I read something recently by writer Liz Gilbert on the joy of sitting at a restaurant alone, enjoying a meal, and simply observing the life around you. It really resonated, especially yesterday – as I sat at a sidewalk cafe under an Athens sky flinging the odd rain drop on to my head, and sipped on my beer, and lazily ate my salad. I noticed the couple at the table next to me exchange a sexy glance. I saw the waitress and waiter giggle about something behind their fists. I glimpsed a bird wheeling above. My sister had already headed back home to England so I asked for a table for one, ate my lunch alone, and it was WONDERFUL. Some people get lonely. I get energised.
It’s been quiet around here because I’ve been floundering a bit. Which takes a lot to admit, isn’t that weird? We have no trouble posting all the shiny brilliant parts of our lives on social media, but when it comes to the tricky parts, the stressful parts and the sad parts – we suddenly get all shy. I suppose sadness is personal, it feels more private, while we are more comfortable with our happiness being public. This all adds up to a perfect storm, as we’re constantly seeing only the happy parts of someone’s life. It’s completely distorted.
I’m not talking about mothers who are terminally ill or really suffering. That is different.
No, this is more of a guide of what to do if the mom in your household is quite under the weather (maybe it’s the flu). Why do I need to write a guide like this? Because I’ve noticed that moms do so much of the caring every day, and are so capable at life in general, that when they are sick the rest of the household thinks the mom can just carry on with life and do everything they usually do, just a little bit slower. NOT TRUE.
It’s been so nice not feeling guilty about not blogging. Tralala. It’s given me some time to chill and I’ve spent my time not blogging watching some series, including Mad Men. Yes, I know, I’m about 6 years late to the party, but what can I say, I’m a late adopter as they say in marketing terms.
It’s been fascinating (and appalling) learning more about the sexism, racism and homophobia that was so commonplace in the 1960s in New York. There’s also one scene that blew my mind where they go for a picnic and then once they’re done, Don Draper chucks a beer can into the pristine forest and his wife simply flicks the picnic blanket up and leaves all the trash lying on the grass. Apparently the researchers for this show tried to be as accurate as possible and this attitude towards littering was very commonplace at the time.
I’m nearly 40 folks. 4-0. How cool is that, that I got here? When so many don’t. Which is why I don’t see any reason on this planet why I should hide my age. Or feel embarrassed. Hush, I’ve dared to grow older! Don’t tell a soul! Let’s all pretend we’re still 20! How silly. And how unfair.
It’s been a stressful few days. All caused by my own anxious mind. That and the Internet.
You see, I found a lump in my left breast last week. One I hadn’t felt before. It was hard but tiny, like half a pea. Or a seed. And so I Googled my symptoms, even though I know you should NEVER do that, because I am compulsive and I can’t help myself, can I? And it came up that cancerous lumps can feel just like lemon seeds. Well, that was all I needed to send myself into a cycle of doom.
Over Easter we stayed in the Hemel and Aarde valley with family and I think I’ve found one of my favourite spots in the country. I’ve been there before, but I was reminded once again that there is something blissful about being close enough to the buzz of Hermanus, but still being tucked away in tranquil farm life, where there are fewer people around you.
I want to live here. No traffic jams. No sirens. No electric fences. Just acres of the most beautiful lush valleys and dramatic mountain peaks. Air so fresh it gives your lungs a kickstart. Rivers and streams trickling past. Wine farms you trip over. Space for kids (and adults) to explore. Take me back.
I couldn’t start this blog off without sharing some of my favourite images taken recently by our friend Robyn Rose. Bobs has been photographing our family since the kids were tiny, and we even had a maternity shoot when Ben was still in my tummy. She just gets us, and I couldn’t be more in love with these latest pics.
It’s been a funny thing, not blogging for a while. I didn’t think I’d miss it. Some ex-bloggers I know said that it would take a bit of getting used to, but eventually the desire to share my thoughts with others would wear off. Well, it hasn’t for me. What do non-writers do when they have a thought in their head that simply won’t simmer down? Do you wait patiently for it to go away, like an irritating fly that won’t stop buzzing around? Writing seems a way to lay my fears to rest, or articulate my thoughts more coherently, or simply work through an issue. It feels like a yoga class for my brain. Without this platform, I feel a bit cooped up. Like I’ve been sitting on an airplane in a tiny economy class seat for 10 hours and no one has allowed me to get up and stretch my legs.