Showing the door to age 34

And so ends another year in the life and times of Nina…

34 Started off well, Mum presented me with an enormous hand-made long stich picture of the Sydney Harbour, which she’d had professionally framed. I was once a mad keen long-sticher. if there was a country scene that needed a woollen interpretation, I was your girl. ironically though, when I was doing them, long-stiches were not cool unless you were a Nanna, and a daggy one at that. Now, all the hipsters do them and act like painting by numbers with wool has just been invented. Makes a change from my childhood, when the yoyo and Tamagotchi were briefly in and I hopped onto the bandwagon way after everyone else had moved on.

I received the Sydney Harbour kit from Mum for my 24th birthday. But before I could finish it (and less than a year since I had begun I lost my eyesight. Mum knew I’d always regretted not finishing it so 10 years on she did it for me and gave it to me as a gift. Is that re-gifting? It now has pride of place on the wall opposite my bed.

In March I became an Aunty for the first time, when my brother and sister-in-law welcomed David Geoffrey into the fold. It’s fair to say I’m obsessed with him, although much of that has to do with the kick-ass toys I now get to play with under the guise of being a good Aunty (the ball pit is my favourite). For a while I had earned the nickname of “Aunty Mattress” because as soon as he came anywhere near me, he fell asleep. I refuse to believe it was a commentary on my company though. Those days are long gone now.

As a child my greatest weapon against my brother was singing at him. It really pissed him off and I found that hilarious (until he thumped me). By contrast, Davie loves being sung at, so I’m making the most of that while I can. “our” current favourites are ‘just keep swimming’ and ‘shake your groove thing.” I’m thrilled that he’s into disco!

Devastatingly though, Davie has taught me that I am nowhere near as funny as I thought. Everyone’s a critic! I am working on new material and hope to debut it sometime in the new year. Wish me luck!

I had feared that the nephew’s appearance on the scene might make me clucky. It hasn’t. Damion is a whole different story and that scares me even more.

Speaking of Damion, it has not been a great year for him. We are not married, but this year I’ve really learnt the meaning of “in sickness and in health.” He’s been quite sick and at one point I thought I was going to lose him. I handled it rationally of course by having what is best described as a nervous breakdown, which wasn’t helpful. My return to weekly visits to my psychologist and EXTREMELY supportive friends, colleagues and family is though.

The thing I struggle mostly with is my feeling of inadequacy. Am I helping too much? Am I helping too little? Am I helping at all? We handle challenges differently so mostly I have no idea when I am wanted or needed. It’s exhausting!

Everyone keeps spruiking selfcare to me, but I just can’t get the hang of it. Seems like such a waste of time considering the circumstances.This is still a work in progress. It has prompted me to adopt gardening as a hobby though, which has quickly become a passion and I’ve made the tiny flower bed my happy place. There is great satisfaction in watching something I’ve grown from a seed become a healthy plant.

Damion and I are still as solid as ever, although our current lifestyle is vastly different to that of a year ago.

In August my Nonna died. She was the last of my grandparents to go, so it was truly the end of an era. It s still a bit weird walking past her house and not seeing her in the garden.

With no grandparents left it has suddenly occurred to me that my own parents are now the “oldies.” It’s frightening to think that one day, they’ll be gone too.

This thought, and Damion’s Illness has re-doubled my obsessive need for independence and self-sufficiency. The question “how will I cope without them?” keeps coming up. This year I have been more self-sufficient and more motivated (less lazy) than ever before, but there are still things I don’t do. Turns out, independence is more than just living under your own roof.

I have always struggled with accepting help (seeing it as a result of pity/superiority rather than just being nice), but I am starting to change my position. As the saying goes “necessity is the mother of invention.” Or should I say re-invention? Not sure where this is going to take me, but I have recently begun my NDIS journey, which has highlighted many services I can access but don’t (part pride, part un-awareness) that I am now keen to take advantage of.

I am told that 35 is the start of a new life cycle for me (35-42), and 2020 is the Year of the Rat (my Chinese zodiac animal) so my hopes are high.

Happy birthday to me, may the 16th of December 2019 herald the best year yet!



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