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Friday, December 30, 2005

2006 - The New Year Looms

It's Friday 30 December 2005. Sydney Australia is feeling the heat. It's pushing to 40c here where I live, near Penrith, and we have been told to expect 39c tomorrow and 43c on New Year's Day, Sunday. The heat is oppressive and the elderly are suffering. I imagine the very young are as well. Plenty of water is the go and if possible, staying indoors with fans or air conditioner cooling.

I spent the day out and about. My son flew out of Sydney at 12.50 pm, returning to his new place of residence, Geraldton Western Australia. He had a flight on Virgin Blue to Perth and then a much smaller plane from Perth to Geraldton. I just had a call from him to say he is at the Airport in Perth waiting for the next leg of his trip to begin, in approximately 1 hour's time. It's now 7.05 pm in Sydney. The flight to Perth takes approximately 4 hours and the flight to Geraldton 55 minutes. My daughter, grand-daughter, and I travelled to the airport with my son and stayed there until his plane was in the air. Sad parting for all of us. He has been gone for only 6 months but as we are a close family, it's a big thing to have to part again. He flew over to see his father who has been gravely ill in hospital. Things have improved enough for him to return to WA although the days ahead for his Dad are dark ones.

It was nice and cool in the airport but once we emerged outside to walk to where the car was parked, the heat was fairly intense, with a hot sun burning down and a hot wind. We were at the Airport for about 1.5 hours and the charge was $18 in the carpark. The M4 cost $2.20 (from Penrith to Auburn) and on the way back, the M5 cost $3.30. We took the different route back as I decided to visit my aging Aunt & Uncle. My Uncle had a melanoma removed 18 months ago and now has been told the cancer has spread around his body. He looks very frail and it appears that the New Year for my family will have some of the same as the old year, with the death of relatives.

In 2005 I lost an Uncle, an Aunt, and my Mother just before Christmas. My ex husband is in hospital with both his legs amputated almost to the groin and my three 'kids' have spent the Christmas period visiting him and anguishing over his condition, and there have been many angry outbursts. I stand on the sideline and help when I'm asked. My daughter now has to look into, and put her father's name down, in care facilities. If, within the period the hospital has designated to find such a facility for him one is not found, then they will place him wherever he can be placed. If the family don't agree to this then he will be discharged to their care. So much for private health cover and our system of care. He is 63 years old and has been assessed high care, which means he won't be able to return to his home. What a way to end a year, what a way to start a new year.

Seeing my Aunt & Uncle brought to mind how fast the years go and how quickly my age group, 60, will be where they are now. It's frightening. Just as well when we are young we don't think about these things, thinking we are indestructable and everyone over 30 is old. Once you reach 30, the years fly, filled with family, children, the home, work, survival itself. The children grow up and fly out of the nest; you look around and realise that you are now on countdown. You see that you won't be able to earn a living for that many more years, nor will you want to, and you start to worry about how you will make ends meet. If you live alone, you worry about how you will cope.

Perhaps it was best in the days when people didn't live to an old age. They didn't have these worries, weren't a burden to their families. You would think, knowing how old the 'baby boomers' are now, that governments and private organisations would be planning plenty of nursing homes, aged care facilities, retirement villages etc., so that people can be looked after. I consider that having paid taxes probably since age 15, all of these people deserve to be looked after by their government. We should all be allowed to retire and to live a slower lifestyle, not be expected to keep on working till we die at our desks and therefore don't go onto a pension.

I for one don't have much superannuation as I left work for 14 years to bring up my family and, due to a marriage breakdown and subsequent divorce, I had to give up one job, temp for a couple of years until I secured another permanent job. My superannuation payout won't keep me for long at all, unlike those who have been in the one job all their working lives. The mind spins, the fear begins. Where will it all end and where will I be and what circumstances will I be in, in say 10 years' time. Ah well such is life, and as one of our 'great' Prime Ministers yelled to the country at one stage, "life was not meant to be easy". One wonders how Malcolm Fraser would know about that one seeing as how he was born into a rich family and probably hasn't worked a hard day in his life nor gone without.

However, one must be optimistic. After all, there is $32 Million up for grabs in Lotto New Year's Eve, and if I could win just a portion of that, I would be happy as. So, I'm going to think positive. Saturday night I could well be smiling from one end of my face to the other, and, if I'm not, then there's always next week.

Keep smiling and have a great New Year with everything good coming your way.

Vena McGrath
December 30, 2005


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