Taking Stock – March 2024

March 20, 2024
Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island

Hello everyone – I’m back!

A huge thank you to Deb of Deb’s World and Sue of Women Living Well After Fifty for hosting #WWWhimsy for the past three weeks when I needed to drop the blogging ball for a while. I can’t seem to find the words to fully express how grateful I am to the both of you for doing this for me without any hesitation at all, but I do hope you know how much I appreciate you both!

I decided that my first Taking Stock post for 2024 (due in March anyway) would be the most appropriate first post back after my blogging break as it will hopefully update a little on where things are for me now. However, it’s going to be a Taking Stock post plus more, because it seems I have quite a lot to say after my break away!

A very brief update on the situation with Mum – surgery went well and she recovered enough to return to her aged care facility. Rehab will happen there. Aside from the rehab from her injury, and without revealing all the personal details, there’s still other things about Mum’s condition that are of concern. My sister and I (and another on Saturdays) are taking turns visiting Mum (one day me, next day her … & so on) as we feel the need for a daily presence there with Mum at this point. We’re hopeful that she will eventually get back to her baseline of walking (assisted) with her wheelie walker. 

Speaking of sharing updates about my life, the other day I was talking to a friend on the phone who I haven’t seen in quite a while. I started to fill her in on what’s been going on with Mum and she stopped me mid sentence and said “yeah I know – I read it”. It stopped me in my tracks. As bloggers we’re usually pretty open people who share a lot of ourselves online (with caution!) but we do often question and review what we share of ourselves and comments like this (not that there was anything bad about the comment!) remind us of that juxtaposition we often find ourselves in … be vulnerable and open and share to connect OR post only on subjects where we keep our lives and personal thoughts and feelings to ourselves? I’ve tried both and always end up back to the first open as those posts are always more popular, get more engagement and most importantly they connect with others. Others resonate and that is so fulfilling for me. Regardless though, there is still quite a lot of thought and review that goes into ‘what’ gets shared.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of relationships this online and digital world we are living in might be creating. If friends catch up on what’s happening with me and my life by reading what I post online, does this mean they’ll never feel the need to contact me or catch up with me in person? Will they forget to check in with me and see how I’m doing? Do you see what I mean? They wouldn’t ever really know the full story, because I don’t share ‘everything’ that happens in my life online, though it may seem that way. Most of us bloggers keep quite a lot private and to ourselves, including me. That comment (and I’ve had many similar ones before) was a good reminder to again ponder this online presence I’ve created for myself. If I continue to share and post some (not all) details of myself and my life online, will actual face to face physical contact with real life friends dwindle away until it becomes a thing of the past and all contact is via DM’s and messaging? I must admit that I’ve not made much effort to contact friends lately, but I understand why it’s been the case and I’m not hard on myself about it. I’m going through one of the toughest times of my life. It’s taking a toll on every aspect of my being and so I need to do what I need to do in order to care for myself so that I can care for Mum, and my family. I can’t fully explain, because a lot of it is private and personal and not to be shared here. Needless to say though, that to update a friend (or friends) from woah to go would be very draining for me and as I get so little time to myself nowadays to recharge, whenever I do get some free time, I’ve needed solitude and quiet. I’m protecting my energy right now.

Maybe the train of thought within the last two paragraphs also stems from the fact that while I was away (explained in a para below) I started reading “This One Wild and Precious Life” by Sarah Wilson which explores the notion that we’ve lost our way and discusses the fact that we’re not living as we should be. We’ve become lonely and disconnected. I tend to agree with what I’ve read so far. We can embrace technology and the positive things that it offers us but we need to go back to simpler times and find those critical things about those times that fills our cups so that we’re healthier in mind, body and spirit and that enables deep connections and communities of support so that no-one need feel lonely or alone. Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent. Perhaps more on this in a future post.

Moving on now – regular readers would know that I do four Taking Stock posts per year (quarterly) – March, June, September and December. They are a good way to check in with yourself and write what first comes to mind with each of the word prompts … based on how you’re feeling at that exact time of typing the post. 

It’s no secret that 2024 so far has been challenging for me. However, I’ve managed to have 4 nights away over at North Stradbroke Island (booked many weeks ago) which has been a lifesaver and so this post will likely be very different than had I not had those 4 nights away. 

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I never know quite what might come out in these posts until I start. So let’s get started!

