It’s totally fine, really

I was a bit embarrassed yesterday when a blog follower noted that I was amazing to stay upbeat against all odds.

I felt really guilty when I read her words because there are so many people doing it waaaaaaay worse than me. For example, I found out this week that someone I once loathed (for the deliberate, devastating impact she had on my career, health and marriage) has been served a far bigger portion of karma than anyone deserves. I didn’t wish her well, but I certainly didn’t wish her such terrible ill. I was really sad and shocked that anyone would suffer so much.

I’m just crook in the guts, looking for a new job and wrangling two cranky teenagers. But I’m lucky – I have a life filled with love and kindness.

I said to one of the skipping mums over the weekend – after running her through my last six months of setbacks – bad stuff happens, but so much good stuff happens too.

I’ve always been a resilient, glass half full person. I was a freckled, shy little kid, but I was determined to make my mark on the world. When people – including work experience employers – said I wasn’t cut out to be a journalist, I didn’t listen to them. And my steely resolve led me to edit magazines in Singapore and Australia.

Being bubbly and outgoing doesn’t come naturally to me. I could quite happily go all day not speaking to another human being and I’ve had to learn to hug people. Elbow bumping during COVID-19 was my idea of heaven.

I treat social interaction when I’m not among close friends like I would a trip to the gynaecologist. I take a deep breath and compartmentalise my fear.

I also don’t blame the world when stuff goes wrong or wallow in bitterness. I know that’s not the path to happiness. Sure, I wonder why the hell something else has happened to me, but I shrug my shoulders and deal with it. And I know that I’ll be having fun again soon.

For example, UDL sent me these sunglasses (and the white cap) on Monday; so I sent DD this selfie …

I didn’t get to keep the sunnies for very long. The youngest announced they were “cool three months ago” and stole them.

The sunnies were accompanied by six UDL cans, which have a new look. I don’t know what it says about me, but I wasn’t entirely aware UDL had an old look, or that it was Australia’s first RTD way back in 1965.

UDL didn’t feature in my teen boozing years, I struggle to remember whether I was even aware of the brand. I leaned more towards West Coast Coolers, Strongbows and Ruskis.

While I lost the sunnies, the UDLs themselves are safe because, while the youngest gazed longingly at them, she steadfastly refuses to consume sugar.

Actually, a lot of alcohol lands on my doorstep due to Drinks Digest and people often wonder how I keep the kids from drinking it. I’m fortunate that they would never take anything without asking me. Even booze. Well, they haven’t so far. There are no guarantees in this life.

RTDs are a bit of an obsession with me at the moment. I’m not into drinking them, but I’m fascinated by the market. I interviewed a bloke at the Liquor Marketing Group who revealed vodka RTD sales are up 72% for his bottle shops.

It’s a measure to how immersed I am in the industry that I was clueless when a school dad commented on my story on LinkedIn, asking “is that a good thing?”

My response was that RTDs have come a long way and are much healthier and less sugary than they used to be. It was only after I pressed the publish button that it occurred to me that he might actually be worried about such a dramatic rise in consumption.


But, from what I can gather from the data, people aren’t drinking more overall, just differently. RTDs have increased in popularity during COVID-19 because they are a convenient option for the increased number of at-home consumption occasions.

I think that’s what my response should have been …

Ah well.

Song of the day: Ben Lee “Cigarettes will kill you” (By the by, I interviewed him many moons ago. It’s nice to see him starting to tour again.)

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