Why Study History?

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Photo by Darran Shen on Unsplash

Studying history often gets a bad rap. It is seen just as a long dull list of dates and dead people. However, I find history really interesting. It can also be sobering, tragic and sometimes, downright horrific. But I believe that if you want to know where we are going in the future, you need to know where we have been

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

When we delve into the past, we can trace the movement of people, ideas and changes in cultures and societies. History provides a fascinating revelation of how our forebears thought, lived and died. It highlights achievements in medicine and science, as well as the devastating consequences of war, famine and disease.

Ancient history often seems quite remote to us here in the 21st century, but it is surprising how we can join the dots from then to here and now, one thought leading to another, one event leading to another, one era evolving into another. History is not just the story of some ancient people, in a far away land, in a time forgotten. History is the story of us.

“History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” – David McCullough

We can go back hundreds or even thousands of years, to medieval Europe or to ancient Greece, or we can just go back to a time that is still in living memory. Even though we are now living in the 21st century, the events of the 20th century are still clear as bell for many of us. Some of us might still remember where we were when JFK was shot, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon or when the twin towers came down. However, it still feels somewhat startling to discover that the time of your childhood is now considered history, even if it only feels like yesterday.

Photos by Cristina Gottardi, Tom Parkes & Holger Link on Unsplash

When we wander back through history, we can find stories of ordinary people, just like us, living, working, breeding and dying, and events that changed the world, like fire, sea navigation, the printing press. For many of us, the 20th century has been a period of rapid change, of great achievements and of unspeakable horror. If you were to make a list of the top ten events of the 20th century that changed the world, what would you choose?

While everybody’s list might look a little different, I think there would be some events that would make it onto every list. Here’s a list that I came across recently.

Top 10 Most Important Events of the 20th Century

  1. World War I and World War II
  2. Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945)
  3. Holocaust (1933-1945)
  4. Rise of Hitler (1919-1933)
  5. Great Depression (1929-1939)
  6. Discovery of Penicillin (1928)
  7. Fall of Berlin Wall (1989)
  8. Landing on the Moon (1969)
  9. Bombing of Pearl Harbor (1941)
  10. Assassination of JFK (1963)

How does it compare with your list? For me, the two World Wars and the Holocaust always rank highly in my mind. And it doesn’t seem to matter how much we think we already know about these events, there is always more for us to learn. We can read about the facts of WWI and the Holocaust, but we can only imagine how it must have actually felt for those who went through it and for those who survived. With Europe in ruins and the horror of the Holocaust revealed, the question both then and now is – how did we come to this?

And this is where the study of history comes in. We can look back years, even decades before, and trace the ideas, the events, the people. But – we need to be careful.

“historians always know how the story ended; vision in hindsight is always perfect.” (Findley & Rothney, 2011, p77)

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the full knowledge of what we know now, we can look back and see what could or should have happened, what world leaders should have or should not have done. It’s so easy to point the finger and cast judgement. Would we have chosen any differently?

Perhaps we might wish we could turn back time and change the course of history, but then we would not be where we are today. It could be better or it could be worse – we will never know. Whether tragic or horrific, amazing or marvellous, the events of the past have made us who we are today. The things we do today will be the history of the future. Let’s do all we can to make it a good one.

 

Findley, CV & Rothney, JAM 2011, Twentieth-Century World, 7th edn, Wadsworth, Belmont CA.

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Studying in the 21st Century

 

 

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The holidays are over and it’s time to get my head back into the books. The art of being a student has changed quite remarkably since I began my first university course way back in the 80’s. 

In those days …

  • We lined up for hours to enrol in subjects only to discover, when we finally got to the desk, that all the best tutorial times were already taken
  • We waited in the sun, wind and rain for the bus to arrive to take us into the city and back home again
  • We huddled in freezing lecture theatres, writing madly as the lecturer droned on and on and on
  • We spent hours in the library thumbing through the card catalogue, paging through the journal indexes, lugging journal volumes the size of a brick to the photocopier which needed to be fed with numerous coins in order to produce a blurry take-home copy
  • We stood nervously in front of the tutorial class, stammering through those dreaded oral presentations, only to be flummoxed by a tricky question 
  • We wrote our assignments by hand, on real paper, and pushed them under the lecturer’s door, just in the nick of time
  • We groped our way through the heavy cloud of smoke that filled the cafeteria just to grab a cup of the student’s best friend – coffee!

