Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".



Monday, 26 October 2015

Finding myself - 50 plus plus

I nearly decided not to post this...but then I thought....someone else might be going through the same feelings...so why not put it out there so they know they are not alone.

Do you sometimes find yourselves in a down period, when you know you should be happy, but for some reason you cannot put your finger on, you are not?

Regular readers to my blog might know that I was "offered" redundancy/early retirement back in April 2015. I wasn't enjoying my workplace where I had been for the last nearly fifteen years, so I gratefully welcomed this change to my life as it meant that I could have more time to explore more creative areas of my life. 

Life has been so busy since then....
Along with the usual family activities.....there has more time to walk in the mornings, I've attended a couple of art workshops (as well as running 2 photography workshops), lunches with friends, photographed a new cook book, danced in a couple of Flamenco shows, enjoyed two camping trips, tried new recipes (I recently started going to Spanish cooking lessons), spent time photographing wildflowers and I volunteer on Friday mornings in our local primary school library.

I won a photography competition "Against the Light" in September, met some wonderful people while being involved in photographing for the book "Ferguson Valley Plated" , walked with and interviewed volunteers on the Bibbulmum Track for a magazine article (coming out soon in Go Camping magazine), and had some of my photography displayed in a Spanish themed art exhibition at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries. 

 August and September were very busy for me taking photos, in conjunction with another photographer, for the cookbook Ferguson Valley Plated. This is the first cookbook I had photographed and I felt very grateful for this great opportunity to gain experience and learn more, given to me by Kim from Peppermint Lane Lodge in the Ferguson Valley. Thank you Kim.

At the same time I was attending rehearsals three times a week for our Flamenco production "Ole" plus extra practice at home every day - well most days :).  I have been doing Flamenco for the past three and a half years, and finally this year I think I am starting to "get it" thanks to the patience of my teacher and fellow members of Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company in Bunbury. Which goes to show you can learn a new dance style even at my age with no dancing background!  I blogged about our show here - Ole-Celebrating 25 years of Flamenco

Here's a pic from our Flamenco and Tapas Soiree at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries on Sunday afternoon 25 October.  

The day after the "Ole" production in September I received notification that I won the "Against the Light" photographic competition run by the WA Photographic Federation. I was completely overcome with emotion. Below you can see my photo on the front cover of the book, plus also our Spanish dance program and one of my pages from the cookbook.  You can see more on the WAPF web page - Against the Light_WINNERS

Over this time I felt that life was running too fast. In fact I blogged about it way back in June before life really sped up! - Is Life Running too Fast? 
"I'm loving this time I have been given to fly free, to explore new things, to find out who I really am. To step outside the square of retirement and to be open to the possibilities. To be true to myself."

 Reading back over my post I certainly have been busy with opportunities that have come my way, but I don't know if I have quite found my new path. I wish the right one would hurry up and stand up! 

Now all the froth and bubble of life has simmered down what now? I find myself with my days stretching before me, and I am not always enjoying my own time I have to do my own thing. We don't have to be happy all the time do we? 

I am actually feeling low even though I have no need to be. I have a wonderful husband, family and friends, and I belong to very supportive writing, photography and dancing groups. I have health, food on the table, a comfortable house, and the time and dollars to do whatever I want with my days (within reason). We are planning my husband's retirement at the end of the year, and two trips away next year. 

So there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for feeling like I am. I KNOW I have much to be GRATEFUL and THANKFUL for. 

Last rose - against the light

Do you ever feel low for no reason? I don't know why it is. Perhaps I don't feel as useful as I did in the past. Perhaps it is the fact that I am fast approaching my next major "zero" birthday next month. Perhaps I feel like life is passing me by way too quickly and I still have so many things to do.  Perhaps I feel like I haven't achieved anything or made a difference in my life. When I read back over my year I know this is silly. 

 I know it won't last. I will get over it. And life will be fine again. It is not that I don't have personal projects to be working on. They are scattered all over my computer desk.

Sometimes I think we just need to give ourselves space and permission to take time out in the garden with a cup of tea and a good book. Or just sit and ponder where we are at in life, what makes us happy and fulfilled, and what we need to move forward.
I need to take my own advice. And I know this feeling won't last and I'll pick myself up again.

