You need to achieve a level of balance, EVEN in lockdown.
I didn’t realise ’til today that I too, like I said for baby girl last week, had started to withdraw. Sure, I’m eager as to have my freedoms, see my family and friends again, resume life as we were before all this happened.
But at the same time, being home all the time, has made me wanna stay home, and kinda, be up-to-date on everything.
Not even important things.
It wasn’t until today after I finished work at 3pm, that I realised my old ways. I had several things to tick off my to-do list, but given the sunshine, and my promise last week to get her out more, I instead asked baby girl “what do you wanna do?”
She wanted to have coffee and babycino on the deck.
(We don’t have furniture yet, so we just sat on the floor).
But it was actually really beautiful.
Then, still ignoring the growing pile of dishes on the sink, I asked her –
“Which park do you wanna go to?”
Well it had to be the one with the big net that she loves to climb to the top of.
Even better, I messaged her friend’s Mum, and they joined us too. The kids were running, screaming, we all stayed way too long, and when I came home…
I quickly rushed to start dinner, get the cat out, put the dishwasher on…
Ahhh. Like the good ol’ days. To hell with routine. Who needs an orderly and clean house anyway? 😉🤣
It was about 5pm today when I realised I felt… different.
This was a novel way for me to feel on a Sunday afternoon.
I felt happy. Content and even a bit excited about the week ahead.
I am always dealing with massive Monday-itis feelings come Sunday afternoon, yes even in lockdown. It’s the start of more routine, more work, more home-schooling, and after having spent the day with Hubbie and baby girl, it just really makes me sad that we won’t all be together the next day.
So why was I happy?
Well, I think it was a bit of everything.
Father’s Day, of course. Showering Hubbie with cards and surprise gifts this morning.
Having video calls with family, which really put a smile on my dial. Seeing my Dad and Mum, and sis and bro-in-law made me feel happy and connected to them despite the distance between us in lockdown.
Then I made this new soup recipe, a chicken, vegetable and pasta soup, and it was really yum! So I was stewing over that (almost literally) ’til lunchtime.
And then I wrote up a new weekly timetable for myself, because I often find myself so busy but really scattered, because I don’t know what to do first when I have free time, and end up fluffing around. This way, knowing what day I will focus on what will give me tremendous drive and clarity as to what to do, when. It already worked, today was my clear clutter day, and I was totally killing it. 🤣
So yeah. I am happy, and I don’t have any massive reason why, they’re all little reasons…
“I am so glad covid is not on our side of town… let it be contained up there in the north,” I said today as Hubbie and I drove across town, towards…
We had a couple of jobs to do which were pre-planned, so they were kinda hard to get out of amidst current covid craziness. We did our bits and pieces, kept our masks on, sanitised relentlessly, and for lunch went to a place we knew very well…
Northies! Or for those non-locals, Northland Shopping Centre.
Now you can call it ‘Northies,’ or you can be like everyone else and call it Northlands. Everyone I know EVER calls it Northlands, even though I believe in the history of the shopping centre it has never had the s attached to the end.
Just another Australian-ism I guess.
But, it was sweet, it was quiet… we walked the centre…
And I was reminded that almost 21 years ago we were walking the same centre, holding hands for the first time as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Now that fact in itself either shows our age, or tells you that we got together young… a bit of both I guess.
It was a lovely couple of hours to while away the day, and who knows, might be the last outing for a while…?
I like to go back in time to reminisce, but standing by the side of someone whose been there for so long, while I do it…
I stood on the sand after 4pm, telling baby girl’s friend’s mum, that it was in fact my third visit to the sea and sand that day.
“Oh, you poor thing,” she teased.
I did in fact, feel bad to say it out loud. 3 beach visits in a day? Gee, sounds stressful!
But it happened rather randomly and unexpectedly, and the way it happened felt like it was MEANT to happen.
Maybe because things have been so shit for some time, the Universe aligned to give me a great, sunshine-y day. 🌞
I had important errands this morning after school drop-off, and after they were done I grabbed an egg and bacon toastie from Banjo’s, a cappuccino from Store Fifteen, and walked on down to the beach.
I’d had an egg and bacon toastie from Banjo’s YONKS ago,and back then it had blown my mind. Well it was pretty delish today, not really any mind-blowing, but that’s because I think I had cheese then, and not today.
Having not had any food since waking up, that brekkie on the beach was the best thing ever. I made friends with the seagulls, squinted into the sun, and watched a sea plane land in the water! It was incredible.
Then my sister and parents visited after lunch, with the sole purpose being, ‘a beach visit.’
So, again. First it had been Mothers.
This time, Mills.
I really loved that my parents seemed to enjoy it. Sis enjoyed it of course, for sure, she loves the water as I do. She dipped her feet into the mild waters, and Dad even did a light jog alongside the water, which we were rapt to see.
I went to pick up baby girl from school hours later, looking forward to a chill afternoon. The last few days had been pretty busy.
But she and her friend had another plan in mind.
They wanted a beach playdate!
