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Life with Lavendar in London town

Monday, 18 May 2015

The Lucky Country?

Does life get more intense when you enter your forties?  It certainly seems that way. Life and death seem to be more closely entwined than ever, Perhaps this is what happens when you have young children and aging parents?  My friends in the same demographic all seem as intensely engaged, with marriages, deaths, births, separations and illnesses all clamouring for their time and energy.

The reality of aging is that it is a consuming experience. So what part does your environment play?

Recently I returned from my annual pilgrimage back to Perth, Western Australia with two short detours to Sydney and Singapore. When we were out in sunny Perth, my husband remarked:

The Australian people do not look very well.

I knew what he was referring to. I too had noticed that after a certain age, the demographic in Perth seemed to age at an accelerated pace. This difference was highlighted in contrast to London where the same demographic seemed markedly more youthful.

Generalisations of course but that is what we noticed and have noticed over the last ten years.

The obvious reasons might point to heightened sun exposure and the car dominant infrastructure of Perth. In general, there is not the need to be as active in one's daily life in Perth. Walking is not a requirement there.

However a conversation with my aunt exposed another crucial difference. On commenting about her first trip to London and Europe last year, she said:

Life is not easy in London like it is here in Australia. Life seems more difficult over there.

She's right of course. Australia still hold the mantle of the Lucky Country with its space, natural beauty, wonderful produce and ease of life. That is unless you are a refugee, asylum seeker or Aboriginal.

But there is something about not having too easy a life that keeps alight a vitality within.  London is a complex, dynamic, expensive, dirty, melting pot. It is difficult to negotiate. It can be crowded. It is a harsh place if you lack funds or resources. It seems to welcome and shun you at the same time.

It is a harder place to live than Australia.

Which is precisely why I am still here.