I’m back, world.
April through June saw a steady decline in my psyche.
I couldn’t pinpoint what was sapping my joy.
I didn’t know what exactly was causing my spirit to sink, or why I didn’t feel like I could laugh anymore. Something was happening within me that I didn’t like – but I didn’t know how to shake it off or fight back. To be honest, I didn’t even care enough to want to.
It was after a few months of living defeated/deflated, in a late night kitchen talk with my housemate that a distant, almost forgotten thought sparked back to life:
I could choose joy.
I’ve written of Jarryd plenty before. He is one of a kind; a man that I love and value like crazy. Years ago during a dark period, he and I had a weekly ‘exercise’: he would take me on a different adventure each Thursday, and very creatively pulled me out of the slump and brought me back to life.
He introduced me to salsa dancing. We visited a Buddhist temple. There were bush walks and jazz clubs and bonfires and scone baking. I learned chess and he learned how competitive I can be with puzzles. Below are photos of the night we went to an art exhibition and then caught a two hour+ train to dance the rest of the night away at an underground psychedelic rave. Yes, they exist.
What a champion.
Finding myself with a fairly similar mindset once again, and seemingly at a loss of how to break out of it, I had another thought: my Thursdays were currently free. Maybe instead of spending a whole heap of alone time trying to ‘process what was going on in my heart’, simply having fun on purpose would help?
Cue Adventure Thursdays.
I spent the first one with Sarah, the middle Mowbray sister.
I adore this girl. And holy moley, I’m proud of her. She recently sat an interview to get into medical school. Meanwhile, I’m a bartender… I like to think I just passed on all my wisdom and she took it to greater levels with my support and encouragement. (Surely it was something like that?)
She and I each drove an hour down and up the highway respectively, to meet in the middle for a day at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
We did a high ropes course there together. It was a funny feeling, collapsing with laughter. How we LAUGHED! My abs ached for days afterward – they weren’t used to the workout of a good belly laugh. I think the rest of the people on the course knew where we were at all times, from our shrieks and gasps and generally having so much loud fun.
We petted emus and kangaroos and baby chicks. We ziplined and she stacked it big time and we shared pancakes for lunch.
I had an absolute ball! Beautiful start to Adventure Thursdays.
I’m not exactly sure what order the following Adventure Thursdays were in.
One week I went on a bike ride to Lismore. From Lennox Head, it’s about 40km (24mi) UP A FREAKING MOUNTAIN. But I had all day, so I took a picnic lunch and a lot of water and got there eventually for a sleepover with one of my girls, Serena. Oh, and it topped 36’C (97’F) that day.
But it was an adventure!
Another Adventure Thursday, I flew to Sydney for a total of 20 hours on the ground there.
I had seen Baby Driver at the cinemas with a legend of a woman Bek Watkins, and LOVED IT. So much so, that I flew down to Sydney just to watch it again with my Mumma Duck. And give Daddy a great big hug, of course.
I adore my parents.
I adore my whole family.
I got to jet down to Melbourne to visit my Nanna again. She’s 93 and killing it. Can’t even imagine how many prayers she has prayed over me through the years.
I sold my car and bought a motorcycle.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Her name is Betty.
Six days after meeting Betty, she and I cruised a casual 600km (370mi) down the road to visit my other sister, Becky Boo.
What with travel times, I had to change up Adventure Thursday into Adventure Wednesday. We went horse riding, argued with waiters at a cafe, bought me thermals (Tamworth is COLD) and watched Gilmore Girls.
Other Adventures have included waterfalls, karaoke, picnicking in the rain, dancing, craft days, bar hopping, musicals and more.
I love telling my story. I love sharing laughs and challenges and lessons. I love this blog as a way of expressing myself and narrating my life. And I love reading through past posts that take me right back to precious moments and memories.
Somewhere along the way, I got caught up in the daily grind. Somehow, I slipped into coasting through a mere existence instead of living out a life full of stories worth telling. Something deep inside me wanted to tap back into writing, but I felt I had nothing to write about.
Choosing joy has made all the difference.
It has brought me back, once more.
And the best part of Adventure Thursdays?
They’re smack bang in the middle of a week of daily grinds. I haven’t needed to quit my job, or win the lottery, or walk across a country again.
I can choose joy exactly where I am, in every moment.
For sure, some moments are a lot harder than others. Sometimes the joy is just in holding onto the thread of hope that ‘this too shall pass’ – but it can always be found. Promise.
So here’s to having fun on purpose.
Here’s to Jarryd for teaching me the importance of adventuring, and how easy it is.
Here’s to all the people that have joined me on these adventures – you really are the MVPs. [That’s another take away: invite people into your adventures. Different perspectives give greater depth and colour. You can always laugh more with a friend. And chances are, they need it too.]
Here’s to learning how to squeeze every ounce of goodness out of life.
Here’s to the stories we will tell.