So it’s a bit eye opening to realise that I turned 52 yesterday.
The body says I’m 52 but in my mind, I’m 25.
At least, that’s what I tell myself when I look in the mirror and notice the skin that’s going papery, the wrinkles around my eyes and the random hairs that seem to spring up on my chin.
Where have all the years gone?
The older I get, the years go by quicker.
So this makes me want to appreciate every single moment with those I love around me; but also to take the time to enjoy my own company too.
Recently I celebrated my 52nd year of being on this earth with the people I love. I started the day with a long 1.5 hour walk where I walked to a couple parks in my local area that I rarely visit. An opportunity to see new sights and to just zone out to enjoy the lovely still morning is exactly what I needed. In my ear, I listened to Naval Ravikant on the Knowledge Project podcast but there was one stage where I had completely blocked what he was talking about because my attention was on all the various bird life that was around me.
Magpies, cockatoos, parakeets, honey eaters, wattle birds and the dreaded miner birds were out in force!
When I returned home to shower and change, I visited the local Vietnamese bakery. It’s a shop that has been around for many years and it’s fairly basic inside. However, the cakes and pastries are cheap and there’s always guarantee of a great conversation and laugh with the owners. I’ve been loving the post-covid lockdown life as the neighbourhood seems to have a new lease of life about it. People are more open to talking and laughing with each other on the streets and in the shops. I’ve been going to this particular bakery for many years for the reason that it’s not new nor is it trendy. Also, the selection of pastries are the typical ones you’d expect from your childhood. Vanilla slices, rock cakes, lamingtons, croissants, custard pies, apple turnovers and cupcakes. I bought a selection then drove over to my parents.
I’ve got a key to their house, so I let myself in and fired up the kettle in the kitchen. They had roused awake, showered, and changed and joined me to eat a breakfast of cakes and pastries. They shared their birthday greetings with me, I blew out a candle and we had some laughs. It’s more than I could have asked for to spend this time with them.
Afterwards, I came back home and while making another cup of coffee, I looked outside the kitchen window and saw a wattle bird on the fence just watching me, watching it. These birds are everywhere in our back yards here and the one I saw was quite young. I spent at least 15 minutes looking at it completely mesemerised.
On a whim, I decided to go to Rippon Lea Estate as my “artist date” (the concept by Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way where we make a date with ourselves to enjoy an outing).
Rippon Lea is the site of a Victorian house which belonged to the Sargood family who made their fortunes selling equipment at the goldfields back in the late 1860s.
Their home in the suburb of Elsternwick is now a heritage listed site that sees visitors enjoying the various rooms that are a blend of Victorian but also various owners through the years have added touches such as art deco. The vast garden that is open to the public has a lovely lake, small boat house and is reminiscent of how the garden would have been back in Victorian times. There’s also a pool area and tennis court that wouldn’t look out of place in a Great Gatsby inspired party.
Rippon Lea was holding the Phrynne Fisher & The Crypt of Tears costume and set design exhibition over two floors of the mansion. It was a fitting environment to display the beautiful clothes that were worn in this recent movie.
As a fan of the series and the character, a gutsy, confident woman who is a detective and set in the 1920s, I enjoyed wandering about the exhibits and seeing how everything was made behind the scenes. I’m always in awe of people in the entertainment industry who can work together as a team and who can create a product inspired from the imagination of someone (in this case, author Kerry Greenwood – see Phrynne Fisher books here).
Part of me wishes that I too had somehow been part of the ‘behind the scenes’ in the movies too. (I do wonder at times whatever possessed me to enter the corporate world which sucked not only my life away and my spark of creativity). I can’t even imagine ever going back to that environment again. Never. I’d rather be unemployed than have to face those environments again.
Well anyway, there’s something about the creation process that has always appealed to me. Not necessarily in front of the camera, acting (although that is hard too) – but more the process of how a team works together to inspire ideas and then together, each working on their own strengths and elements, create something that others can enjoy.
Together, they’re also part of the story as much as what we see on screen.
After the exhibition, I walked around the gardens and the lake. They’ve got benches in various quiet and secluded spaces about the estate and it’s serene to sit in peace and take in all the green around you. I sat for a while enjoying watching the ducks on the lake and listening to the birdlife around me. It was a great place to sit and meditate.
It was funny that I posted a photo of me outside the Rippon Lea house and jokingly said that we had bought it for my birthday present. Some people believed it but really, the only way I’d ever wander about this house and all its rooms is if I volunteer to become a tour guide showing visitors around the house or working in its tea rooms…
Maybe in the future in retirement, I’ll spend time volunteering in places like this so I can share the stories of the past to people visiting?
Here’s a video I did about the exhibition at Rippon Lea.
Later that night, my husband and I enjoyed dinner at a Spanish tapas bar and wine bar in our local suburb called Wolf and Molone. Every time I drove by this place, there seemed to be people inside and outside so I thought it was a place to check out. I’m glad we did because the food was excellent and the service staff helpful in explaining the various wines and foods. We are making more of an effort to get out and about enjoying meals and activities in the local area and I think our neighbourhood is also having the same idea.
All up a wonderful day to spend for my 52nd birthday. However, it’s not necessary to wait for your birthday to do something special for yourself. I’m finding I don’t make any excuses anymore.
If I want something, I buy it.
If I want to go somewhere, I’ll go there.
If I want to say no to something, I’ll say no.
I do wonder why it’s taken me so long to finally see things as they are.