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Living Upside Down

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Same Old, Same Old

As much as I love my hometown of Newcastle, I have to admit that we don’t tend to adapt well to change. We agree that it is a good thing (in theory), but would prefer it happened to someone else, somewhere else.

This morning I was listening to the radio and heard mention of a comment by Nick Greiner yesterday about the Newcastle city rail line. Apparently, Mr Greiner feels that our inner city resembles Beirut on a bad Friday night thanks to the track that extends into Newcastle, separating the CBD from the waterfront.

For those who don’t live in Newcastle, you may not realise just how long this discussion has been going on. I can remember public debate on the issue as far back as my final years of school (in the late 80s) and the topic was hardly new then. More than twenty years later, we are still discussing it. Actually, the radio conversation this morning was more a discussion about the fact that we are discussing the rail topic. It’s enough to make you dizzy.

Frustrated by the rehashing of a tired old argument, I switched stations hoping for something a little more interesting. No such luck. Apparently Lenore Skenazy is in Australia, once again upsetting modern parents by promoting her free-range children philosophy. They mentioned the fact that she allowed her 9-year-old son to ride on the subway alone as if it only happened yesterday. Surely this ‘child’ is now well into his teens, having survived both the subway and the trial by media of his mother.

Anyone else feel like their life is some cruel Groundhog’s Day-esque practical joke? Am I the only one trapped in a seemingly endless round of deja vu discussions and experiences? Is there truly ‘nothing new under the sun’?

Maybe my frustrations with the rehashed ‘current’ affairs discussions stem from the relentless repetition that is an inevitable part of family life. Endless loads of washing, meals to prepare, school drop offs/pick-ups, bills to pay, lunchboxes to fill and after school activities to schedule and attend. Endless repetitions of the same questions from me (Where is your lunchbox? Have you done your homework? Have you brushed your teeth?) and them (Where are my socks? What’s for dinner? Do I have to?).

It can be difficult to stop one day flowing seamlessly into the next as I cycle through an ever-repeating list of household chores and responsibilities. The same old, same old discussions are just the icing on the cake.

I think I need to make more of an effort to inject something new and interesting into my days. As part of dealing with my diagnosis of depression last year I have been trying to do things for myself, small indulgences and treats to buoy my spirits. It’s not just about buying things however (although I still get a ridiculous amount of pleasure at the sight of my ‘this will make me feel better’ red stiletto shoes). It’s about reclaiming myself – physically, mentally and emotionally.

So, any tips for how to easily inject something interesting and new into my everyday life? I’m all for a all expenses paid trip to Europe to expand my horizons and stimulate cultural and social discussions, but I’m guessing that is unlikely to be an option. What does everyone else do to keep the Groundhog’s Day Blues away?

One Response to “Same Old, Same Old”

  • I know exactly what you mean Susan. I wake in the morning and the same routine plays out day in day out and it’s boring. But if I don’t adhere to it I have to live with the consequences throughout the day of allowing tasks to lag behind. Some days I really struggle to get enthused enough to just get everyone fed, dressed and out the door. Other days I am on fire and have cleaned the bathroom, hung out two loads of washing and vacuumed before it’s 9am. The weird part is I feel so great when things get done so it annoys me when I can’t find the motivation to be like that every day (just as I feel with exercise). Aaaanyway, the way I get around it is to think about one big thing to look forward to every few months, as opposed to lots of little things. Sometimes I have a glut of awesome stuff going on in one month (this month is Prince, TEDxSydney, a trip to the Theatre and a catch up with old pals in Sydney). Other times there can be months of ‘drought’ before another ‘big’ treat comes about. I find these ‘big’ events useful when it comes to reflecting at the end of the year to use these as defining points that remind me I did some fun stuff throughout the year, along with many of the accomplishments and fun times had by my kids and husband.

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Susan Whelan - freelance writer, wife, mother, Novocastrian, compulsive reader, user of big words and inadequate housewife. Contact me at susan@whelanflynn.com.

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