I've just read Annabel Candy's blog post - The Happiness Project Review on her blog Get In the Hot Spot. She has listed great 23 tips for happiness from Gretchen Rubin's book. It seems like I'm not the only one after all! I've enjoyed scrolling through Annabel's blog this morning. There is lots of inspiration to find there, especially under Lifestyle & Wellbeing. 
52 Exercises: How One Woman Dared to Deal With a Mid-Life Crisis

Katchy Marris has some fabulous tips for finding yourself over on her blog - Fifty Shades of Age - Finding Ourselves

Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty is a fabulous blog which talks about a range of issues for us Over50s. Jo says "I write Lifestyle Fifty to help empower older women like me to be have fun, make a difference, stay healthy, remain stylish and be happy."

Sadly soon I won't be in that age bracket - Oh there I go again! 

Tea in the garden with my mother's 1950's tea cups.

 But do you understand where I am coming from? Do you ever feel like that? What did you do about it? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

 You might like to look at this stunning photographic series - Reflections of the Past - by Tom Hussey. The photos show an elderly person looking pensively at the reflection of his/her younger self in the mirror.
Are you surprised sometimes when you look in the mirror and expect to see your younger self? Do you still feel like your younger self? Where did all those years go?

And thank you so much for reading my ramblings today. I'm off to my Spanish cooking class. Tonight we are making Paella and Sangria. Here is our fabulous cooking teacher, my new Spanish friend, Montse - making a new life for herself and her family in a new country. 

 Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday  

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday



  1. Hello Jill, what a lovely post and images. I think everyone has their ups and downs, happy and sad times. It is part of life, I guess. It seems like since you retired you have been having many happy times and proud moments of your accomplishments. Another blogger just posted it is not worth the time worrying about being happy. And you are happiest when we are not thinking about it, I believe this is true! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  2. Lovely post ~ great images ~ thank you ~ Happy Monday!

  3. CONGRATS on your picture wins - what a truly wonderful bit of news!

    I am so happy for you! You deserve this accolade!

  4. Congrats! I di have some times when I feel low. I think we all go through it. I could have had a wonderful day, yet at the end of it I have felt down and not known why.

  5. I get like that too, low for what should be no reason. Undoubtedly there really is a reason but often I can't see it or don't know it. I usually get out and take some photos and once I settle into it my mood lifts and the day improves. I hope you are feeling happier soon. I think highs and lows are normal. Congrats on all your achievements, you've accomplished so much since your redundancy.I love seeing your photos on here and any awards are well deserved.

  6. Jill I can completely identify with how you feel. Sometimes I have to remind myself of how fortunate I am with so many blessings in my life. You certainly have achieved so much in this past year as I have followed your blogs and beautiful photos. I also admire you for learning Flamenco dance and now Spanish cooking. Believe it or not, apart from doing my writing and sometimes getting out and about with my camera, I feel that I'm not pursuing enough of my interests. I don't belong to any groups, apart from ladies I walk with once a week, and although I have been going to Rotary I'm thinking that it's not for me. Sometimes I feel very isolated working from home and I also get a bit low. I know I can remedy this by getting involved in a writer's group or taking up a new interest so I need to heed my own advice and get on with it. What happens with me is that I go through a low patch and then I pick myself up again and wonder why I felt that way in the first place! I think we need to remember that no-one has a perfect life and we need to ride out the bumps on our pathways. Thanks for mentioning me in this post Jill. I really appreciate it. :)

  7. Hi Jill, I am so glad you put into words how you have been feeling. I feel the same way too, sometimes for a silly reason, sometimes for no reason. You have a very full life, I feel like a sloth compared to you. But we shouldn't compare ourselves to others should we lol. I love the sound of your Spanish cooking lessons and you were so brave to start Spanish dancing and now you're getting into the feel for it - that is amazing. Dancing is great for releasing endorphins. We learned rock and roll dancing quite a few years ago with a big group of friends and that was so much fun! I think the feelings you and we are having is a natural thing as we get older. It is us saying to ourselves. You've only got so much time left (do the sums) how are you going to account for the time left. Which is all crazy because we never know how much time is left. I find the most happiness living in the moment, but I find it a very hard thing to do! Oh and I turned 60 in September - I still classify myself as over 50! The only thing that bothers me about being 60 is that I want to cram as much travel into my life as I can - there are still so many places left to see and experiences left to experience. And then I wonder why I feel the need to do so. Crazy!