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Today …

  • I complete my enrolment with just a few clicks 
  • I study from the comfort of my own home
  • I listen to recorded lectures at my desk,  pausing the lecturer midstream to jot down a brief note on the powerpoint slides I have already downloaded, printed out and skimmed beforehand
  • I peruse the online library catalogue, download journal articles and read online books without having to leave home, though I still do borrow some real books from the library – not everything is online
  • I work through the readings and coursework independently and complete the tutorial activities in the online student forums
  • I type up my assignments in Word and submit them electronically, just in the nick of time – some things never change!
  • I no longer need to hold my breath if I happen to visit the cafeteria – coffee is still a student’s best friend 

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The Advantages of Studying Online

You might think that studying from home can get a bit lonely. Some people prefer to learn in a more social environment so studying online is probably not for them. However, for me, it means I can organise my study schedule around family commitments and listen to lectures when it’s convenient for me. I still get to know other students – just in a different way. We may never meet face to face, but we get to know each other in the online forums. After a while, you start to see familiar names popping up again and again in classes. At USQ, most of the students are studying online. It’s not uncommon at all for most of the students in my classes to also be studying online from anywhere in Australia and across the world. They bring a variety of perspectives and life experiences to the online classroom and enrich the learning of us all.

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A Night Out at the Theatre

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I really love old buildings. I love the detail in the architecture, the arched windows and the sense of character that I often find missing in contemporary buildings. Toowoomba is blessed to still have many of its historic buildings and I love wandering around the city streets, bemused at the way they sit juxtaposed to contemporary buildings, wondering about the people who helped build them or who used to work in them.

One of our favourite historic buildings is the Empire Theatre. It was opened on the 29th June 1911 and had the latest technology of that time to show the most exiting advent in entertainment – big screen movies! Sadly, much of the original theatre was destroyed by fire on 22 Feb 1933. Despite this devastating setback, the theatre was rebuilt and the two walls that were left standing after the fire were incorporated into the new design. Amazingly, the theatre was able to reopen at the end of the year on 27 Nov 1933. 

The Empire Theatre continued to be at the centre of Toowoomba’s cultural life for many years. Unfortunately, the lure of the television set and other entertainment led to the theatre’s closure in 1971. For a while it was used as a warehouse and then as a TAFE college and then sadly, it just fell into disrepair. Fortunately, this was not the end of the story.

Eventually the need for a performing arts centre resurfaced and the Empire Theatre was restored and reopened its doors on 28 June 1997. Today, the theatre blends contemporary technology with the architectural grandeur of its past, still retaining some of the features from both 1911 and 1933. One of the most outstanding features is the grand proscenium arch, which is possibly one of the last of its kind left in the southern hemisphere. The arch is back lit with a rainbow of colours and provides a stunning frame for centre stage.

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It still is the largest performing arts centre in regional Australia and hosts a variety of world class performers. You can read more about the Empire Theatre, it’s history and its cultural program here.

We have enjoyed seeing a number of ballet performances and musicals at the Empire Theatre. Last year we went to see a local production of Wicked and earlier this year we went to see the Pirates of Penzance. It was Bec’s first Gilbert and Sullivan musical, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Not long ago the Empire Theatre was one of a number of locations around Australia that screened sessions from the Sydney Writer’s Festival free to members of the public and just recently Dan, Bec and I enjoyed the Queensland Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake.

There is something about the story of Swan Lake that fills our hearts with a blend of joy and sadness. If you only ever see one ballet in your life, it should be Swan Lake. The beauty and grace of the swans and the tragic ending of the doomed lovers always moves me to tears. Bec learned ballet for a few years when she was younger, so we have seen a few different ones – The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Dream and La Fille, Mal Gardée – but Swan Lake is always our favourite.

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166 Days Till Summer

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Today is officially the coldest day of the year for Toowoomba and I can quite believe it. The wind is howling around the house, underneath the garage door and into our living area. It is absolutely freezing outside. This morning it was just 4 degrees at 7.45am when Dan and I ventured outside to go to Yellow Bridge.

I don’t have a proper temperature gauge, but my phone says it is 12 degrees outside. There is something wrong with those numbers. I think they should be the other way round. And it gets worse. Overnight it is supposed to go down to minus 1 degree, and tomorrow is not going to be much better than today. Hibernation is starting to sound like a very good idea.

