I took this picture, while sitting on a rock in Hellfire Bay.
If I was trying to maintain some kind of perfect Instagram persona, I’d caption it with something about how perfect our family is, and how blessed I feel to be seeing this beautiful country with my favourite humans. I’d be sure to include an inspirational hashtag or two.
And look, while those sentiments are true, that’s not why I took the picture.
In truth, I was sitting on that rock, watching my family from a distance, because I was feeling snipey, and shitty, and I needed not to be near them for a little while.
In the morning leading up to this photo, we’d been into town, watching the yachts, strolling and playing on the beach. We’d bought ice creams, and wandered through gift shops, chatting to lovely shopkeepers, and gathering trinkets and postcards to send to our friends back home. We’d been out to see a gigantic replica of Stonehenge, and we’d spent a fair bit of time in the car, making our way to the National Park, where this picture was taken.
By the time we got to this beautiful place, I was pretty much depleted. My legs were aching, my back was hurting, and I just didn’t want to play any more.
I wish I could claim that I had the insight to recognise this in myself.
But, I didn’t.
After listening to me snapping at the Girl Child, arguing with the Boy Child, complaining bitterly about the cold, and watching me getting dangerously close to throwing an adult-sized tantrum on that beach, Hot Husband wrapped me up in his coat, plonked his warm beanie on my head, and said,
“Hey, Rysie. Why don’t you go sit on that rock for a while? Come back to us when you’ve reset.”
Essentially, he put me into “time-out”.
And it was exactly what I needed.
It gave me the time to gather my thoughts, and to pay heed to what my body was trying to tell me – that I was exhausted, and in desperate need of an early night and a good sleep.
When we got back to our accommodation, we cooked tacos, ate dinner at 4.45 (because these time zone changes are wreaking havoc on our body clocks) and then I put myself to bed.
This morning, I’m back on track. Rested, rejuvenated and ready to play again.
Family holidays really are one of my favourite things ever, but there’s no denying that there’s a true art to being in such close confinement for such extended periods of time, without getting a bit tetchy. And honestly, after more than 3000km of car time (and counting), a little bit of time alone on a rock is good for all of us.
Life is never going to be perfectly perfect, and there’s not a human on this planet that is one hundred percent happy, one hundred percent of the time. We’re not supposed to be. We are flawed, imperfect beings, with an entire spectrum of feelings in our emotional repertoire, and we are supposed to feel them.
What we DO with those feelings though, well, that’s up to us.
In this regard, I’m a continual work in progress, as I suspect we all are.
Today, there’s more of this beautiful country to be seen, more beaches to explore, and more scenery to marvel at.
And today – thanks to that moment alone on a rock, on a beautiful beach – I’ve got the capacity to be here for it, fully present, and without the shitty attitude that was threatening to bring me unstuck.
Road trip life lesson number one, as taught to me by my gracious and patient husband:
Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to be alone with your thoughts. It’s important, it’s ok, and you’ll come back better for it.
He’s a good egg, that Hot Husband of mine.
My wish for all of you reading this today is that somewhere in your day, you manage to seize 5 minutes of time alone – whether on a rock, on a couch, or in the shower. Gather your thoughts, give yourself some time to listen to what you need, and go right ahead and own it.
It feels GOOD.