Good Time To Stop

In an age of busyness and hyper-control, it’s bizarre to think that it takes an extreme weather event to stop us in our tracks.

While Cyclone Debbie tragically brought its fair share of destruction to our fellow North Queenslanders, it inadvertently brought a bit of goodwill last week to the rest of the state.

In closing down schools, workplaces and in some cases cutting off electricity, it forced many of us to stop and lay low at home.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that with three little boys at home, this could’ve gone terribly bad. But on the whole, it didn’t.

Yes there were episodes of boredom, moments of madness and cabin fever hits us hard in the second hour, but these were duly noted and we moved on……….eventually!

Time was spent as a family just hanging out, actually playing together, making a mess and generally eating all day.

There was time for talk; nonsense and quality and time for staring out the window.

I can’t remember the last time we honestly did that.

Time and all the obligations and distractions of life were not our dictators for a change.

Instead we had to accepted that we were at the whim of nature, destined to remain within the safe confines of our home and the unpredictability of the goings on inside it.

It’s a confronting revelation to know that we indeed aren’t in control of everything, even though we like to think we are.

The concept of immediacy and the momentum of technological distractions, means that we’re forever chasing life and never actually catching up with ourselves and each other.

Taking the time to stop chasing, stop procrastinating and just existing, is good.

And good is what we all need a little more of.

Not awesome, not great, not even productive. Just good.

An extreme weather event brought a forced ‘stop’ to a hectic life, a chance to calm the storm within and a timely message that simply just being, can do us all a whole lot of good.

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Who are we really? The Holiday

It’s a little known truth that very few of us are certain of who we are.

Yes, we may be a teacher (who daringly dabbles in free-diving), a nurse (with a penchant for fierce rally driving), a (surfing) social worker or a businessman (who bakes on the weekends), but that’s barely scratching the surface of who we really are.

The new year has barely begun, but this question has been hanging out with me all through these holidays. Happily, dreamily, willing me on. With it’s beloved cousin ‘time’ also by my side, I’ve had the luxury of doing and musing on a great many things.

(Among them, clearly viewing too many period dramas, now that I’ve written that!)

So, without sounding too 20th Century, how do we begin to acknowledge or even explain, the multifaceted individuals that we are? And why is it important that we even do this; take the time to explore what makes up us?

The world of workholiday-dreaming

While our jobs may be part of this puzzle, we are commonly caught up in a world of work that inevitably but unfairly define us and leaves little room (and time) for us to be who we truly are, or would hope to be.

In truth, when meeting new people it’s not long before the proverbial question ‘So what do you do?’ enters the conversation.

Yes, it seems harmless enough and surely warranted when beginning to surmise who this stranger before us is. We can immediately make some connection then, place them in a social grouping, maybe even judge what ‘type’ of a person they may (or may not) be. But it is ultimately a flawed question.

The work we choose to do (in most cases at least) says something about us.

‘Occupations shape who we are….. Every occupation weakens or reinforces aspects of our nature’ Book of Life.

The Aged-care worker is a giver; patient and attentive. The artist; imaginative and creative. The farmer; methodical, persistent and determined.who-we-are

But no one job can ever be enough to satisfy all the parts of us and it certainly should not alone define us.

Specialised and finite as our jobs may be, they are often void of opportunities to explore the vast array of talents and interests we possess. We are so much more than the ‘work’ we do, but how easy it is ‘to behave across our whole lives like the people work has required us to be’.

Do we work to live, or live to work?

So it would seem that time off from work; holidays, provide us not only with a ‘break from work’, but with this freeing platform to delve greedily, recklessly and wantonly into our creative talents, our hidden pleasures and allow us the space to be free with our ideas and behaviours (somewhat).

If we are so fortunate as to claim some ‘holiday’ time, we can indulge in our passion to paint, explore that interest in film, fashion up some new culinary concoctions or simply experiment with several ways to potter about the place.

We can dedicate time delving into that new interest, partake in being a present parent and play for the sake of playing.success-on-beach

When else in life, do we have the time and space to do these soul satisfying acts? And when else is there a better time to appreciate and acknowledge who we really are? Or indeed, who we would like to be?

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The On-going List

So I have this constant list in my head of ‘Things to do’.

Brightly coloured post-it notes fill the interior of my skull and I just can’t ever seem to be rid of them.

I know I’m not the only woman in the world with this condition, goodness knows it’s an evolutionary habit of our gender, borne out of necessity, to ensure ‘things’ DO get done.cropped-Wilful-Woman-icon.png

From the moment we wake the list clicks over and the ‘To-do’ stock market is open.

Items are added and taken, exchanged and dumped.

Sometimes, in the dead of night, a post-it-note item comes to mind and it’s hastily added to the collection, only to be forgotten in the morning and replaced with a ‘remember-what-that-thingy-was’ post-it.

I hate that!

There are times in the day when a few items get ticked off the list, only to be replaced moments later by other items.

It’s like taking a piece from The Magic Pudding, satisfying at first, but then totally exasperating at the prospect of more and finally just a big old mess by the end.

To-do Running List to date….
  • Clean bathroom….. it’s looking grotty
  • Check my on-line bank account, make sure I’m not being scammed (money just seems to disappear)
  • Floss Teeth (dentist says I have to…Ugh!)
  • Wash bed sheets (can’t remember when I last did that)
  • Google ‘nutritional value in Banana chips (think I may need to reconsider giving these as daily snacks)
  • Bathroom still grotty
  • Buy moisturising cream for face (the hand cream replacement is just not cutting it)
  • Really need to floss teeth
  • Reply to several messages from friends or family
  • Trim the boys’ nails (they’re using them as weapons against each other)
  • Google cheap deals to Melbourne (need a weekend away… I can live in hope!)
  • Floss teeth damn it!

Let’s be clear, I do love a good list and there are tlaptopimes when I do prioritise and write important items down, to create a sense of order out of chaos.

And it’s true, they help me stay focused, organised and dare I say it…. have a sense of purpose.

But the danger is in letting any list consume you. It can be a beast and you a slave to it.

So, I think it’s healthy to mess with it once in a while.

Sometimes, when no one is looking, I’ll cross off one of those nagging items, just for the hell of it….when it’s not even done! Or, I’ll cheat and feign memory loss, like it wasn’t even there in the first place (bed sheets look clean to me).To do list

Besides, there are plenty of other things I could be doing with my time, like taking a match to each of those mental post-it notes, scrunching up that written list, tossing it in the recycle bin and running under the sprinkler in the backyard with my boys, long nails and all.

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