Saturday, 14 July 2012

Top 5 Moments

A Blog about DEATH?!? So far, the responses from my friends and family have been mixed.

The top elements of “What The?” were:

Why six months?

Procrastinate much? I do! That’s why I’ve given myself this fake timeline.  For me, setting a deadline is the only way I get things done.  If it’s the same for you, please join the process for yourself! To me, six months is an achievable time to get the cobwebs of my life cleaned out.

You seem so cheerful, why would you want to dwell on death?

It’s a bit weird, I know.  I haven’t really thought about death since I was an anxty teenager.  I know it’s sad thinking about leaving behind the ones we love.  But this blog is more about embracing the short time we have here and getting the most out of it.

My motivation is based on observation: Have you ever noticed how the things that are supposed to make us happy (like leading a fairly safe and secure life) don’t always make us happy?
Have you ever met a person who has faced their own mortality and suddenly grasps their fate with both hands and makes sure they achieve what they want from their life?
Have you noticed how people are brought together in moments of crisis and often develop a great sense of meaning in life?

The theory is, that realizing our inevitable death is likely to make us quite happy!
I think, in general, we are too sheltered from the fragility of our own lives.  To the point where we lose perspective on what’s important.

I know you can’t simulate an epiphany but I hope people can use this blog to give themselves a little perspective ‘snack’.

Perspective Snack:

I’ve found it very useful throughout my life to pause and mull over the following questions: What would I do if I had one month, one year and ten years to live? 
Of course, the answer to one month is very different to ten years.  We can’t live in perpetual embracing of the moment or we would never work towards any long-term goals.  A key part of our evolutionary progress is our ability to suffer short-term discomfort for long-term gain.  So in the spirit of short-term discomfort let’s dwell for a moment on our moment of death.

Top 5 Moments:

Who knows what will happen during our actual death.  Some people say that life flashes before your eyes (how would anyone know?).
THAT ASIDE My question for today is, If you died right now, what would be the five moments that would flash before your eyes?  Why five? I dunno, it’s not too restrictive, not too overwhelming. So go on, get out a pen.

To get the ball rolling, here are my top five.  They are not necessarily my ‘happiest’ moments, but those times in my life when the rollercoaster was poised right at the top, in a peak of life.  In chronological order:

1)     Seven Sisters: Staring up at the seven sisters constellation as a kid on Cirkidz tour in the Riverland, South Australia.  I was lying in the grass, staring up at the stars and suddenly I was struck by the thought that these seven stars would always be in the sky watching me for my whole, entire life.
2)     Summer Rain.  I remember running outside into the most amazing pouring summer rain storm, on a warm night with my parents.  The three of us ran down the street, shouting, whooping and completely uninhibited.
3)     Slept in a Field. I woke up in with cows walking around my head.  I was amongst my fellow ‘Wayfarers’ performers after we’d slept in a field by the side of the road enroute to a performance in a spectacular cathedral in Lyons, France.  The lovely contrast always sticks in my mind.
4)     My Best Friend’s Wedding: The day I met my future fella.  I hadn’t met him yet, but I knew who he was.  The entire wedding service I never looked at him but my whole being was tuned towards where he was standing.
5)     Nanna’s Socks: On the choppy return trip from a small-boat action with Sea Shepherd in Antarctica in which I’d been injured.  Andy was driving the boat through choppy conditions towards the Steve Irwin, I was looking down at the socks I was wearing, the ones my Nanna knitted me, I remember thinking “We’ll definitely be OK because I’m wearing my Nanna’s socks”.
6)     Almost Oscar: The twenty minutes just before the birth of our gorgeous son.  My beloved Andy and I asked nurses and doctors for a moment alone before I went into the operating theatre; We held each other knowing that this was our last moment together as just us two.

OK, so I wrote six… my list actually went on and on… It was a lovely way to map the peaks of my life so far (and it did make me super happy). 

What are your top five?  

 I’d love to see your list in a comment below if you care to share?


  1. Here are 5 of the things that matter most to me or changed my life:

    1. Overland track - Standing outside Pelion hut, in the dead of night, looking out across the button grass, just me, smelling the bush, looking up at the universe and feeling the wilderness and eternity.

    2. Boarding a train to Townsville when I was 19 and knowing I was never going back. Home would now be the place I made it.