Getting: soothed and healed by nature and my senses put back in order by a 4 night getaway at North Stradbroke Island, as per the quote by John Burroughs.
Cooking: less (as in zero) for the 4 nights away at Straddie was wonderful!
Sipping: on bubbles at the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel whilst watching and enjoying live music was so enjoyable and healing!
Reading: a whole book during our 4 nights away at Stradbroke Island was a miracle. I read the entire book “The Work Wives” by Rachael Johns. And I’ve started another – “This One Wild and Precious Life – A hopeful path forward in a fractured worldby Sarah Wilson. I also bought (from Cloud Fish Bookstore and Gallery on Stradbroke Island) and have started reading “A Nature Guide to North Stradbroke Island – Minjerrabah“.
Thinking:  probably too much. My life seems to be flashing before my eyes a lot lately. Having to sell the family home of 60+ years has nearly undone me. Seeing Mum like she is now is very hard too. All the previous versions of her flick through my mind and the pain of the loss of those versions is intense.
Remembering: All the memories of my life. Such a happy childhood. Wonderful parents. The family home full of memories in every corner I look. So many birthdays, Christmasses, Easter’s. So many sleepovers and childhood memories. Memories of Mum and Dad and the routines of daily life so taken for granted … like they’ll go on forever … but they don’t.
Looking: for signs of comprehension and understanding in Mum’s eyes and face. The thrill when you see it, however fleeting.
Listening: to the ocean while I slept over at Straddie was wonderful!
Wishing: for Mum to heal, walk again, and be content within this phase of her life.
Enjoying: live music over at Straddie on the Friday night we were there. It loosened me up. I’ve been so uptight. It reminded me that there is fun and enjoyment in the world and that I should seek it out more often.
Appreciating: Sue and Debbie for helping me out with #WWWhimsy when life just become too much and the blogging ball needed to be dropped for a bit!
Wanting: PEACE – across the world – a ceasefire in Ghaza, Israel and Ukraine and for ALL wars in the world to end! The endless, relentless suffering and loss of beautiful lives full of hope and promise is absolutely devastating and being absorbed into the phsyche of everyone whether they know it or not! PEACE – within my own heart and soul.
Eating: the first mango I’ve had in quite a while the other day was extremely enjoyable, and delicious!
Finishing: a quick sketch I did while I was away at Straddie … is something I’d like to do, and soon! It’s the first bit of art I’ve done in months. I have been in such turmoil that I haven’t been able to get my head in the right space. I was just starting to feel it starting to come back towards the end of our stay. 
Liking: that my Aunt (Mum’s sister from NSW) was staying with me during the time Mum was taken to hospital and her broken hip was discovered and the surgery. Having her with me and her support during this time was very, very comforting.
Loving: that Mum still knows who we all are – the look of recognition when you enter her room, the smile – it makes my heart pound.
Buying: a book on nature. Who am I? See ‘Reading’ above. Seriously, I love nature and next time I go to Straddie, I want to be better informed so that I’m more observant and I notice more.
Watching: the kangaroos on the lawn beneath our balcony at Straddie was so enjoyable. They’re beautiful and fascinating animals. 
Hoping:
that Mum will recover back to her baseline of being able to walk (assisted) with her wheelie walker. 
Wearing: the beautiful bracelet my cousin made and gifted me – Love Anandi – jewellery for the Heart and Soul – mine made with Rose Quartz, Prehnite, Morganite, and 14K gold (love, self worth, soothe).
Walking: along the beaches over at Straddie was so uplifting and healing for me. I had craved it for so long! I can’t explain it. It heals me!
Following: bush tracks over at Straddie, getting out in nature, noticing the wildlife, was absolute heaven to me!
Noticing: that the more challenges life throws at me, the more I learn about myself and the more I like about myself.
Saving: the filling of my cup thanks to the break in Straddie as best I can so it will last as long as possible.
Bookmarking: with an actual bookmark, all the books I’ve finally been reading lately (see ‘Reading’)!
Feeling: much better after four days over at Straddie – lots of time outdoors and in nature did the trick. Before I went I was crying all the time. My cup was empty. I was at breaking point. The benefits are wearing off already now but there’s always the week in Fiji to look forward to in May for my 60th!
Hearing: the sounds of nature – wildlife, the ocean, the wind and rain. I noticed and loved it all over at Straddie.

As well as photos I took a heap of short videos while over at Straddie. I can’t help myself. Rather than post them all here (too time consuming) here’s a reel I shared on Instagram that provides a snippet of some. Make sure your sound is on!
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Min (@writeofthemiddle)

 
Just over a week ago a contract was signed on the house – our family home of 60+ years. It’s conditional at the moment but will soon become unconditional. It’s really happening. We’re very lucky. It’s a good price and it came within 2 weeks of the house being on the market. It will be a 30 day settlement. If all goes through ok (and I hope it does) we will soon have to empty the house of all the remaining contents and we won’t have long – only 2 weeks! I have another busy period ahead! We still have quite a few cupboards and items to clear, furniture to go to family members, furniture to be auctioned or donated, etc. I will need to write the little history of the house that I plan to leave for the new owners (and any subsequent owners). Ahead of me will be the final farewell, and I know that is going to be very hard, but I am trying to soften, accept, and master change rather than have it master me (see the quote below).
 

