Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Stepping back to step forward
Hi, you may (or may not) have noticed I took a little break for a few days. Sometimes this blogging caper and online life can be a little overwhelming and you need to take a step back and think: "What am I doing here?!" But I'm back, baby, I'm back.
So we returned from Byron Bay. There is so much about Byron Bay I shouldn't like. So much that I don't want to like. The try-hards, the backpackers, that a small town can be so crowded all year round. The truth is, I love it. There is a certain magic about that place (and the area around it). Every time I go there, I feel at peace, calm, I can't-explain-what.
The first time I went there, and actually stayed longer than a few hours, was when I was 18. I'd just finished school and a friend I'd known most of my life was headed there with some school friends. My own school friends weren't doing anything too appealing so I tagged along. Twelve hours on the train. The first time away from home with zero responsibilities, full freedom and independence. It was intoxicating. Byron Bay 17 years ago was a little more innocent. Hippies, their dogs and their drums filled the parks. There weren't any chain stores. Patchouli and pot filled the air. The beach sparkled like diamonds under the headland as the lighthouse beamed out.
My friends and I had the most fun. It was completely innocent, but fun. The most reckless thing I did was drink too much kahula and milk and get my nose pierced (though not at the same time). We laughed and felt free, not having to be home at a certain time. No one watching over your shoulder. Just doing what we wanted, when we wanted. I felt really alive.
That trip changed me. I felt different afterwards. I went back to Byron every December for a few years after, dragging along whoever I could to get them drunk on the Byron love.
I stopped going and occasionally would stop off for a day or a night every year or so. Seeing the place change. Seeing the hippies slowly go (or start up a chain store). Slowly the place got less innocent and more jaded, just like I was.
Skip and I have stayed around Byron on holidays for the past few years and just love the area. The beaches, the hills, the light. It's special.
Arriving on that Saturday, a week and a bit ago, and standing on the beach. The surf licking my toes, the golden light making everything glow as it set. I felt a sense of calm and peace.
It's been a tiring start to the year. Ridiculous sleep deprivation. Getting used to the busy life as a mum of three. School, preschool, baby life. I've struggled to adjust. Things just haven't felt right. I haven't been right. I've felt like I've been dog-paddling to nowhere. I've felt tired and, truthfully, I've felt a little crazy and even a little paranoid.
This last minute trip was needed to break the cycle. Change directions. Take a breath.
I kept thinking of my 18-year-old self walking through the same streets and then I'd glimpse myself in the mirror and not recognise the person looking back. It's a weird feeling, not recognising yourself. I looked old, worn out and tired. Empty. Blank. The spark was gone (or maybe just missing).
I want that spark back. I want to look after myself better. Eat better. Exercise more. Dress better. Take time for myself. Read. Listen to music. Dance. Laugh. Be inspired. Be a better person all round. For me. For Skip. For the kids. Because I think we all need a better version of me. I think the kids and Skip deserve a better version of me. After all, the only thing I can really change is me. I write all this here so I remember it and be accountable for it.
I think Byron has changed me once again, or at least is the turning point.
Maybe one day I'll live there, in the hills or on the beach, and drink up that magic potion every day.
For now, it's the first step forward to finding that spark.