28 May 2020 was my 80th birthday. At the beginning of the year I booked a beautiful venue overlooking the river for a celebratory lunch, and 40 people were to be invited! I even had some special invitations printed. Well in the meanwhile the world has undergone the uncertainties of the pandemic, and you can guess that there was no celebratory birthday lunch! I was really looking forward to seeing all my friends and relatives again.
I couldn't believe I was eighty years old. Eighty year olds are frail and stooped and hobble about. But I stand erect; I can still touch my toes without bending my knees; I can stand on one leg; I can do the hula. I am healthy. I am happy. I am very lucky. (Well perhaps I do a bit of hobbling when I first get out of bed in the morning!)
The secret of my health and happiness is threefold. For over 20 years now I have taken an hour's walk before breakfast. Exercise in the fresh air; sights and sounds, getting to know the neighbourhood and further afield. Invigorating. Secondly I have had regular maintenance visits to the chiropractor, who has removed any little aches and pains as they occur. And most importantly, there is my friend and partner Roger, whom I met at a conference in Victoria in 1985, and with whom I have shared so much, including academic, social, cultural and economic experiences and lots of travel. He is honest, clever, kind and generous and I love him very much.
Certainly the last thirty odd years I have lived in Perth have been the happiest of my life.
And maybe there is a fourth factor at work in my wellbeing. I have been told that I was born in the year of the golden dragon and that is very special! Thanks Kate for telling me that.
So now I am an octogenarian, will things be different? The Covid-19 pandemic, we are told, gives us a once in a life time opportunity to address some big issues with fresh generosity. In early May I filled out the AUtopia online survey, designating my hoped for changes. I would like to contribute a little in finding brave new solutions to the problems of carbon emissions, asylum seekers, closing the gap and homelessness. For starters.