Ageing

Just outside my reach.

Just outside my reach. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Just outside my reach. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Something is going on that is just outside my reach.

I feel sad. I feel totally fine. I feel grateful for my life. I feel inspired by the choices I have. I feel overwhelmed by the choices I have. I feel uncertain. I feel unclear. I feel stuck. I feel weighted down. I feel worried. I feel in the middle. I feel surprisingly inspired by things that don’t usually inspire me. I feel confused.

Perhaps it is just ‘transition’ that I am experiencing?

But from what?

And to where?

When did it start? How far through it am I? When will it end?

All the answers are sitting ‘just there’…but I can’t quite grasp them.

I think I need to keep moving on anything I can keep moving on and then be patient.

That’s the best I’ve got.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,167

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Delicate recovery.

Delicate recovery. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Delicate recovery. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Delicate recovery.

Kindness.

Slowly creeping closer to awake.

Revived.

Tip toe.

Step by step.

Alive.

Listening.

Growing towards the light.

Gentle, gentle, gentle.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,156

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Keep moving, gently.

Keep moving, gently. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Keep moving, gently. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

All the muscles in my back are very sore.

Spasming even.

Not an extreme, I can’t move, I’ve done some real damage kind of spasm.

More…a bit tight, and then…oh – I’ve cricked my neck damn it…kind of spasm.

Obviously, this is me responding to my new adventures in moving again. For the last few years I have been reasonably fit, but it has been a weightlifting at the gym kind of fit. Not a move through three-dimensional space kind of fit.

My instant response though is to assume there is some big problem. I’m worried that if my body responds like this maybe I am too old to move in this way? To be clear…I haven’t been doing anything extreme…for a dancer – but given I haven’t danced full time for quite some time, I suppose the range of movement, even if done gently, is going to stir things up.

Anyway, I was all worried. And then I remembered one of the first professional jobs I had as a dancer. I worked for a dance theatre company in Brisbane that used ballet as its foundation technique (which I had never done).

I remember waking up every day and running a super-hot bath and easing myself into it to try and get my back muscles to release. They were so tight and sore!

I was very young at the time.

So, I think this might be one of those things that happen when you get moving again. The solution at the time was to keep moving.

I think that’s the message here.

Keep moving, gently.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,152

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When I slow down.

When I slow down. Drawing Luke Hockley.

When I slow down. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

When I slow down and start listening to myself it can be surprising how tired I actually am.

I’m worried if I do too much of this deep listening that all I will want to do is curl up in a ball and rest.

My Alexander teacher Chris calls it ‘finding your tired’. The tiredness is there all along you just aren’t listening to it. My experience is that on the other side of finding and listening to this tired is much more energy, focus and creativity.

I just have to accept the tired bit first.

But, what about ‘exercise’?

I feel like consistency is really important with keeping myself at a base level of fitness. And I often, in the first few weeks of getting back to exercising, don’t feel like doing it – but afterwards feel great.

How does all that work?

I think it’s important to keep moving, but not so important how far I run or how much weight I lift or how many repetitions I do of something…just keep moving.

Does that all make sense?

Hmmm.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,129


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Twenty years.

Twenty years. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Twenty years. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Last night I saw someone I hadn’t seen for a long time. Twenty years ago, the last time I saw them, they had had a baby.

Thing is, now their baby is twenty years old.

Time is so weird.

So much has happened, I’ve changed immeasurably in that time…and I also feel like I am exactly the same person, that nothing has changed.

How can that be?

I suppose it is because I carry myself with me every day…so the changes, both physical and emotional, just slide on by. They get absorbed into the ‘norm’.

When you don’t see someone for twenty years…well you notice the physical changes at least…but the essence is still there. But when you don’t see a baby for twenty years, well, that’s like meeting a whole new person. Because the physical and emotional changes are just so grand.

Twenty years.

Love

Luke

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Day 881

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I’m going to live.

I'm going to live. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I'm going to live. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m going to live.

Who knows how long for…but I’m going to live.

I watched a Ted Talk yesterday that said relationships and social interconnectedness are two of the most important predictors of longevity.

Essentially it is saying that both long term, deep relationships and the lighter touch “hey, how are you doing” to the barista you see every day, are both important factors in predicting how long you will live.

A couple of years ago, I realised I have always had good people around me…but that I didn’t feel like I was making enough of an effort to connect with them regularly.

Also, I saw, that many of them were in cities other than Melbourne.

So, I went about changing that. I decided to spend more time with my family, made an effort to connect with my friends (far and near), I started Campfire and joined The Weekly Service

How did all that go?

Well, when I saw that Ted Talk…I had an unusual feeling. I didn’t feel panicked. I didn’t feel like I had to run out and start ‘connecting’ with people in order to live longer. Usually these social media things make me feel like I had better go and ‘fix’ something about my life in order to “live forever”, “be smarter”, “be happier”…or whatever.

