Taking notes

I can’t really put my finger on why I feel compelled to blog. Just like that option about relationships on Facebook, it’s complicated.

I do like to think of myself as a storyteller and if I can get a few laughs along the way, all the better.

Perhaps Mr Morley, my 6th Grade teacher, is part of it. Even since he kindly but succinctly critiqued my attempt at a retelling of “Goldilocks & The Three Bears” – Michelle, I appreciate your hard work but your writing is verbose – I’ve felt the need to hone my writing skills.

Maybe it’s a way of quieting the voices in my head. I find putting thoughts into words on a page brings clarity and some sense of order.

My love affair with blogging actually started about eight years ago. I was going through (what I hope will be) the most disastrous time in my life. I had the trifecta – career; family; marriage – all in the shitter. There’s no nicer way to put it. Everything was crappy.

I was suffering deep anxiety and depression at the time (of course, had no idea that’s what it was) and I credit taking up writing in a journal for helping me through those really tough days.  I committed to writing one page per day, last thing at night.

At first, it was so very, very trite. My entries read like that nasty classic “What I did in my holidays”. It was just a recount of what I’d done for the day.

At the same time, I discovered you could actually do this on the internet and I started my own blog – The Blah-Blah. Nothing controversial. No deep inner revelations. No dark secrets. It was just like my journal – dull and boring and nothing at all of the real me in there.

Some time later I re-read both the early days of my journal and my blog, knowing full well what was really going on, and I could see how much of a liar I was. There was no hint of any distress at all. They were positively dripping with sweetness and ‘hail-fellow-well-met”.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Then the shit really hit the fan. My dad died. And all the crap came spilling out as life as I knew it exploded around me.

Finally, my journal did what it was supposed to do. It released all the pent-up angst, all the hurt, all the sorrow. Some nights I struggled to condense it all onto just one page.

Unfortunately, my blog took a turn for the worse as well, diving into diatribe. I took a good look at it one day and deleted the whole thing. It had become nothing more than a moan about things that were either out of my control or of my own doing. I felt embarrassed to have all that out for public display.

I kept my journals (there ended up being 5 of them) buried in the back of my cupboard for a few years. I made NIH promise to find them and burn them if I died. He knew everything about me so I wasn’t worried about him reading them (it’s one of the reasons I love him dearly – he knows it all and loves me anyway) but I worried about anyone else finding them.

About three years ago I did a big spring clean. Life was relatively good – there was still that pesky little issue with infertility but apart from that, I loved who I had become and where I was in life.  I pulled the journals out of the cupboard and flicked through them all.

Oh, that me was so sad and lost. Even now, I get a lump in my throat thinking of her. She was a total mess.

So I ripped them apart and burnt all the pages, even those heart-wrenching entries just before and after my dad passed away. The journals had served their purpose and I didn’t need to hold onto all that pain anymore. It was past time to let it all go.

I started “Creative Midlife” as a way of discussing my journey from librarian to graphic designer. It was meant to be a showcase of my work whilst being an amusing little aside at my life – a token diary without too much angst.

I decided to be real but not offensive. I wanted to write stuff that might leave me vulnerable but at least be my truth. I didn’t want to be a liar anymore.

It’s interesting to see how the blog has evolved around my life – first as a foray into a vastly different career, then as an IVF war veteran, then an immigrant to a different country and now as a second-time-around mother. I’m so glad I have kept a written record of the highlights. Sure, it’s not been all wine and roses but still it’s been good.

I don’t think I’ll be deleting it any time soon.

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Kia Ora!

Sunrise over Hamilton, NZ

Sunrise over Hamilton, NZ

It’s been just over two months since we left Central Queensland, Australia and landed in Hamilton, New Zealand.

It hasn’t all been action-packed – there’s been days when I’ve wanted to poke my own eyes out with boredom – but looking back, I realise we’ve achieved a lot in a short amount of time.  Like:

  • buy a car
  • find a unit to rent
  • get all the financial/identity s**t you need to be a functioning part of society
  • scope out your surroundings
  • play the tourist (why else would you move away from friends and family, if not to experience a big adventure?)
  • look for jobs
  • wait for  your furniture to arrive
  • and wait …
  • and wait …

Most of this stuff I’ve done on my own. My NIH is quite comfortable on his own, which is kinda strange for a Gemini but then he’s right on the cusp with Taurus so I just blame that. On the other hand, I am a true Gemini in the sense that I love people so being on my own has been a test for me – but one I rather think I’m getting the hang of.

I started this blog to journalise my step away from the safety of ‘regular’ work in libraries – something I’ve done for years – into the freelance world of graphic design. If someone had told me a year ago I’d actually be living in New Zealand in the not-too-distant future, I would have laughed and said “Well, at least it would be cooler than here!” and promptly dismissed it. Yet – here we are. Setting ourselves up for a life in another country.

I thought about changing the title of my blog but realised that it still fit the subject matter. How much more creative can you get in midlife than immersing yourself in a new culture?

I’ve been keeping a journal using the good ol’ pen and paper, although I haven’t been as consistent with my entries as I used to be. Now that I have my computer back (and getting that sorted is a story in itself!), it’s onward and upward with keeping track of our ‘Adventures in Middle Earth’.

Yes. I went there.