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On Being 60

Updated: Feb 22

Six months into being 60 and I have to say life is pretty sensational. I've even started wearing bikinis again despite my sixty year-old paunch!

Being en plein air is what it's all about, at least in my experience. Taking in the majesty of the ocean as our planet spins on its axis to reveal the sun at dawn and the moon on a slightly different but equally reliable monthly shift, is so much more exhilarating than staring at a computer screen or a mobile phone all day.

Walking barefoot on the beach, collecting pippis and cooking them over a fire, communing with other species. All these things fuel a primal need in us.

I've just returned from a camping trip with Gingi Baru and friends. We slept in swags for eleven days at four different locations with the bewitching universe twinkling above. Being connected to the earth like that and contemplating the cosmos makes you aware that you are actually part of something truly miraculous. One in 8 billion yet strangely unique.

Communing with a male Regent Bowerbird at Camp #4

We are not islands. We are all connected to the life force of the unfathomable megacosm. And we need each other for our very survival.

I was reminded on this on the final day of our adventure in Swagland. After contemplating the speed at which our planet spins (1,600kms/hour) and observing the sun 'rise', I headed out for one last surf. Alone at first, I experienced that endless oceanic energy with only a few moments of trepidation, one being when a school of tiny fish leapt towards me. A few silvery suckers landed on my board and flapped about helplessly. I casually flicked them off while trying to ignore the thought of what may now lurk below. In these instances, there's always bigger fish in hot pursuit, and bigger ones after them, and so on until the top predator.

Two other surfers paddled out reducing the chance of me being the victim of a shark attack, and providing a reassuring presence when I broke my leg rope on the last wave and kinda got caught in a rip. Luckily I didn't need to call for their help. I managed to haul myself out and retrieve my washed up board further down the beach. But I knew that if they hadn't been there, I might've panicked.

Surf by Day, Dance by Night

Despite a 20 year hiatus, surfing has always been an exhilarating part of my life. I recently recorded a podcast episode with Chris Hanley called Our Byron Community in which I pretty much told my life story including tales of surfing Bondi as a teenbabe and starring in Puberty Blues aged 17.

Busting a move on the podium (photo: Marla Norris)

Dancing has also been an essential activity. People my age often tell me that their dancing days are over but I still relish the opportunity to hit the dance floor whenever I get the chance. That spontaneous physical expression and connection with other energised souls continues to nourish me.

It's kind of like going to church under the mirror ball. Those funky gospel boogie beats get feet stomping and hands in the air.

When I was asked to organise a fundraiser for BayFM, it was only natural to suggest a dance party at the Byron Theatre with some of the best DJs from the station. One guy danced for a full 6 hours and needed a change of sneakers when his original pair, which were held together with gaffer tape and Elastoplast, gave up on him.

We raised the roof along with nearly $10k which was much needed but if there's anyone out there who loves independent media and community radio, let's talk! And dance!! And meditate on how to bring in more!!!

Yoginis in Bikinis

Apart from dancing and surfing, yoga has also been a part of my wellness regime, and I speak of "wellness" from experience as the landlady of the man who invented it. He said it was first spoken in a 1976 TV report on him and his welness clinic in California.

Anyway, for the past 8 years or so I've been practicing the Astanga. I just started another two-month intensive and am back on the mat each morning with all my faults and fears and foibles, ready to practice the sequence over and over again.

Stretching the limits of mind and body and sweating it out like an self-contained rainforest ecosystem in the intense humidity of the Byron Shire shala, I give it good old crack. I'm not the best in the class but assisted back drops certainly open the heart and set one up for the working day with all its associated challenges. They also help with squeezing into those bikinis!

I know, just as sure as that old moon waxes and wanes, I will one day die, like all living beings. I don't know how or when but it will surely come. So while I'm alive, I want to fill my lungs with fresh air, revere this incredible Earth and feel what it is to be truly human before Artificial Intelligence cancels me out completely!


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