  8. I think you've touched a rich vein, a close to the surface nerve here Jill that will have lots of women around our age nodding their heads. It's so natural to feel 'down' sometimes, and then self flagellate - you know the scene! "How can I feel down when I'm so lucky, so privileged. Crikey you are one helluva ungrateful women!" And then the spiral just gets worse ;) You've been so busy, and you are so talented. Perhaps it's creativity at work, because out of despair comes great art, at least that's what I think. You've acheived so much this year, and have made a difference by using your talents, which are many. Perhaps you've just been too busy - like Jan, you make me feel slothful in my pitiful attempts to 'join in' and I spend far too much time locked away with my words and photos. But this time too shall pass for you, and you'll soon be busy again, rushed off your feet with creative endeavour and shining bright, as you do. Oh, and if I may offer any advice it would be not to look too hard for 'the right path', but to just keep accepting invitations for new opportunities, and keep learning. To end: Loved this post.

  9. Congratulations on your Against the Light win! When I get into a funk, I remind myself, "This too shall pass."

    Recently, I took a free online course offered by Coursera entitled, "A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment"(https://www.coursera.org/learn/happiness) which discussed the science of happiness.

  10. Jill, you've had so much happen this year, perhaps it has been overwhelming and made you feel like you're being pulled in too many directions? Now that you're retired you can chose to do the things you want and remember that age is only a number.
    Congratulations on the win for Against The Light and I do like the autumn teacup.

  11. Ah, you have been busy Jill. Perhaps too much so. It is often in our quietest moments that we will discover where our life is heading.

    I think being close to the next age bracket (nearing 60 in my case), can be somewhat scary, but rather than looking outward into the world for answers, it may be time to look inward and be aware of the direction that your heart is leaning towards. Sometimes it is best to quiet the chatter of the mind, and go with the flow of your soul.

    Beautiful photos as always Jill.

    1. thank you Karen. You are right of course. I am trying to be content with quietness. Though a little music around the house today has brightened my mood.

  12. I'm happy to meet you from the image-in-ing link up. I think any major life changes, even good ones, can bring all sorts of emotional responses along with them. I think that is especially true when the changes are connected with aging. I'm from Washington, too and I'm 58 and love photography so we have a few things in common!

  13. Hello there Jill. I so enjoyed this post. It was a beautiful opportunity for reflection. I do hope that you continue on your journey of discovery, and continue to stumble upon the bits and pieces that bring true happiness. I think that happiness ebbs and flows. It's not necessarily a continual state of being.

  14. Add me to the list! There are times when no matter how the head tells me that life is full and good that for some mysterious reason the heart doesn't get the message. It is still early in this new phase of life for you and as I recall that first year for me, I filled it with so many activities that I was as time-deprived as I had been when I worked full time. I've gotten to the point where I hate to make a commitment for a class or presentation because now it cuts into 'my time'. Keep smiling! Hugs, Jackie

  15. I'm part of the over 60 crowd now, and much of what you've said resonates with me. I have no wise advice, but I do understand.
    Be well, cyberfriend.
    And keep sharing. I love it when you join us over at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/10/a-visit-to-madame-tussauds.html

  16. Lovely shots! I think it's only natural to ponder a little and wonder what the future will bring...

  17. To begin with, whoosh I got tired just reading all that you are keeping up with. I cannot even get two things accomplished in a week, beyond what must be done, and in fact, I stray far away from chores, to explore nature and then get all bent out of shape for not having done what I was supposed to have done. I would never be able to keep up with you. Congratulations on everything and how wonderful all of these things are and have been for you. Oh My, I have just had to make a huge decision and it dealt with a loved one of all things and for my own sanity, my own protect, my self worth, it had to happen and it has just about drained me. The worst part is loving this person and yet they have totally taken me down and I already have times when I can hardly lift my own spirits and then I have lived like this for most of my entire life. Winter is approaching and cold weather is harsh on me, and I will get even lower during the coming months. I too have family, friends a home and so much to be thankful for, but as I get older, I just find more to be a little melancholy over. Love, hugs and blessings to you~

  18. Hi Jill,
    I'm glad to have found your blog! I turned 50 this year and it has been a huge thing for me to deal with, so I do understand feeling low in spite of having a wonderful family and things to do. I think my issue is more about being unable to work due to my car accident 6 years ago. I dream of feeling useful again!

  19. I enjoyed your post. I don't think anyone would say that they're happy ALL the time, regardless of their circumstances. I'm glad you chose to post this to your blog, thank you

  20. Glad you did post it. Emotions are one of life's mysterious mysteries. Enjoy them to the best you can - notice and gain. Deciderata poem comes to mind:). Maybe you'd like to come and do a welding workshop?

