The five things right now: #1 – friends and family

On Wednesday, April the 10th, Vickie, my wife of fourteen years, died due to an infection terminating the function of her already-impaired liver.

The past few months have been a new experience, to say the least. For the first time in my life, I am truly living on my own. I’ve found myself wanting to write about how life has been lately; what I’ve been doing and, particularly, learning. And rather than putting it up on Facebook, I want to start writing on robf.com.au again; maybe even get a regular habit going.

And a few folks have told me that sharing what’s happening and what I’m doing could help others going through similar big changes and loss in their lives.

I think the best place to start with is looking at, now that the most important element of my life for the last eighteen years (though Vickie and I married in 2004, we got together in 2001) has been removed against both our wills, who and what is important now. And;, like everything, it starts with people.


Making life a routine of nine-to-five, home and the commute in between is tempting in its simplicity, especially when I have our dog, Sookie, at home to take care of; she’s gone from having someone at home with her almost all the time to being on her own five days a week plus if I head out on weekends, and that’s not fair on her.

But its simplicity is deceptively damaging to sanity. While I’m not the most social of people – I can put a good front on, I like to perform, but parties and lots of noise can drain my batteries pretty quick – I want to make sure I’m spending time with the folks whose company I enjoy.

I’m glad to write that I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve always got on well with four of Vickie’s five kids. (the fifth disowned her mother a while back) and her son Karl has issued me an open invitation to have Sunday evening roast with him, his wife Jodie and their four boys who live just on the other side of town , as well as Deena (one of Vickie’s daughters), Jodie’s brother David and his kids, who are usually over (Deena lives in the granny flat at the back of Karl’s shed, although she’s moving to Tasmania in the next couple of months).

I’ve been doing pretty well, showing up at least once a fortnight. It’s been an experience in and of itself, as I tended to hide behind Vickie and let her do the socialising when we got together with her side of the family. Hanging out with them as just me is helping me be more comfortable around them and bring me out of my shell.

On the friends front, a good mate lives just off my commute, and I’ve been stopping over his place three nights a week (schedules permitting) to work out with his gym gear (see important thing #4 in a post to come) and chat about our lives.

I also got in with a local geek group, the ClubHouse Collective, who meet up once a week at the lovely geek-craft store on the ground floor of the group conveners’ house to hang out and geek out, and not only made a great bunch of new friends but also get to hang out with some long-time local mates too.

On top of those, I have a few other local mates who are always keen to drag me out and socialise on evenings or weekends. I’m glad I was able to get a while bunch of them together in one place a month or so ago for my 42nd birthday party!

Rob's 42nd Birthday Party
Thank you to Celia Berrell for this photo from my 42nd birthday party!

It’s also nice to have a good few inter-city and inter-state mates, some from my time in Sydney, others whom I met in Cairns and moved away since, who’ll gladly let me gab their ear off on the phone. Some have been talking about hanging out via Xbox Live so we can chat over microphone while playing Apex Legends and Overwatch. I’ve been a bit slack on that front, but it’s a good way of connecting with folks of a weeknight evening, and part of me would like to get into a bit of Destiny 2 as well.

There’s one more social outlet I have that’s gettign me together not just to hang out with some fun folks, but also entertain them. In the next post, I’ll write more about how getting back into my hobby, tabletop roleplaying games. has been helping me socialise.

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