I love it when life presents me with new ideas, new skills to learn, new things. While I might get a bit scared at first, I love strapping on my big boots, picking up my rucksack and heading off into the Great Unknown looking for the Next Big Adventure.
Which is why I’m now the proud joint owner of a radio station.
My brother, Alan, and I have never been really close. Actually, that’s totally unfair on Alan. I suspect that Alan wanted to get close to me when we were growing up but I was such and angsty teenaged bitch from about the age of 5, when he was born, that I wouldn’t let him anywhere near me. So, we’ve never been close because I spent my childhood doing whatever I could to make his life miserable. Unfortunately for our parents, Alan soon picked up on how to do the same things back to me and we spent our youth fighting with one another at every opportunity.
A couple of months ago, an old friend, Jane, got in touch with me completely out of the blue. In one of the bizarre twist s that life likes to put on us, we discovered that we were both going through pretty much exactly the same things in our lives. The similarities were really quite spooky. We thought that it would be a great idea to set up a daily call to each other so we could share what was happening for us that day and to keep ourselves on track because one of the things we both noticed about ourselves was that we have all these great ideas, all these good intentions… and we never carry them out. Actually, that’s not true, sometimes I carry out the ideas, but most of the time, they fall by the wayside and life goes on in the same old way that it always has and before I know it, bang! There’s another year gone by and I still haven’t started that project that was such a fantastic idea.
I was sitting in a gorgeously green & lush garden café in Byron Bay with my beautiful bestie who was happily tucking into her second glass of Prosecco (I was on another kind of fizzy – water- as I had 5 more hours of driving to do that day) when she said something that jolted me like a cattle prod. “It is so good to owe nothing to no one. To be able to do whatever you like and not have to worry about any debts or upcoming bills or anything like that.” She sighed happily and ordered another glass of wine, while I buried my face in my water, hoping to all hell that she hadn’t picked up on the “oof” that came out of my mouth when her words hit me in the solar plexus or seen the flash of envy that turned my eyes bright green for a second.
I can hand on heart say that this was a defining moment for me. This was the moment when I said
“I need help!” I said to my brother, “I’ve got these programs sitting there, ready to go and I feel bad because they’re just going to waste. You’re good at selling, and I hate selling, so can you give me a hand?”
I had a kind of vague , wishy-washy, airy-fairy idea that Alan (former radio presenter, master salesman, sports commentator and general all-round gasbag who could talk himself onto a mars-bound spaceship) would maybe do all the talking for me and somehow sell my programs. Honestly, I really had no idea what it would look like at all.
And I certainly didn’t expect what I ended up with: several hours of me and my brother laughing and poking fun at ourselves, each other and the world in general.
It’s Christmas, the time of year when all my angst and anxieties about money are dusted off, dragged into the spotlight, dressed up in tinsel and baubles, and sprinkled with glitter. I buy too many presents for too many people who don’t really matter to me, there’s always those little (or not so little) things I get for our loved ones even when I’ve already bought all the presents that I planned for them, I buy in enough food and drink to end a small famine and we all spend the next week (or two) eating leftovers. As time goes on and the preparations for the Big Day get more frantic, I grow more anxious and stressed, and there’s this underlying feeling of overwhelming guilt and fear lurking just beneath the surface of my seasonal cheer, that I desperately try to pretend isn’t happening.
I’m very lucky in one way because I don’t have to do the whole invite-people-round-that-you-don’t-get-on-with-but-you-have-to-because-it’s-Christmas thing. We live in Australia, a long way from most of our family members, and people tend to stay with their families or go away for the holidays over here. I am heartily glad that I don’t have to invite people round that I wouldn’t normally see, just because it’s Christmas.
Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...
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