Thursday, June 24, 2010

Secrets of Success

Despite my willingness to embrace the creative side of life, I remain in my heart of hearts deeply conservative. I'm attracted to the four hour working week, and a passive investment portfolio of high yield slum flats but I can't quite get past the feeling that it's cheating.
I've been slack at updating this blog lately because I've been so busy working. I love working. I love working hard. Late nights, bright lights, big ideas, long sentences, churning through the list of things to do, power up, power on, power to the people.

So much has been written about working smarter, work life balance, and the importance of following your bliss. Finding ways to really engage with life and connect with your life's purpose are undoubtedly important but at the risk of sounding like my grandmother I can't believe how many people have forgotten or never learned to work hard.

When people ask me for advice on how they can improve their jobs, their relationships, and their financial situation (I know. Asking me for advice about money. What are ya? Stupid?) I always start at the same place. Work harder. Give more to your boss, your spouse and your savings account. Come back in a month and if things haven't improved we'll dig a bit deeper. You'd be amazed at how many problems dissolve with the application of effort.

Look at anybody who has enjoyed long term success in any area of their lives. Sure, they probably had some talent, a bit of opportunity and maybe even a lucky break. But I bet my left boobie they also invested heavily in some old fashioned hard work.

Stop wasting time reading this, and start scrubbing.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sex in the Sydney

You would have thought that the blondinis strutting their way through lunchtime on Wednesday had never seen a fabulous creature like moi. I've not been stared at like that for a long time. At first I thought it was my really short hair. The suitcase I was wheeling behind me perhaps? Nope. It was the grey. Apparently au naturel is not de rigeur downunder. And whereas the plebs pounding the pavements of Christchurch don't bother to look twice at the grey and white haired short woman with no boobs striding out with a silly grin, the fashionistas of central Sydney were horrified.

I braved the Myers sale and squeezed my way in and out of no less than 22 pairs of jeans in search of the holy grail of denim, a pair that fits, but eventually gave up in a huff. I've lost 4.5 kilos since Christmas but the size 'short and stubby with a narrowish waist' doesn't exist and so I'll need to lose another 4.5kg to get near my pre-cancer weight and Mr. Strauss.

Which if it were not challenge enough leads to a different problem all together. Reconciling the obvious need to inject botulism into my forehead if I'm ever going to be hot again with the fundamental belief I have that women, or men, for that matter shouldn't inject poison into their bodies in order to look like a startled small animal 24/7.

I've tried botox before of course. Hello, I'm not all cyber geek you know. I've been to Rome and when in Rome.....well actually, I haven't ever been to Rome. I planned a massive three month O.E when I was 19 to traipse through Europe but I was in love with a manchild in Dunedin and the Mona Lisa didn't seem so special when I gazed upon her whilst upon my own. So after spending three weeks in Paris and London mostly writing airmail letters back to said mc, I flew home.

My first night in London revealed one unique skill that I've savoured ever since - the ability to get into ridiculous situations, laugh about them and make up totally believable absolute lies about the terrible thing that just happened as though I was the victim of some awful calamity, rather than the author of my misfortune. I'd met two lads from New York by a fountain bathed in rare capital sun and we thought it was a grand idea to go underground to a wee bar in Soho and buy 15 pound alcoholic smoothies that were served in massive blenders with straws. The three of us raced each other to the bottom of these vessels and thus within about 2 and a half minutes I was toast. Always one to keep my wits about me, I wrote on the back of a piece of paper "If I am lost, please return me to Shepherd's Bush" and popped it into my top pocket. They were gentler times, those early 90's. Anyway, after what seemed like hours of fun, I ventured back up the staircase to ground level and stepped out into glaringly broad daylight. Like the Narnia wardrobe, there was some strange portal vibe going down - I had evidently been gone only a few minutes. Too long to be able to prevent myself from chundering on the tube on the way back to SB. I tried so hard to contain it, and eventually found a way to fill the hand I had cupped over my mouth and guide it down the sleeve of my chambray shirt. I was rather indignant by this stage. Strawberry daiquiri spew running down my arm wasn't what I'd planned. I got off the train, hailed a black cab, unbuttoned my shirt and sold the driver the same story I shopped to my friend who was surprised to open her door at 6.30pm to find me, semi-clad and covered in sick. "Can you imagine? My very first night in London and some cheap drunk girl in a bar vomits all over me? Some girls shouldn't be allowed out. They don't know how to handle their booze. I imagined that London was more sophisticated than this!"

The point, hidden I'll grant you, is that I'm not all suburban and homely all the time. Which is why I had botox when C and I honeymooned in Aspen. It just seemed like what you do apres ski and who was I to argue with the prevailing wisdom? It did make a big difference to the crease that runs down the centre of my forehead. I did look younger. Was I sexier? Is that possible?

Is botox so different from moisturiser or lipstick? Yes, I hear you scream, it's poisonous. Well so is bloody chemo and I've had a bunch of that, can't I have a teensy bit of pleasure poison? The doses are tiny. But the principle is huge. Try explaining to your daughter that when she is older, in order to look good and feel good she will need to inject small doses of disease into her face so that men will find her attractive and her girlfriends will continue to be jealous of her effortless youth and good fortune with wrinkles and want to stay her friend. Mention that the men in her life, at best, might go to the gym and will sometimes wear sunblock. She will be too young to appreciate that no female leads of Clint Eastwood's age are considered sexy. Those who throw up (n.p.i) Meryl Streep as an example are deluded. There's 20 years between Clint and Meryl and if Meryl's husband was as comparatively young as Eastwood's wife he'd be 25 years old to her 60. That'd be something to share with your daughter.

Some of my friends have had botox but no-one talks about it. Only when I asked them directly, did they admit it. Who are we kidding here girls? What is it all about?

As I sat on the ferry to Manly (more on my money saving tips later) I repeated my mantra, "it's what's inside me that's important, beauty is temporary, brains are for life." Please don't post a comment about how radiant I am, and how short hair suits me - my self-esteem is concrete. My rejection of botox is not so solid. The temptation fascinates me and I don't fully understand my attraction to the dark side. I am certain that being unsexy in Sydney may have acted as a trigger. What has happened to you lately that has lead you down a path you know is not right for you, but is oh so alluring? And please, tell me how you resisted.

P.S If, on the other hand, you've found an intelligent feminist defending or advocating the use of botox I'd be ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED to hear about it.