If you’re happy and you know it

Being fifty-something, it’s no surprise to learn that (according to a recent survey) Australians aged 55-59 years are the most satisfied with their careers, with three in four (76%) claiming to be “very happy” or “happy” with their work life. Hell, yeah.

happiness, redBalloon, midlife, boomers, fifty-something

“This suggests that experience in the workforce can amplify happiness. It’s also likely that those aged 55-plus have put their ‘fight to the top’ behind them, whereas the younger respondents may be out to prove themselves,” says Kristie Buchanan, CEO at RedBalloon (who conducted the survey).

“This makes sense as older age groups are most likely to have paid off their home, they’re families are grown and they’re just enjoying life.”

“Mortgages, careers and paving a way to success can get in the way of taking time to appreciate life. We’re trying to educate Australians that, by taking the time to create enjoyable moments, everyday stresses can fall into the distance. It’s also good to share the fun. Including friends or family in an experience is the difference between being happy and being very happy.”

The survey questioned more than 2,000 Australians and found that Aussies are more than satisfied with life overall. One in four said they were “very happy” (25%) and another 62% said “happy”.

Australian baby boomers (65+) love life the most, with 92 per cent claiming to be either “very happy” or “happy”.

The 25-29 year olds were least happy.  

This survey really drilled down into the nitty gritty with results suggesting that happiness could be dependent on particular periods in the day. I know that my own energy levels and creativity peak at certain times and now I’m trying to align that to how “happy” I’m feeling. The survey found that those who wake up at 6am are the happiest out of all respondents (89%). Early evening is a key time of day, with 6-8pm voted by nearly 1 in 3 respondents (27%) as their happiest time of day. And that mid-afternoon slump looks like a reality: 2-4pm was only chosen by 4% of respondents as the happiest time of day.

Other fun facts the survey served up:

  • Australians chose spending time with family and friends as the number one thing to put a smile on their dial (54%)
  • People who have a bucket list are more likely to be happy (89%) compared to those who don’t
  • Happy people are more likely to choose chocolate ice cream first from a neopolitan tub, (followed by vanilla, and then strawberry)!

That’s the excuse I need. I’m off to buy a tub of neapolitan ice cream and conduct my own little survey.

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Castlemaine – a weekend on the road less travelled

Being fifty-something, I love a knowing moment, a nanosecond in time when you know something to be true. It doesn’t have to be world-changing, just true.

On Friday afternoon at 5.30pm, Mr P and I settled in to toast our toes by the ginormous open fire at Castlemaine’s Public Inn. We sat at the corner of a capacious recycled timber communal table, with deep open wood grain that begged me to run my fingers over and over it.

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

We clutched cold glasses of cold craft beer and felt the local Friday after-work-drinks crew gather around us.

Right then, in that moment, I knew we’d chosen the perfect place for a weekend escape. Truly.

Earlier, we’d tipped the contents of our home fridge into the tiny fridge of the little campervan that could and quickly thrown together an overnight bag. I’d vowed: no makeup, no hair dryer, no fashionista and no nonsense.

We made our late morning escape (one of the perks of being your own boss).

Our destination? Castlemaine, a historic town in the heart of the Goldfields region. Our mission? To relax and make the time to see some stuff that we usually drive straight past.

Our first stop was a pearler … a tiny picnic ground at Spargo Creek where we devoured our packed lunch amongst the bush sounds. Birdlife everywhere. Mineral springs. Trickling creek. Lichen-covered rocks.

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

We reached Castlemaine mid-afternoon and set up the campervan at the Castlemaine Central Cabin and Van Park.

“Central” is spot-on – just a few minutes walk to the town centre, past the biggest magnolia tree. In. The. World.

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

It’s a sweet little van park with lots of cabins and just a handful of caravan and tent sites. The amenities were spotless and complete with camp laundry/kitchen, barbecue area, picnic area and herb garden for visitors’ use. The only downside was the Melbourne –Bendigo train which thunders past (very nearby) every hour, including into the night. We live on a busy road so we’re used to transport noise but, if you’re not, this may not be the park for you.

A get-your-bearings wander into the town centre before dinner took us here, to the Public Inn. To the truth of things.

Then, it was back to camp to cook dinner, make up the bed, sip a Canadian whisky and read a great book. Early night makes for an early start.

In the morning we headed to the Visitor Information Centre and tentacled ourselves to a knowledgeable volunteer until she shared everything she knew about the best of Castlemaine.

