FASHFEST 2017 Masthead
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Leaning in to life

Emma Grey

“There can be plenty of life left, no matter how much more of our lives there is left.”

Audrey Thomas and I were keynote speakers at a packed fundraising event in Adelaide over the weekend, speaking about our book, I Don’t  Have Time.

The MC was best-selling author and internationally-renowned chef, Dorinda Hafner. She was incredibly vibrant and full of energy.

She said she remembered turning 40 and thinking she was ‘old’, but she’s just turned 70 and said she’s only just hitting her stride now.

Dorinda was joined on stage by Gillian Aldridge, Mayor of the City of  Salisbury in Adelaide. Gillian is another seventy-year-old, bursting with passion and vitality. She works from 6am til 11pm most days of the week.

The day before I’d gone to Adelaide, I’d received some blood test results showing severe anaemia. For weeks, I’ve been struggling with low energy and dwindling motivation. It was good to find out I wasn’t imagining it, and find a reason, and have a plan of attack. I chugged down some iron supplements, fell asleep on the plane, was breathless walking through the airport and, by the time Audrey and had dinner and were sitting down to work on our presentation at 10:30pm (or eleven, Canberra time), I had to admit defeat. I just couldn’t stay awake a second longer. I was desperately worn out.

In no particular order, the kids are young, work is intense, my husband died eleven months ago, I’m selling the house, I need a hysterectomy and there are multiple family members facing a concoction of challenges. And on and on and on it goes.

My point isn’t ‘woe is me’. It’s ‘wow! Bring on old age!’ Audrey and I fangirled over Dorinda and Gillian and all we could think was, ‘let that be us when we’re seventy!’

It was another reminder, not that there is plenty of time left (because I learnt last year that this isn’t always so), but that there can be plenty of life left, no matter how much more of our lives there is left. What matters is our engagement with the world while we’re in it.

Sheryl Sandberg urged us to ‘lean in’ to our careers, but watching two seventy-year-olds light up the stage I wanted to lean into a lot more than that.

And I will. Just as soon as the iron supplements kick in. Because,  thanks to Gillian and Dorinda, I have a 30+ year plan to implement … and it’s important to be kind to ourselves during the hectic times so  we can find the energy to enjoy what’s coming

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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