    1. Get rid of my frustrations in a ball of fire and brimstone Kim? HA!

  21. Neutral is an interesting space, huh?

  22. You are are a special person I love your photos I look forward to seeing where you go and the photos re WA

  23. You've been amazingly busy doing some fabulous things but you also need to stop & just be for a while & that can be a bit tricky as I think it's a skill in itself

  24. Hi Jill, thanks for this post and congratulations to winning the photography contest! I do feel low for no reason most of the time ... it's nice to read what you shared and written here on the matter.

  25. Dear readers, it is clear that my post resonated with many of you today. Thank you most sincerely for taking to time to comment. Your words and thoughts have meant more to me today than I can say. Isn't it wonderful to know we are not the only ones to sometimes feel like this. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. Wow, you have been one busy lady!! And so accomplished!! This is my first visit and am overwhelmed with all you do!!!

    I think I'm 70 this year......here's what I've learned.....there are highs and there are lows. You can't be on the high all the time, you will get ill. The lows are there for a reason...time to rest and be in the moment. Use this time to clean up some messes and get ready for the next round of highs. I also found those low periods are opportunities to help others. Be an encourager to others and pass along your skills......and you have many!!! Bless you....

    1. thank you for your very wise words Seeet Violets. Now that my couple of big projects are over I think I am finding my days at home a little isolating. Helping others could be the key.

  27. Thank you for sharing this very thoughtful post Jill... it's a consolation to know we've all felt the same way and find solace in each other's words and experiences. Lately, I've been experiencing a creative block and am currently reading "The Artist's Way." Congratulations on all your achievements... I'm sure the (very creative and productive) path you walk will continue to lead you towards your calling :)

    1. I think we all must go through creative blogs at some time. My friend who is a water colourist is going through the same thing at the moment. I also love seeing your views of Paris Catherine and I am sure you will find your way soon. In the meantime keep chasing the light. How I envy you in those streets of Paris!

  28. It can be difficult to find a meaningful identity outside of work, no matter how much you wanted to leave, and no matter how busy you are. If, like me, you defined yourself by your work title (or occupation), no longer having that can be disorientating no matter how well you're doing in your other activities. Part of you may still consider them 'hobbies' and therefore not quite as 'important' as your 'real' work once was - and lets face it, spending 8 hours a day on something makes it the most time consuming thing in your day! I think there's a real opportunity with your many and varied activities (congrats on the photography awards and achievements, BTW) to maybe re-define your identity and persona. What do you say now when people ask what you 'do'? Do you say 'retired', or do you say (for example) 'I'm a freelance photographer, travel writer and blogger'? Apologies in advance if you've already moved past this - it just took me awhile to define my persona, and I'm still working on it although it's already a few years down the track!! Have a great weekend!

    1. thank you so much Red. You are right I don't say I'm a Freelance writer, photographer etc. I usually say I was made redundant in April, which I was really happy about, and I am exploring other interests in my life.....
      Hmmm a shift in thinking perhaps is needed. Thanks Red! Happy travels.

  29. I wish I could come over there and watch your flamenco performance. You've even inspired me to look into taking lessons here, but I'm at that phase with youngsters at home that I don't think I'll be able to swing it. Perhaps something to look forward to when I'm an empty nester? Congrats on all the good things that come your way. You certainly don't need my permission, but I think it's reasonable that you're feeling low despite all that. You've had a lot of changes come your way like your retirement and your dear father passing away. When I get low, I sometimes try to be proactive and keep a Gratitude Journal and, other times, I just let the passage of time take care of it.

  30. Catching up on blogs since my computer would not let me post responses for a few days! I know ups and downs, I have had mine as well.
    The award for your photograph is a wonderful thing.. Congratulations.

  31. I can very much relate Jill. I often feel down or melancholy for no apparent reason. Sometimes I do realise it's hormonal as I can pick a few days a month it happens, but I'm also prone to self-pity when I really have no real reason or right to be. It's hard though - when you're in that space - to remind yourself of the many things you have to be grateful for.


  32. Afternoon and hello from the UK . I just popped over from Horst's page and noticed your lovely blogs. The photography are quite stunning , if you don,t mind I subscribed to your posts.
    How wonderful Flamenco dancing you are very talented Lady.
    Have a good week.


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