With school holidays, Easter, Anzac Day public holiday, and two of the kids’ birthdays (16 & 21) I found April to fly by. It also meant that I was able to spend lots and lots of time with family for which I am truly grateful. Not being able to do so for the last two years, made me realise how important this time is and that I should not take it for granted.
It was also a month where I spent wonderful times with some of my dearest friends. These friends I have known for so long (kinder, primary and secondary school) that they are really like family to me. They are smart, compassionate women who I feel privileged to have in my life. They are always there when I need them, they challenge me when I need to be challenged and we always have the best laughs together.
I am lucky as May is lining up to be another month where I will spend plenty of time with family and friends and I will soak it all up!
Now on to my progress review for the habits I have set to help me achieve my goal for 2022 – cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences.
Read for a minimum of 15 minutes per day
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – There is so much to learn from both fiction and non fiction books. I have a huge list of books that I have wanted to read for some time, so this year to help expand my knowledge I am committing to read more. My target for the year is to read 25 books.
Quote to connect to – “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
April performance – If I can continue to read three books a month for the year, I will be so happy with this result!
- The Secret River By Kate Grenville – reading this book actually ticked off two action items for me. Firstly, it had been recommended to me as part of my endeavour to educate myself more on the history and current issues of our First Nation’s Peoples, and secondly, it is an English text this year for the year 10 student. I am not someone who voluntarily chooses to read historical fiction, it just isn’t my thing. But I did really love reading The Secret River. Last month I read Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, so it was actually perfect timing to read this book as it does detail how the First Nations Peoples worked the land at this time. “The Secret River explores how class, gender and race shape the individual. What happens when people are dehumanised? Are humans always trapped by their pasts or are we capable of seeing a larger landscape? It asks the reader to step into the lives of white and indigenous Australians and explore the conflicts that have shaped the debate we face today.” I can see why it is now included in the English curriculum for Australian students, I look forward to being able to discuss the book with the year 10 when they begin work on it next term. 4/5
- Talking To My Country By Stan Grant – this book provided a personal insight into what life is like for more contemporary First Nations Peoples. It is Grant’s very personal meditation on what it means to be Australian, what it means to be indigenous, and what racism really means in this country. And he is talking to us when he asks how can we be better? 4/5
- The Competition By Katherine Collette – this was the book club book for the month, it was an easy read that I thought was moderately funny. It is the second novel by Australian author Collette and is described as a “sharply observed comedy of manners and a cast of loveable underachievers, headed for self-improvement despite themselves.” I actually found most of the characters quite unlikeable until the last chapters of the book. As someone who does public speaking, I did find the discussion throughout the book on the elements of speech making quite interesting. 2.5/5
Invest one hour a week learning about our First Nations Peoples
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – Reconciliation NSW recommends learning and understanding more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ histories, Cultures, Languages, technology and land management techniques as educating yourself is the first step in the journey towards reconciliation. My knowledge and understanding are severely lacking and I want to change this.
Quote to connect to – “Knowing is not enough; We must apply. Willing is not enough; We must do.” – Bruce Lee
April performance – Two of the above books were about First Nations Peoples. The Secret River really brought home the brutality of white settlement in Australia and Talking To My Country highlighted how far we still have to go.
I also watched/listened to the following:
- Documentary – Another Country – The great Australian Aboriginal actor David Dalaithngu tells the tale of ‘Another Country’, a story of what happened when his people’s way of life was interrupted by ours. I did enjoy this doco but I have to admit to finding it slow. I think this is an indictment on me and not the film. The film pauses between commentary to show beautiful scenes of nature, scenes of living conditions, etc. which is important. Dalaithngu at one point talks about how white fella time is different and that made me reflect on why did I find the doco slow and what that says about me.
- Podcast – How a health clinic on a school campus is improving Indigenous health – Time To Listen – Indigenous Australians have an average life expectancy 19 years below that of wider Queensland and an unparalleled lack of access to healthcare services. And the health gaps start early. The host interviews some of the team from Ngak Min Health, a clinic co-located on the grounds of Djarragun College in Gordonvale, just south of Cairns, and how this initiative is getting great results.
- Podcast – Building power during an election – Talk Black – I found this podcast super interesting and also disturbing in terms of how changes that were made around the last election with regards to updating the electoral roll (29 min mark), caused indigenous vote suppression. They also spoke about how important health is in this election in terms of doing something about closing the gap. This just adds in my mind to the very long list of reasons why we need to have a First Nations Voice in Federal Parliament. The idea of the First Nations Voice is something new to me this year and something that I 100% support.
Volunteer on a weekly basis
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – Volunteering is an activity where you can be of service to others and learn so much from the experience. It has been some time since I have volunteered outside of schools etc and I want to get back into it for 2022.
Quote to connect to – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
April performance – I noted in my January review that I have signed up to be a volunteer for the independent candidate for the Federal seat of Kooyong Dr Monique Ryan and volunteer activities during April and May will be around this. April activity consisted of letterboxing my local area.
Spend one hour a week planning and visiting new attractions
Connection to goal – Cultivate routines to expand my knowledge and experiences – There are so many great attractions and experiences in Melbourne both free and paid and when the kids were younger we used to visit them frequently. Since the kids have stopped wanting to do this, I have stopped going too. But there is no reason why I cannot go on my own or with Phil or with friends!
While I have allocated one hour per week, this can be averaged out across the month as my overall aim is to visit two new (to me) attractions per month.
Quote to connect to – “Fill your life with experiences. Not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” Unknown
April performance – April saw another trip to Mildura, this time with the two younger kids coming with me and we had a great time. I also took a neice from Melbourne with us and we did lots more tourist type activities than we usually do including:
- The Garden Maze at Woodsies Rock Shop – Woodsies has been around since I was a kid and it is so retro it is hilarious and fun. The garden maze is amazing value at $2 for adults and $1 for kids. I was pretty lucky that the youngest came back for me or I could still be wandering around in the maze. It took almost an hour to make my way out of it! (There is a give-up exit if you get sick of going around in circles.)
- Time by the river – the youngest and I spent time on two rivers while we were away, the Murray and the Darling. The Darling is definitely the murkier of the two (see photo above), but it was so great to be in the bush and away from it all.
- And back in Melbourne Phil and I went to a Comedy Festival Show – the Comedy Zone and saw four up-and-coming comedians. My favorite of the four was He Huang.
What was your April like?
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