With a natural propensity for anxiety and a daily irrationality caused by the hormonal imbalances of middle age, I know that most of the time I am bad about feeling grateful and creating my own happiness. I might be appalled by the images coming out of Aleppo, but sadly, they don’t stop me from moaning about my trivial first world problems.
I know that individually we can’t solve the world’s problems – that we can only empathise with those who are grieving or in danger – but what we can do is to appreciate how lucky we have it.
So today I’m going to share a few precious moments I experienced on my recent holiday with you…
One day, a pod of five or six dolphins emerged out of the water, close to the shore line. It was ironic really, because the previous time we visited the area we each paid $50 a ticket to go on a tourist boat tour to see them and Kurt and I spent the whole time heaving at the back of the boat, so missed the one rogue dolphin that apparently swam by. The dolphin with ADHD, the performer of the group, suddenly broke free from the rest of them and caught the waves majestically into shore to perform for us and this time I didn’t even fuck up the ‘moment’, like I usually do, by frantically searching for my iPhone to record it and missing the whole darned thing.
After the family beach holiday the old man and I drove three hours further north to visit friends who have had a ‘tree change’ this year and bought farmland in the hills outside a beautiful country town called Bellingen. It was a sticky, thirty-seven degrees on Saturday and after trawling our way through the Christmas markets they took us to the river to cool down with a dip, where we came across these two guys playing music among the trees, apparently in harmony with the movement of the currents. One of them was playing a didgeridoo…a fucking didgeridoo in the middle of nowhere.
Another day at the beach I decided to take myself off for a walk in a vain attempt to burn off some of the excess food consumed because we were on holiday, and as I began to walk along the cool sand I noticed the spring in my step quicken as the sensation of the water lapping around my toes relaxed me. Before I knew what I was doing, the sand became alive and I had a Julie Andrews moment, feeling energised enough to start jogging. Everything was perfect – the heat from the sun was counter-balanced by the coolness of the ocean and I could feel my body release the tension that has built up over the year like a toxin in my body, my lungs fill with clean air and my heart respond accordingly and slow down to a normal pattern.
Admittedly, I couldn’t get out bed the next day without falling over.
Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes so many opportunities for us to acknowledge the gifts that don’t cost anything in our lives. Even if the kids are so over-excited they come across as entitled little shits on the day, or lunch turns into a family fight and the dog throws up the turkey, we all need to take a moment and appreciate what we have.
Many people have no control over their lives or their situation so those of us who are fortunate enough to live in an equitable society, able to meet our mortgage or rental payments, put food on our table and receive love and support when we need it, should say a silent thank you.