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Although technically it is 12 degrees outside, according to the weather bureau, when you take the wind chill factor into account, it actually feels more like 5 degrees. At 6 o’clock this morning, officially it was 0.6 degrees in Toowoomba, but it felt like minus 5 degrees.  No wonder we are feeling so cold!

For those of you who live in places where the temperature regularly plunges below zero, the ground is covered in deep layers of snow and you look forward to getting out your skis and sleds, you might wonder – what’s the big deal?

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This is Queensland.

This is the Sunshine State.

It’s supposed to be…Sunny One Day – Perfect the Next

Now Toowoomba is on the top of the Great Dividing Range, and we can get cold winters. But even for Toowoomba, 5 degrees is cold, although it’s not quite a record – yet. Depending on whether you count the chill factor or not, the lowest temperature on record for Toowoomba is either 20th Jun 2007 (minus 16.7 degrees) or 25th June 1961 (minus 3.6 degrees).

Despite Queensland being the Sunshine State, it has actually snowed here in the past. Weather records have been kept on the Darling Downs since 1896, and in that time it has snowed at least 18 times. Of course, a snowfall here is nothing like a snowfall in real snowy places. You might be able to scrape up a snowball, if you’re lucky, but I wouldn’t count on getting out your skis.

On the bright side, winter here is usually short and sweet, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for better days to arrive. In the meantime, we’ll rug up, wrap our hands around a mug of hot steaming coffee and count down to summer. 

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Only 166 days to go.

Inclusion – Side by Side

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Like many other proud Australians, our eyes have been glued to the television screen to cheer on our athletes competing at the 21st Commonwealth Games, here in Queensland, on the Gold Coast. The Commonwealth Games have a long history and have many things in common with the Olympic Games. Since the first games in 1930, they have been held every four years, (except during WWII) to spread goodwill and understanding throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. This is the fifth time Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games and we are one of only six nations that have attended every games. And, not to boast, we do top the leader board for winning the most medals. As a proud sporting nation, the Commonwealth Games are pretty exciting for us.

The Opening Ceremony on Wednesday night had a strong focus on Australian Indigenous culture as well as our relaxed Australian beach culture. We really enjoyed it all – the Indigenous dancers, the didgeridoo orchestra and the towel change rooms (after all, we all need a little help from our friends sometimes). We were particularly moved by the raising of the Australian flag and the Aboriginal flag together – side by side.

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The parade of athletes began with Scotland, who hosted the last games in Glasgow, followed by the rest of the teams region by region – Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, and Oceania. There are 53 nations in the Commonwealth, but dependent territories are able to compete under their own flags, making a total of 71 teams. Of course the loudest cheer was saved for the Australian team, almost 500 able-bodied and para-athletes, walking out together – side by side.

The Commonwealth Games is not only the largest fully-inclusive international multi-sport games, it was also the first. Since 2002 the Commonwealth Games has been an integrated competition. The athletes march side by side in one national team. The events are scheduled together, which means if you are at the pool, you see both able-bodied swimmers and para-swimmers compete and receive their medals. And all medals are counted in the nation’s total.

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For those of us sitting at home watching the Commonwealth Games, we can see the able-bodied and the para-events, side by side. We can share in the highs and the lows of all the athletes, side by side. The names of all athletes, able-bodied and para, become house-hold names. They are all  representing their country and doing us proud, side by side – as it should be.

Now we enjoy watching the Olympics, both Summer and Winter, too. We especially enjoy watching the Paralympics. Not because we think para-athletes are somehow more super human or more amazing, but because they are great role models for overcoming challenges and embracing life, no matter what curve balls it might throw at you. But we can’t help but notice the great difference in media coverage between the Olympics and the Paralympics.

 A local issue?

Now this might just be a local issue. Maybe it just reflects the attitudes toward people with disabilities in Australia. Or maybe it shows that the Australian media still has a long way to go towards equal representation. Are we alone in our frustration or is this a common experience world wide?

We have certainly come a long way in creating a more inclusive society. Not so long ago, people with disabilities were shut away from the world, excluded from education, the community, from life – they were invisible. Today people with and without disabilities learn together side by side, work together side by side, live together in the community side by side, and in sporting events like the Commonwealth Games, march and compete, side by side – as it should be.

