I am sitting on the beach on a cooler summer evening. Sand whips my leg as the wind carries it with its fury. I lick the sand off my lips and the sweetness of Jack Daniels warms me from the inside. Waves crashing. The sun seeing out it’s daily ritual and making its way toward the ocean.
I am wearing my bathing suit, although I am not swimming, and I am covering it with an translucent swim dress which is really not required, as it leaves nothing to the imagination the way they wind is Marilyn Monroe-ing it around. There is no one else here. I am not wearing bathers or the dress for anyone, but because I can because I wanted to, because it makes me feel good.
I am at “my” beach. I call it my beach because there is rarely anyone else here. It is not a suitable swimming beach, as it is speckled with rocks, and only attracts keen surfers and such at the earlier hours of the day. I have this beach to myself. Does not happen often in a place like Perth. This is where I have come in the past when I need some absolute time for “me”. That completely essential “me” time we should all have but seldom do? Yeah, that.
I want to tell you why I am here. What bought me here, and why I needed to be here.
Yesterday I realised just how lucky we are here in Western Australia. We have beautiful soft, sandy beaches that roll in to one another. We have the luxury of seeing the sun set over the ocean every single day of the year. The only time in the past year, that I can recall, where I have awed in this wonder, was when I travelled north to Kalbarri and Shark Bay in late 2016. The realisation came when I was talking to the Finnish girl who is staying with me at the moment. She has just come over from Finland, and yesterday went to see the sunset. Speaking with her about it today, I saw the pure joy in her eyes at having experienced such a thing. I felt happy that something so unique to Western Australia (and other western coasted places of course) had made someone visiting so happy. I also listened and felt sad at my own ignorance to the grandeur of such a thing. It’s one of the things that makes WA famous and popular, and I have taken it for granted, as have many of us, I’m sure. It wasn’t until many hours had passed that I realised that I had to be here.
Sometimes life can get too much. In whatever way, it can become overwhelming and there hits a point of having done too much, gone too far. Unfortunately, for many of us, it’s already gone too far before we realise.
I asked someone the date today, expecting that they’d tell me it was January 11th or something close. “January 16” they exclaimed. WHAT!!!??? Who are you and what have you done with the first 2 weeks of 2017? I was actually dumbfounded at how much time had passed and how quickly it had seemed to.
I started reflecting on what 2017 had bought me so far:
1 clean house/recover day on the very first one of the year (thanks NYE) and a sneaky Big Bash League Twenty 20 match that night (Go Scorchers).
9 working shifts.
3 days down in WA’s south west.
1 day to catch up with my mum and help her prepare for her and dads 30th wedding anniversary next month.
1 day to do absolutely everything else one needs to do in a fortnight.
Today is only really a half day. I finished night shift at 7am and curled myself up in to a sense of oblivion for half of it. Then I set off to do some of the things I’d needed to for a while. Once I’d thrown in a sneaky coffee with my mum, booked some kick ass flights to the US for later in the year, and done a workout, I was left with an uncertainty on what the rest of this night might bring. Looking at how little time I had had to be with myself this year, I did not hesitate to drive my busy ass down to the beach to witness the splendour that is a West Australian sunset. I’d better hurry, it’ll be down in an hour!
Prior to now, it had taken only 1 second to undo myself after a fortnight of overdoing it. Last night was that day of “too far” for me. The day where almost nothing had set me on a downward spiral in to “too much”. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had ‘checked in’ on myself. I’d been working out, eating well, doing as you’re supposed to when you want to kick ass in a New Year, except I forgot me. My mind. My thoughts. My downtime. I didn’t stop once since New Year’s Day and ask “hey, are you OK?” to myself. Overall, it’s not that I wasn’t, or aren’t OK, it’s just that a myriad of things had happened in the last fortnight, month and beyond that I hadn’t digested, hadn’t allowed to sink in, hadn’t reflected on. I hadn’t stopped to check myself and see what things had been doing to me. Sure, I’d been getting on and doing things, living life, but it was almost as though I was skiing on top of it, not really looking further than the surface.
I had noted several times this fortnight that I missed reading, writing. Missed doing some of the things I enjoy because they’re mindful and it’s my way of meditating in motion. I’d done almost none. One of my most favourite things to do for enjoyment, self care and passion, write, I had hardly done. My reading had occurred on a bus, or whilst eating lunch. I’d written only once and I felt so on edge whilst writing because I had so much circling my thoughts to put on to ‘paper’ but not enough time to do it. I hadn’t coloured, walked “just because”, done my puzzle, watched something enjoyable, because I didn’t have time. In this GO GO GO world we live in, I was going, and going right for the edge.
If these are some of the most important things for me, why wasn’t I doing them? I wasn’t doing them, because I had let life take over. The sense of self, me, wasn’t really with it. Going through the motions because it’s what we do, right?
Well, now I propose to myself a new way of facing the hectic world. Knowing me and knowing my lifestyle, it is GO and GO often, but instead of the GO GO GO approach that somewhat undid me so far, I’m going to go for the GO GO GO STOP one instead. Time put aside deliberately for me, to be with me, me only, to allow whatever has been GO GO GOING on to sink in instead of crash in.
As I drove to the beach today and raced the sun toward the shore, I felt a real comfort within. I did not know where I was, I did not know whether I’d beat the sun to the setting point, but I knew no matter what happened at the end of this drive, it was OK, and I was OK, and I would be exactly where I was meant to be at that end of it.
And because of this, today I am grateful. Some days I feel like I am scraping the bottom of the barrel to realise what I am grateful for. Today, I am grateful for the sun setting over the beach. I am grateful for MYSELF for bringing me here to have the time I needed to STOP, reset, realign, and GO again.