    3. It's not one moment, but a momentous feeling, swinging. I love swinging and particularly the swings at Wellesley Street park in South Hobart. When I'm there swinging, looking out at beautiful Hobart I feel as free as I ever have, and ever could.

    4. Being 15 and realising that my mother was willing to break my heart to serve her own purpose.

    5. Having John Berger quoted to me, 'Men look at women and women look at men looking at women' and having the scales fall from my eyes. Ways of seeing alright!

    Skye xxxx

    1. Skye,

      Thank you so much! I loved reading your five. How gorgeous and refreshingly open ane honest you are!

      I hope we get to hear some more xx

  2. I was really touched by this idea and your sweet moments. Incidentally, someone else had mentioned the concept of life being a series of moments, so my mind had already started thinking of some big moments. It was a nourishing experience to think back. So, in Chronological order:
    1. The realisation at the end of Grade 8, when I looked back at the year and realised it wasn’t that bad a year. It wasn’t worth spending the whole year being miserable and dreading the worst, (an attitude seeded from an adult telling me in January – “being 13 is the worst year ever”) and, in fact, thinking that way prevented me from enjoying my life and making the most of opportunities. It was then that I realised that your attitude makes the world around you, not the other way around, so positive thought was vital to making life better. This is a lesson I would do well to remember now. I also learnt that when an adult – be careful what thoughts I put into impressionable minds.

    2. When I was about 15. We were on a scout camp at Freycinet. One night, a bunch of us, all close friends for years, snuck out and had climbed some way up Mt Amos. Coming down, we threw abandon to the wind and just ran down the hill, in the dark, falling over rocks and bushes and each other. Only one or two of us had had a little to drink, but the rest of us seemed to absorb this sense of inhibition and we were too young to want to to be sensible. After falling over and piling on top of the first to fall, we would just get up again and run into the darkness. Luckily, none of us got injured. I remember thinking it felt like the happiest I had ever been. We continued down, ran amok and got chased by the ranger. I remember hiding in the rocks and feeling small waves splashing on my shoes, working hard to stay hidden.

    3. The time, in third-year zoology, as a small group, we were given the task of researching “migration of crustaceans” and to present what we found to the class. So we did, as a puppet show, taking the piss out of ourselves and our lecturer Dr Ritz, by making characters such as Shaun the Prawn and Ritzy the Red-eyed Rock Crab. Big Al (6 foot 5’) didn’t make it to the rehearsal – so we gave him six more arms and made him the octopus narrator, while we hid behind the desk animating our characters at the end of our arms, unsuccessfully suppressing laughter. Our class-mates cacked themselves but Dr Ritz had a stern look all the way through. I don’t think we passed.

    4. At a place called Hot Springs Cove, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, by myself in the early evening, I was wallowing in a rock pool full of steaming hot water, below steaming waterfalls and the stars and moon, thinking it couldn’t get any better. Then the sea surged up the gulch with refreshingly cool sea-water that spiralled and sparkled with spectacular luminescence that swirled around my body. Amazing.
    After getting wrinkly, I had to walk for 20 minutes in the dark, scared and wary of bears.

    5. As bass player of the Fuzzy Zellas, our Golf-themed funky blues band, playing All the King’s Courses at a gig at the old Prince of Wales (before it got yuppified, when the stage was squeezed in between two pool tables and faced the bar). I remember the feeling of looking up from my bass to see every single punter bouncing to the beat and most of them jumping vigorously. Such a great memory of the mass of people including many familiar faces like Irve and Mike, jumping as one single organism. I often look back to that vision to give myself a cracking grin.

    6. The morning, when Dydee came into the bedroom with a cup of tea, an odd look on her face and nothing to say. She held up a pregnancy test, with two lines on it!. I said something like, “oh Wow”, and tears instantly came to my eyes. We had been trying for a while and had given up thinking it was going to happen anytime soon. Suddenly, the realisation – we were going to be a family – was upon us, together. It was happening. Such a hUGE moment.

    ...and so there were six.
    Cheers, Shaun.

  3. Shaun thank you so much for sharing your six. They are so moving and so, well, YOU. Isn't it lovely to see the nature of our top moments? Again, thank you, from everyone who reads.

