Few know of the significance the chickens played in the nativity scene. Let’s face it, we all get overlooked from time to time. Remember, you too play a significant role each Christmas. Be kind to others and may your own Christmas stories be happy and bright.
When I was young I could hardly wait to be a year older. I was desperate to do what my older sisters did. I remember, for example, struggling to get my leg up onto the smooth, splintery plank of a swing in the park – to be up there with my sisters. One giggled, “Look, she’s trying to get up.” In an old photo I’m amazed to find I was about 18 months old. Even then I wanted to be older.
Older meant being trusted enough to do the stuff that others did: having the agility to be part of the mob yet enough independence to make some choices of my own. I felt proud if ever I was mistaken for being older. There was a badge of maturity attached.
Later in life, there was a polar reversal. By the time I passed 40 I clung on to some number below that.
Maybe that’s the gift of ageing. Time passes and so do such concerns. I’m now 57 and happy to be whatever number I get up to. I’ve got that independence I wished for as a kid – the agility to be part of a mob when it suits and that fabulous feeling of independence that comes knowing that I can make any darn choice I want. For me the epiphany to be my own person came at 50. Some others are blessed with that knowledge from the start. Whatever your age, feel free to celebrate it daily.
*(cited in Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne’s blog “Fulfillment at Any Age” Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201201/15-wise-and-inspiring-quotes-about-aging)
When buying birthday cards for people lately, I’m struggling to find anything that rejoices in ageing. It’s as if once over 40, here in Australia, you should be grieving that you’ve become one more year the better for who you are. What is it with our society that assumes that ripening in age is a precursor for dropping off your twig? It’s not. Fermentation of fruit can make some fine wine. Ageing means mentoring, nourishing others intellect, learning from the past, cherishing the young, looking forward to the rest of the journey. Sure there’s some downsides but even they can have advantages too. In the next few weeks, I’m going to explore the positives of getting older. Please feel free to send some suggestions on the good bits of being an oldie. Naturally, illustrations will follow.
Joseph Campbell maintained that we all should follow our bliss. Open up to the universe and see what happens…
There’s nothing better than a cheerful surprise. Not the birthday kind where there’s a hint of expectation, but one of those surprises where you have thrown something into the universe and something even more special comes back. This week I received a delightful package.
A year ago I was commissioned to illustrate a story Pete Lane had written for his grandkids. The story itself is a delight. I thought he’d lost interest in the project but this week, his book came through the post. “Chunder Chook Takes a Holiday” recounts the adventures of a dare-devil rooster,Chunder Chook and his twenty-two wives. It has everything: adventure, danger, romance and a flurry of courageous chooks. What’s not to like. Well done, Pete.
Recently, my sister commented on my Tooth Fairy story and told me another that concerned my friends when I was very small. I’d almost forgotten about it. I had two imaginary friends: Cooey and Cavender Top. (Pretty amazing names for a little person of three or four years old.) I cannot remember if they were male or female. They were just there – whenever I ventured outside. We had so many adventures all around our long back yard – mostly riding horses – as real as Cooey and Cavender Top. When Mum saw me bundling up food and heading out, she became worried. It turned out I was taking food to them. You have no idea how hungry they could get.
The two of them were the best of companions and I still have the feeling of how real they were – not physically real but a beautiful, solid presence. Creating that reality is tricky in paint, but have a look at the painting and see what you think. Feedback is terrific. If you have any reminiscences of childhood you’d like to share. Feel free to add a comment. Maybe I’ll illustrate one or two.