Current hairdressing woes aside, my life has been blighted by a rough deal dealt by my genes!
You’d think a sane and rational older adult, in a world with so many problems and so much sadness, would have better things to think about. But my genes preoccupy too much of my thinking time. It’s not my congenital hammer toe, but my hair, which disturbs me.
Fifteen years ago today, John and I married and fled to France.
Our Nuptial Mass at St Peters Church in Bedford was as romantic as anyone could imagine. The celebrant, Fr Trevor, wore gold vestments. The golden chalice gleamed in the rays of the morning sun that shone through the stained glass windows.
Our witnesses, old friends Laurie Bonedeo and Rosemary Keenan, greeted us outside the church. Other friends, Morag and Taff Davies, swelled the congregation to seven.
To struggle, according to dictionary definitions, means to make strenuous efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition. It sounds like something to be avoided at all costs.
However, I’m convinced struggle is good for us and that we must grapple with new material if we want to learn and understand the world. Without struggle, we don’t grow.
You may have read my earlier blog posts (here and here )about my determination to deal with pain. I’ve been plagued with arthritis in many joints for years and chose not to undergo surgery because I didn’t know where to start. My interest in plasticity of the brain and new learning led me to the Curable app. (No affiliation.)
Delirium resultes from an abrupt change in the brain. It causes mental confusion and emotional disruption. It makes it difficult for a person to think, remember, sleep and pay attention. People with delirium may become agitated or aggressive. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
However, it occurs in about one in four older patients in hospital, and families and friends can help to prevent its onset. Even knowing about it can be useful if we have older relatives, including our partners, who may be affected at some time.
Cooking for two – or twenty or more – didn’t faze me. I loved making meals. I also enjoyed baking; barbecuing; making jam and generally playing with food and creating in the kitchen. Then, everything changed.
Mealtimes come round with increasing monotony. And, dare I say it, with increasing stress. My world has shrunk a bit more, because eating (and cooking!) should be among life’s pleasures that last into old age. This much-loved hobby has no place in my current life.
In A Room Made of Leaves, multi-award winning Australian author, Kate Grenville, creates an unreliable memoir. From the beginning, we suspect that all may not be what it seems. Even the epitath reads, ‘Do not believe too quickly!’ Elizabeth Macarthur. Several times, the protagonist, who is also the narrator, warns the reader not to trust what she says.
Several commentators write about Grenville’s A Room Made of Leaves as somewhere between ‘hoax and history’. In either case, it is an enthralling and entertaining story, written by one of Australia’s best writers.
Two extraordinary mothers, my granddaughter and daughter, provided an outstanding example of teamwork when my newest great-grandchild arrived recently. And what a beautiful baby he is!
Alistair James Stuart Linton decided he’d had enough waiting for something to happen. He was born, several weeks early, with little warning (an understatement). His grandmother, my daughter Jenny, managed to arrive with just enough time to deliver him safely at home in the shower. Lucky she lives a quick phone call and 2-3 minutes away by car.
Since I recently discovered that chronic pain is not a life-or-death sentence, I feel like a new convert. Or like someone who’s fallen in love or given up a forty-a-day cigarette habit. I’m grateful that a casual conversation over coffee led to a new way of looking at life. An achievement at any age!
I’ve discovered that it’s possible to manage some kinds of pain with the mind, using the principles of neuroplasticity. Perhaps it’s possible to banish chronic pain altogether, although that would take work. For now, I’m happy to take baby steps and see what happens.
If You’re Happy (2022) consists of a delicious collection of twenty-four cleverly crafted and beautifully written short stories. Fiona Robertson’s work has been published in literary journals in Australia and the United Kingdom. This collection won the Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland writer at the 2020 Queensland Literary Awards.
I am proud to call her a friend although we have never met in person.
Your convenience, under normal circumstances, should be taken very seriously. In ordinary times in the western world, we have the right to freedom of movement. We can choose with whom we associate, where and under what circumstances. We choose what goes into our bodies without sanctions. Everyone wears what they like.
But during a pandemic or war, extraordinary times, fewer personal freedoms can rightly be expected. The greater good of all forms a basic tenet of ethical decision-making..