Friday, 4 November 2011

When vim and vigour vamoose

It sounded like a cute title and then I read the definitions and was struck by the degree of applicability!

(The following definitions are taken from

  • Vim (Noun) - lively or energetic spirit; enthusiasm; vitality
  • Vigour (Noun) - healthy physical or mental energy or power; vitality 
  • Vamoose (Verb) - to leave hurriedly or quickly; decamp
Until the beginning of September this year I had not been a full time resident in Sydney for about 23 years.  Although it is my home town, I was born and educated here, as were both my parents.  I consider myself a "Sydneysider".  Moving "home", and through the wonders of such tools as Facebook and Linked In, I have managed to reconnect with many of my old friends.  Some I have maintained contact with throughout all my travels (perhaps infrequent but certainly reoccurrent), others I had thought were lost forever.  At present I am staying with a friend who I met in 1983 when we were a couple of horse crazy girls driving horse-drawn vehicles full of tourists.  The other week I went to Occupy Sydney and met up with an old school friend who I had known since 1975 and had not seen since 1981.  I have reconnected with my dearest friend (another school mate) and we have a cup of tea (like a couple of old biddies) several times a week.  Tomorrow I will catch up with two friends I met in 1981 when I was at University the first time, and on Wednesday of this week past I had lunch with a woman I went to Kindergarten with and had not seen since 1978.

My friend from Kindergarten/Primary School (Elementary for you North Americans) and I spent nearly three hours together talking and to be honest we never missed a beat.  We ate, had a beer, I stretched and hobbled around as needed (and managed to resist the urge to lie down on my booth seat!) and we talked.

Ours was a bit of a funny story really.  As kids we were thrust together to some extent cause our mother's were friends, we were in a small school together and to be honest neither of us really fit in with the "cool kids".  We were both being raised by divorced women (no big deal today it was a different story in 1970!)  We both had professional and relatively affluent fathers who had shit on our mothers in the divorces.  We both read like wildfire and we both had a passion for the works of the wonderful Enid Blyton.  Our closest times were spent playacting characters from these Enid Blyton books and running around the neighbourhood, and the mudflats on the Lane Cove River, pretending we were having the same kind of adventures as the Famous Five or the Secret Seven.  In year 5, I was moved to a different school and things changed.  Although she joined me at the new school from years 7 to 10 we never resumed the same level of close friendship.  She was an intellectual bookworm (a genius I believe) who was quite a loner and I was a gregarious, athletic girl who was always participating in one activity or another.  We remained friendly but we weren't really friends and our shared history slid away like so much other flotsam and jetsam bobbing in our wakes.

You must be wondering by now what this has to do with my title and the definitions in my introduction.  Never fear!  I won't leave you hanging - I'm on my way back to the point.

Of all of the old friends I have reconnected with no other has referenced so clearly who I was when I was young.  She said, "You were fearless,  You'd do anything!"  She pointed to a palm tree that probably stood fifty feet tall, and said, "You would have been at the top of that."  I would have too.  I would have shimmied up that naked trunk, like a monkey, and hung upside down from the fronds at the top.  She told me something I had never known; that she had envied me my fearless physicality.  I was the living definition of vigour and enthusiasm.  My barely controllable surplus of energy and my readiness to participate were a hindrance to me as a teenager.  I didn't have Buckley's chance of even simulating the droll ennui of the "cool girls" the vitality, the vim, was sparking from me like electricity, in fact I was the very picture of a "live wire".

Until a few years ago I would have still described myself as very enthusiastic.  One of the reasons I loved living in the US is that enthusiasm is appreciated there - it actually attracts people rather than making them look at you like you are embarrassingly energetic.  I think mentally I am still capable of enthusiasm, I get enthusiastic about writing these blogs, I am enthusiastic to convey clearly what I think and feel.  The outward signs of my mental passion have dimmed though...  My body no longer permits me to move or respond quickly or forcefully, and the crisp and powerful gestures have been watered down to careful and restrained movements.

Twelve hours from now I am going to attend the Rally to Re-Occupy Sydney and I am hoping that my friend from kindergarten will be there.  She doesn't like crowds, but she said she will try.  My other friend has said she is coming too (the one I met up with at the other rally).

I don't like crowds either and I'll stay well clear of any mass of people, I'm not fearless any more, I don't want to be bumped or jostled - that shit hurts!  I would go everywhere in a bubble of padding if I could.  I guess the bottom line is that when vim and vigour vamoose you have no choice other than to take it very gently.


  1. Absolutely, I get it and I love your point: "when vim and vigour vamoose you have no choice other than to take it very gently" or you start feeling like a truck has run you over!

    I'm really looking forward to this vacation (we're going to Las Vegas)and being able to step away from my endless list of things I want to get done for Occupy Tri-Cities.

    I certainly wasn't being gentle with myself and will probably spend the better part of the vacation in bed. And that is absolutely FINE with me!!
    Take care of yourself...

  2. I'm not unknown, I'm Kathy (Fibrochondriac)! It's just that me and Blogger (your software) just don't seem to get along. If I sign in with WordPress it goes back to my old I signed in with Google. Oh well, I'm sorry.

  3. Lovely to hear from you Kathy (my Occupy Sister!) I hope you have a wonderful vacation and thanks!

  4. Great posting. Me too... I was also a live wire, and now take it slow and gentle- a huge adjustment.

    It's funny your comment about bubble wrap. I was just thinking about that yesterday, and how it would be the perfect solution.

    Keep up the great blog posts. You rule.


  5. You're still fearless but in a different way - you're taking on your Fibro with all guns blazing. You mightn't be able to do the physical things you used to, but you have an amazing strength of character. You're just climbing a different palm tree right now!

  6. I must admit my first tthought on reading your post today was i wonder how many friends will stick around.....oh dear i guess that doesnt sound good.Maybe my experiences were just different reconnecting with people.
    My son is following the whole occupy thing here in Canada...I hope it leads to change.
    As for your character its still there and it seems like your finding other outlets for it .Even those without illness tend to slow down as life goes along :) Wishing you an amazing day !

  7. Hey Girl, I enjoyed your post & know exactly what you are talking about....please be careful at the Rally!

  8. Jazz, thanks mate - I think YOU rule!
    Carinthia, you give me way too much credit but I do thank you for the compliment. Not really any guns blazing around here.
    Michelle - I so hope it does lead to change and I have been having a wonderful time with my old friends, maybe they have just enough room in their lives for me :)thanks.
    Adi, thanks - I was careful, I always am these days. You can have a tiny glimpse of my on the nightly news via my link on facebook. Don't blink LOL

  9. Enid Blyton's books may have been wonderful, but legend has it that she was an incredibly nasty mother!

  10. Kerry I have heard horrible things about her! But her books were a flight of fantasy for me!