shop would sell this? Who would design it and who originally thought it a good idea to manufacture such an offensive item?
It obviously worked as at least one person purchased it!
But, perhaps most of all:
What has happened to society, to civility, and courtesy?
Where is the respect towards others?
Is a sign such as this meant to annoy? Is it an insult – or there to shock and offend? Or are we just supposed to laugh?
I saw it as a type of abuse; disrespectful towards all who are forced to see it. It serves no other purpose other than to be offensive. So, who is behind such a stupid affront to fellow road users?
Can it possibly be simply a message to tell the world that this driver is a dull witted fool?
Or am I being too precious and need to ‘lighten up’?
When tragedy strikes - and it does sometimes - we often see a burst of compassion and a general feeling of thoughtfulness. But perhaps we shouldn't just act this way only when tragedy looms up in front of us. Opportunities abound on other more seemingly ordinary days for kind thoughts and deeds towards our fellow man.
Not so long ago, I attended a thanksgiving service for families and friends of people who had donated their bodies to a university. It was a beautiful and heart-warming service, tinged with sadness, but full of thanks and grace.
The service itself was not overly religious, but there was some lovely choral singing – some with a Christian leaning - and a bible reading from the book of Psalms.
Names of donors were read out as a Tibetan Singing Bowl tolled and candles were lit.
A PhD student from the university spoke words directed at the people whose generous act of donation had aided so much practical study of anatomy and further learning. Her words were extremely moving.
There were other speeches and readings delivered alongside a splendid Book of Remembrance which took pride of place and which held the names of all thirty-nine 2015 donors.
A few quiet tears were shed during the ceremony – even by me, as an interloper, being present only as spouse of a choir member.
A short inspiring address given by a retired Anglican Chaplain, mentioned what he referred to as ‘John Wesley’s Rule of Conduct’. Such good words – and I include them here:
‘Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.’
(from: Letters of John Wesley, ed. George Eayrs, p. 423.)
This list of ‘Rules’ seemed to epitomise the actions of the donors and their families in their generosity and unselfish charity.
It brought to mind the old Prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola, which, although a prayer, suggests, in part, similar thoughts and actions:
‘….to give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward..’
Wouldn’t it be nice if many of John Wesley’s and St Ignatius Loyola’s words of advice were heeded by everyone throughout every day?
In today’s newspaper, there’s a report about housing availability and affordability. Apparently there was some research done that showed (and I quote): ‘..the potential benefit to the city’s housing supply if some home owners chose to live in smaller dwellings, allowing young families to fill the larger houses’.
What a bloody cheek!
‘..government research found the equivalent of 20 years of housing supply is tied up in empty bedrooms.’
These people who live in houses with empty bedrooms were once ‘young families’ just like the ones that the report is wanting to now have the homes.
People are not either old or young throughout their lives. There are no permanent elderly, just as there are no permanent young families. Life goes on and things change. And, as circumstances and people change there is a progression of situations. Those ‘greedy old people’ living in houses with empty bedrooms will, of necessity, eventually leave their ‘big’ homes. They will surely die or (heaven forbid) be relegated to final years in a nursing home.
They will not remain in their ‘big’ houses forever, which seems the prevailing attitude of people who conduct research and write these reports.
These empty nesters – yes, the greedy ones with empty bedrooms that could be filled by ‘young families’ - scrimped and saved and bought their home many years ago. Why should they move out and into what is called in the article ‘a seniors-friendly housing option’.
No, go away and think up some other plan for your ‘young families’ and leave us empty nesters alone. We’re not going anywhere!
I have been reluctant to enter into the topic of the appalling US presidential election but cannot resist the urge to have my say.
What is the current population of the USA?
Something near 325 MILLION. That’s 325,000,000 people!
Surely, surely someone more suitable could have come forward than the two presidential candidates on offer at the moment?
Surely there are people with intelligence, ability, passion, strength, innovation, personality, Integrity, inspiration, authenticity? Any combination of these would do!
I guess it’s just that no one wants the job. It’s possibly a terrible career move for anyone.
Sure, there’d be lots of power and money available …BUT…about half the world would despise you - and there’s even a chance you could be assassinated.
In my lifetime there have been several US presidential elections, most of which I have only held a cursory interest. While I was certainly very keen to follow - and hope for a win for - Barack Obama, this current election has (with the help of much media hype) proved to be both compelling and, at times, unwatchable.
This is in the country that claims to be ‘the leader of the free world’.
Heaven help us then.
It is difficult to gauge any benefits that the US public would receive in electing either of these candidates. I have heard very few actual workable plans for advancement of the country. But, then again, perhaps we have only been shown the spectacle of misbehaviour; although I have sat through the excruciating debates.
And now, while Donald Trump is busy denying his (alleged) gross misconduct towards women over the years, Hillary Clinton is appearing on tv chat shows, and in amongst her hopes for the nation, is denigrating her opponent with “He says…” , and “He …” like a teenager bagging a classmate.
It’s all a bit hideous to hear and watch.
And yet, it is also hypnotising in its shameful impropriety. I keep thinking it must be some sort of ‘hidden camera’ joke – if it’s not a nightmare.
Could we stop it now? Call the whole thing off and start again, with some decent candidates?
How times have changed.
150 years ago, the Republican leader – in fact, President – was Abraham Lincoln.
As far as we know, he was nothing like Donald Trump.
Could Lincoln see into the future? Poor man must be spinning in his grave to know what his country has come to!
In a speech, he once said, “….If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher…..”
This statement of his is usually re-written as “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Well, hey there, Mr Lincoln. I think the destroying has begun.
