Birthday Blues?!

It’s my birthday this week, and I wanted to write an engaging post but there has been some serious procrastinating!

I had a lot of ideas.

  • A slide show of photos from baby to now.
  • A list of things illustrating how the world has changed in sixty years.
  • Matching historical events to my own life in some sort of digital timeline
  • A funny birthday post
  • A reflective birthday post
  • No post?
At about one year old

Some abandoned starts to the birthday post:

1. Light hearted….but went downhill

Somehow I got to be sixty! How did that happen? I don’t feel old, but I am beginning to slow down. A little. My life so far has had its share of ups and downs although I don’t think I have had more ups or downs than anyone else. Regrets? I have a few!


I wish I had ended my marriage earlier and not stayed unhappy for so long.
I wish I had been a better, more patient parent.
I wish I had started thinking of myself as creative twenty years ago.
I wish I had spent less time in the sun and more time in the shade.


Sometimes I look in the mirror and think “Shit! Who is that old lady? “ The inside me still feels 27. I find myself staring at women “my age”, and judging whether I look younger or older than them. How have I fared?

2. Started sad and stayed sad.

I was hoping to write an inspirational post about turning sixty. I sit here with my fingers poised above my keyboard wondering what to write. It’s a struggle to find the right tone with the right words and the right mood. I am proud and sad. Happy and annoyed. Relieved and unfulfilled.


I don’t have another 60 years left. Another 25 – 30? My immortality is simultaneously slapping me in the face and the arse. A blanket of generalised anxiety is hovering over me urging me not to waste another minute making bad decisions or wrong choices.
I am waiting for the cloak of wisdom to descend. When does that happen?
Maybe today is not the day to write this post.


You see what I mean.

at eight?

Significant birthdays are another number. Right?

It doesn’t happen to me often but I am lost for words about turning 60. I didn’t mind turning 50 or 30 or any of the other significant birthdays. Sixty on the other hand does feel like a marker. A place to stop and reset. Perhaps it’s because I have made a big deal of my 60 for 60 list. I have completed 38 of the things on the list. Some of the undone items I have decided to abandon. They no longer hold the significance they had 3 years ago. For instance, finishing the stories I started in 2017 or 2018. The spark is gone. I’ll leave them unresolved and thank them for their service.
Many of the other things still on the list are projects I want to do. Paint my house and get new carpet, a case in point. I’m not going to get them done in the next couple of days so I’ll transfer them to another list. Seventy things before seventy!

What’s next for Old Chook Enterprises?

I’m proud to say that I have crossed the “post a blog post at least once a week” item off the list. I’m now considering what to do about this blog. Will I continue? It’s a lot of work and I’m not sure of the return. I started the project to practice writing to a wider audience. I’ve done that. Do I still have something to say? Maybe. I have 500 followers but I’m lucky to have 30 views per post. (Thank you to those thirty!! ) Is it about the numbers? Is it about having a place to express myself? Is it just a habit I need to abandon along with the stories?

Fifty one


One of my most “popular” posts is about Port Kembla, a suburb in Wollongong. I wondered why. The analytics reveal that it gets hits from the search term “Wollongong Prostitutes”. Ewww….That’s not my target demographic! A scroll through my followers shows that very few are the type of people I thought I was talking to. That is, women my age. Is that good or bad?

Maybe I’ll start a new blog?

I’m ready for another life stocktake. I’ll take my time. Look at my style guide for living, do some calculations and work out what’s feasible and add in some “stretch goals”. (Man! I hate that term, but I get the concept!)

Fifty seven


I’m all for a theme. How does “Savour my Sixties and Slide into the Sassy Seventies” sound?

BTW: I have applied for my Seniors’ Savers Card!

A year without alcohol – tick!

Wentworth Emporium

Last year was a different sort of year for all of us. My year began with an intentional change that started well before COVID19 came on the scene with a year-long challenge called the “Year of Zero”. As part of the challenge, I planned to go a full year without alcohol. In my post, in May 2020, I said I’d report back on how I went. Here’s that report.

I won! I did ditch the alcohol!

I went the whole year without alcohol! It ended up being less of a challenge than I had thought.  The hardest part was actually deciding if I would start drinking again. I had concerns and doubts because I was feeling fabulous! No hangovers, no missed days spent resting on the couch, more money, feeling clear-headed, and all the benefits you’d expect to gain from not putting poison into your body.  My joints ached less; I had fewer cold sores. My gut was more settled. I slept better. A repeat liver function test came back with excellent results. I didn’t lose weight which I thought I would. I didn’t lose friends. In fact, my social life didn’t suffer at all! It’s a bit hard to get a good handle on this aspect because my dry year coincided with COVID lockdowns. 

My friends got over hassling me about drinking, although one actually said “welcome back” when I had a glass of wine with them.  There’s something a bit off with the state of the world if that’s the perception of giving up the booze!

I used the app Habit Bull to keep me on track.

I’ve starting drinking alcohol again.

As the end of the year approached, I spent a lot of my mental energy deciding what to do. Would I drink? Wouldn’t I drink? Was my obsession about making this decision proving I was or wasn’t an alcoholic or, at best, someone with alcohol abuse disorder. (Something I have only just discovered is a “thing”).