And so we found ourselves at Mills again, 30 minutes later. 🤦♀️
The water was colder, and the tide had come in so much, it actually blew my mind how short the span of sand now was. But us Mums sat and talked, the girls wade through the waters looking for so-called pearls, they made sandcastles, and we saw what we were pretty sure were dolphins, far off in the waters, spraying up water! Unbelievable.
3 beach visits. I know I’ve had 2 in a day before, but this is taking the cake, AND for the last day of April, in Autumn… just wow.
And it may seem overly boastful, or excessive… but trust me, with the way things have gone since last year, I need about 54 beach visits in a day to make up for all the hard times that have transpired.
But 3 is good for now. I’ll raincheck the rest. 😉
But now, I AM BUGGERED. Think I’ll stay home and do lots of washing tomorrow… 😂
Things aren’t perfect, and they can always get better. But I find myself at a point where I feel like despite everything, there is nothing else to do BUT keep going.
Keep yourself distracted with passions, personal pursuits. If some things aren’t working out, well then find what IS, and run after that at full-speed.
But also, don’t be hard on yourself. I found myself the other night nearly crying with despair to Hubbie.
“And I want to do this, and do this, and I’m trying to do this, and then I’ve got my book! Then I want to do this, AND this…”
The list goes on and on and on.
We put sooo much pressure on ourselves.
We want to create this perfect family life. But we have to also work, and make money. Maintain the house. Cook wholesome food. Clean. Wash clothes every second of every day (or so it seems). Feed people.
But also chase your dreams! Be fit, exercise. Eat mindfully. Take time out, but don’t waste a second!
Play with your kids. Give yourself me time. Take walks. Sleep in. Keep in regular contact with family, friends.
What the actual fuck am I to do with all that?
Something has GOTTA give.
I’ve been giving so, so much lately. I can only do things, and move forward in incremental steps, and it’s these tiny baby steps I’ve been taking that are making me feel like things are actually moving.
Snail place, but still moving forward.
And that leads me back to, don’t give up.
It’s so tiresome and banal, telling people to not give up. I’ve felt like telling people over the last shit year who’ve passed out that quote, to piss off and shut up.
But I find it to be true, too true. Even in super-crawl slow-mo pace, I find it to be the most factual of all things.
Keep your head up. Look at what positives you can… even if it’s the blanket on you right now. A hot drink. Sun peeking through the clouds. Someone sending you a nice message. A cute cat.
I am skilled in the art of looking for things in the smallest of spaces. I should know. It’s awfully difficult, but it can be done.
And I guess, it’s nice to be passing out this advice, instead of looking for it.
It was requested by me, being the day after my birthday. I thought it would be nice to, you know, chill, and not do too much, and just have an extra day with baby girl to do nothing… on top of all of our other nothings.
But I discovered something yesterday.
Sure, it was meant to be a chill day…
Only, I didn’t really chill.
I was helping baby girl with home schooling. She has been needing my attention too, big time. I think this extended isolation is starting to take effect on her.
I gave her all I could.
But I needed me time, you know? And in amidst this trying to chill, but then being busy with baby girl, I started thinking of all the things I could and should be doing, but couldn’t.
Sure, I was home. But getting stuff done and ticking things off your list, is so much easier when KIDS ARE AT SCHOOL.
I wanted to chill… but baby girl wanted me… then I wanted to do my own thing…
Wasn’t I just meant to chill?
And instead I was in this weird limbo-land where I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and instead I was aimlessly floating from task to task.
And I realised… work is good.
Work is my saviour.
As much as I keep complaining that I don’t have time to do the things I want to do more of, like write, sort all my photos from the last 5 years, and declutter most cupboards in the house, I find when I do find the time I don’t end up doing it anyway.
It’s like working, gives me more motivation to do these things.
Even though I don’t have the time.
Confused yet? Me too.
Today when I was working again, madly trying to convert some documents before my end shift time, I realised…
I was happy. I had purpose. And like that song
“Don’t you want somebody to love,
Don’t you need somebody to love”
Well I want someplace to work. I need someplace to work.
I work better all around, when I work. I don’t have the time for anything else, but that’s another story…
I’ve been trying to cultivate more yin in my life lately.
Living in the world we’re in, it ain’t easy. Especially these days. There is so much pressure on women, put on by no one but themselves.
She is all YANG.
She has to do everything.
She has to be as good as, or better than her male counterparts.
She is meant to be a wife and career woman, while also being a stay-at-home Mum, pursuing her passions in all her free moments, and dedicating her weekends to long walks/jogs, cooking healthy in bulk to set her up for the week, all while looking immaculate with her clothes ALWAYS laundered.
It is TOO MUCH.
There is no calm. There is no ease. It is go-go-go.
25 items on your to-do list, and as you’re ticking one off, off you go rushing into the next one.
There is no present moment. Things are too fast.
There is so much doing. There is so much aggression.
There is SO MUCH.
It was easier back in the cavemen era. Stay with me. Biologically, the man is the hunter, and the woman is the gatherer. She would stay at the cave with her offspring, and the man would go off in search of food.
But I mentioned biology? Well think about it. A man’s genitals are on the outside… if he was speared or harmed, his little men would just regenerate in a few months.
A women’s genitals are on the inside… what we are born with, WE ARE BORN WITH.