But we still have much further to go

What if parents of children with disabilities didn’t have to fight for appropriate support? What if people with disabilities had better access to public transport, education and work opportunities? What if Olympic and Paralympic athletes marched and competed side by side in a fully integrated, fully inclusive Olympic Games? What if we could see equal representation across the whole of society?

 

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All people learning, living and playing together, side by side. That’s inclusion.

Walking Together in Grief and Love

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Our friend Barry passed away in the early hours of Easter Sunday. After a remarkably swift battle with cancer, we mourn his passing, yet at the same time, we are relieved that he is now at peace. We knew that the end was near. We hoped that his suffering would be over sooner rather than later. Yet now that it is here; now that he has left this life; we still feel stunned.

It feels almost inconceivable that we will not see his smile, or hear him laugh or see him tending the gardens of his hometown.

There are so many emotions swirling deep inside us – sadness, grief, pain and disbelief. We find it hard to adequately express all that we feel. We struggle to find the right words.

The Path of Grief

I ache for my dear friend, Sandra, and her family, for I know the path of grief all too well. I know the pain of losing your life partner, the one with whom you thought you would grow old and welcome grandchildren. I would change things if I could, turn back the clock, take away the pain, make everything better again. But all I can do is be her friend.

Every person’s journey of grief is different. The circumstances of every loss are never quite the same. Some know and have the time to say goodbye, while others reel with a sudden and unexpected loss. Yet some things remain the same.

We nurse a deep sadness in our hearts. We grieve the loss of the one we loved so dearly and who loved us too. There is a hole in our heart that can never really be filled. Every person in our life is unique. They each leave their own individual mark upon us. Other people will come and go in our lives. They will love us too and leave their mark upon us, in their own special way, but it won’t be quite the same.

The path of grief is hard.  There will be sad days when just the mention of their name will bring forth tears. There will be days when your heart will feel so heavy you can barely breathe. And there will be days when the pain of their absence will cut like a knife. These days will pass. There will be happy times too, when we reminisce, and laugh and remember all that they meant to us and we will treasure those precious memories in our hearts forever.

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I don’t believe we ever truly get over our grief. Life goes on – true. And we do go on, carrying our grief and loss with us, wherever we go. We go on, living and loving, because we know that is what they would want us to do. We go on, even though our lives will always be tinged with bitter sweetness. Every celebration, every anniversary, every special day will be happiness mingled with sadness as we remember the one who is not here.

The loss of a loved one becomes a defining moment in our lives. There is our life before, and then, our life after. Our life is different. We are different. We are changed forever, but we step forward into this new life, tentatively, sadly, but with hope because this is what life is – happiness and sadness, love and grief, hope and pain. To live a full life, we must experience it all – one day at a time.

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But we do not walk this path alone. No matter how sad and broken-hearted we might feel, we are loved more than we can ever know. Bound in love and friendship, we walk beside each other, sharing our joys and sorrows, wiping away each others tears and  holding each other tightly. We know that no words are needed, because a hug says more than a thousand words ever could.

Barry’s physical journey in this life may be finished, but he lives on in our hearts. We remember him with joy, give thanks for his life, and slowly step forward, to go on living in love and hope.

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Life Long Learning

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I am often asked why I am studying or what do I hope to do with my Arts Degree when I am finished. Sometimes I find it difficult to give a satisfactory answer because the answer isn’t always straightforward. I study because I love learning. I study to learn more about subjects that are of special interest to me, such as English Literature, History and Creative Writing. I study because I wanted a career change. I study because I want to challenge myself and try something new. I study because I believe in life long learning.

We are all life long learners. Our learning doesn’t stop the day we leave school or graduate with a degree. Every day we learn from each other – at home, at work, at school, in the community. It’s often said that we learn something new every day. It doesn’t have to be anything truly earth-shattering. It can be something very simple. And even when we make a mistake or have a disaster, we learn what not to do.

Over the past few years I have learned quite a few new things. As an online student, I have learned some new things about technology. Even though I now live in Toowoomba, and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is based here in Toowoomba, I still find online study to be a more flexible option for me. And I am not the only one. Many of the students at USQ are distance students from across Australia and even the world. Studying online is a popular choice for people trying to balance work, family and study.

It hasn’t always been easy to balance study with family responsibilities. I try to organise my study timetable while Dan is at Yellow Bridge and this works most of the time. It’s not that Dan is difficult to manage, it’s just that he really loves computer screens and it’s very difficult to concentrate when you have someone peering over your shoulder. There are times though, when it has been a bit of a mad scramble to get an assignment in on time and that’s when I vow to be better organised in the next semester.

