‘I think that reaction sounds proportional to the situation,’ the GP assured me.
‘You mean to tell me that you actually don’t think I need to be admitted to the psych ward despite me just telling you that I am slowly losing my mind and feel completely overwhelmed?’ I asked.
It was week two of the rainy term three school holidays. While we had officially returned home from Western Australia three weeks prior, Alice and I had more recently arrived back from a ten-day trip to Texas. There we had experienced an incredible gathering with one thousand of my colleagues from around the globe. While the trip bore much fruit, the extreme jet lag, excitement from the last three months, and transition back into Sydney life had hit me like a tonne of bricks.
It was the first time that I had stopped in order to begin processing what had just been, while simultaneously trying to keep up with our ‘normal’ life back in the city. Our nights were like a circus. We had spent a week playing musical beds between jet lagged little Alice and the two older girls, who, from our months in the caravan, had seemingly forgotten how to sleep outside of arm’s reach of us and each other. Despite their newly-found independence, the older girls barely let Dave and I leave their sight within our home without worrying where each of us were. Our home suddenly seemed overwhelmingly large, and Dave and I continued to ask each other why we ever thought we needed such an obscene amount of indoor space. While I had spent so much time intentionally slowing down over the last three months, I was now overwhelmed by the pace that the city required of me just to keep up with my responsibilities each day. As I over-analysed the situation and what was causing me to become so stressed, it seemed the only thing that had changed while we were away was myself.
While there was no doubt that part of the way I was feeling could be attributed to post-holiday blues and the loss of the daily embrace of those turquoise waters, it seemed that I was also deeply yearning for the joy I had experienced in living simply and experiencing the divine in the uninterrupted natural rhythms that van life had to offer. As I allowed myself to experience those feelings, Dave and I also journeyed to the stage of acceptance together. Acceptance that we were no longer travelling and able to spend each day together, that there were bills to be paid and work to be done, and that the destinations now to be explored would require us to navigate Sydney traffic. We were also able to accept that we were not the same people that we had been three months ago, and that wherever in the world we were, we could choose to be intentional in slowing down, and choose to wander joyfully together. And so, as the school holidays came to an end and the sun finally appeared from behind the clouds, we have chosen to try to navigate this next season, whatever it may bring, with joyful hearts. While the next season of writing will not entail regular reports of world heritage reefs and swimming with whale sharks, it is my intention that it reflects the same joy and honesty as my previous posts as we continue to joyfully wander together.
We have also resolved, as a family, to actively seek out and experience the natural wonders and beauty in our neck of the woods. So, with that in mind, the photos accompanying this blog are a random selection of nature that Dave has photographed in and around the Greater Sydney area over the past few years.