One thing certain about life is that all things change and that the cycle of life, death and life continues. This is something we don’t usually want to think about, however existential angst is often just below the surface of our awareness, tapping softly.

But before you shake your head and change the channel, this post is not about death but the other more everyday ‘life, death, life’ issues. Each year as we get older things that were part of our life change so completely that they have essentially died. Our body’s age and change so dramatically that the old body seems to ‘die’ and most people will grieve the loss. When our children age we grieve the loss of each stage – the baby, toddler, child, teenager – it continues unabated. School finishes, jobs change, friends and lovers change, everything changes and with each change there is a type of grieving. But more importantly there is always a new beginning or life born out of the change.

Life proceeds so quickly that sometimes I don’t think I have quite caught up with some of the grieving, particularly regarding lost friends. I used to hang out with an awesome group of people, as most people do when teenagers and twenty somethings. You never think it will end but it does, and it has to. Can you imagine still hanging out in a big group and raging constantly when you are married and have children. It does end and it is sad and we need to grieve and accept and move on.

Often the lifestyles we choose as young people cannot be sustained for a lot of different reasons. Mine was an unsustainable lifestyle, that’s for sure.

When I was younger my favourite sound was the voice of the man who commentates the horse racing. I studied the form guide religiously and always put the money down ‘on the nose’ – none of this woosy place betting for me.

I remember playing cards with friends for ridiculous lengths of time – one night we played 12 hours straight. Another night I won my friends Holden Monaro GTS in a card game called Guts. He didn’t have enough money so he put his keys to the car in the ‘guts’. Big mistake! That car was the love of his life so I let him off the hook and he just had to cough up regular installments of cash instead – which he did, thanks Bruce.

My gambling was rarely a problem to me, possibly because I was very good at statistics and had a good poker face  – put it this way, my nicknames included Killer and Shark. It probably would have turned into a problem if I had continued. I gave up simply because my husband Andrew (aka Shirl) hates gambling, plus it no longer fit into my new lifestyle which revolved a great deal around being a mother.

I should point out that I was never into slot machines (which are much more addictive) and I can’t stand looking at the mindless faces of people putting hard earned cash into gaming machines.

We did a hell of a lot of other things which aren’t compatible with the getting of age and wisdom, but I don’t want to go on and on and on.

My point is that many changes are for the best so maybe it’s good just to embrace the change.

33 thoughts on “Bad Habits

  1. Yes yes yes embrace the change *change the embrace.
    I don’t think you lost much and gained many good things.
    I think change is great ,for other people, especially if it keeps me where I am. 🙂

  2. Well, my dear Shark, remind me never to get tempted into a card game with you…I’d probably lose everything…

    Yes it’s sad to let old friends go, but that’s part of the cycle of life I suppose (does that sound like a cliché or what??). I used to hang onto them for dear life but I’m getting to the stage where I finally think it’s OK to let some people go. Like people who get married very very young, it can work out but with the condition that you grow together, and not in totally different directions that make communication impossible.

    1. You know I wrote this for you screamish – ha,ha. I get stuck in the past just like everyone – it wouldn’t be human not to, (another cliche). I can’t talk – I’m still good friends with someone I went to school from grade 1 (can’t seem to let go of anyone).

  3. Change is life. I kept saying to my parents, accept change, it is good, it is staying alive. And now I have to repeat it to myself, sometimes I am fed up with change!
    a good poker face is very useful even when not playing cards…

  4. Dearest Killer,

    Often the lifestyles we lead as young men and women aren’t meant to be sustained into new geographies of our lives. And, like you, I think we’re probably lucky that is the case.



  5. Life is change, stasis is not possible. The pokies are evil and should be banned. This is a lovely piece of prose, like an archway, it begins and end with a solid point and gracefully arcs from one to the other.

  6. I used to deal cards for a living: Black Jack, Poker etc so Killer and Shark are serious names my girl! 😉 Another reason to adore you Gabrielle :

    Your words are wise and at no other time in history are they more meaningful. Change and age are dirty words in the western world and that is pathetic. My own life, has been nothing but change, sometimes minute by minute in great flourishes so the eye of the storm is home. I’m always struck by the beauty of those who maintain friendships from childhood, it says something special about those who do this . It impresses me. Very cool Gabrielle.

