Bye bye teenies, hallo twenties

It has taken time and effort to put together my change of year/decade summary this year for many reasons, the obvious being the unnecessary extent of the bushfire tragedy in this country. As a deep feeling empathic person, I am moved by the tragedy. After the first coffee for 2020, I’m going to try to link my little 7 billionth of the world to the proverbial whole picture.

So, my year started out fab, fell, metaphorically speaking, some way down the Pacific Basin mid-year and has climbed out since.  Receiving the Order of Australia (AM – I only have to work in the mornings now) was a pretty high start. The ceremony in April was wonderful and it was great to have key people from 4 parts of my life there. It would have been good to have a 5th; I could only wear mum’s jewellery and connect with her that way. The Joe Walsh/Eagles song “Pretty Maids All in a Row” has been on high rotation for much of the year in honour of mum and granny.

Perhaps it was hard to keep up that sort of high. Trying to take on an unpaid executive management role in TGV ended with tears before bedtime due to lateral hostility from 360 degrees and bureaucratic micromanagement on many fronts. Thank you to the dear friend and colleague who bravely pointed out that I had more than cockpit warning lights flashing; I had an engine on fire. I was therefore able to stop the plane crashing. I still feel sad and frustrated to have to pull away from management at TGV for those reasons when my vision has lots to offer; all the same, it has been the best for me in terms of mental health and what I call neuro health. My training steadily returned to its sharpest in the latter 4 months of the year and I feel more grounded overall. I’ll just say “watch this space” re some of this…

I want to thank again Nevo Zisin, my mental health professional, Tina Healey and City of Darebin for being catalysts to improved fitness and exercise. My swimming is now steadily at 20x50 metre laps (1 km) of breaststroke twice a week.  I think this helped in my changing to a healthy fluid intake i.e. leaving soft drink behind over a year ago. I’m no Rhea Ripley but feel much happier doing this exercise – this is MY brutality 😊 (put Rhea Ripley theme in your search engine to understand that one).

Talking sports entertainment, thanks to Chris Wallis for shouting me a ticket to NJPW in June at Festival Hall, Melbourne’s spiritual epicentre of wrestling. Will Ospreay v Robbie Eagles was 41 minutes of total made magic for wrestling tragics (like me) and deserved every milligram of the energy given by the standing ovation. And as always it was good to see WWE in October with Nic “Zigs” Wishart and that benign chairman of the Ref Bump, Evan Thompson.

Beyond training there were 2 big stand-outs in my own work. Presenting my “extended dance mix” personal story at (of all places) the Outdoors Victoria conference was a total delight (thank you organisers for everything especially the free coffee before my opening the day on the Saturday morning). At day’s end was where met Shawn Andrews, one of this earth’s beautiful souls and a true striver for social justice. I later had the pleasure of meeting his beautiful family. The other stand-out was presenting at the Manningham Uniting Church Building Bridges event in October. Hearing so many personal stories across newly arrived, Aboriginal, LGBTIQ I was struck by a common theme: damaged and disrupted childhoods. Come on, human race, we can surely do better.

I also met this year Jacqui Pillar au and James Williams, both of whom are also beautiful social justice souls. Pepper is a wonderful 4-legged justice soul.

In December I went to cultural awareness training run by VACCA Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. No, one day of training does not make me an instant perfect ally. However, to hear more deeply of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - and more importantly that some of the actions against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are still ongoing was deeply emotional. I aim to channel that emotion into something positive somewhere, somehow.

It was fab to finally get some better birth certificate laws on the books in Victoria and so convincingly in the end. Along with our siblings in Tasmania also achieving great reforms (and the Northern Territory in late 2018) these were much needed wins. Congrats also goes to the Northern Territory for achieving decriminalisation of sex work law reform this year. We need these beacons given the irrational attitudes that seem and often are so loud and shrill in these times.

Looking back at the decade, my mental and physical health improved, my finances improved (I am debt-free) my self-esteem improved thanks to wonderful people and my enjoyment of paid work improved. My living arrangements remained stable (thanks to human and 4-legged critters). But that is my 1 little 7 billionth of the world.

That leads to the bigger picture. I don’t have a whole strategic plan with goals actions and KPIs (old accountants never die, right) for social, environmental and climate justice and common sense. I totally affirm the feelings of despair, frustration, anger and maybe helplessness (and others) that people are feeling on these issues. I feel the frustration when people with titles of POTUS and Australian PM are effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and going “la la la” at so many people on so many issues. I have only had only one intuitive moment on this: let us focus on the better world we want to create rather than the negatives what we want to eliminate. Take that as you will.

Last of all my resolution for 2020: to continue to increase my inner peace and contentment across all of my life including how I do my social justice. I believe for me that is how I will reconcile (more accounting) my place in the world with that whole picture. I don’t know the detail of that today and I’m cool with that – far worse things than a bit of uncertainty.  I will keep moving forward to make it happen and see what happens.

Wishing people of all genders peace and strength and have yourselves a roaring twenties.

PS will be doing some other sorts of writing for the next 3weeks. 😊