November 28, 2015

Getting away from it all... so you can remember how it was.

I'm recently back from holidays this past week. It was the first chance I've had for a decent break (on my OWN!) after a particularly full-on year and I really needed some time away to recharge the batteries.

I'm pretty easy-going when it comes to holidays, I'm happy just to get away! But I do have a short checklist of must-haves: No alarm clock. Scenic location. Comfortable accommodation. Loads of time to RELAX. No stress. Opportunity to increase usual (almost non-existent) alcohol consumption.

I am happy to say this holiday ticked ALL of those boxes and then some.

The reason (or excuse, but really do you ever need one to get away?) for this little escape was to attend the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends in New Zealand. She was one of my bridesmaids when I got married and I always said if she ever changed from a Miss to a Mrs, I wanted to be there.

And so it came to be.

It was a gorgeous day reconnecting with great mates, many of whom I hadn't seen for a long time. Nothing beats catching up with your besties, does it? We simply pick up from where we left off. LOVE. I made some new friends too, people I know will be in my social network for years to come. It was that kind of wedding. Joyous, engaged conversations, laughs a-plenty (and a few tears), liquid refreshments and jokes flowing long into the night/morning. Simply brilliant.

My girlfriend lives on a charming little farm with picture-perfect views in every direction. A river runs along the back boundary. The air is fresh and crisp and clear. There are chickens, pigs, a horse, dogs and an old black cat who loves to snuggle on the couch. It's the type of place you could imagine Darryl Kerrigan describing as having a "Can you feel the serenity!' quality to it, ala The Castle. Because Lordy, it has serenity by the zen-load. I had plenty of time to think, that's for sure. My writer's mojo loved it. I may have to go back!




The nearest big centre is only a short drive away. Dunedin is a picturesque city, two-thirds of the way down the east coast of the South Island and steeped in Scottish history almost everywhere you look. Gorgeous architecture. Great people. Cheese rolls to die for. It also happens to be the city where I was born.




I drove past a few places reliving memories: the house I grew up in, my old high school, the place where I got my first job. It was like I was back in the 80's again. Nostalgia was working its magic on me, laying it on so thick I could almost taste it. That afternoon I met some other friends for a drink at a hotel in St Clair, but not without catching a glimpse of the beach where we high school girls used to spend hot summers working on our tans.

The nostalgia continued over dinner with my Dad and Stepmother that night as we looked over some old photos. I'm right into family history and I've been blessed with older relatives who have been too. We are so lucky to still have in our possession old birth certificates and family tree records dating back to the early 1600's and even earlier. I have very very distant links to the Swedish royal family, believe it or not. (I know, right? I have Viking heritage! What's not to love about THAT?) It is seriously cool.

But like all things - and especially holidays - it came to an end and I was back at the airport, waiting for yet another plane, en route home.

Cue my house today: the washing machine is currently on load number two and I've already mowed the back lawn that had grown to jungle status in my absence. No. 3 son is already here and No. 2 son arrives tonight. So life goes on. Spencer and Princess are beyond thrilled to have me home. The cat next door who I discovered had been sneaking over the fence to pinch food from Princess's bowl has been swiftly reminded in no uncertain terms that Spencer is BACK, baby. Woof woof WOOF!!

It's nice to be home.


November 17, 2015

Eliminate the negative...



The world seems to have gone crazy in the last 72 hours. It's been really tough maintaining the optimism this week.

I've recognised an optimistic trait in myself for as long as I can remember. My whole life I've mostly tried to hope for the best. Keep accentuating the positive. It doesn't always work but generally speaking, that's how I roll.

My optimistic psyche isn't about possessing a 'Pollyanna' style persona preaching silver-lining methodology to all and sundry - that would be incredibly annoying - apologies to Hayley Mills. In my case, it's more of an inner positivity that only influences how I'm feeling about people, things and/or events around me. I may or may not express those views to anyone else.

Despite this, I still have moments of feeling down or depressed. The only difference is as an optimist I'm aware I won't stay that way for long. Eventually the positive spirit within can't help but take charge, thrusting aside all negativity cluttering up my brain and whipping things back into shape.

Taking regular time out for myself helps maintain this status quo. Being near the water - the beach, especially - is the perfect remedy. There's something about the smell, sound and visual delight of the sea that brings out every good and joyous feeling I possess. I feel alive there.

After this weekend, I think I need to go back.

Because I found it almost impossible to shake the sadness and heaviness in my heart today. It got to the point where I had to stop watching the news because it was too much. Too brutal. Too senseless. Too many questions bouncing around in my head, asking why? Why??

So I binged on TV show Vikings as an escape - including all its bloody violence and gore - because it was simply a television show, and not our current reality. More blood onscreen than you could poke a stick at. Believe me, the irony of my viewing choice hasn't been lost on me.

But that was still preferable to the news. You know, with stories about real life. And real people. With families and friends and normal lives like you and I. Far too real, far too close to home.

Right now, it's fucking hard to put an optimistic spin on THAT.




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