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Author: Shelley Wood

Too much busyness

Forget your many pots on the burner, lines in the water, irons in the fire: I am going to tell you something that will stop you in your tracks. I’m not busy. I’m so not busy I couldn’t even get through the million and one things I didn’t need to get done today in order to compose this plea for an end to busyness, or at least a rethink of the way we slavishly fetish it. I’m fed up by the extent to which modern life has become so laden with commitments, duties and scheduling that busyness has become...

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Mother’s Day, Unaccompanied

Thirty years ago, my mum put my brother and I on a plane in Vancouver to meet my father in Australia, trusting us to the care of flight attendants. The airline staff gave us colouring books and put stickers on our chests with the initials "U.M." "What does that stand for?" my brother asked me anxiously. I was a precocious wordsmith. "Utterly Mum-less" I pronounced, and his eyes widened. A friendly stewardess corrected me. "Unaccompanied Minor," she explained and gave us some candy. Two years ago my brother and I found ourselves truly and utterly mum-less. Our 73-year-old mother...

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Need to Know: addicted to instant information

Shelley’s attempt to escape her instant information addiction has some interesting side effects Recently, while on vacation, I tried to cultivate a state of ignorance. That’s not true, of course. I glanced occasionally at newspaper headlines and permitted myself some brief glimpses at my email. When friends came to join us at the cabin where we were staying, conversation dipped into current events and all of us learned new things about the world and each other, so “ignorance” is the wrong term. But what I tried to do was to suspend my need to know everything, instantly. The name...

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Wheels of our road bikes: If you’d seen it

Shelley shares the horror of a devastating bike accident that changes lives, and her outlook. We climbed up through East Kelowna, then headed down the swooping corners of Spiers Road My friend and I set out on our bikes just after dawn, hoping to beat the heat, hoping to have the busy streets mostly to ourselves. It was one of those flawless summer mornings, the wheels of our road-bikes seeming to cleave a perfect path between yesterday and tomorrow. The sky such an aching shade of blue it might be possible, after all, to ride forever. We climbed up...

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Travelling to India: Retracing old steps

Shelley takes a risk. Will she find a new way forward by retracing old steps? Tomorrow I jet off to a place I travelled to years ago and credit with moulding me into the person I am today. We all have these types of trips or experiences in our personal histories: the moments, places or fleeting connections that fundamentally changed our way of looking at our past and refocusing our future. For me it was a solo backpacking trip to India in my 20s, but it could have been a skydive or a chance encounter or a kayak trip...

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