The great hoo-ha in Australia over a ridiculously costly and unnecessary plebiscite about same sex marriage is dominating the airwaves.
My response continues to be of both annoyance and indifference. Apart from being appalled at the expense of the proposal – and the time consuming debate of this annoying topic to the almost exclusion of all other more important matters - I have little to say.
And that will be my response to the question if we ever have a plebiscite. (And seems like that’s a big IF now).
But, if a plebiscite is to be, I will be a law abiding citizen and I will front up to the polling booth (or whatever it will be called) and I will collect my form to be filled out and I will take the said form to the private booth. I will then fold the piece of paper and take it to the ‘posting’ box and deposit its blankness.
Can you guess that I couldn’t ‘give a rat’s’ about the topic?
Actually, when I claimed ‘I have little to say’… not true!
I have lots to say!
I have no qualms about people being allowed to love whomever they choose. I have no issue with whoever other people wish to share their lives.
It’s simply none of my business.
Throughout history ‘marriage’ has had many and varied interpretations - (and you are free to explore the weird and wonderful variety of such by means of Google).
It has not always been the sole ‘privilege’ of including one man and one woman and it was only in 2004 that our PM, John Howard amended the (Australian) Marriage Act to state: “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”
(I know these words well, from writing out hundreds of marriage ceremonies conducted by my husband, when he was a marriage celebrant).
Mr Howard, our conservative, 1950s devotee ‘man of steel’, with apparent and surprising (?) prescience decided to use his power and right wing sentiments to block any moves of future occurrences of which he did not approve.
Hence this annoying and persistent debate.
What is it about the term “Marriage” that makes it so appealing? Why is it that gay and lesbian people wish to be married? In fact why does anyone wish to be married nowadays? Many people don’t bother any more. It is quite acceptable to live together, without the certificate of Marriage; no longer the old ‘living in sin’ attitude. So, what’s the attraction?
Am I being cynical in suggesting it has a lot more to do with a wedding than a marriage? Is it for a party, with a centre of attention core of two, that people are so desirous?
And, by the way, it’s not even logical for people to be marching in protest about the SSM debate, carrying banners shouting, “Love is Love”. No one is stopping people from LOVING anyone else…None of anyone else’s business! Nothing to do with a SSM plebiscite!
FFS, can we stop wasting time on this subject and perhaps get the politicians and the general public to start worrying about real things like CLIMATE CHANGE – just one of the pressing - and lately largely ignored - needs of this world.
The almost laughable latest talk on the News (‘News’? for goodness sake!) concerns the worrying (not!) fact about whether it might be against human rights for a wedding cake maker or florist to refuse to accept orders from gay & lesbian couples for wedding products if they are not sympathetic to SSM!
Give me strength!
The cake makers and florists will be jumping over the moon with excitement if SSM is approved. Imagine the extra business!
And doesn’t this give further hints that perhaps this has more to do with the party aspect of a wedding than actual marriage?
And, don’t get me started on the topic of how new divorce laws will have to be drafted to sort out the wording.
It’s beginning to be rather stupid as well as annoying.
I just wish it would go away, so that we can get on with things that matter.
Yes, yes, I know it’s a very real concern for the few gay and lesbian people who truly wish to be married and I can feel for them BUT, is it really a matter of National importance?
I think not.
And please put away all those bloody rainbow flags.
‘If you live each day as if it were your last, one day you’ll most certainly be right’ is a cynical pillorying of the well worn saying, or quote, or statement of advice – whatever you might call it - that has been around in popular kitsch posters and cards for a couple of decades.
That is, to “Live each day as though it’s your last”
Have a think about it.
Is this a realistic attitude?
The often popular quote that advises us to ‘live each day as though it’s our last’ suggests (IMHO) that we should try and do everything we ever wanted to do and everything we still need to do…all the ‘right’ things, like tell everyone we love that we LOVE THEM; to make amends for any wrongs and perhaps even try our best to make the world a better and happier place.
In other words, be loving and helpful.
But…is it realistic?
Would it be possible?
In Oliver Sack’s small book, ‘Gratitude’ – a collection of essays written in the last two years of his life - he writes (after the diagnosis of his terminal disease),’…I shall no longer look at News Hour every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.’ He assures the reader that this attitude is ‘..not indifference but detachment.’ And follows that there are still things he cares deeply about but they are in the future. (So, therefore, I suppose, no longer of concern to him).
During the writing of these essays, Olive Sacks is genuinely and knowingly in his ‘last days’.
But what about the other message? The message aimed at ‘everyone’?
The message urging us to ‘live each day as though it’s our last’ ?
Far more sensible and easier, if we were definitely living our last days, I suggest would be to do as Oliver Sacks did, in his genuine last days. That is, to ignore the latest TV news bulletins, to stop caring about the world’s problems and to ignore a lot of what does not intimately concern you.
Wow, wouldn’t that be nice at any time?
And, wouldn’t it be more realistic than the supposed message of the trite, ‘Live each day as though it’s your last’?
OR are there two distinct messages here?
One is the realistic approach to our ‘last days’ and the other is a gentle reminder to not leave things undone. And to always do what is right.
Sure, your death may be sudden and unexpected and it would be so nice if you could have had all your wishes accomplished before that big bus hit you
as you crossed the road. BUT, seriously, wouldn’t living each day as if it were your last be fairly irritating and disruptive to your daily productive life?
Whether you think it’s a good attitude to ‘live each day as if it’s your last’ or not….It does present a thinking point.
But, so do most other sayings and proverbs.
Meanwhile, not for any ‘last days’’ reason, but just for a break from the awfulness of the daily news feed, I will take on Oliver Sack’s idea and shall (for the time being) not look at the News every night and (also for the time being) no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.