Sabine McKenzie and Gratitude

Gratitude for tomorrow and what it will bring | By Sabine McKenzie

By Sabine McKenzie
TDHS Community Engagement Officer

What the last 2 years have taught me most of all, is that it’s not such a bad thing to stand still and smell the roses. 

Our houses have never looked this clean, including cupboards, and we have probably learned some things about our family members that we never knew, simply by being forced to sit down and talk. 

As we bid farewell to another challenging year in which our community did a fantastic job in keeping COVID-19 at a distance. We started afresh in 2022 hoping the worst was behind us, but our resilience is being tested more than ever – COVID-19 has reached our beautiful part of the world!

Over the last 2 years we have lived through lockdowns and restrictions, but as Australia (except for Western Australia) is opening up, we are experiencing a different lockdown – loved ones in our community are positive, close contacts or in some cases too scared to venture out into the community.

How does that make us feel? Every person will experience things differently and whatever you feel, please know that it is ok. But being in the category of a close contact (for now) myself (as Scott my husband has just tested positive) and having to go into isolation (or ISO for the cool ones around us) for 7 days, I thought I would share the very different emotions I experienced in the last couple of days: surprise, anxiety, anger/frustration, defeat, taking control and lastly gratitude. 

Surprise as to how did this reach us here in our remote country paradise (which could also be interpreted as denial😊). For a long time, this was an event happening in another part of the world, which was concerning, but not of real impact to us here.

Anxiety about the uncertainty. How sick will Scott get? Will I get it? Those that follow Timboon and District Healthcare Service would have seen our video in which I talk about my own anxiety/panic attacks with our social worker Hayley and my coping mechanism, but fortunately the Nintendo DS could stay in the bedside drawer.  

Anger/frustration on how this situation is going to affect and disrupt my plans for the coming week i.e. grocery shopping, work, seeing friends and family.

Defeat as there is nothing I can do about this situation and it is, what it is. I’ve had my booster just before Christmas and Scott is fully vaccinated (only just due for his booster).

Taking control and starting to think about solutions that make it possible for me to fulfill the tasks I had planned: family member can get some groceries; certain work tasks I can do from home. I’m in control to not spread this any further and keep my body as healthy as possible to go through this. 

Finally, I started to feel gratitude!

Gratitude for the amazing healthcare service we have available in our district, unlike lots of other parts in the world, and knowing that both Scott and I can have that medical support if needed.

Gratitude for the scientific community from around the world getting together, which enabled for vaccines to be developed so much quicker and safely. Imagine what this can do for treatment of other diseases!

Gratitude for having access to vaccines, unlike many others in the world through no choice of their own. According to the World Health Organisation too many people around the world – including nearly 20 million infants each year – have insufficient access to vaccines and their Immunisation Agenda 2030 is a global strategy to leave no one behind.

Gratitude for the existence of electronic devices (i.e. mobile phones, computers) to stay in touch with family (especially in Holland) and friends (and yes, make it possible to work from home). We coped without them somehow, but I can’t even remember how.

Gratitude for having a wonderful husband and savour the time this ISO is giving us before we dive into our busy work schedules. 

Gratitude for the support around me from family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. According to the 2018 Australian Loneliness Report 30 per cent of people say they don’t belong to a friendship group and one in 10 Australians lack social support a recent Relationships Australia study found.

Gratitude for the kindness that lives in our community, including our wonderful volunteers that ring to see if extra shifts need to be filled. Most of our community is involved with volunteering (SES, surf live saving, Fire brigade, Lyons, Opshop, etc) and at TDHS we’ve got an amazing 64 volunteers!

Gratitude for having a roof over my head, a safe haven and somewhere to call home. According to the 2016 Census, 116427 people were classified as homeless in Australia and on any given night 1 in 200 people are homeless. Around 26,000 women and children escaping family violence are turned away each year from crisis and emergency accommodation.

Gratitude for my having my sight, hearing and my health and wellbeing. I’m sure we all know somebody who has been diagnosed with terminal disease or who lost their brave fight in the past year.

Gratitude for having a job. So many have struggled keeping their job over the pandemic and Scott and I have been so lucky that we both have been able to continue to work. And I feel even more privileged to work in 2 jobs that I absolutely love.

Gratitude for having my furry babies who give me unconditional love (even our 2 cats). While I know and feel the benefits of owning pets, research has shown that pets make us physically and mentally healthier.

Gratitude for the memories of a wonderful life lived so far, the places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met. I come from a very loving Dutch family and migrated all around the world to end up in the arms of another loving family (thank you McKenzie clan ). Having lived almost half of my life in Europe and the other half in Australia, meeting different people and experiencing different cultures, has enriched my life immensely.

Gratitude for tomorrow and what it will bring. I’m living life to the fullest every day (YOLO – You Only Live Once) and am excited about what tomorrow might bring.

And lots of gratitude for living in this paradise called Timboon and district as I am sitting on the veranda looking over the beautiful valley towards the ocean. 

I’ve realised: Life isn’t so bad after all.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness
of life. It turns what we have
into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today and
creates a vision for tomorrow.”



Below are some of the places to go for information and support:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 (available 24/7) or chat to a Crisis Supporter online at every night.
  • Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78 (24hrs)
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
  • BeyondBlue: 1300 22 46 36
  • 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
  • Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398
  • Nurse On Call: 1300 60 60 24

If it is an emergency call Triple Zero

  • Bronwyn Rantall
    Posted at 20:05h, 13 January Reply

    Thank you Sabine. We are at day two. Very grateful for all of your reasons. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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