Well, the first semester for 2018 is just around the corner and for the first time, we will have two uni students in the family continuing their journey of life long learning. While I will be parked in front of my computer here in Toowoomba, Bec will begin studying in Brisbane. Even though I am just over half way through my degree, we joke that she will probably graduate before me. It’s okay. It’s the journey that matters, not the speed. It will be strange not having her around so much, but it is very exciting to see the next generation of students full of enthusiasm about the learning opportunities available to them. I wonder if their enthusiasm will have dimmed when the first round of assignments are due.

A new semester is a bit like New Year. We promise to be better organised, to keep up with the readings, to start our assignments well in advance and to not be reduced to pulling all-nighters to get them in on time. Every semester we promise it will be different – and then life happens. Family crises strike. We get sick, and tired. Appointments take up space in an already crowded schedule.  Perhaps this year it will be different.

So what will I be learning this semester? I’m about to get my head into Ethics and Human Rights, as well as Speculative and Science Fiction. I think Ethics will be quite challenging and require a fair bit of mental acrobatics, but at the same time I think it will be interesting to think about the difference between ethics and morality, how we determine right and wrong and how we know what we think we know. And as an avid reader, I am definitely looking forward to  Speculative and Science Fiction, although I hardly need an excuse to get into some sf classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Dune by Frank Herbert.

I have really enjoyed my learning experience at USQ but you don’t need to go to Uni to be a life long learner. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Read a book. Watch a foreign movie. Make a new friend. Join a club. Accept a challenge. Embrace change. Be a life long learner.

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Putting Out Fires

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We’re in the middle of one of the hottest Februarys on record. Here in Toowoomba, we’re reaching temperatures of around 36°C which isn’t too bad, as long as you don’t have to go outside. But out west, where my husband Paul works, the temperature has been hitting 42°C. That’s hot. Especially in the middle of harvest. But that’s summer in Australia.

As the mercury rises though, so does the risk of bushfire. Especially after a dry winter. In the right conditions, the smallest of embers can turn into a raging bushfire that destroys family homes and livelihoods, reduces precious memories to ash, and all too often, takes lives.

I have never personally experienced the horror of a bushfire, but I can remember the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983. On February 16 – Ash Wednesday – around 180 fires broke out across South Australia and Victoria. Thousands of hectares of land were burnt, over 2,000 homes were lost and 75 people lost their lives, including 12 volunteer firefighters.

From the safety of our front porch we could see the red glow of the bushfire burning in the Adelaide Hills. Our television screens showed the distraught and devastated faces of those who had lost everything. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to gaze upon mounds of ash, twisted metal and the charred remains of what was once your family home. Nor can I imagine the conditions and danger that confront the firefighters, many of them volunteers, prepared to risk their own lives to save the property and lives of others – people they might not even know. I only know that they are among some of the bravest people on this earth.

For most of us, our experience of bushfire will come from the safety of our front porch or living room, but we might have times in our lives when we get just the tiniest sense of what it means to be a firefighter. I’m not talking about the kind of fires that threaten our home or lives, but the times when life events seem to spiral out of control and no matter where we look, we see small fires breaking out.

Individually, these small fires are no big deal. They are just another little hiccup which we can deal with quite easily. But when they come one after the other or all at once, it can be overwhelming, exhausting and very stressful. We might feel a bit like a firefighter, putting out fires while keeping one eye on the weather and the other eye on any embers threatening to explode.

Over the last few weeks I have felt a bit like a firefighter. I knew it was going to be a stressful time – after all, we were moving house. I knew it would require careful planning and coordination – Bec was transitioning to tertiary education at the same time. And Dan has autism. However, I wasn’t prepared for all the little fires that just seemed to erupt at the same time. Things didn’t quite go as planned and everybody seemed to look to me, the Mum, to be chief firefighter.

Needless to say, some things just got pushed aside while I was busy putting out fires.

But finally, the embers have been dampened and life has calmed down. The boxes are unpacked and things are mostly in their right place. Bec is excited about the year ahead. There’s still Dan’s program for 2018 to finalise and the matter of a funding reduction to deal with, but I’m hoping I can hang up my fire helmet, at least for a while.

At the end of the day, although it was tiring and stressful, the fires weren’t life threatening, and for that, I’m truly grateful.