We were biologically made to stay protected.
The man was active.
The woman was passive.
Now we are all bloody ACTIVE.
None of this is to suggest that a woman is not meant to, or is not capable or achieving anything that a man can. We can do all that and more.
But finding that fine balance between the active, aggressive, go-go-go yang power, and looking instead for our innate inner feminine, calm, receptive, yin energy… that’s something I am working on.
I think in some way all us women are.
Look at this virus. Like, so many women I know are happy to have slowed down. Our biology tells us we go too fast, too hard, and do too much, and yet it takes the entire world practically shutting down to make us think, “huh. Maybe we were doing things all wrong.”
I diverge, I babble too much.
But today, it happened. I went way too YANG.
It happened during the first lockdown. Working from home, home-schooling… it all got too much for me, and many a time I found myself breaking down.
My first breakdown of this second lockdown happened today.
I was shitty, fuming, pacing around the kitchen like a caged animal.
Taking these loud guttural breaths, not yoga-like AT ALL.
Trying my damn-dest to not cry and have the well burst out of me.
I was trying so hard to not let things overwhelm me, but they were. I had a couple of realisations this week, and suddenly, everything was happening at once.
I had to do everything at once.
But I couldn’t do everything at once!
Finally, I spoke up. I started talking to Hubbie… and my yin appeared.
He was at ease. He was calm. He let me stop erupting, and when I was done he put it in perspective. We worked out what I had to do. What I definitely didn’t have to do. And he reminded me that this worldwide virus, was shit. It was screwing with everyone’s lives, some more than others, some more seriously than others…
So some things, in the scheme of things, could wait.
The weight that lifted off me… Here I had been, trying to make all these things happen…
When I had to let go. Just let things happen.
Remind myself of my inner yin, that part of me that longed for the slow-down, quiet, the receptive nature of life that we have all forgotten.
But in times where we forget… I was so lucky to have someone to remind me.
Sometimes I am his yin, sometimes he is mine…
And just like that, his yin, became mine again.
But let’s not forget… it’s yin, AND yang for a reason.
We’re all very much alone. We only see those who live within our walls, while some of us see a few more because of work.
Yet we are forbidden to see anyone outside of those places. And in most cases this includes our wider family and friends.
And yet, though we sit at home, night after night, separated from those we love… we are actually, not physically alone.
I mean, with everything happening from home… we are never ALONE.
Work from home. School from home.
Do EVERYTHING from home!
I don’t get those days that I used to, back when baby girl was physically attending school. Days where I could catch up on stuff, sit uninterrupted with my thoughts, and actually get SHIT DONE.
Today though, I pleaded my case. I told Hubbie I was getting SHIT done today.
And when the opportunity arose for the two of them to be out of the house…
I grabbed it.
They went out for a short while for some exercise. I felt amazing, to again be on my own, ALONE, doing things that I can’t do while separated from the rest of the world, because now I am physically never alone… at home.
Oh geez. We are a complicated race aren’t we?
Anyway, I felt great. Nothing as satisfying as putting a tick next to jobs that have been bugging you for ages…
I go from one hat, to another hat, to another hat.
ALL DAY LONG.
Work hat. Mum hat. Teacher hat. Cleaner hat. Chef hat. Pet owner hat. Wife hat. Washing hat. (Did I say cleaner hat?)
Emotional hat. Maintenance hat. Finance hat.
Where is my ‘me’ hat?
Sure we are in lockdown, but all it means for me is I’m doing everything from home now, instead of leaving the house for things that I used to.
It’s now the work and the home schooling, as well as trying to do all of the normal everyday tasks that keep the house running,
I jump from one thing to another thing to another thing, all without taking a breath.
Overwhelmed is an emotion I am all too familiar with.
I asked myself the other night “where is my ‘me time'”?
Sure, I do this at night. Everyone goes to sleep. I blog, I journal.
Other times I am so spent I watch my guilty pleasure Bold and the Beautiful on repeat, or just scroll aimlessly through social media.
But then, that other big question… the question that I’m sure A LOT of us has thought at one point or another during this lockdown…
What is it for?
What is the point? Where am I placing my valuable time, and is it leading me in the direction I want to go?
Or have I fallen into routine, and need to be reminded of that which makes my heart sing?
What about my book?
Yeah, MY BOOK. That thing I was working on ’til early this year, which I then left because ‘feedback overload!’ All well and good, but with so long a break, it was time to ask the question again.
‘What about my book?’
A new plan. A new decision. A new routine.
A new hat. A writinghat. 🙂
Wednesdays was now going to be my BOOK day.
It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) I spend working on my novel… but from now on, I’m going to be announcing to the house my intentions, and ordering them all to leave me alone for as long as they can muster!
Today it was about 80 minutes… not bad. It was baby steps. I first had to remind myself of where I was at, re-reading feedback from writing pals, and taking notes to ‘up the ante’ of my story.
Even if I do one line, each Wednesday…
I am doing something. I need to be easy on myself. I know how I work.
Life can get away from us. But if I can try stick to this new routine, all my Wednesdays will surely amount to something.
They will amount to much more, than doing nothing.