The Dead Wombat

I’ve been going for the odd morning or evening walk lately, and have been reminded what a thoughtful time it can be when you clear your mind and focus on the immediate one foot in front of the other thing. It’s a wonderful time for self reflection, for creativity and ideas, for looking at the simple beauty around you or just for mindfulness and zen…to think of nothing at all except that next step, then the next. Step.



There’s a story about my walks that I wanted to share with you. Most mornings on my walks I get familiar with what I will see as I go. I know where the road gets thin and you need to step on the embankment if a car comes past. I know the bits where I will run, the bits where I always run out of breath and get puffed. I know without a doubt that every time I look up and see the cathedral of HUGE old gums that I will always be grateful for where I live whether the early morning sunshine is peaking through them, the late evening sun putting on a spotlight show or if the mists create a beautiful, eerie display.

And at certain times of the year I know that I will come across a dead wombat.

We have so many wombats around here. So many. At different times of the year they come out to mate and get hit by cars (horny male wombats don’t have much fear or sense it seems), or worse some get mange and go blind, wander around in the day and again, get killed.

So when I am on my route and I come across the dead wombat I always get a little shocked and of course sad and know that over the coming weeks that the wombat will be there. Each time I come up to it I have a choice to either look, or smell or be aware of the wombat. I know what I will see when I look of course, and I know it won’t be pretty, and inevitably it can ruin the nice moment I might be having. Or I can choose to look the other way, going about the walk and enjoying it for what it is, knowing that the wombat is there, sure, but staying in the good moment, rather than focusing on the bad.

I use this dead wombat metaphor lots of times with friends. What? It’s only a little bit weird I promise. I think that dead wombat can be lots of different things for different people. Maybe it’s a toxic friendship or family member who you KNOW will act or respond in a certain way. Because that’s how they are, and that’s fine. But it’s YOUR response to them that makes a difference to your life. You can look over, engage, get angry and mad at the way they are doing x, y or z again, but of course they are because that’s what they do, or you can NOT go there, look the other way and keep enjoying that nice walk called life.

There are many bloggers through the years that spend time worried about what people think or say about them. There are even websites dedicated dissecting their lives apart, judging and commenting. And people think that they need to keep across this, read this and of course inevitably feel shit about themselves while doing so. I say that’s another dead wombat. Decaying and messy and smelling and just a bit gross and if you do decide to look at that decaying carcass you WILL feel sick. Or you can know it’s there, acknowledge it but not engage in it and keep going about that hard slog called blogging.

It’s what we choose to engage in or not that can make all the difference don’t you think? So simple but something I am having to work on year in and out, and something that I know is coming easier to me the older I get.

So this morning, whether it’s a dead frog, a cow poo, or unfortunately a dead wombat, I’m going to acknowledge it for what it is, stop and think about it, but not focus on it, not dissect and analyse it, or that person, that relationship, whatever it is and keep trying to enjoy my walk, or you know, life.

Had any life learnings while exercising lately?
Got a dead wombat person/relationship/situation that you are finding hard NOT to engage with?

Illustration by Lizzy Stewart


  1. This is exactly where we are at with our teenage daughter at the moment. She has some other issues going on that make the usual teenage stuff hugely intensified. We are working really hard on putting some things into the do not react basket while we work on one thing at a time. Sometimes you just have to choose not to engage in someone elses drama

  2. I remember being told ” nobody can make you feel anything. You feel those things on your own ” & any time I’m feeling annoyed, upset or cross with someone ( especially at stuff I see on Insta ) I have to remind myself that it’s my choice to engage with the feeling, to look at the picture, be around the person or I can choose to just move right along. I wish I chose the move the move right along option a bit more frequently but I try.

  3. Yep, yep, yep, a great metaphor! “What other people think of you is none of your business.” Life is so much sweeter that way.

  4. Thank you for writing this – it’s made me think about the way I am dealing with a few things at the moment. What you say is so true and so easy to forget. Thank you.

  5. you are becoming wiser by the minute beth!
    a great metaphor hun! … (I love the way little people stay in the NOW! … loving the mags in dressing gown! adorbs! … PINCHING flowers or cuttings look! we gardeners know all about they hey!) your job is done! she is hooked!;))
    a recent revelation was that “everyone has their own reality!”
    ofcourse I’ve known it for years, but it was verbalised and studied on a brain doco!
    and it was a great ah ha moment!
    I tell myself things … it’s out of my hands! … this too will pass! … be here NOW!
    “the power of NOW” by Eckhart Tolle is brilliant!
    cuts to the chase quickly!
    much love m:)X

  6. Darling Beth! DEAD WOMBAT. So so true. I started my Happiness Blog about a year ago and so many women tell me it’s good. But if I get one unsubscribe, then I start to think about the DEAD WOMBAT.

    I’m going to remember your metaphor! Love it. (And you’re right, bad thoughts really DO feel like a lumpy dead wombat. Why carry that around with us when we can choose happiness??)

    • Always choose happiness! So hard to focus on the positives…and the annoying thing there are always WAY more of those than negatives. Such strange creatures we are! Good luck x

  7. Love this Beth.
    It reminds me of something I saw a little while ago that said: Opinions are not reality.
    Such a good reminder.

  8. Ooooh such a great post. You’ve actually managed to make me think differently (in a positive way) about an extended family member. You see I’ve started to get fed up. We don’t see her all the time, but now and then there’s some drama or another attached to her, which she directs at someone or another in the family. And I totally get the ‘Because that’s how they are, and that’s fine’ line, and about not engaging. But what I struggle with is the level of ‘keeping up appearances’. Keeping up the niceties, the small talk, the general giving her the time of day, even though she carries on with x,y,z. Is not engaging a matter of ignoring them or at the very least dropping the act, or are appearances still kept to keep the peace. I suppose the ‘level of non engagement’ varies from the contexts of each cow poo lol.

    • I think they are kept up to keep the peace (well in my personal experience at least) for the sake of others too. Just smile and nod, smile and nod! The eye rolling can happen later.

      • Thanks so much Beth, oh wise one!

        Btw, you replying to my comment is like the Late Show commenting on your Insta! Whooooop!!

  9. Polish saying: not my circus, not my monkeys…

  10. What I can never, ever get over is my hatred of those people who keep killing these animals to save a couple of minutes. It’s like they try to hit them on purpose. The one time I had an opportunity to save a koala’s life, NOBODY stopped to help me. I know your point isn’t the dead animals….I guess my disgust with these people is my Dead Wombat. But the carnage never stops and I find it hard to let it go.

  11. I am not in the least bit religious, but there is a prayer called the Serenity Prayer which goes “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.”.

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