We took her advice and struck out on a brochure-guided 7.5km town walk which would take us through the Kalimna Park bushland area and around to the Botanic Gardens.

The map guided us up the hill to the Burke and Wills monument and an expansive view back over the town.

castlemaine, victoria, burke and wills, midlife, boomer

Many places in Australia claim a connection to the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition. Castlemaine’s is that Robert O’Hara Burke was the local Sergeant of Police before heading off in 1860 to cross Australia from south to north.

We headed off on our own expedition into the Kalimna Park bushland area. We soon lost the track of the designated walk and found ourselves on the edge of the residential zone. We’d come without water, hats or food, so decided not to risk the bushland but to stick to civilisation and find our own way across town to the Botanical Gardens. Our route took us past some of Castlemaine’s beautiful old colonial and federation homes.

The Botanical Gardens did not disappoint. We hugged giant trees, relaxed by the duck pond and read the interpretative signs showing images of Victorian era Castlemanians relaxing by the same trees.

castlemaine, botanic gardens, midlife, boomer

A late lunch at the too-cool-for-us Bridge Hotel (grilled haloumi and flatbread entrée for me; pork belly burger with chips for he) and we were ready to head back to the van park.

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

We sauntered past more heritage buildings, back beyond the magnolia tree. Late afternoon, we spent a couple of blissful hours reading in the September sun by our campervan, digging our toes into the grass and watching the cockatoos swooping overhead.

For dinner, we’d chosen Capones, a pizza/pasta place within walking distance (bruschetta and lambrusco for me; piled-high pizza and non-craft beer for he).

We wandered back through the night, past the magnolia tree and settled into the cosiness of our campervan bed for more reading and more Canadian whisky. Bliss.

Screeching cockatoos (and maybe a thundering train) woke us early. We packed up and hit the road, deciding to take the long way home, avoiding the highway. Taking the road less travelled.

At Kyneton, we explored famous and history-filled Piper Street.

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

Specialty retailers, foodie spots and vintage shops abound and we spent an hour or so browsing. It was high-end and a tad too expensive to tempt us to flash the plastic, especially during this year of buying nothing new.

We piled back into the campervan and headed to Trentham, which seemed more our pace. We poked around the shops and found, in the side street, the Red Beard Bakery, full of locals enjoying the best sour dough bread I have ever tasted. Ever. (BLA – bacon, lettuce, avo + aioli on sour dough for me; huge home-made sausage roll for he; coffees all around.)

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

When it came time, we again took the road less travelled, stopping to wonder at Trentham Falls …

castlemaine, botanic gardens, midlife, boomer, trentham

chill out at Lyonville Mineral Springs picnic area in the Wombat State Forest…

castlemaine, botanic gardens, midlife, boomer, lyonville

pick up locally grown Dutch cream potatoes …

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something

snavel some farmgate dollar-a-bunch daffodils.

castlemaine victoria, weekend escape, midlife, boomer, fifty-something


Our escape had been brilliant and blissful. No nonsense. No crowds. No fuss. Plenty of little moments of truth.


The Wholehearted Success Summit 15-21 September

After yesterday’s ranty post about my “turning fifty-five” terrors, I have pulled myself together. Somewhat. I’m feeling much more like me again, rather than some age-obsessed weirdo stuck in a loop playing “too old, too old”. Crisis over.

To keep the more positive vibe going, I want to share with you this upcoming (FREE and ONLINE) event  my friend Angela Raspass has created.

Last year I worked with Angela, an amazing business coach who helped me find clarity, get past overwhelm and identify how I could better serve my clients and myself through my copywriting business. I know that this event, conceived and put together by Angela herself, is not to be missed, so I’m delighted to partner with Angela in spreading the word far and wide. I’ll be tuning in for every wholehearted word. Check it out …

wholehearted business success summit, business success, virtual learning,

The Wholehearted Success Summit

From September 15 to 21 something unprecedented is happening.

Fourteen amazing wholehearted entrepreneurs and business owners have agreed to share their journeys to success and the mindset and marketing strategies that massively increased their impact doing what they love.

It’s called “The Wholehearted Success Summit”mastering your mindset and marketing for impact and abundance

You can register for FREE here.

You can attend this 100% free virtual event via the phone, skype or the web wherever you are in the world!

The goal for this one-of-a-kind event is to reach, inspire and empower as many women as possible, to let them know that it IS possible to move through self-doubt, it IS possible to master authentic marketing and it IS possible to cultivate a supportive mindset and build a wholehearted business that rewards you for doing what you love.

