Two weeks ago I was finishing what was a relentless year of extreme work hours, some days starting at 2am and finishing around 6pm to make dinner and do things with my kids, yet still getting text messages till as late as 9.30pm, before setting the alarm again for a 2am, 3am or 4am start. Usually I get a welcome rest around June, but it didn’t happen this year. Two weeks before that, I was saying to myself ‘this will be the last of the big weeks’ only for it to happen the following week, and then again the week after. So by the time Thursday November 19 turned up and was over, I was hoping for that sense of relief, but it didn’t happen, because Monday November 23rd had a handful of appointments to attend.
And you wonder what happened on Friday November 20? Well, it was my birthday, a day I traditionally take off as a work-free day to tend to my own wellbeing and celebration of ‘me’, however this year, I moved house on my birthday… well, sort of. I moved from one of the downstairs apartment to one of the upstairs apartment…. and had a housewarming party that night! Yes – I am a glutton for punishment.
Some of you know that I live in an old Firestation building. It is heritage listed, built in 1924 and is renowned for its sympathetic architecture to the residential streetscape. We were living in the old garage part previously, which, as a garage was essentially one big square partitioned into 4 rooms (3 bedrooms and an open plan living space). Now we are in the old offices, residential quarters, with towering 10ft ceilings, magnificent rooms (my bedroom is 5.5m x 4.2m (18ft x 13.8ft) or 23sqm approx) (most bedrooms are around 10-12sqm), a rustic old fireplace, a balcony that captures the sunsets and storms coming in and some really quirky character, like a meat-safe in the kitchen, high skirting boards, distressed solid timber doors with diffused glass panes and cute cottage style sash windows with the original glass panels in them. And the funny thing is, for me, it felt like home as soon as we moved in. I absolutely love it!
So since we moved in, my world has changed… I can see the sky, the treetops, the clouds, the street activity, so much going on, and it seriously doesn’t bother me hearing the traffic, where in other places, it used to drive me mad. We’re not stuck in the cave with no light that we had downstairs which was starting to drive me a little nuts. My boys and I aren’t on top of each other, and sometimes, I don’t even know if they are home because there are two staircases to exit from (I think we might need to set some courtesy rules), but for now, we’re enjoying our space, our new home and our sense of freedom.
For me, so much so, over the last twelve days, I’ve done things I’ve never done as a single mum. I went to the Paris to Provence French Festival at Como House for a wander around the glorious gardens of this Victorian landmark mansion and enjoyed the fruits and flavours of French cuisine (even bought myself an antique metal pot to plant my herbs in). I’ve gone to a corporate movie night, thanks to one of my clients who wanted to thank their suppliers. I went to a little soiree at a new friend’s house to celebrate her selling her home. I’ve done a ton load of shopping (if anyone knows me, I hate shopping with a vengeance, but for some reason, I have actually been enjoying it, to the point of doing more the next day! Please help my credit card!!). I got my hair done and had a acupressure foot massage (and two other massages, because I can!). I helped collect the materials to make a billy-cart for my boys. I went out to dinner with my gorgeous friends up in Goughs Bay for my belated birthday and enjoyed it alfresco style with the kangaroos watching us. I’ve drunk alcohol every day, I’ve watched movies, including the whole first season of ‘Flesh and Bone.’ I’ve been on beach walks, walks with friends, met some wonderful new people, and tried to write the next riveting chapter of my next book “Calmer Suits Her.”
And today, I went into the city, visited a friend who works at the French shop at the Queen Victoria Market and bought some beautiful delicacies for my Christmas Drinks on Saturday night (as there was a call for another party!). I told her to choose, so she gave me some stunning soft white and blue cheeses, a vintage cheddar, some mini gherkins (I’m sure they have another name), some divine pate, some stuffed figs and some gold wrapped chocolate pears with a healthy dose of liqueur in them. It was so nice seeing the friendly shop owners from their different nationalities, toting their authentic goods, the vibrant bustle of customers wanting to get their favourite cheese or Hungarian salami. The friendships and laughter that have been created over decades in that place was magical to watch… and showed me how sheltered I really have been. After a trip to the market, I took the tram down Elizabeth Street and got off at the Bourke Street Mall, to do some more shopping (shoes this time), and wander down the eclectic cafe strip of Degraves Street and found a cute little ‘Made in Victoria’ shop called Clementines, with a bright orange Vespa out that front, where I bought a charming milk bottle style vase to put on the mantle in my kitchen.
All in all, it’s made me realise how much I’ve been missing out on because I work so hard throughout the year, too busy getting from one place to the next and forgetting about the journey within. Whilst I caught the train into town today, I made a conscious effort not to look at my phone and just enjoy the scenery… and the scenery was people looking down at their phones! lol
Will 2016 be the year that I create time to do things other than work? I hope so… Now that I feel like I have a really city home, as well as my country home, I feel I will most likely entertain more, therefore more trips to the Victoria Market on a Saturday morning! But time will tell.
But for now, I’ve needed these last two weeks to enjoy myself again, enjoy the moment, because in the end, I deserve it… as we all do.