I thought I’d post a little what I’ve been doing lately ramble. Buckle up.
I’ve twice ventured outside the 5km radius we’ve been restricted to until recently, which I have LOVED. Those extra 20kms make a huge difference.
My first trip took me up to the Dandenong Ranges, my nearby happy place of happy places. As I rounded the first bend and then saw the first lush fern, I let out a couple of rather loud, spontaneous woo-hooooos! It felt so good.
Under the canopy, driving that familiar road, admiring the trees and ferns and the myriad shades of green they display. It was genuinely liberating after so long stuck in my little suburban cul-de-sac.
I decided to change things up by taking the road to Kallista and I noticed how the undergrowth seemed to get a lot less daylight as the road dipped down and wound around to the little village of Kallista.
I drove back up to Olinda, then down past the closed Cuckoo restaurant. The sun came out and gave me my most favourite thing in the whole wide world, a beautiful curtain of DAPPLED LIGHT to drive through! Happy sigh.
A few days later I decided to zip down to the beach mid-afternoon while the sun was out again. I didn’t think about how much more traffic was on the road now, and getting there was slightly annoying, but turning on to Nepean Highway and glancing down the side streets, I caught my first glimpse of the ocean for 2020, in late October!
It was windy and sunny and brilliant. I hung a left and parked a couple of houses up from the bluestone entrance to the beach. Down the path with reeds growing as high as my shoulders, on to the sand and then BANG, the edge of the world opened up.
So vast and endless and incredible to see and smell and feel again. Happy sigh. I watched the waves for a while, took some photos, breathed in the salty air and almost heard my nervous system whispering, thank you, thank you.
We live on this incredibly beautiful island, and luckily, a lot of us live pretty close to the edges of it. Having not seen the beach for so long, standing there reminded me how much I love the idea that the world drops away under us and you’d need to sail or fly south for a long time to get to another gorgeous beach like the one I got to stand on this week. Happy, happy, happy.
Being able to take these little afternoon drives has been a great foil to the oddness of trying to get my head around the fact that I’m not just on annual leave, I don’t have a job anymore. I don’t have a nice income to rely on and I have to now get back into the habit of carefully considering every single thing I purchase. It’s been a bit more difficult than I expected to be honest.
Three years and eight months doesn’t seem like a long time to forget how hard it is to subsist on a welfare payment, whether it’s called NewStart, or JobSeeker, but sheesh, it’s a bit of a slap upside the head with a wet fish.
Like most people with a little disposable income, I’d become quite used to disposing with some of it into the coffers of UberEats, or into not making dinner with what I had on hand but going grocery shopping again, or buying a book or a dress that caught my eye. Those days are over for a while. O.V.E.R.
I have a strange relationship with my phone. It’s nearby or in my hand quite a lot of my waking life, yet I don’t talk to many people voice to voice with it.
One of the longstanding exceptions to that is that I love having chats with my friend Sair. We right all the wrongs, we laugh, we cry, we simulcast our viewing of Presidential debates, we commiserate over the utter fuckwits we see doing the wrong thing, again and again, we listen, we ask questions, we ponder, we cheer each other on, we bear witness. Most importantly, we remind each other that we’re not alone.
We have been friends for three decades, and counting. It is so, so, so good to know that she loves me for me, and I love her for her. We are smarter, wiser and kinder now than we were when we first met, and our precious friendship endures.
Huge happy sigh. Love you Sair. xxxxx
I had another one of my ‘ends with a weird toilet experience’ dreams this morning. I think my brain is SO CLEVER to be able to get my subconscious mind to take whatever dream I’m having and work in a bizarre and almost always public (as in there aren’t any walls) toilet experience to get me to wake up and take care of business. This one was in a nice hotel, so it was better than some of the other situations my subconscious has put me in to let me know I need to go!
The other major theme that my dreams seem to take is that I’m lost. I do not like these dreams. I was chatting (via text) with my sister Lisa a while ago and talking about themes of unsettling dreams. I told her mine often have me somewhere I don’t know how to get home from – like being on the wrong train, or getting stuck somewhere I’m unfamiliar with, and she commented that one of my fears must be getting lost.
After I woke this morning, it occurred to me that when I’m lost in my dreams, it isn’t really that I’m lost that I find stressful, it’s that I don’t have all the information I need to figure things out. Ding, ding, ding!
As an adoptee, this makes total sense to me. I don’t have basic information about myself that people take for granted. I don’t know anything about my biological family or my background, even my nationality is a mystery. Am I from English stock, or Irish? Perhaps my ancestors were Scottish or Swedish? I don’t know. I’m pretty white, I’ll grant you that, but it’s still a mystery.
I don’t have any stories around my birth mum’s journey through pregnancy or the hilarious/fraught drive to the hospital, or how I looked when I was born. I don’t know if I made my way into the world easily or with difficulty. I don’t know my birth father’s first name, let alone his last, or what he looks like. I know his height, age and occupation. That’s it.
It’s no wonder that dreaming of being lost comes up for me over and over and over again. In this morning’s dream I was at a conference being held in a complex of various hotels with one central check-in desk. I’d been to a session (no idea what about) and couldn’t find my way back to my hotel room. The staff at the check-in desk couldn’t help me and advised me that actually, my name wasn’t in their computer, even though I’d checked into my room and I had my conference lanyard around my neck.
A long and frustrating attempt to find my room ensued, with colour coded elevators not taking us where they should have, long doorless corridors that led nowhere and other people denying that I was checked-in or belonged at the conference at all.
I wake up tired from those dreams; as well as busting for the loo.
Aside from the drives and chats and dreams, a lot of the days seem to blend into each other at the moment. It’s AFL Grand Final Day today and by now we’d normally have a result and I’d have watched at least the pre-game, first quarter and last quarter. This year, I don’t even know what time the game starts and now that I don’t have Foxtel anymore, I’ve got no free-to-air channels either. It’s weird.
Adjusting to the ways life changes takes time. We’ve seen that in ways we never expected to this year, huh? We started the year with horrific bushfires, then COVID sprang up on the other side of the world, made it’s way around the globe, and now various levels of lockdown seem kind of normal. Tomorrow, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews will likely announce further changes.
If you haven’t gone for a 24 km drive or had a good phone natter with a girlfriend for a while, I highly recommend both. Hop in the car and drive to the prettiest place in your 25 km radius. Enjoy the view. Stop for a while. Or grab yourself a cuppa or a glass of wine and dial that number. You may find yourself smiling more as you take your empty drinking vessel back to the kitchen for a refill, or pull up to that all-too-lived in home again.
Look after yourselves okay? Let me know how you’re doing and what you’re dreaming about.