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude towards what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you ~ Brian Tracy

I’ve learnt that change can be sought (changing our hair, our house, our decor, our eating habits, lifestyle etc) and change can be something that is not within our control. For the latter, which I’ve been experiencing, it is inevitable for us all, and rather than fighting it, we need to soften to it, find acceptance, and open our hearts to the lessons and wisdom to be garnered from it.
 
Before I wrap up this post, I would like to acknowledge the passing, while we were away, of my brother-in-law ‘Allan’. He is the husband of the tennis player’s older sister. Such a lovely man who will be greatly missed. We will be attending his funeral the day after this post publishes. May he rest in peace and his family members be supported and loved through the grief journey that lies ahead for them.
 
If you’d like to take stock too you can visit Pip, the creator of the Taking Stock concept at Meet Me at Mikes for the prompts (scroll to the bottom of the post). My next Taking Stock post will be towards the end of June 2024!
 
Next week I have a fabulous mystery guest post for you. I love a bit of mystery, don’t you?

 

Ciao for now,

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26 Comments

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 March 20, 2024 at 6:09 am

    WELCOME BACK, MIN! Deb and I enjoyed co-hosting and feeling that we were supporting you in some way, but it is wonderful to have you back and I know everyone has missed you. You certainly earned your break on Straddie which was only a small reprieve but I’m glad you could relax. Your Taking Stock post is full of many positives as well as the heartbreak you are experiencing with your Mum. I’m surprised at your friend’s comment about having ‘read it all’, because although you share what’s happening I’ve never felt you’ve gone beyond a point of way too much personal detail, so how could she know what you are really going through? Lots to ponder here on what we share and don’t share, what we write and don’t write on our blogs. I enjoyed reading your Taking Stock post and remember if at anytime you need or can’t do #wwwhimsy, Deb and I are happy to step in to help. Take care, Min xx

    • Reply Min March 20, 2024 at 9:39 am

      Thanks Sue – and thanks again for helping me out! My friend didn’t mean any harm by her comment. It just made me feel a bit sad, and reminded me that friends will ‘think’ they know everything that’s going on in my life by reading my posts but they won’t know everything at all. So good to know that you and Deb are happy to step in again with #WWWhimsy if need be. Thank you cos I never know what’s around the corner for me this days. xo

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 20, 2024 at 7:42 am

    Hi Min, ditto to what Sue said! We are here anytime you need a break and I’m so glad we were able step in and help out in a little way! But it’s great to see you back and your Taking Stock post was full of positivity and real life stuff. I’ve written before about what we write as bloggers and what we don’t mention in our posts. It can be hard but it’s often not our story to tell despite us being on the edges especially in regards to family stuff. I’d like to think that we will continue to interact face to face with people although they may feel they know what’s going on via our posts but in reality they know only one part of the story. Sometimes we can tell more from seeing someone’s painful expression or really listening in to what they’re saying. I’m so glad you enjoyed your short time away and with a busy time coming up life is never dull that’s for sure! Take care and thanks for trusting Sue and i with your #wwwhimsy linkup.

    • Reply Min March 20, 2024 at 9:42 am

      Hi Deb and thank you again for helping me out! It can be hard to know what to share sometimes but I just go on gut instinct and it’s usually right. I also consider the wishes of others – for example my hubby ‘the tennis player’ doesn’t want his photo online and so I respect those wishes. You’re right in what you say about us sometimes being on the edges of a story but it’s not our story to tell. So true. I’m always conscious of protecting the privacy and dignity of others. Of course I trusted you and Sue with #WWWhimsy – thank you! xo

  • Reply Natalie March 20, 2024 at 8:44 am

    Welcome back, Min! I’m glad to hear your mum’s surgery went well and she recovered enough to return to her aged care facility. I’m also glad you had a brief getaway to beautiful Straddie. I’m sorry for your loss of your BIL. I hope you continue to carve some time for you to rest and recharge. A few weeks ago I sent you an email regarding a guest post if needed. I wonder if you received my email. I was away in the first two weeks of March and just got back so I’m catching up with blogging. Thank you for sharing your updates and hosting #WWWhimsy.

