Collective soul

What a year it’s been – we kind of ended at the start and now we are starting at the end with Melbourne back open for business these next two months leading up to Christmas. It will be great to re-join Victoria when the ring of steel comes down next Sunday and hopefully for all Australian states to open borders so families can see each other at Christmas time.

I even had an Italian custard doughnut to celebrate the days where we’ve had no cases and no deaths – something truly remarkable given what is now unfolding in the US and Europe as they head into second waves over winter in numbers that I am finding hard to fathom. Despite the hardship of the past four months here in Melbourne, we still live in the the lucky country.

Halloween was a non-event in our street last night although I was secretly glad not to have hordes of children on my front door step this year – I have seen some fantastic Halloween-themed houses and front gardens in local streets so good on you if you got into the spirit of things.

While I will be working this week as a higher education worker (we don’t get Labour Day or Melbourne Cup Day off) – I hope you enjoy the long weekend and some newfound freedoms if you’re taking tomorrow off. While the races are also off the plate in terms of general public attendance – it looks like it will be warm one this year for the horses that are competing.

I am weary and I think once this week is over – it’s the home straight until Christmas and shut down for many of us. While this year has been one of the hardest years of my life (like most people) – it has also been one of the most rewarding where I have achieved things I didn’t imagine I could at the start of the year, because we’ve all had to pivot, dig deep to find strength within and continue to keep going. Life doesn’t stop and we need to find ways to move forward whatever our circumstances are.

While Black Friday is still to happen retail-wise – as I’ve previously mentioned, I have done much of my Christmas shopping online over lockdown while sales were on and to support my favourite local retailers which have included Melbournalia, Crumpler, Cibi, Sage and Clare and Readings. Some nature-inspired Christmas items have caught my eye including these Gift of Seeds cards and flower presses from SownSow and bamboo decorations from Earth Greetings. I also love the personalised ceramic stars you can order from Paper Boat Press.


Same old same old

It definitely feels like that at the moment. While the decreasing daily numbers under 50 are giving everyone hope – it’s a long road out and I have younger friends and friends with young children who are really feeling it at the moment. While suffering is the thing that unites us all particularly here in metro Melbourne, it’s not been an easy time and I see it in people’s faces. As parents, we have to shine the light and provide hope for our children and the next generation who follow us.

It’s not a level playing field and things were already difficult pre-Covid for Millennials (and Gen Z behind them) in terms of job security and stability – something that older generations have taken for granted. I hope as we re-build the economy opportunities for young people (and women) are front and centre in the minds of those who create the policies, systems, structure and future of work. Employability and having a secure and stable job is one of the enablers for a long and happy life. I have seen first hand what happens to those who fall off the wagon whether it be through having children and leaving work, losing a professional job or worse still – never getting there in the first place. Confidence and persistence is key but it gets very tiring to keep going and I know people are suffering from emotional fatigue and burnout at the moment.

Image via Shop in Ivanhoe

That being said, job opportunities are still out there and I have friends and colleagues landing permanent new jobs even at this time. While it is highly competitive and ageism exists, I also think if the opportunity is right and you are the right person for the job, things will happen. I’d encourage anyone looking for work to get on the front foot and reach out to your network especially in industries and organisations that interest you. In my entire working life, I have only ever applied for one job (a zillion years ago) before online times via the paper – all my jobs before and after that have come through my network – through recruiters, agencies and friends and family.

Image via

The sun has helped today and it’s been nice to have taken things easy this weekend. I was sad that Andrew’s Books in Ivanhoe closed in March this year and while I have since bought hard copy books online via Readings and downloaded books on my Kindle, it’s not quite the same. Rediscover Local by Banyule has launched to help find and support businesses in Banyule and applications for Banyule Arts and Culture Project grant applications close today if you are a local creative.

Image via Allen & Unwin

I finished reading The dictionary of lost words by Pip Williams a few weeks ago and I’m now working out what my next book will be. There has been a number of books recently published about race and it’s great to see more writers from Asian backgrounds feature in best selling book lists. I’m wondering whether I go for pure fun and escapism with Sex and Vanity by Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan or some more Millennial fiction with A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu. There has been publicity on the loneliness epidemic coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic and while it’s not perfect, I’m glad the single person bubble starts at 11.59pm tonight in Victoria.