WHAT SHOULD I DO!!

In the end, I decided I would have a few drinks on social occasions.  Soon after “breaking the drought”, I overdid it and woke up with a horrendous hangover! One of the worst I’ve had. Even though I had drunk much less than I would have normally have had on a “big night”. Out of practice, I guess. I imagined my poor liver shrivelling up and keeling over. It was scary. 

After that night, I had a stiff talk with myself and set down some rules. I would only drink when I was out. I wouldn’t drink at home alone. Ever! And then I would never have more than two.

It didn’t take long before I started to argue with myself and the internal dialogue was very persuasive. 

You’re an adult and you can have a drink when you feel like it!  Relax! You’re on holidays!

Robyn’s brain!

I quickly fell back into my old habits, albeit with more moderation.

Giving alcohol the flick for good?

In the vein of “when you’re ready to learn, the teacher will come” platitude, I have noticed more and more articles both in print and on the net about people being sober-curious and stepping back from our alcohol-laden society. I know I am not alone in this state of confusion about what our culture deems normal and acceptable and consideration for our own health. The stigma of being a non-drinker is nearly as bad as being a heavy drinker! For example, look at Charlie Hale’s article in Wellbeing’s Issue #190 about mindful drinking.

Charlie Hale writes about the new ‘sober-curious’ movement in Wellbeing.

Sober Curious

The term sober curious was coined by Ruby Warrington in her books Sober Curious and the Sober Curious Reset. The book’s marketing blurb describes exactly how I’m feeling – without the green juice!

It’s the nagging question more and more of us are finding harder to ignore, whether we have a “problem” with alcohol or not. After all, we yoga. We green juice. We meditate. We self-care. And yet, come the end of a long work day, the start of a weekend, an awkward social situation, we drink. One glass of wine turns into two turns into a bottle. In the face of how we care for ourselves otherwise, it’s hard to avoid how alcohol really makes us feel… terrible.

How different would our lives be if we stopped drinking on autopilot If we stopped drinking altogether Really different, it turns out. Really better. Frank, funny, and always judgment free, Sober Curious is a bold guide to choosing to live hangover-free, from Ruby Warrington, one of the leading voices of the new sobriety movement.

Booktopia’s blurb about the Sober Curious Book

What next?

I’m ready to have a good talk with you Alcohol!  You’re not working for me anymore! 

Having the whole year off the booze and then three months drinking alcohol again, has been like completing a controlled experiment. The results of the study show that I prefer the no alcohol condition. I’ve decided I don’t need booze, and although I do really like a glass of wine, I’ve learnt it’s better for me not to “break the seal”. I have ordered Ruby’s books, and I’ll write a review after I have read them. In the meantime, I know I am not a moderator and do better at abstaining.

So abstain I will. 

Stories from the Great Southern Road Trip Part 3: A minor inconvenience.

The Great Southern Road Trip had the guts pulled out of it after the Victorian Government’s snap 5 day lock down on 12 February. While the lazy amble down the NSW Coastline happened, the sharp right turn  into Victoria and the mosey on over to Melbourne, didn’t. The lock down necessitated a quick and blunt reconfiguarion of the itinerary. 

I decided to go back to Eden, a NSW border town, and spend a few days there. Staying out of Victoria altogether until the day I was due to sail to Tasmania seemed like a sensible idea. COVID being what it is, I was not sure if I would be able to get into Tasmania without the need to quarantine if I re-entered Victoria. This meant staying in NSW,  essentially going around in circles. 

The anticipated spike in Victorian COVID numbers did not happen and the Tasmania Government reclassified most of Victoria as low risk. With the benefit of hindsight, I could have gone to Victoria after all. I could have stayed in Victoria. The question that plays out in my mind is when do you draw the line? (On changing and rearranging) How many times do you pivot?

Plan B was a solid plan. Accomodation in Southern NSW was getting very tight as people spilled out of Victoria. In the end, I visited friends in Berridale, then Batemans Bay, finally retracing my steps back to Culburra Beach to catch up with family. Culburra beach was the first stop I made on Day 1 of the road trip. I was nearly back to where I started. Sigh.

Right now I am sitting on Deck 7 of the Spirit of Tasmania to start the southernmost part of my Great Southern Road Trip. Tomorrow morning I’ll be in Devonport and then I’ll join the walking tour I’ve booked from Launceston. Things are back on schedule! My spreadsheets are reconciled!

The view out the salt encrusted windows shows the sea is turning black as the sun sets. The waves are small and calm, the fabled swell of Bass Strait is still a few hours away. 

In contrast, my gratitude swells. How lucky am I? I might be sitting here with a mask on  and I may have been inconvenienced by a government taking a strong response to a serious problem, but I am on a ship and I am healthy. The people around me are healthy. I am travelling. (Technically overseas!!)

In comparison, my friends in the Northern Hemisphere are stuck at home, both by the weather and the virus. Living on a big island 12,000 km from anywhere is a burden when you have to fly 22 hours to get “somewhere”. But right now, my island home, with it’s slightly nanny-state stance, is a god send. There’s plenty to do and see right here!

I’ll stop whinging now.