    • Reply Min March 20, 2024 at 9:44 am

      Hi Natalie, and thank you! I’m so sorry – I haven’t seen your email! Maybe I missed it or maybe it went to SPAM? I will check my emails and get back to you. I’ll be heading out soon to visit with Mum so probably won’t get to check till later this afternoon but I’ll get back to you on that as soon as I can. xo

      • Reply Natalie March 21, 2024 at 2:04 am

        Thank you Min for checking your emails and reaching out. I sent you another email just now. I double checked your email address and believe I got it right both times. No idea what happened to my first email. I hope my second email reaches you. If you need coverage for any of the first three weeks of April, feel free to let me know. Take care!

        • Reply Min March 22, 2024 at 9:30 am

          Thanks Natalie – I’ll go check. I’ve no idea what happened to your first email either but maybe I thought it was spam and deleted it? Anyway I can see your email there. I’ll respond soon. Thank you! xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan March 20, 2024 at 9:13 am

    That WAS an epic catch up Min. I am glad you had your break…and that dear blogging friends could step in as Sue and Deb did…and that now you could share with your readers again.

    Connection in person was what I disliked about being away from family and friends when we lived on the Central Coast. Covid was another thing that stopped this too. Blogging and social media helped me connect as I could but being the careful and caring person I am of course ‘not all of the stories’ can be shared. Ever.

    I know now after making initial connections with around 10-15 people I wanted to catch up with, it’s been a balm to my soul and I love to hear their stories too. Some of us go way back 30-40 years. Not everyone who says “let’s catch up” makes the move to do so. I think I am that person because people are not always confident (maybe proactive) to make that move to continue and many have said ‘get back to me when you are up for a coffee again’ and that’s how I am managing.

    I was due to start seeing my friends over the past month or so….and I do one catch up a week or I end up worn out, but Dad’s hospitalisation and death meant a long postponement. My friends and I will re-connect after the NSW school hols.

    I am so sorry to read of your anguish and sorrow at the sale of the family home. On one hand, of course you know it’s got to be done, but you have so many emotions connected there, it’s a path of grief that seems never ending for you. I hope that your self care helps and maybe even chatting to a professional might too. It’s been HUGE even reading about it Min, and you are LIVING it.

    I hope your family wraps its collective arms around you right now as I sense some of us are already doing as you face not only the sale of the house but your Mum’s health issues which are, sadly, beyond your control.

    Yes, I almost wrote a post as a comment!
    Take care,
    Denyse.

    • Reply Min March 20, 2024 at 9:47 am

      Hi Denyse, thanks so much. I love catching up in person with my friends but have to admit that in recent times I haven’t had the energy for it. I’ve been running on an empty cup for ages. Straddie helped to partially refill it and boy it felt good. I’m trying to preserve what’s left of that right now to help me get by. There’s so much more to my story than I share here on the blog. Thank you for your support and understanding and of course your kindness! xo

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee March 20, 2024 at 10:04 am

    I’m glad the break was rejuevenating. I think when under emotional strain like that, you really need to get good at compartmentalising to blow off steam and refresh. Your photos are really lovely! Good luck with it all, moving forward.
    And yes, it’s very hard to balance the shared persona and the real you. I think we are all works in progress sorting through it.

    • Reply Min March 20, 2024 at 4:29 pm

      The break made me realise how much trauma and stress I’m living with day to day. When you step away from it (kind of – it lives in your mind constantly) for a bit you see it more clearly for what it is and this gave me more self compassion. It’s hard stuff. The break away was wonderful. Just to get outdoors, to walk, to immerse myself in nature … it was so healing. I get little opportunity to do those things these days. Glad you enjoyed the photos and yes always a work in progress on getting the balance of what to share and what not to share on the blog … but gut instinct is usually right! Thanks Lydia xo

  • Reply Jennifer Jones March 20, 2024 at 3:29 pm

    It’s wonderful to have you back Min. Sounds like your mini break was just what the doctor ordered and came along at exactly the right time. It was good to catch up on what has been going on for you. I can only imagine the stress you’ve been going through. Hopefully the house settles with no dramas and you are able to move on from worrying about it. Sending hugs and best wishes to you Min.

