10. the future

Do you see yourself living out at Binalong?  


Yes I'm hoping I can live there. Although I don't believe in owning property philosophically and I had a government house and I quite liked that and the government is a good landlord. When the depression came and I couldn't morally rent from the government because there are people now with great disadvantages so that's why I became an owner of property.


My son has just got married and if he has children and they eventually build a big house and they would like to live in Gunning and I was decrepit, I would go and do that. I'm looking forward to having grandchildren. I'd like to live where I am as long as possible. If it becomes obvious I can no longer keep up, what I've got then I'd think about moving. If I had to remove to a retirement village, there are some quite nice ones down by the coast, as long as I have one with a garage that I could use as a studio, there's always things that I can do. It's only just recently that I thought I might have to go to a retirement village if I could find somewhere nice and it wasn't too pathetic. I could go to the coast and potter on the seashore and do some drawing but hopefully I'll be like my mother and be active until the very end.


My mother died at 92 and she had a terrific mind and quite capable of looking after herself. These days social welfare people are much happier to look after people in their own home. I could have somebody come round. I could say well I've got so much money for somebody to mow the lawn and things like that, so I would consider what's practical. I will know when the time has come when it's impractical for me to be where I am. As long as I've got my books and my artwork and a garage to use as a studio I would be quite happy.


Is there anything else you'd like to say?


I quite like being retired. I was terribly worried about being retired because it's an end of a phase of life. When I was 50 I started thinking about the end of my life and had to prepare for it in the way one prepares for one's career. All that I had worked to do has come to an end, it was quite traumatic because it does signal that time has passed, a significant period of time has gone by and less to come than has gone. There's much more kudos if one is in the workforce and if one isn't and one suddenly realises that one's job can bestow upon the person a status, the job can be just as much a status as the work what you are doing. I've dwelt in the academic art work environment which is a danger too, because it can cushion one from the outside world and a whole little circuit that you can get involved in. And it's only part of the world and when you leave that, that comes to an end. It’s like when someone dies, life goes on, so it is a traumatic period of life. If one is fortunate enough to have a goal, then life hasn't come to an end.


It was fear of the future that made me really anxious and distressed that I was growing older and that had come to an end, I was ready for it emotionally. But not on the other hand only, because I was fatigued and that I retired early. Do I feel like that now? No, because I've come to terms with that. I'm frightened of dying. I can't imagine that there was a time when I arrived in Australia, and going through the marriage thing, when I didn't want to live anymore. Fortunately now I feel the opposite but I'm glad to have the experience because it was a very real one.


I'm quite happy, but there is more trauma in growing older because life is so more fragile. You never know when you're going to die suddenly but on the other hand I like being old because I've got so much more information more life experiences. I think for a woman the hardest thing is growing old physically. To grow old there's an in between period between middle age and old age when you feel old you can't do anything about it. But in between that, I have to come to terms with looking older. If one has lots of money one can vainly hide cosmetically. So there are certain traumas about being old, but it’s important for me not to dwell upon that or sink into that. I'm just hoping I can live to a ripe old age and got lots to do. If I didn't have anything to do I'd probably be a couch potato, so purpose is the most important thing. Yes retirement was traumatic because it is an indicator of an important passage of the ritual of time. I also felt a loss of my profession. At first it was quite nice to be involved in the working world but I'm quite happy and I’ve got things to do.


<end of the interview>

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