    1. My pleasure. Thanks for pushing a interesting concept.

      It was a meaningful exercise and in writing those special memories and hearing others being touched by them, makes me cherish them more. And yes, they say something about us. thanks.

  4. Molly, you know I love this idea for a blog. Your five (or six!) were lovely. I especially love the summer rain one. xx

    Here are mine (I'm going to type the first five I think of because, although they might not be my best five, perhaps they will be my most honest).:

    1. Laying in my bed as a young child, flat on my back and straight as a pin, listening to the wolves in the walls and feeling like my bed is tilting and spinning. The rain fell and I drifted off to sleep.

    2. Ripping off my soaking wet dress and dancing in a rainstorm in my under-things with Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing in the Dark' blaring. Kissing a blonde boy, who was leaving the country the next day, and him telling me that he couldn't imagine a better way to spend his last night.

    Later, making him promise to send me a postcard from China. (He never did, but that song was part of my soundtrack for the year.)

    3. Sitting on the back stoop, on the phone to my mother. I was about 8 months pregnant and had finally reached a place of clarity about my relationship with her, and her misgivings about me having a baby (which I was having regardless). I wasn't angry, so I was able to reassure her and unpack her fears, without letting them affect me. I felt completely ready to be a mother that day.

    4. Basking in the all over glow of the birthing fire, feeling my son on my chest, and my heart in my throat. Looking up at my husband and loving him more than I ever had, looking down at my baby and loving him more than I knew I could.

    5. Working in the print studio, late one night. I had the whole space to myself, and could use any press I liked. I hadn't eaten, or spoken, or taken a break for hours. I was totally immersed, and wonderfully content. The security guard doing his rounds reminded me I should go home, and I felt like a teenager on the first day of school, wanting to curl back into my space and forget the world.

    6. Sitting above the forest of the Weld Valley, on the lookout of the pirate ship blockade. There was a pretty girl to my left, and the sun was just rising. We were quite stoned and laughing at absolutely nothing. All around us, the world sparkled, and I could feel the energy of a new day humming.

    I did six too. It only seemed fair ;)

  5. I love this idea - it is a beautiful thing - so in the spirt in which this blog is intended i too will share.

    ° at the age of 21 my mother died of cancer, upon her death i reflected on her life and i made a promise to myself that i would never have any regrets and i would never settle for anything less especially if the decision to settle was made through fear.

    ° when i was younger i had the image of Rock Island Bend -Franklin River burned in my mind, my spirit craved to sit in that very photo. I joined the uni rafting club so that i could raft down the Franklin - i never made it down with the rafting club but a few years later i guided my own boat past Rock Island Bend, eddied up, set up camp and went and sat in my photo i was in awe that i had surpassed all expectations of myself.

    ° travelling through Thailand i met a random man on the street who told me that i had spirits with me who would help me, i just needed to ask. I few days later i was traveling to Cambodia to meet a friend who was working in a dusty little town. I had no idea where she lived and she had i vague idea that we were coming. We get there, no phones no internet, no guest houses to stay in. We stood on a dodgy corner thinking now what! I stood there closed my eyes and said to the universe - tell edith we are here and she needs to come and get us or i will start crying - 15 mins later edith randomly turns up out of the blue because the people she was with decided to make a detour past the corner - lesson learnt - trust in the unseen forces of the universe!

    ° with a romantic notion of self discovery enfusing my soul i set off in my van to wwoof up the east coast of the big island - i met and stayed with a women who help me understand who i am - an individual who has had greatest influence in my life - people come into your life to teach you thing when you are ready to be taught.

    ° last year i quit my job without having another job to go to - this was pretty scary as i had financial obligations and a child to look after - for five weeks there were no jobs advertised in my professional area - finally a job was advertise i didnt really want it but as it was the only one advertised i thought i better apply for it - a year later i am loving my job and i finally feel like i am enacting my life's purpose - the universe has a way of putting you where you need to be!

  6. Thanks P! It's great to hear of such big moments and I learnt more about you.

    Rock Island Bend is an amazing place, I also had a special moment at the camp just below there - at Newlands Cascades with the steep cave sides framing the river and welcome swallows zipping all around (

    Being several days into the journey, I felt so free and removed from the shackles of civilisation, I sang opera to express my joy.