Success isn’t just for other people. They don’t have some magic skills or secret sauce you missed out on. It’s just a combination of purpose, mindset, marketing and consistent aligned action.

This incredible lineup of speakers from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia includes women who are Hay House Authors, national columnists, International Speakers, Coaches, consultants and more and they connect with their own communities varying from 2,000 to 125,000. Speakers include: Christy Whitman, Suzanne Evans, Christine Kloser, Kylie Patchett, Cerries Mooney, Louise Thompson, Terry Hawkins, Tera Maxwell, Tara Mohr, Susan Pearse, Barb Wade, Lisa Fabrega, Domonique Bertolucci and Karen Gunton.

And not only do you get to hear from them, each speaker has given a free resource gift for you too.

There is truly someone and something for everyone in this event.

You’ll be able to listen to all of the interview via the phone, skype or the web when the event kicks off on September 15th.

You can register here.

You can enjoy freedom, flexibility, fulfilment and financial abundance in your own wholehearted business – and you can start taking the action to make it happen right away.

Fifty-five? When did that happen?

It happened today. My fifty-fifth birthday snuck up and slapped me. Hard. Really frigging hard.

Balloons, birthday, fifty-five, fifty-something, midlife, boomers

I long ago mastered the dark art of downplaying my birthday. Avoiding the limelight. Deflecting the invitations to celebrate.

It’s never been about resisting getting old. I simply don’t enjoy the attention.

Today, as I watched the birthday posts tick up on my Facebook page and text messages flash up on my phone, my unease thickened and gelled, like a leviathan glob in my gut. I don’t want to be fifty-five. I don’t want to be unequivocally in the mid-fifties demographic. And, I certainly don’t want to be glaring down the barrel of sixty.

For the first time ever, I had a sense of being defined by my age. Not by what anyone else said or by how I was treated, but by my own insecurities about my age.


Normally I’m on top of this shit. I profess (to anyone who’ll listen) that growing old is a privilege far surpassing the alternative. I tell all how lucky I am to have the opportunity to age gracefully. That age is just a number. All the clichés. Line ‘em up.

Today, I didn’t believe my own spin. It fell horribly short. I felt sombre and anxious … and old. I felt like those other people – the ones who bemoan each birthday as a step closer to the grave.

Mostly, I felt a sense of loss for my younger self.


This shit is getting serious.

Being fifty-five feels very different to being fifty-something.

Faaarrrrk! Faaarrrk! Faaarrrrk!

Exclusive Discount Ticket Offer: Beautiful You Australia

This weekend 13-14 September, the first ever Beautiful You Australia kicks off in Melbourne, and if you’re interested, the organisers/promoters are offering a ticket discount (25% off) to readers of Being Fifty-something.

Beautiful You Australia aims to redefine the traditional thoughts of beauty and combines the very best in hair, beauty, fashion, health, anti-ageing and happiness over two exciting days.

beautiful you melbourne, beauty event, midlife, boomers

Shop from 100 of the best brands, be captivated by Australia’s leading experts, exciting celebrity meet and greets, and much more!
If you’re in the Melbourne area and this sounds like your thing, head online, buy your tickets and enter the code: BYOU25 to claim your discount – full details and tickets over here at Beautiful You Australia. 
I’m away for this weekend so won’t be getting there myself. I’m told I’ll be missing out on some serious shoulder rubbing with celebrities (Jules Sebastian, Jen Hawkins, Sophie Faulkner and more).
Whatever you’ve got planned for the weekend, enjoy!
** Note: this is NOT a sponsored post. I am NOT an affiliate of this event. Just passing on the discount offer to anyone who’s interested.



Jae’s Date and Almond Meringue Torte (for Father’s Day’s sake)

Today is Father’s Day in my part of the world, and almost 25 years to the day since my dad died.

father's day, midlife, boomers, fifty-something

Inside I ached and reminisced, running my mind’s melancholy movie reel of that godawful time.

Outwardly, I was swept up into family celebrations for the other fabulous fathers around me.

Twixt the laughter and chatter, memories of Dad tugged at my heart: his touching speech at our wedding, watching a tear slip down his crinkly cheek when he met our new-born daughter for the first-time, the way his face scrunched up as he stifled a chortle half-way through telling a joke (he was a master of the dad joke).

Today we gathered around our family table, doors flung open to the September sun.

We ate and giggled and found a way through the bitter-sweetness of the remembering to a place of thanks.

