Most people spend most of their time with other people. I’m not sure I was adequately prepared for dealing with the complexities of these relationships. Nowadays the school curriculum focuses more attention on equipping children with the emotional skills needed to manage and maintain good relationships, which is great … but doesn’t really help me navigate my relationships as an adult.

I’m guessing most people learn about relationships from their parents and siblings – how to communicate, look after each other, express love, resolve conflict – so if you had good role models, you’re probably doing okay. Me on the other hand, let’s just say I’ve had to make it up as I’ve gone along.

Luckily I’ve had my wits about me these past 20-or-so years so I’ve picked up a few clues by watching others. Here’s a few of the things I’ve learned:

  • Treat your family as you would someone you’ve just met and really like. 
  • Pause before you take the next action or say the next word. 
  • Try to see things from the point of view of the other person. Their thoughts or actions probably make perfect sense to them. 
  • Sometimes it’s better to be happy than right (no matter how much you want them to know you’re right!).
  • Tell your loved ones you love them. You might not get the chance tomorrow. 
  • Love is an action, not just a word. You can show you care in a 1000 small ways every day. 
  • You are a champion and cheerleader of your familymembers – remember you’re on the same side. 
  • Relationships don’t just happen – you have to work at them everyday. If it’s a good relationship, it won’t feel like hard work. 

Now, I’m not saying I actually do all these things, but I do aspire to them.

What have you learned along the way?

On road cones and deconstruction

I’ve resumed running around my neighbourhood this week, and have noted changes in the month I was away.

When we left to go on our honeymoon, one of the things I was really looking forward to was driving on flat roads with no road cones. Road cones are a constant reminder to me of what has happened since February last year. I suspect that there are more road cones in Dallington today than there are people.

It’s great that work is being done on our underground pipes, don’t get me wrong. I love having a flush toilet and clean drinking water. But every day when I leave the house, I have to think carefully about how I’m going to get out of the suburb. Every few days the road cones are reconfigured and new streets are blocked off. This week our street has become a ‘residents only’ zone. We zig-zag through the road cones to make our escape for the day.

And then there is the red zone – the vast area of 5000 or so houses on land that has been deemed too damaged to repair. More than half of these houses are now empty. The weeds are growing up through the cracks in the pavements (waist high in some places!), lawns are becoming jungles, the potholes are holding their ground. I estimate around 5% of the houses have already been demolished.

I know one day I’ll live in a beautiful parkland with a lovely river flowing through it, native birds and plants as far as the eye can see. But for now, the place is a wreck and it makes me sad. I want it to be over, and it hasn’t even really begun yet.

No exit
No exit