Yes, I was anxious at the party, with good cause.

Last Saturday’s party for our Golden Wedding was, I should say, a success, in that everyone said they had a good time. My family said they had a good time. Various friends said they had a good time. I had a good time except for a series of incidents that were anxiogenic verging on panicogenic. (Yes, they are real words.)

My dear daughter Leanne obtained these wonderful shaped balloons for our Golden Wedding anniversary, bless her loving heart!

But there were moments when my worst fears were realized.

The venue was ready with about 8 large, set tables. making it crowded fro the musos. I was staggering in (with help) with my gear for a digital keyboard, amp, and bits and pieces. Setting up was a problem and I dithered, and misplaced bits, and got flustered.  It was quite warm, and my daughter Leanne said “Dad, slow down. Slow down. Your face is red! Would you like a glass of water?” So it showed. Anyway that was finally done, but it was surprisingly stressful. Then the bass and drums arrived, so I helped there.

Let me say that I’m battling against two factors. The first is a life-long depressive illness, whereby I panic to varying degrees and give myself a hard time, verging on suicidal – in fact more than just verging.  I know about it, and try to use Cognitive Behaviour techniques to manage it, and it’s much better than it once was. But the depression is still alive and well enough to potentially deprive my wife and family of my existence. Not that I’d care then, being non-existent. but I love them and that would hurt and shatter them. I don’t really want that legacy.

The other is fairly severe spinal arthritis in the lumbar region.  Not that here’s anything unique about that, and millions have it, but it’s permanent and continuous, with chronic back pain plus a horrible dead sensation in the legs. After 3 operations, nothing more can be done, so I take necessary pills and struggle along, but it really bloody well hurts!

Pain drains my soul and robs my psyche of its clarity.

People started arriving. We’d stipulated “no gifts, please”, but in came some nice picture frames, bottles of wine, a nice scarf, and so on. I left Glenyce and the daughters to help sort this out, which worked.

BUT, I had written a list which I desperately need for a welcoming speech I’d planned, but couldn’t find it!! People milling around, drinking, chatting, and me hunting high and low for this bloody list. Glenyce discovered it on the floor under a chair I’d sat in. Duh!

It was absolute hell missing that list, but I did find it, and my intro went well, I thought.

But I gave myself a bloody hard time over losing it. And it fed into a general feeling of what next is going to happen. As it happens, my older son Peter made an excellent, interesting, humorous speech about us, and everyone cheered.

Then it was time to cut a cake (made by Nicole), and after photos do a bridal waltz, which was OK. and so things went on – I got involved with playing jazz, and so on. But now I remember that I forgot to reply to Peter’s speech. I never did get to that, because the music took off, and after a while people started leaving in dribs and drabs and I had to do the hostly duties.

Y’know, I’d worked out a speech about how we met and how it blossomed out, and how I proposed as a surprise. I took her to lunch in town one day (we both worked near the city centre). I said I needed her help to help me buy something “for the family”, and she was shocked when I took her to a jewellery store and put some rings in her hand to chose from. I had fore-warned the owner, so he was ready for us, and  knew what I had in mind.

So it was a really good surprise. It was also a surprise to both sets of parents, because no prior discussion had taken place. My own Mum burnt the veggies due to the distraction. But I didn’t get to do the speech. No great loss, I suspect! It was by no means conventional, and I suppose, verging on the presumptuous.

Further anxiety set in when I played my first set of numbers with my trio. I had an idea what I’d do, but at the last moment couldn’t find the right music Grrr!!! “Not happy, Jan!”, is apparently an Australian vernacular saying for that, arising from a distant TV commercial of some note,, but it’s how I felt. So I stumbled through some other numbers, but it was OK, apparently. But I wanted it to be brilliant, which wasn’t going to happen. Drat!


So my well-planned speech was stillborn.

Then a became quite transfixed with anxiety as I sat at the keyboard, with three different people offering me books of possible jazz numbers to play. I hope I chose wisely, but it was hard to please everyone. Look, the musos and singers were well-chosen, good players, good friends, and it all went well. many of my family and other friends hadn’t heard the musical side of me, so it turned out well.

I love all of my friends who were there, and count myself a fortunate man. And I know Glenyce shares my feelings!

But not without the predicted anxiety! And I used no Valium at all – just a little white wine did the trick!

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Blogger Bill

Australian happily married man, age late 70s, interested in science, psychology, politics, botany - esp. fungi, also music - esp. jazz. Plays jazz piano, (late starter). Non-militant atheist, believer in voluntary euthanasia. Studied Chemistry at Melbourne University in the 50 and 60s, with BSc and MSc and Dip Ed. Retired lecturer in Organic Chemistry at RMIT, Melbourne after career of 25 years. Three adult children, 4 grandchildren. Enjoys photography, and writing own web site Has caravanned around parts of Australia for many years, but overseas has only visited Vanuatu, twice. Afflicted by long-standing endogenous depression, reasonably controlled, but potentially suicidal. Also dealing with strong pain from spinal arthritis, extending into neurogenic pain of sciatica in both legs. Various surgical methods have been applied to the spinal stenosis, but no longer operable. Partly, but barely controlled by codeine and Lyrica. Has a severely curtailing effect on physical capabilities and also mental state. Cursing a clouded intellect most of the time, with occasional periods of clarity. Good sense of humour but hates pranks. Can't stand most USA TV programs and films, but enjoys good British and European shows. Strong supporter of the ABC. Politics would be called Liberal by Americans, and socialist by Australian right-wing. Supports Labor party, but also Greens. Broadly a social democrat. Strongly concerned by total mismanagement of global warming and climate change, and convinced that over 2 degC rise is inevitable, with catastrophic effects on human civilization and the ecology of the planet.

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