I invite you to visit also my literary blog: Journeys in Creative Writing where I post original fiction including short stories, poetry and 'Paternity', a full length mystery novel.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Wisdom and Wrinkles

I'LL BE 73 NEXT MONTH AND I'M PROUD OF EVERY WRINKLE. There’s been a lot of energy expended getting me here, and a lot learned on the way.

Those who visit 70 Plus regularly will have heard me say more than once that I believe oldies shouldn’t hide themselves under the nearest bush.

Surely it’s best for them to share the wisdom they’ve gained on their treks through life – for the sake of whippersnappers (of all ages) and for themselves. Oldies also deserve to receive kudos for what they know.

I have a few hobby horses so far as the getting of wisdom is concerned.

Take curiosity. It’s long been my contention that those blessed with the bug of needing to discover are among the luckiest around.

CURIOSITY drives one to do new things. That’s when we brush up against different people and experiences and, unless we’re impervious to our environment, it’s when we LEARN – spelled in capital letters.

Those incurious human beings we all know are the followers – the types who are stuck in the rut that life has handed out TO them. They don’t make their own paths, and much knowledge that could be gained from experience passes them by. Sad eh?

Be curious and we discover a big world out there.

Then there’s TRUST. Trust is number one in my book when it comes to relationships of any kind. Without trust a relationship isn’t worth having.

Picture in your mind walking into a shop to buy the morning paper. That little transaction is built on trust, if you think about it. The shop assistant hands over the newspaper fully trusting that she will receive payment in return.

Imagine if this almost universal trust in shopping transactions broke down – what chaos!

Right now in this little old world, we’re seeing trust dissipating in so many directions, and mores the pity. Nations disintegrate when corruption (ie abuse of trust) takes hold. The financial system similarly, as with the courts in many lands.

Marriage breakdown, of course, is another classic example, and very much closer to home. We can all see the devastation that abuse of trust is causing to families in a street near you. The fact that trust is important is a vital piece of information that many people learn too late.

When we do learn the lesson of trust, and are lucky enough to have trust returned, we gain huge rewards throughout our lives. However, the beginning is always up to us – and that part’s easy.

This week I was impressed when introduced to the concept of a new book that’s coming out in October. Its subject is the wisdom of human beings at each end of the age spectrum – 10 to 100.

‘What I Know – Uncommon wisdom and universal truths from 10-year-olds and 100-year-olds’ will be a reasonably slim volume, weighty with knowledge gained by human beings during short and long lives.

The book is the brain child of Roger Emerson Fishman, a former News Corporation Executive, Vice-President for Worldwide Marketing, who has now formed his own company concentrating on digital strategies.

Roger travelled 3,000 miles from Montana to New York talking to people in all walks of life, trawling for their outlook on positive living. The book is a result. You can find out more here.

He talked to 101-year-old Dorothy Young who was escape artist Harry Houdini’s assistant in 1924. She believes Harry chose her for the job because she ‘had faith in herself, just the way she was’.

That rings bells for me.

Roger gathered this little pearl from a much younger person called Joseph:

‘The secret to life is not to try too hard. It seems like usually when I’m wanting or
looking for something, the best way is to not really look too hard, and then I find it.’

That’s in my armory as well. We operate much better when we are relaxed don’t we?

Do you have little pearls of wisdom of your own that you’d like to share? Pop them in a comment below.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Health System for Everyone

A RAGING STORM about health systems has burst on Living on the Other Side of the Hill a blog run by mate Judy in Kentucky, US of A.

I'm sure that some of you have noticed that Americans are calling for big changes in their health system and hope President Obhama can do something about it.

I for one have looked over the Pacific and seen that many poor Americans die because they can't afford health care. We've all heard of people being ruined because of the costs when they needed even a short visit to hospital.

A big proportion of Americans just can't even contemplate calling for help because their bank balance isn't big enough. The smallest procedure can cost thousands of dollars.

Prescriptions are also incredibly expensive in a nation where the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to call the shots, unlike here in Australia where a government sponsored committee administers a PBS that bargains with the pharmas and keeps them in check.

This all makes me very grateful for our Australian system, warts and all.

Judy asked me to make a comment on her blog about Australian health, and I obliged.

This is what I wrote.

It is so good that you are having this discussion.