 

For the 18th Time

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We are moving house – again. For me, it will be move number 18. And I expect I can look forward to a few more moves yet.

I don’t remember my first move. I was only about three when my family moved from a small country town to Adelaide, where I grew up. Almost my entire childhood and adolescence was spent in one family home. The same family home that my parents moved out of about a year ago. My Dad has just turned 80 and my Mum is in her seventies, and they have just moved for the third time in their life.

In contrast, Dan and Bec have lived in eight different homes and they haven’t even left home – yet. I wonder how many moves they will clock up in their lifetime.

I’ve moved house for all sorts of reasons – education, marriage, work, family. As you might already know, we moved to Toowoomba to access better support for Dan. Much as we loved our small country town, Dan’s life opportunities were always going to be limited. So, like many other rural families with special needs children, we did what we had to do. We moved.

However, it split our family in two.

While I relocated with Dan and Bec, my husband Paul remained behind for work. It’s not ideal, but it’s what we have to do. Paul comes in for weekends, when he can, and sometimes we go back out west. At times it can be a bit stressful, always trying to work things out and make decisions over the phone. Sometimes I feel caught in the middle, not really sure where we belong or where to call home. But at the end of the day, I know that moving to Toowoomba was the best decision for Dan.

So, why are we moving house again?

A momentous transition is about to occur. Bec is moving out of home. Very soon she will be moving to Brisbane to study Music Technology at the Queensland Conservatorium. It’s a very exciting opportunity for her, but it means we will be going from mostly three in the house, to only two – for the most part. With Dan spending more and more time away from home, having his own life, we don’t really need such a big house. So we’re downsizing.

While Bec packs for her move to Brisbane, we are packing boxes too, sorting out stuff, throwing some away, donating others, and whatever doesn’t fit in the new smaller place, goes back out west to deal with in some future time.

For many families with autism, moving house can be very stressful. Fortunately for us, Dan has always coped well with moving. Perhaps it’s because we have moved a lot and he sees it as just another part of life. Perhaps it’s because we have involved him in the process, explaining what was happening, showing him the new place, his new room and getting him to help sort, pack and unpack.

I hope that we will be able to stay in this next place for more than one year. I hope that the next move will be Dan making the big transition into supported accommodation with some mates from Yellow Bridge. I hope that not too far down the track Paul will be able to join us in Toowoomba.

Until then, the next few weeks will be busy as we gear up for move number 18.

A New Year Dawns

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As the sun sets on 2017, our eyes turn to the new year. 2018 promises us a chance to begin again, to wipe the slate clean. As we reflect on the past year, our achievements and blessings, our failures and disappointments, we resolve to be better, be healthier, happier, kinder, work harder, spend more time with family or in the gym. In a moment infused with champagne, with fireworks echoing in our ears and rose coloured glasses firmly in place, we make resolutions that will be lucky to survive a few weeks let alone a whole year.

What is it about a new year that creates this desire to make promises that secretly we know we will never keep? Most resolutions do not survive more than a couple of months – if that. Despite the best of intentions, bad habits are notoriously difficult to kick. I guess that’s why they are called bad habits. Yet every New Years Eve we trick ourselves into thinking we can make a complete 180 degree turn in the few minutes it takes to move from one year to the next.

And when our best made intentions fall beside the wayside, what then? Do we give up? Do we have to wait for another New Year’s Eve to try again? Do we watch the sun set on another year’s opportunity for change?

Well, actually, no.

The sun sets and rises each and every day. We don’t have to wait for another year to wipe the slate clean, turn over a new leaf or make a change for the better. When the sun sets at the end of the day, that day is gone. Finished. We put our failures, disappointments and frustrations  behind us and when the sun rises the next day, we stretch, take a deep breath and start again.

Every day is a day to start again. Every day is a slate wiped clean. Every day is a chance  to make a change, to take one tiny step on the road to being the person we really want to be. Instead of a complete 180 degree turn on one day of the year, which is doomed to fail,  we could choose to take one small step each day for 365 days. And when we slip up, or fall short, tomorrow is a new day. We pick ourselves up and try again.

Tonight the sun will set on 2017. Tomorrow it will rise on 2018. What will the new year bring us? 365 new days. 365 sunrises. 365 sunsets. 365 opportunities to live with love, joy, gratitude, forgiveness and grace.

Wishing you not just a Happy New Year but 365 Happy New Days.