Regrets, I’ve had a few.

Maybe I could have done some things differently, maybe there could have been some better outcomes, but here I am at quite an advanced age, still enjoying the highs and still at times struggling with the lows.

I am just emerging from one of those low periods – one that had me uncharacteristically concerned. Some challenges to health caused me to think about my mortality. I have absolutely no fear of ‘kicking the bucket’ but I have a huge resistance to becoming dependent or being a nuisance.

It all began with my trip to Bali. I was a little unwell for a few days before I left but with a feeling of invincibility, I sallied forth with the knowledge that I had been pushing myself and the belief that all would be well once I had a few days relaxation.

My daughter had booked me into what had been labelled a ‘resort’ by someone with oversized rose-coloured glasses, but it suited my budget and my main reason was to attend the writers’ festival in Ubud.

I have travelled alone before but somehow this time was different. This time I felt very alone and a bit alien, probably because I wasn’t quite feeling myself. I had taken my laptop to finish off a contract I have been working on for a long time, so instead of exploring, I spent the first few days laying low.

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On the third day I thought I should venture out and asked the hotel driver to drop me into the Ubud township where I intended to explore the Ubud I remembered from a visit ten years before. I should have been more specific. The driver dropped in a very mundane street which turned out to be not in the tourist precinct. I set out walking totally in the wrong direction and after an hour of picking my way through broken pavement and decaying rubbish, I was not seeing anything of the mystical art world so entrenched in my memory. I decided to turn back and suddenly panicked that I wouldn’t find my way to the pickup point where I was to meet the driver.

Another half hour walking left me feeling hot and exhausted, and whilst I had previously been carefully picking my way through broken pavers, I took my eye off and suddenly met the uneven ground with a huge thud. I lay there for some time, with no offers of help and eventually pulled myself onto my knees and with some help from a nearby pole, managed to manoeuvre myself to a standing position. I staggered towards the nearest eating place and with much difficulty made my way up the steep steps – there are steep steps everywhere in Bali – and sat at a table. I ordered some food and then found a taxi to take me back to the ‘resort’.

My big lesson with all this is that I am not specific and am always reluctant to ask for help. I’ll skip the next very painful 24 hours when I would have given anything to be in the comfort of my own home. Oh boy, I was feeling so sorry for myself! However I had come for a purpose and I decided to get to the festival and attend as many sessions as I could. I was not enjoying being in Bali at all!

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Two days later I was dropped at the entrance of the museum where the opening ceremony was to take place and with the help of a carved walking stick provided by the guy in the next unit I made my way to the auditorium. I found two of the last remaining seats. As I sat down I silently put it out there, “Please send me someone I can talk with”. A few minutes later, a very special lady sat down and the dawn of a new friendship was instantly spawned. Suddenly my story changed. Lee lives in Coffs Harbour and is an Indonesian teacher so could speak the language fluently. She also knows the place really well and following each session, she opened up new horizons for me. We enjoyed listening to the same speakers and was extremely generous and thoughtful in assisting me to get about. It became a very special experience on all levels. It needs another chapter to fill in some of these.

My head was full of inspiring words spoken by passionate, dedicated people. It really had become a worthwhile experience but as I returned home, I could feel that not only was my body in the most severe pain of my memory, I had to come to terms with something a little sinister continuing with my health. This couldn’t be happening to me. I am so healthy and active. As the face of Ostelin in this month’s Prevention and New Idea magazines – there is no way I can be seen to be vulnerable!

Okay: I am not 100% in the clear yet, but something has shifted. After doing a thorough audit of my life, I decided to change some things. I stripped myself of all of the people and situations that were causing me angst. It was like discarding a heavy overcoat. I suddenly felt so much lighter. Amazingly, since having done this, some very positive things have begun to happen and my usual exuberance has returned. This alone I know will directly impact on my health in the best way.

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It is also two years tomorrow since my beautiful husband passed away and I can feel him shaking his finger at me. He left me very specific instructions that I continue to be a role model for older women to discover their worth. There is still so much to do and the sun is shining again.


Have you had an experience like Lyn’s that made you stand up and take notice of your life? Tell us below.