We in Australia have free hospitals and doctors, but have the option of insurance and private hospitals with the choice of doctors available then. We do pay a token amount to go to general practitioners of our choice and the remainder is government subsidy. Many GPs do 'bulk bill' with no cost to the patient.

Today I rely on a government pension through no fault of my own, having worked fifty years, but two divorces and conniving lawyers (one later gaoled for fraud) didn't help.

As an aged pensioner I pay only $A5 for any prescription and indeed am on three I will need for the rest of my life. People not on any benefit pay for their scripts but there is a government system which works to ensure that pharmaceutical companies cannot control prices absolutely as they do in your country. Our scripts are much cheaper as a result.

If I need hospital treatment and go public it costs nothing. I come home with no bills of any kind, and so does everyone else unless they have insurance, and then payments are made.

There can be a wait for non urgent surgery, but that too is being addressed. If your situation is life threatening a free ambulance takes you straight in.

Due to neglect for twelve years with a government seemingly hell bent on destroying our health system, the formerly highly esteemed public hospitals are in a deal of trouble, but that is being addressed now. The private ones with their profit motive have always been suspect anyway.

(By the way I have just been invited to join a committee to help implement these changes locally. I'm there as a community member alongside the doctors and other professionals, and respected for my point of view.)

Neither system is perfect amd people slip through gaps, but my goodness I cannot imagine the insecurity and horrors of living where I couldn't get help when I needed it.

In the midst of this global recession our Rudd Government (18 months old) has just put up the pension for seniors. They respect us for the contribution we have made.

This government is leaning on the States who actually run the system to fix up their health administrations and are gradually working to provide funding for improvements.

All of this during the global recession when Australia has so far avoided the big 'R' and is recognised as currently the best performing economy in the world.

It might seem a bit twee, but the Australian culture has always been caring of people in need. (Could it be our convict roots? We were also among the first to give votes to women and pioneered much of the union system.)

So far as I am concerned a good egalitarian health system is a matter of priorities. Why should good health depend on our bank balance?

The nation gains greatly when its working people are fit and happy.

America - if your administrators really care, a health system of equality is very much within your reach, even now. Priorities is the word.

We have been watching from afar, and aghast at the way you have done things in the past - perhaps it's time for a change?

I'll get off my caring soapbox now Judy ...
June in Oz'

Do you agree with what I have said?

We know there's a lot wrong in our system, but golly when you compare it to others ...

And do you think the Rudd Government has its priorities right on this? Should it do more? Can it do more right now?

If you live overseas, what is the health experience in your country?

It's a frank interview with a health insurance executive who woke up to what his industry was doing to the American people and decided to do something about it. This one blew me away ...

I'm adding this on 28th July:
A new report on reforms to our health system has begun a big debate here. The Federal Government wants to take over a huge slab of the system, particularly in primary care. It's far reaching and exciting. The Prime Minister has made positive noises about it and will lead six months of discussions with a national consultative tour to begin today. See the report and its recommendations HERE

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Forever Blowing Bubbles ...

So much is wondrous to little children ...
This is my friend Pippi.

What could she be looking at?

Bubbles ...
that's what!

Pippi and her big brother Toby had great fun playing with hundreds of bubbles after their Mummy bought them an AUTOMATIC BUBBLE MACHINE.

There were bubbles everywhere!

Toby is a very athletic little boy and he recently began karate lessons. You can see some action here as he karate chopped some of the bubbles.

He's also a big Ninja Turtle fan and he has a Ninja Turtle watch, as you can see.

Pippi was ecstatic as the colourful transparent balls floated throuugh the air - generally just out of reach of such a little girl.

That didn't stop her trying very hard to pop just as many bubbles as her brother did ...

Soon though Pippi got tired of the same old game and a bag of jelly snakes became much more interesting.

Even if the beautiful bubbles were becoming bigger and bigger and bigger ...

Toby needed a change of pace too and took to the baseball bat. He's got a pretty mean style for such a little tyke hasn't he? He keeps his eye on the ball!

Then Pippi thought she'd help Mummy paint her car ...
That was a really big job.

Have you ever seen such a beautiful thought bubble?

I think Pippi is very tired indeed.
She and Toby had already been shopping this morning, and what with all of this excitement ...

That's just when a thoughtful big brother could step in and give a bit of comfort. Don't you think?

Do you remember giving your brother or sister such a beautiful hug when you were little?