Happy Christmas 2013

Tim here.

It’s our third Christmas in Aus, and therefore it seems right to adopt the phrase “Happy Christmas!”

In 2011 we did nothing for Christmas. It was hot and weird and we’d just spent way too much money moving here and getting set up.

In 2012 we had a tiny, wiry tree that we made from some fake boughs and a tomato cage, and we celebrated with a few small gifts.  It was also hot and weird, but we played Christmas songs and made an effort.

This year we seem to have gone back to nearly-full-on Western Christmas, with a massive (fake) tree and piles of gifts; granted, most of them were from grandparents! Eden got it this year, the whole idea of Christmas being an exciting time that involves junk food and gifts, and possibly baby Jesus. Although today at breakfast she looked at me and said, “Daddy, you are God.”, so she hasn’t quite grasped the full story yet, but getting there. The hot Christmas (a relatively chilly 31 degrees or so) was nice, very pleasant, even a bit Christmassy!

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We spent most of the day with friends, enjoying food and drinks and their company… and their pool, of course.  Kathryn has already bombarded Facebook with pictures, but here’s one in case you missed those or don’t have access:

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It’s been a full day, so we’re heading to bed.  Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about 2013: A Year in Review. It’s been a good year, we’re thankful for all that we have, especially each other. It’s great to have a few days off to relax and play with loved ones, and I hope that’s what’s in store for all of you who are still enjoying Christmas day.  I hope you’re at least this happy in your hearts:

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Merry Christmas 🙂

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Living in Wonder

Tim here.

Haven’t had much time or motivation to write lately, but I’m at a point where it feels right to get some thoughts out. I shouldn’t say I don’t have motivation, because many ideas are swirling in my mind, it’s just that when time becomes available I feel like it would be better spent cleaning, or taking care of financial matters, or even occasionally staring mindlessly at the TV. At the moment I’m stuck in a bus on the way to Koodaideri for the last time this year, and possibly the last time ever, since I change teams next year. What better time to write?

I’ve just turned 28, which is a more important new year to me than the big one coming up in a few weeks. I don’t have Facebook anymore, so prior to Kathryn posting pictures on hers I had about 3 people remember and wish me well. It’s funny, I’m not complaining in the least – I’m not one to get caught up in birthday hype – but I guess it goes to show how Facebook takes the effort away from remembering these things. I mean, whose birthdays do I know outside my own family? I’m not going out of my way to wish people happy birthday, even friends I really love and miss and want the very best for… Even if I did, most would probably assume Facebook told them and the specialness would be lost!

But that’s not my topic for today. Today I want to talk about a different social-media-induced effect on my life, which I’ve only slowly been recognizing in recent months. This one can mostly be attributed to YouTube I think, but the Internet and my own curiosity are complicit in the travesty which I’ve identified as Loss of Wonder.

I am a victim of loss of wonder. It’s been stolen from me, or maybe I’ve given it up to the most trivial of things, but either way it’s having a real impact on my life.

I’m the kind of person who loves (accidentally typed “lives” first – Freudian slip?) to learn. I get lost on wikipedia trails frequently, opening tab after tab as hyperlinked words catch my eye. I read textbooks for fun, although that habit’s been waning since the kids arrived. But I guess the point is, I’m driven by curiosity to explore and understand my surroundings, people’s behaviour and even myself.

And like anyone, I’m drawn to viral videos featuring child prodigies, eagles snatching babies, flash mobs, and inspirational individuals who overcome adversity or surprise us all with unforeseen talents. I’m still deeply moved by some of these videos, particularly the musical ones, but what I’ve come to realise recently is that I expect to see anything imaginable and to have an answer to virtually any question at any moment. Even worse than that, I often take in new wonders and bits of knowledge without even changing facial expressions.

“That fellow with no legs defeated all obstacles and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro? Hm, interesting.”

“This new creature has been discovered that exhibits a unique and amazing behaviour never observed before in nature? Cool” *blink*

And sadly, even ones like these:

“A good friend we’ve been praying for has an irreversible condition that’s improved or disappeared completely; his doctors have been doing extra diagnostics and puzzling, because this just does not happen. Nice”

Nice? Cool? These are how I would describe the old ladies at crèche or the temperature late in the evening, yet I can’t come up with better words or emotions to respond with! It’s weird! It makes me wonder: is loss of wonder age-related?

Have you ever been through this? Is it reversible? I think I’m genuinely happy in life, but emotionally monotone. Kathryn, being a wise and loving partner, recognized this and got me some time in a little Cessna for my birthday, which was cool (photo I took of Fremantle below). It was genuinely exciting, and I got to control the plane a fair bit. But that’s expensive, and I would prefer to get the free, everyday variety of wonder and excitement back.

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What gets you excited? What leaves you in a state of wonder? Talk to me friends, let’s press into life and appreciate all that it has to offer.