Saturday, 22 November 2008

Winter, Spring, Summer or...

It's mid-late November here in Melbourne ( it's not the same around the world!). What's different from other parts of the world is that it is late Spring, almost Summer. I'm inside looking out at a wet day, which is wonderful because we don't get many of them these days, even in the depths of Winter. But it is also now hailing!! It is 8 degrees at 10.30am. I love being inside looking out at a day like this. The only thing missing is my man to snuggle with.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Ageing Gracefully!

I had a very weird experience today. I went to a cafĂ© over the road from the offices of my placement. As I was paying for my coffee, the woman serving me told me I looked familiar. She asked me where I grew up. I responded with ‘Out east’, meaning not around here. She then asked ‘Doncaster?’ ‘This is scary’, I said. ’Is your name Campbell?’ ‘This is very scary!’ ‘Did you go to Waldau Primary?’ It transpired that we were in the same grade a few years at Primary School. I confessed to not being able to remember her and commented on her memory. I then jested that I obviously hadn’t changed much in over 30 (!!) years. She said my eyes were the same. She evidently was only referring to my eyeballs and not the crows feet around them!

Hidden illness

I am currently doing a placement for my nursing. It is a community mental health placement. It is with a service that assists clients who require fairly intensive involvement. It has been sobering to realise what some people in the community are coping with. Next time you’re in the supermarket queue or waiting at the bus stop and somebody is acting ‘differently’, consider that that person may be coping with a debilitating illness.

The Circle of Life

A couple of significant occurrences last weekend involving the generation either side of me.

Son had his first shave. He just had a bit of fluff and probably won’t have to shave again for quite a while, but it was his first shave and therefore significant.

We went to see my parents on the weekend. There were many dead-heads on Mum’s roses. It wasn’t that long ago when she would have been out there every day dead-heading them. There were so many that I felt a need to take the secateurs to them. Perhaps by getting rid of them, I could convince myself that Mum is still managing as she used to. I also think this will be the first year that she won’t be making Christmas puddings and cakes.

So as one generation heads to adulthood, the other is heading towards frailty and dependence. I, in the middle, am observing the circle of life.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Happy Anniversary

It’s been a busy week this week as I've done a couple of extra shifts at the Nursing Home. I have taken some time out however to remember an anniversary. Ten years ago, around this time, I came out as a gay man.

It started off with coming out to myself. This occurred during the watching of the movie ‘In & Out’ whilst sitting next to my then wife. Sounds weird, I know, but a story with some complexity which I might tell you about one day.

Very soon after that, a number of days from memory, I told the minister of the church I was attending at the time. He was very supportive and someone I will never forget and will always be grateful to.

Within another short period of time, perhaps a couple of weeks, I told my wife. This happened sooner than I had expected, again for complex reasons, which you may learn about in time if I feel I need to go into the detail. I use this experience as the benchmark for the hardest thing I have ever done. People have described me as brave for doing this, but the truth is I had got to the point where I felt I had no choice.

Then followed other family and friends. From hearing others’ stories of coming out, I had a very positive experience.

Ten years on, I can look back and know that I did the right thing. Being honest about and accepting my sexuality has allowed me to be more honest about other parts of my life as well.

I feel very fortunate. I have a son of whom I am proud and with whom I feel I have a positive relationship, I am still good friends with my ex-wife and I now find myself in a relationship that challenges and excites me. Even though this relationship is over 12 months strong, I still feel like a love struck teenager at times. I was telling a friend this and she said, ‘well that’s why you changed your life isn’t it’, meaning that was why I came out. I certainly didn’t think this at the time and if asked, wouldn’t have put it that way, but I know what she means. Part of the coming out was to be able to live in a manner that would enable me to experience life in as full a manner as possible along with all the feelings that go along with that.

I feel I’m getting too deep and tongue tied, so I’m going to finish now by wishing myself a Happy Anniversary.