We celebrated family and shaped new memories. We shared in whole-hearted conversation, trivial moments and awesome food.

A highlight was this amazing dessert created by My Girl. It goes a long way to re-balancing bitter-sweetness into a sugary sense of wellbeing.

I know, I know … it’s not healthy to use food as a crutch. But if sharing a sweet treat can help soak up a little of that melancholy, why not?

Let’s put it in the “sometimes” food group and give ourselves a break (now and again).

Especially on Father’s Day. Because … yes, Dad would approve.



6 free range egg whites
1 cup sugar
250gm dark chocolate
250gm almonds
250gm dates (pitted)


Line a spring-form cake tin with baking paper.
Beat the egg whites.
Add in the sugar and beat until glossy.
Chop the chocolate, almonds and dates. Fold them through the meringue mixture.
Poor into the cake tin.
Bake at 160 degrees (Celsius) for 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven.
Turn out upside down onto a plate. Refrigerate overnight.
Top with whipped cream and serve.

almond and date meringue, chocolate torte, meringue torte, midlife, fathers day, boomers, fifty-something





The good, the bad and the brilliant [1 September 2014]

A (roughly) weekly round-up of what’s got in my head, up my nose and in my heart.


My friend Prue grows perfect lemons. Yes, they’re perfectly perfect … for juicing, for zesting, for slicing. They’re a lovely deep saffron colour and the skin is thin – you get to the flesh fast. Prue’s perfectly perfect lemons arrive by the bagful. Discovering a new way to make the most of them is not only practical, it’s damned good.

Which brings me to the current “cake in a cup” or “brownie in a mug” craze. Yes, I’ve succumbed to a chocolate-y treat-for-one (once or twice). This single-cup bake-in-the-microwave concept is ideal for empty-nesters looking to satisfy a sweet craving without being left with an almost entire cake to devour over the following couple of days. This week, I discovered a lemon version over here: Lemon Mug Cake at Craft Habit.

A couple of things to note: I used self raising flour (not flower), no baking powder and a third of the sugar. I added a tiny slurp of vanilla paste to cut through the tang. And I didn’t go with the icing (sweet enough without).  I used a 350ml mug and this baby fluffed way up over the top like a chef-special soufflé < next time I’m going to use two smaller mugs and share.  Because this creation is worthy of sharing. Hoping you can achieve the same without Prue’s perfectly perfect lemons. And, yes, if you delve deep into google, you’ll find a gluten-free version.

lemons, lemon mug cake, lemon mud cake, being fifty-something, midlife, boomers



My moment of tooth has come. I’ve been avoiding the dentist for far too long, skipping check-ups, ignoring reminders. Now I find myself with a mouthful of toothy troubles – a small chip to a front tooth, a bigger chip to a back tooth and a couple of fangs that are more than “sensitive”.  I’m going to have to face my dental demons.

You’d think dentist visits would get easier with age. Instead, I find myself increasingly fearful (almost to the point of phobia). My feeble excuse is that I haven’t had a good run with dentists. My one and only root canal treatment developed into a painful infection that almost saw me in hospital. A couple of years later I instructed my dentist to extract a past-its-use-by-date tooth rather than do another root canal. I can still see his horrified expression when I suggested I’d rather give birth to a baby than go through toothy treatment again.  So he pulled the painful little bugger out and in some sort of dental karma I developed a painful case of dry socket  just a few days before Christmas.

I know – everyone’s got a hard-luck dentist story and a feeble excuse. Time to brace myself and face up to what needs to be done. Grrrrr!

smurf, dentist, being fifty-something, midlife



I’ve waited half a lifetime to see a production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

I’ve read about it, heard about it and even quoted it but haven’t managed to be in the right place at the right time to see it. Until last Saturday, when I sat amongst a matinee crowd (of mostly fifty-somethings, sixty-somethings and seventy-somethings) and belly-laughed my way through the State Theatre Company of South Australia’s production of this classic at Geelong Performing Arts Centre. With our own grand dame of theatre, Nancy Hayes, playing Lady Bracknell, the cast carried the audience with them through a witty, humour-filled plot of inexplicable twists and turns. It was artfully acted with timing and physicality laser-sharpened for maximum comedic effect. I give this one a brilliant big tick of approval.

the importance of being earnest, oscar wilde, geelong, GPAC, whats on in Geelong, Geelong theatre



Smurf Photo: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanfora/3910850740/”>SanforaQ8</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;