Taking time out

When was the last time you took some time out, just for you?

I am not sure if others get this much, but recently this has been happening to me a lot. I get so many reminders of Mike, and I must say most of them always make me smile.

I have just spent the last long weekend in New Zealand, this was a country that Mike loved, I feel it was his love for NZ that spurred my first visit to Queenstown. As much as he loved it, it still always bugged him that I supported the All Blacks in the rugby. So this weekend, I went to visit a good friend that I have known from Sydney, he is a wonderful soul and loves the outdoors, even more than me. He decided to take me to one of his favourite getaways North of Auckland.

The drive there was stunning, wrapping round the rolling hills and winding through the little towns. We arrived at a stunning house that looked onto fields and the ocean in the distance, it was so peaceful, and a huge change from my views in Bondi. There were no houses as far as I could see, just cows and sheep, and the sound of the odd Kiwi bird.

I had not realised that I find it quite hard to give myself a break, so being immersed in nature, with zero phone reception and no WiFi means you really have to just take in the scenery and ensure you have a very good book. I was able to totally switch off for a few days and set reboot on my mind and body after the last few weeks. This may have to become a regular thing that I plan to do after the anniversary of Mikes passing each year.

I spent the days surrounded by wonderful people that were friends of friends. Eating every meal, cooking, hiking and playing board games together. It is something that I do not really get exposed to much in Sydney, everyone here leads very individual lives, you may see them for a walk or lunch, but spending the whole day with someone is quite rare. Have we got to the point were we feel that our time is so valuable that we are not even happy to share the whole day with someone else? People tend to lead ‘busy’ lives in Sydney I feel, ones where saying the word busy makes you feel that you are succeeding in life. I am sure that I am going to frustrate a fair few people from saying this. But I do feel that sometimes we make ourselves busy to feel important, what happened to just being ok with sitting on a Sunday afternoon and reading a book, or spending the day with your friend or loved one and just pottering, or going for a long walk. I know that a lot of the time I have to book weeks in advance to see some of my friends, I understand that people have work, family or personal commitments, but where does the friendship factor into this equation? Anyway, rant over.

It just made me realise on this weekend, I was in the presence of 4 people that had met me once, and one good friend, but we cherished the company we had this weekend, and it felt great.

Each morning, we would wake up, set the table and all prepare breakfast, that we all shared, sat at a huge table and talked about things in our life, or the difference in cultures. Then this was normally followed by a hike, I have done some beautiful walks in New Zealand, but I always thought they had to be in the South Island, I was proven very wrong this weekend. The walks were breathtaking, literally, there was some serious uphill going on. One thing I love about New Zealand compared to Australia is, you can go for a walk in the bush, and nothing can kill you! The views from the top of some of these walks was staggering, and also if you are afraid of heights, a little scary.

This walk would be followed by a stop at home for lunch, normally a huge spread of antipasto and again everyone sat round the table. The beach came next, a short drive and you were at a white sandy beach, with sand that was almost too hot to walk on. I did not know that beaches like this existed in New Zealand, and the water temperature was warmer than Sydney has been. Again, no scary things floating in the water, just crystal blue with crisp waves crashing over you. Back at the house, you could take a outdoor bath, or outdoor shower and then relax, reading a book and grazing on a cheese board and an early glass of wine. We would all then cook dinner together, this was so much fun, very rarely do I have the chance to cook with friends at home, mostly because most peoples kitchens are so tiny in Sydney and eating out is the thing to do. A board game followed with a hot tea and dessert, playing board games was again something that most would not do, its so very old school compared to all the technology we have these days. But isn’t it nice to spend this type of time with people? When was the last time you did it?

I feel that I am going to make sure that at least twice a year, I plan to do something like this, where it is a rest for the senses from technology and allows you to have the break required to be able to function at the fast pace we tend to set ourselves everyday. This time of year may always be challenging but having some time out will hopefully be a healthy habit to help.

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