Melbourne is a vibrant, graceful city.
It ages well and seems to accept the changes that longevity brings.
On the other hand, this writer and my home city of Sydney resent growing old.
As I watch my hair greying, my teeth shrinking, my ears getting bigger and hair sprouting in places that are not welcome, I hang onto a youth that is long past.
During a long and powerful meditation last night, I realized two things:
- From a young age I have wanted to push out of my body.
- And for many years I completely disrespected the body I desired to keep young.
I have been living in physical conflict for decades.
Time can be an enemy or an ally.
It’s how we treat our relationship.
To time that is….
As I sip on my second piccolo in the Don Camillo cafe in North Melbourne, I realize my home town of Sydney is no different to my experience.
In my book One Day One Life (2016) I summarize the contrast between Melbourne’s comfort and Sydney’s disease:
“Sydney, in purely natural terms, is more beautiful than Melbourne. Sydney’s beaches, bushland, cliffs, escarpments, and harbour leaves Melbourne a distant second.
But Melbourne has two things Sydney has never had: style and class.
Sydney can be brash, arrogant, and needy. As a collective, the people of Sydney seem to have something to prove. Maybe it’s because of our grim and sordid past as a penal colony? We are like a male peacock with our tail plume fully extended, always trying to impress.
Melbourne has nothing to prove.
True class exists in the silence of knowing what you have, and Melbourne’s silence swamps Sydney’s constant noise.”
Am I just a product of Sydney?
Am I just another son of Australia’s first penal colony?
It’s confusing for a simple man.
But as I stare at my coffee the answers come.
Again let me go back to Chapter Eight of my book;
“But isn’t that life?
Daily experiences without answers, just choices.
So the point of life?
That our natural state is discontent.
All the time, money, and effort we spend on either avoiding it or working it out is a waste.
A waste of time.
Our precious time. Folks, we are born to die, and life goes quickly.
As we grind our heels into the wet sand of the shore line, life will run out with the tide.”
So, after all the mental gymnastics, it always comes down to one simple thing:
So, I’m going to accept the reality of ageing.
I am going to embrace the day.
And I am going to enjoy the $3 piccolos and $2kg mandarins.
Not only is Melbourne a more alluring paramour than Sydney, she is tastier and cheaper.
Sorry Sydney, I am betraying my roots, but it feels so good!!
Freedom of choice.
Alcohol dilutes freedom of choice and fills the silence with noise.
And yes, there is great joy in the distortion of reality.
It can be a helluva ride and big part of me says to go for it!
Enjoy the ride!
A smaller part of me is jealous, because it is a lot of fun.
However, the wiser part of me says it’s time to put the issue on open forum.
I believe it is the largest social problem in Australia and walks hand-in-hand with credit card debt.
Our youth are bombarded by images of beautiful women on beautiful boats sipping chilled vodka.
Social media celebrates the rite of passage of public, drunken degradation.
And if it remained just a rite of passage, alcohol abuse may be acceptable, but it is not.
It becomes a lifetime scourge that deforms, stunts, and corrupts.
It stops people growing.
It mires communities into drama and violence, and it keeps society on the back foot.
And guess what?
I would love to see every young man and woman in Australia have a whole year alcohol-free.
To see what it is like to live without alcohol in your system.
To experientially give every mature Aussie a social freedom of choice.
To feel your nerves tingling and tangling without anxiety.
To feel all your senses come alive with joy.
Seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and touching.
Amplified, not dulled.
To experience the beauty and wonder of sober sex.
To look into your loved one’s yes and really see the person behind the iris.