… the bright side of life

I don’t know about you, but I can’t read, say or think that saying, “always look on the bright side of life” without picturing Monty Python’s classic, The Life of Brian (go on click the link, you know you want to hear it). Plus I feel like I’ve really been “chewing on life’s gristle” lately.  There’s a lot annoying and frustrating me (the relentless leadership speculation, sexism rearing it’s ugly head repeatedly among others) and I’ve been so ridiculously busy for the last six months, it has taken its toll on everyone in the house.  I love my job and to do it the way I think it should be done takes a lot of my own time, something a two and four year old just don’t understand.  Organising the selling, buying and moving of houses is a lot of work.  Plus increased time away from home for Mr Good has meant me picking up even more of the household and parental duties.  These things combined have lead to sleeplessness, stress, and that constant nagging feeling of having too many balls in the air and just waiting, breath held, for one or more to come crashing down around my feet.

Thankfully nothing has crashed yet and I only have one week of work left before I re-enter the stay at home mum world.  The reports are done, the Year 10s are on work experience and the other classes are planned for the remaining week.  I can breath again and relax.  So I thought it was time to look on the bright side of life for a while instead of dwelling on all that is wrong in the world.  And I have time, because Mr Good is at the footy and the girls are sound asleep after a 5am start and a dinosaur birthday party.  So here are a few things that have made me realise that there are still great things happening.

1. My area had a hard rubbish collection recently and I was flabbergasted (isn’t that a great word) by the number of tvs I saw waiting for collection.  Literally one (or more) in every pile.  I wondered what was going to happen to them all.  Then I saw this story about researchers is South Australia working on technology to recycle 100% of the heavy metals and other elements in tvs, mobile phones, computers and so on. They called it urban mining, I love that name.  I also love that this is happening in Australia and is potentially not only a great thing for the environment but also for employment.  Given that I have heard countless news stories over the last few months of job loses in various industries, I think this is the sort of innovation we should be supporting and celebrating.

2. There’s been a lot of talk about the gender card in Australia politics over the last fortnight.  Most of it has made me fume with rage and frustration.  However, there were a few well written and direct opinion pieces written by men (lots by women I admire) that made me remember that lots of men get it and are not sexist or ignorant.  I was also really pleased to see that the Human Rights Commission has been asked to look into discrimination against pregnant women or mothers re-entering the workforce. This is an issue close to my heart and something that some women suffer far more than I, but that I think is embedded in most industries.  I hope they come up with some strategies that work and that aren’t just swept aside by employers.

3.  I found a fabulous online secondhand book shop, Brotherhood Books.  Now usually I like to just hunt through a secondhand book shop for random treasures, but given that I have limited time to indulge in such things and taking the girls is fun, but hard work, this is a great alternative.  I was after a couple of food/cook books for my Mum for her birthday and found exactly what I wanted.  Shipping is very reasonable (or free if you order three or more books) and the prices were great.  I got what I wanted for under $20 including postage.  Now they haven’t arrived yet, but I’m hopeful they will be in good condition.  It makes me warm inside to think these are not going to landfill and that the present I’ll give will be carbon neutral (except perhaps the packaging, it will be interesting to see how they do that).

4. Sadly I’m not oganised or clever enough to find carbon neutral, waste free or secondhand gifts for all occasions, cos let’s face it, it does take more time and brain power than buying new (though I’m thinking of a pre-loved Christmas theme this year, wonder what the family will think of that).  But when I do buy new I do try to think about where my money is going.  Today the girls had the dinosaur themed birthday party to attend, so of course yesterday we went in search of suitable dinosaur-related presents.  We looked in the Australian Geographic shop (which I generally think is full of pretty cool things) and stumbled over some great dinosaur gear from the Age of Australian Dinosaurs which is a not-for-profit science and education initiative.  Given the recent success of their dig (which volunteers could also go on, how cool!) they must be doing something right and I’m happy for my money to go towards such an amazing, unique centre.  And who doesn’t love a dinosaur bone or two.

All these things made me feel good, feel optimistic and that perhaps there really is more good than bad out there despite what we hear most often.

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8 Responses to … the bright side of life

  1. Liz says:

    I love that picture of all the dinosaur bones in the ute.

  2. Just reading all those things certainly made me feel good. It’s incredibly hard when you feel like all your balls are up in the air, and I’ve certainly felt like that recently. I really hope you leaving paid work brings back a few moments to breathe again.
    ps. Thanks for the online second hand book tip too.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Always like to pass on a good tip or find, so glad you appreciated it.

      I think already just the idea of leaving work has given me a chance to breath and relax. I feeling really good about the changes we’re making and reinvigorated already. Can’t wait to jump in.

  3. Jenny Pearson says:

    Barbara, just love Brotherhood books, also as an inveterate op shopper and worker – every Friday at a church run op shop in Kilmore – books are my favourite finds. Our op shop has a whole room devoted to just that books of all kinds, and at only 20c each, yes 20c each no matter what, I often buy lots, read them, then return them to be re-sold over, and over again. Just love hard rubbish also, although doesn’t happen in this area, however the op shop once again is a great source of “whatever you may need in life”, have managed to grab quite a few bargains over the years of working there, and have also paid the same as the regular customers, we are not into helping ourselves, prices are already nice and cheap. Talk to our mutual friend about my op shopping!! Our op shop is famous in this area. Take the time to smell the roses before you jump feet first into any projects after leaving work – and good luck, you will certainly have many enjoyable times with your lovely girls to come I’m sure, and having you home will be a real treat for them both.

    • Barbara Good says:

      How fantastic 20c books, I love the idea of buying them and then returning them for someone else to enjoy. And no time pressure to get them back that you get when you borrow from the library.
      I’m not too sure about hard rubbish days, I find that people around here use it as an excuse to get rid of perfectly good stuff to replace with more stuff. It just seems to make it to easy, though I do like a good find.

      I shall take your advice about smelling the roses too Jenny, though I am busting to get started. Plus I do want to make sure I plan the garden and the house and get right from the start, so that should slow me down a little.

  4. Christine says:

    Speaking of second hand books, have you heard of Better World Books? (www.betterworldbooks.com). Not only do they have a number of used (and new) books available at fairly reasonable prices, for every book you buy they donate one to a third world country (and I have a feeling that a percentage of their profits go to charities, too). Click over to their website to check it out!

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