    1. Card dealer – woohoo! I’m getting a bit sick of parts of the the Western world. I want to live in a society where the eldest members are given the most credit, where creativity and intellect is more important or equal to sporting prowess, the list goes on. Thanks for reading Val 😉

  7. Thanks for this Gabe… those who want the world to stay the same are destined for disappointment. It is the change, the constant flux of life, that makes the living rich. Sometimes the change hurts, but as Burroughs said, ‘Life is a Killer’. My wife is also a killer cards player… I learned long ago never to play her for money!

    1. Hi Graham. I don’t want the world to stay the same. I want it to be like it was. Affecting change reverse pike forward motion like. Mind you, I don’t necessarily believe that. I just think it needs to be said! Great post Gabrielle. Canasta and Cribbage were faves of mine for a time. Neither of those have a very threatening ring to them. Cribbage gambling addiction?

      1. Bwahahaha! I’d like it to be like it was too Brad, but that would be like that river in Egypt – de nile. I never did Canaster or Cribbage; you’re right, not the same ring to it. I love the horses more than cards any day though. My better half hates horses because he was at the Ekka (Brisbane Show) and passing a stall – a horse leaned over the barrier and bit him on the shoulder. I won’t tell you what he did to the horse.

  8. its true, we have to move on. i am impressed with those skills though. i am so bad at cards. i used to go to the foxwoods casino when i lived in connecticut but it was only to get dinner at the all you can eat buffet. a show or something
    now and then and of course free cocktails in the gaming rooms ha ha until they figure out your not spending any money and start to ignore your calls

    1. The skillfulness may have been slightly exaggerated Ashley 🙂 though I did really win the car, the game of Guts is more about chance than anything else. Horses are a different story – it is possible to earn a living on racing if you study the form guides properly.

      1. Well, a car & the nicknames, you gotta be pretty good! 🙂

        Yeah, horses I know what you mean there, a little less chance when it comes to muscle and bone and form etc

  9. GB, who in you (current) tribe would have guessed! I have watched you read on u-tube and it is a shock to know you took that open soft face into a serious card game! They had no chance, Killer!

    1. Hahahahaha, you’ve made my day Stafford – appearances can be deceptive. People often take me for a soft target but they sure get a big surprise when they find out what I’m really like if they try to take me, or people I love, for a ride 😉

  10. Boy, I fight change kicking and screaming. I lived in Vegas for a few years when my husband was stationed at Nellis — gambled maybe twice a year. I thought in terms of gallon of milk, pair of shoes…ahahahahaha.

    Interesting story, and surprising.


  11. I am terrible at cards. No one ever wants to play with me because I forget the rules and start daydreaming.

    Now I have recast my vision of you as the female version of Paul Newman in ‘The Sting’ wearing a fedora and fishnets. You are so cool!

    1. Thanks Selma, the fedora is my favourite hat (I used to collect hats). I don’t play cards anymore – just the odd sedate game of chess with the boy (well I’m sedate, he has a spack attack if he loses).

  12. Well done, Gabrielle, this is brutally honest. I agree, we have to change, to move on. I find that I am almost completely comfortable in my skin at the moment, about to hit 40 I look back with a certain fondness on the reckless years but maintain a contextual perspective, these years are not something I would want to return to; I’ve seen too many friends lose their minds trying to return – the second scariest revelation is returning to an old haunt and realising that everyone has moved on, the scariest is returning and everyone is still there.

  13. Cannot speak to anyone’s wanting to recapture the magic of their twenties, my nostalgia is all for being ten again. I never wanted to grow up, and I still resist it.

    Children have all the fun.

    Here’s to being carefree at any age….

    1. Aletha – I was eighteen when I won the car 🙂 I agree that being a child was the best time and having children makes you remember that time even more – I like nothing better than playing with my kids (with the emphasis on the playing).

  14. I have learned it is so much easier to go with the ebb, flow & changes of life than to resist them like a salmon swimming upstream .

    I am very glad to have not encountered you in a Poker game, Gabrielle – I would have been done.

    I hope you did not use your powers for evil & played strip poker.

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