    • Reply Min March 20, 2024 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks Jennifer! The mini break was very much needed and I loved every moment of it. The benefits of it are almost gone already but I’ll get by until the next one – maybe try and squeeze in a bit of time in nature somewhere here and there because that always helps me. Thanks for your kind comment! xo

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid March 20, 2024 at 7:05 pm

    Welcome back, Min! Missed you! Straddie looked amazing – I loved the video and the soundtrack, perfection! Pleased you were able to recharge and relax, you have a big few weeks ahead of you. What you said about sharing really resonated with me, I remember when I first started blogging and was writing about my cancer diagnosis and treatment, on one hand it was a little like oversharing but on the other, it was a way of my friends and family keeping abreast of the situation without me having to keep re-hashing all the trauma. I think that’s true even now, even thought I generally have much cheerier things to write about. I think blogs are a great way to keep us connected, cheeked in and give us the big picture. I can’t imagine the sense of loss you’re feeling seeing your mum so poorly and saying goodbye to the house and all the things in it. I hope your happy memories of all the times you had together in the house bring you some comfort. Go gently! Sending hugs xx

    • Reply Min March 22, 2024 at 9:34 am

      Thanks so much Sammie – yes to the ‘re-hashing of the trauma’- I just can’t do it right now. Even with extended family – I’ll fill in one or two of them and ask them to please inform the others. I need to preserve my energy and look after my mental health as much as I can. Thank you for your kindness and the hugs! xo

  • Reply Natasha Mairs March 21, 2024 at 12:41 am

    oh wow!!! so many beautiful photos you have taken. xx

    • Reply Min March 22, 2024 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Natasha! xo

  • Reply Joanne March 21, 2024 at 3:32 am

    Welcome back! I am so glad to hear that your mom’s surgery went well and she is back in her care home. Your photos are just lovely and I am sure that time away and in such a calming, natural setting has helped deal with all the added life stress. I am so sorry to read about your brother in law. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    • Reply Min March 22, 2024 at 9:34 am

      Hi Joanne and thank you! xo

  • Reply sherry March 21, 2024 at 8:17 am

    Yes I’ve had friends tell me they’ve read about my adventures. I think it’s great! I love social media and have only found it to be enriching. I’ve made new friends and had great experiences. Welcome back to the blog. Hope you feel much better about everything soon. It must be very sad for you to lose the family home. It takes away a huge part of our hearts doesn’t it? All the best!

    • Reply Min March 22, 2024 at 9:37 am

      Hi Sherry, yes it’s great and I love social media too! It’s when it starts to replace actual face to face or voice to voice communication that it starts to be a bit of a worry. It is a very sad time for us with all the worry about Mum and selling the family home but we’ll get through it – there’s no other choice! Thank you for your kind wishes. xo

  • Reply Christie Hawkes March 23, 2024 at 6:01 am

    Welcome back, Min. I’m so happy to hear that you got some much needed time away. Condolences to you and your family on the loss of your brother-in-law. I agree with so many of your thoughts on electronic communication. I love that it makes it easy for me to keep in touch with more people, and blogging has allowed me to get to know people I never would have met without it, but I do have to be intentional about maintaining in-person relationships. It’s easy to let them slip. Good luck with the sale of your family home. Wishing your mother continued recovery.

    • Reply Min March 25, 2024 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Christie and thank you! I agree that we do have to be intentional about maintaining in-person relationships. We can get a bit lazy with DM’s, messaging, comments, emails etc. Thanks again for your kind wishes! xo

  • Reply Bernie Cruikshank March 28, 2024 at 12:24 pm

    Min, I totally understand about the level of what we share. It is indeed something I think about with almost every post. My WOTY last year was Connect because I felt that via Covid I had become disconnected. I love engaging here but I want my IRL local friends to connect and not just read my words. I would rather that we met for lunch or go for a walk. The blog is more for my words and “other thoughts” rather than the daily interaction of my life. But of course our life does show up in it but just not all of it. So I GET IT!
    I am glad your mother is doing better but that transition to rehab an regaining what they had before is often very difficult. As is getting rid of the family home. I have been there and it is tough. Take care and be sure to recharge your own batteries as you can. Bernie

    • Reply Min March 28, 2024 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Bernie – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me! I’m so glad you understand what I mean by the concern I have of losing real life face to face connections with my friends. My words here are me and my thoughts but an edited version. Some things are meant to be kept private! I’m sorry to read that you’ve through a similar time as I’m currently going through. I can honestly say that NOTHING in my life has tested me and pushed me to and beyond my limits as these current days I’m living do. The loss of my Dad was awful and I still grieve for him and miss him but that was six weeks. With Mum it has been nearly 3 years now that we have been caring for her and witnessing her decline, and now with packing up the family home of 60+ years added to the mix I really am struggling at times. As hard as it will be to farewell that home for the final time, it will be a reduction in my stress. The travelling over there (45 to 60 minutes each way) in amongst all the visits to Mum are taking a huge toll on me. Thank you so much for your kind message. xo

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