CEO Musings


June 1, 2017

Greetings to all:

“How on earth can 6am move to 7am in a blink?” muttered my sister as she flashed from one before-leaving–for-work job to another.

Einstein once stated (enigmatically to all but himself) that “…Time is curve in space …” well for the working woman I think it’s a zig zag.

My sister (with whom we are staying during our house build) is one of a legion of women (and some men) who attend to domestic duties of home and hearth before heading out for the days (paid) work.

Washing done and on the line, mouths fed (human, canine and fish in that order), quick check of the fridge and list made for after work grocery shopping, some vegies prepped for dinner, dogs given a quick walk, plants given a sprinkle of water, lunch made then some brief grooming of herself and she’s off!

Talk about multi skilling.

Time is one of the most precious and greedily anticipated “commodities” in our modern world. We long for time off on the weekend, time to devote to a neglected hobby, time to spend with friends and family, time to go for a walk or the gym, time to sort out the spare (junk) room, time to plan a holiday, time to do some community service …..

We spend so much time worrying about not having enough of it that when we might snatch an hour or two it’s often gone before we realise. We may have chilled in front of the TV or read the paper….. or collapsed into an armchair and snoozed. No matter — the need to actually STOP seems like a good one, grounded in the reality that we simply cannot keep running around like frantic ants, task driven and guilt ridden if we are not seen as being purposeful.

Many people have seen the enlightenment of “mini-stops” in the form of meditation; A training of the brain which has huge positive effects on health and wellbeing all well attested to by scientific data as well as empirical evidence.

I am crap at it — wish it could be otherwise and my lack of success is totally due to lack of application. I am in the category of folk who lust for more time but squander it when it becomes a reality.

To look at time just in terms of our lives at Fairway is to try to comprehend a mass of contradictions. Staff never have enough of it; rushing to get priorities attended; to meet expectations including clinical responsibilities and emotional and social needs. We are staffed generously at Fairway (compared to the norm) but we could have double the staff and still find needs to meet. Such is the complexity of human care and the disconnect of the funding afforded it.

Whilst staff are busy and achieving a very high level of service (with great and happy hearts to do so) – time can often drag for folk who feel the hours tick by very slowly.

Despite wonderful Lifestyle programs and a great sense of community with lots of shared activities and pleasures, there are often moments — or hours which may seem empty or frustrating — and this is not just at Fairway or in Aged Care settings; advanced age can see people literally grow tired of being alive. A friend of mine was nursing her elderly mother at home, she was 96 (her Mum that is) and each morning when she woke up she would croak “bugger …!” greatly miffed at not having died in her sleep.

It seems amazing (to most of us who have lengthy bucket lists yet to be realized) that one can be so absolutely ready to go — more probably totally fed up at the battle of each days challenges; the pain of mobilizing creaking joints, the indignities of enforced hygiene, the tedium of eating without appetite.

I often wonder what it must be like to be in a fall out chair being fed and cleaned up, not recognizing family or even being able to communicate.

I hope I never know the answer, a good quick end is my wish – not just yet of course, far too much to do – places to go, people to see, grandchildren to have, adventures and misdemeanours to arrange, scandals to be part of and best of all large amounts of food and wine to enjoy with friends whilst we laugh our heads off at how silly we once were …. or are …..

I have recently seen stories of several brave men who endured life in all its ragged imperfection and suffering but managed to suck the very marrow of its pleasures to the full.

One was journalist Mark Colvin whose work in Rwanda left him suffering organ failure after a virus. He worked for decades probing, questioning, challenging and inspiring. He was a communications icon who died young at 65 whilst his intellect burnt bright.

The other was Harry Haxton (Compass Sunday 28/5) a fond and devoted friend to many. Suffering kidney failure due to a cardiac event he grew tired of the life support of dialysis and planned to end it after holding a farewell party (his own wake!) He discussed his decision with all of those he loved and who loved him. He died at the age of 69 three days after his last dialysis session. His mantra was “I’m here for a good time not a long time”.

Mark Colvin’s last message posted on social media just days before the end he and his friends knew was imminent was consisted of the following five words.

“…It’s all been bloody marvellous ……”

Now that’s style. Being true to who we are and grateful for every good thing which has come our way can help us soar above illness or infirmity. And seeing and sensing that eternal life force in all of us, even in those who may have overstayed their time – is what it’s all about.

Life is precious, our time here is but a blink when you look at the mystery of the universe.

But let’s make it the best damned blink we can, in fact let’s all aim for marvellous!

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All the best with your own misdemeanours….