Full Throttle Ahead and Damn the Torpedoes

 

It’s a ritual for most of us as the inevitable New Year’s Eve draws nearer: to wonder where on earth the last year went. Newspapers and magazines abound with “the best of” lists. A few “worst of” moments (laughed off by some recipients, brooded on by others; true of the first list too, of course, if you expected/wanted to be on them and were not).

One of my worst—and best—attributes is that I forgive or at least forget more quickly than most, am big on perspective (something I often try to get my patients try to grab hold of, as it generally what is missing in anxiety and depressive disorders) and looking forward. Presumes of course that there is something to look forward to—and though my ageing parents (80 this year!) are still good at this, my father-in-law (90 this year) struggles as age inflicts immobility and inability to enjoy things (like food and alcohol!) in the way memory retains you used to. I have a while before I clock up numbers like this, but seeing the generation ahead face the final hurdles is sobering. At the moment it is just making me keep wanting to live every moment if it was my last. There is a famous story about a vigneron/wine connoisseur who died with only one bottle left in the cellar: is that why he died or had he just judged well? I am busy drinking—but filling the cellar too! We did one bucket list thing this year—drove Route 66—so have to add something else! Sleigh ride (huskies?) across Iceland?

So 2015. Highs and Lows.

Highs. My FIRST MAINSTREAM NOVEL PUBLSIHED. Yes I am still shouting this across the rooftops. It has earnt out, even got on one of those best of lists (Buzzfeeds top 19 Australian books). And Text publishing have accepted Dangerous to Know (out April 2016) so that’s into the next year things to look forward to (along with Legend UK and Wavesounds audio publishing Medea’s Curse).  This has been a long time coming—since about eight years old and three unpublished manuscripts and several rejection letters. Went to see My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy last night in New York, a one man show (Brad Zimmerman) about his 29 years as a waiter waiting to make it as an actor. It was funny and poignant (I waited longer…) and the truth he told relevant to us all? Persistence, passion, and… being prepared to fail. It took him to 42 to work that out.

Other Highs? Along with the above, an amazing, fabulous, wonderful introduction to the Australian literary world. Thank you all. The encouraging writers, readers and the people that invited me to and came along to the Writer’s Festivals and heard me talk. It is humbling—I am very senior in psychiatry, but have so much still to learn in this arena (though as a reader, I am a veteran!). That I could do this all with my husband, was wonderful icing on the cake. It has been a blast.

My children and their partners. I consider myself blessed that they all still spend a lot of time with us(well, when we are in the country)—including seeing the New Year in with them at Hamilton Island. Great place for a family holiday incidentally! And yes you can swim and snorkel at that time of year—just wear the anti-jelly fish suits. Won’t get you on the list on best dressed (might get you on the worst), but the coral and fish life make it worthwhile.

My parents both had health scares. Okay you think this should be on the lows—but remember I am the move on/ forget/ perspective person? They both got through it! Even made jokes about visiting the same hospital bed (yes, literally) for two weeks with a different parent in it.

I have a job in psychiatry I still love, have done lots of travel (on way back home as I post this), still have my health, the sun is shining, I’ve done all the Christmas shopping, I’m still hopeful Qantas won’t lose it all (and if they do? I’ll tell everyone I bought these amazing expensive things way better than I actually did…).

Lows? Nah, not going there.

Next Year? New Book coming out. The third in the series, This I Would Kill For, currently being read by my daughter for feedback (and I can hope she’ll say it’s perfect. Okay this might be slightly delusional). New joint one, Left, Right—a romantic comedy to do with husband (a new challenge!) and we’re re-walking the (long version) of the Camino de Santiago from central France, partly because that’s what we’re writing about, partly because we want to smell the roses again. After five years the effects on the last walk have begun to wear off (ie I am buying clothes I don’t need again!).

I am blessed, and I will enjoy the good moments whenever I can. Best wishes to all that they have many such moments)—and that you pause to enjoy them.

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About annebuist

Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has over 25 years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry. She works with Protective Services and the legal system in cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder. Medea’s Curse is her first mainstream psychological thriller. Professor Buist is married to novelist Graeme Simsion and has two children.
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