I kind of intuitively knew this one and had already been doing something about it.

Maybe it won’t make a shred of difference to how long I live, it has certainly helped me get more joy out of the journey.

Love

Luke

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Day 795

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I’m going to die.

I'm going to die. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I'm going to die. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m going to die.

Someday, I don’t know when, like every other living thing, I’m going to die.

I am really uncomfortable with this.

I really would rather not. But if it is going to happen, I’d rather it happens when I’m very old, in my sleep, you know, that kind of thing.

I had a great conversation yesterday with a friend about how living a life filled with meaning is actually less about the big goals we set for ourselves and more about the way we go about achieving those goals.

The big goal is important, if I want to save the whales that is quite different to wanting to make as much money as possible…sure. But the way I approach saving the whales, the quality of the interactions I have with people as I save the whales, the tone of my internal conversations…all of that is what shapes my actual life. It is what people will remember about me just as much, perhaps more, than the whales that I wanted to save.

How am I going with all that?

Am I living each day in a way that reflects the quality of life I want to live?

That is certainly my intention, but I think this is a timely reminder.

With the finite amount of time I have I would like to focus on the quality of the time not just its trajectory.

Love

Luke.

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Day 794
 

A messy place.

A messy place. Drawing Luke Hockley.

A messy place. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Things are almost clear…but not quite.

That’s a very messy place to be for me.

I almost feel like I can see the next pathway to forge along…but I am questioning it still which means I don’t quite commit which means I become indecisive which means I keep going around in circles which means I don't know how to even finish a simple sentence…

What have I learnt about myself and this phase of creating?

Just pick something and commit to it.

Anything will do. I just need some traction to stop my wheels spinning in the mud.

There is nothing a few solid deadlines won’t fix.

Love

Luke

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Where do phone numbers live?

Where do phone numbers live? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Where do phone numbers live? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I used to be able to learn a phone number.

I used to have to be able to learn a phone number…because that’s what you did. You would learn your home phone number and the phone number of friends and relatives…because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to contact anyone in an emergency.

I now know my own phone number and that is it.

I wouldn’t even recognize the numbers of the people I love.

Why? Because ‘smart phone’ is why.

I’m suddenly very interested in being able to memorise things.

Two reasons.

I’d like to be able to learn the words to a song reasonably quickly so I can add it to my repertoire.

I’m being asked to learn the words to a poem at the moment (for a workshop I am about to do) and I am finding it remarkably difficult (it is a very obtuse piece of verse, in my defense!)

I’m also probably thinking of getting older.

I was never very good at learning things by heart…I’m much better at keeping the vibe of the thing in mind and improvising around it. Actually, that’s not true. My ability to memorise things selective. If I am deeply curious or interested in something and I have a reason to memorise it then I have shown great capacity to do it…normally I’m not that motivated. Curiosity is the key.

I do like the idea of finding new skills and learning how to do them. I’m curious if memorising things is a skill I can master.

Let’s see.

Luke

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We’ve got a cumquat tree.

We've got a cumquat tree. Drawing Luke Hockley.

We've got a cumquat tree. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Yesterday our washing machine died.

It stopped working a few days ago, but the service person arrived yesterday and declared that it was time to say goodbye.

One of our best friends Megan gave it to us. She was our flat mate for many years in a run-down old rambling house we lived in (for about 18 years). The washing machine was the fanciest thing in the house. Brand new, water saving, energy efficient, front loading and all that.

When she left she left she just left it behind and said, ‘You can have that.’

At about the same time a cumquat tree arrived in our back yard…the same way things seem to magically happen in our house.

It was very exciting.

The three of us started up a song that we would randomly sing throughout the house (to the tune of ding dong the witch is dead)

“We’ve got a cumquat tree
We’ve got a cumquat tree…”

One year we even made cumquat jam, which stayed in the cupboard for about 7 years…

All of that happened at least 15 years ago.

When I think of all the clothes that machine has washed in 15 years…well, I’m so very grateful.

I don’t want to let it go, but sometimes it’s time.

I called Megan to tell her, we hadn’t chatted for a little while, because, you know, life, and reconnected.

I’m sitting on the couch in our new home (we left the ramshackle place about 2 years ago) looking out the kitchen window at our cumquat tree.

It is still thriving, thanks to that magic that seems to be around our house that also makes things grow, and I’m singing that song over and over in my head and I’m very grateful for the life I have and the beautiful people I have in it.

Love

Luke

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Hello!
I’m performing a reading of selected Dear Self letters in the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Dear Self – Friendship.
 September 16th/23rd/30th (click the link, click the link...)