21.2 C
Byron Shire
December 4, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The point of getting older

Latest News

COVID update December 3: One new case and advice for international travellers

One new case of COVID-19 was reported for Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) in the 24 hours to...

Other News

Lismore Councillor candidate bios – Group A: Labor

The Echo asked all the Lismore election Councillor candidates to send in a bio. First cab off the rank was current Councillor Darlene Cook and Group A.

Correcting the record

During today’s BayFM Meet the Candidates interview with Duncan Dey I was taken aback by some of the factual...

The high cost of endometriosis

One in six women with endometriosis have lost their jobs due to the condition.

Cartoon of the week – 1 December, 2021

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Lismore airport supported by community?

I am writing in response to your article, ‘Lismore airport supported by community’. First of all, the Lismore airport is...

Sale of St Oswald’s

To my utter disbelief the Grafton Diocese has decided it should sell the St Oswald’s church building and land....

mandy

It’s always humbling to discover that your kid is more switched on than you are. I get so caught up with the mundanity of my daily life that I forget to be wise. I forget that nothing I do is as important as why I am doing it. And in the bigger scheme of things that anything I do is meaningless anyway. I get so caught up in finding my purpose that I actually forget the purpose. I am driving in the car with Ivy and I am talking to her about doing things that scare you. I’m such a hypocrite. I never do things that scare me. I don’t swim deep in the ocean for fear of sharks, or go ballooning for fear of heights, or love too deeply for fear of being hurt.

As an adult I have learnt how to avoid the things that scare me. That’s the privilege of being an adult; unlike a child I can say NO. It’s called a choice. Or is it avoidance? I guess when you also have the privilege of choosing your mindset you can choose what you prefer to believe about yourself. Kids don’t get to do this. Kids just have to put up with our bullying them into doing stuff we think is good for their development. So I’m talking, as per usual, kind of narcissistically enjoying the sound of my own voice. I like hearing myself talking calmly and in control telling my kids about the world. For a minute I think I sound like an actual adult, instead of pretending to be one like I usually am. It’s one of those Mum conversations about taking risks and that it’s okay to fail and all that jazz. I have given this talk so many times the words don’t even hit home any more. It’s just me doing the blah blah. I imagine like my other kids Ivy is just letting me give the talk. These kind of talks are often more about my feeling like I am the kind of mum who gives meaningful talks to guide my children’s psychological growth, rather than conversations or points of change and revelation. It’s about me teaching my kid, not the reverse. I am an all-knowing adult. I know it all. Ivy looks at me seriously and says, ‘That’s the point of getting older, Mum, isn’t it? Getting braver.’

It’s so simple. It’s profound. How can a little kid manage to say something so true? How can she manage to tell me something that I have forgotten along the way? How come I suddenly feel that she has more of a grip on this courage thing than I do? And why have I forgotten to be brave? Or more accurately put: ‘braver’. Not there yet. But slowly and continuously engaging in a process of growth that means advancing on my fears not retreating from them.

So many gurus, self-help books, spiritual teachers, religions, philosophers and thinkers try to help us fathom the point of existence, and here is an eight-year-old who seems to have nailed the whole meaning of life. In the car, driving home from choir. Yes, life is finite. Yes, we die. The point isn’t living forever. The point isn’t winning. The point isn’t just trying to avoid dying. The point is getting braver. For me it’s an epiphany. I say, ‘Yes, darling, that is the point. That is exactly the point.’ I feel tears pricking my eyes. It’s one of those reactions I have when I hear something that moves me, or something that wakes me up. I’ve always been embarrassed by this sudden flush of emotion. I generally try and hide it, because I think it makes me look vulnerable. I am frightened of not being in control. I guess if I took on Ivy’s sage-like wisdom, I would realise that yes, getting older is about getting braver and being comfortable with my emotions and my vulnerability is possibly something I should have confronted a few decades ago. I’m very clever at hiding.

So clever that not even I know where I’ve hidden half the time. If it were a game of hide and seek, I’d be so well hidden when they yell ‘I give up, come out’ I wouldn’t know how to. We get home, and I feel changed. Like a door inside has opened. I never expected to learn something in an ordinary 15-minute drive that I do every day.

But I did. In one moment I learnt more from my kid than from any therapist. But I didn’t tell her that. She might start charging.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

    • I, for one think you are very brave. Every single week you put your self out there sharing your thoughts and being an activist for all kinds of topics. You may not jump out of a plane or dive deeply into the ocean but you say what you think and apparently don’t give a stuff what others may think. Whether I agree with everything you say or the way deliver is of no consequence to me. I think you are a hero doing the best you can do. I believe that as a mother of many that you may have a maternal instinct to stay alive. I saw one of your shows last year and i thought what you did was really really brave. Thank you for sharing Mandy.

  1. Mandy, I saw your show at Lennox a couple of weeks ago and I was blown away by how brave you are. This article made me take take pause and think about how important it is to be brave and in being brave being a grown up. Your article inspired me to stand up to a workplace bully. It was uncomfortable but the sky didn’t fall in and I can now go to work without fear of constant harassment. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Diane x

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Last mayoral candidates Q and A: are you a landlord?

Here at The Echo we have seen and heard the word ‘housing’ come up time and again throughout the local government election campaign period, whether it’s from candidates or other voters.

On the ground work assists evicted women 

We know the region has some of the highest rents, and highest housing costs in Australia. We all know that this has virtually eliminated affordable housing. We hear the stories of women and children being evicted, of couch surfing and living in cars.

What do the Tweed Council candidates stand for?

The final day of voting for your local Tweed Shire Councill candidates is Saturday 4 December at a venue near you.

Today is International Day of People with Disability

This language trend around People With a Disability has tended to emphasise the disability rather than the person, which can lead to derogatory labelling, depersonalisation or impersonal, collective references.