Three weeks ago, I purchased the ugliest pair of shoes I think I have ever seen. They’re even worse than the time Mum let Nanna take me shoe shopping for school in Grade 4.
In all her wisdom, Nanna wanted me to get a pair of sensible, sturdy school shoes. She wanted to ensure my feet were looked after and arches supported, which would result in me standing straighter, with corrected posture, and all those things adults care about far more than your average 10 year old girl. I was mortified just looking at the ones she suggested, and wanted a pair of Globe’s like all the ‘cool kids’.
I think I did end up with Globe’s.
And a sore back.
At the time, my self-esteem was fragile and my young heart knew it could be a source of pain deeper than any discomfort a pair of bad shoes might cause. As long as I fit in with the status quo, I could put up with sore feet.
Eighteen years later (am I getting old..?) those old worries still rear their ugly head from time to time. The desire to ‘fit in’ or be counted as one of those cool kids is one I still have to contend with more often then I’d like to admit, but I have got better at overcoming it.
So much so, that I bought a pair of sensible, ugly, shoes. Nanna would be proud.
Even a nicely staged picture overlooking a grassy field, with beach in the background and blue skies couldn’t make them look any better:
But you know what?
Those puppies are like clouds on my feet.
They are glorious to wear – not to look at! – but I could wear them all day, every day.
I guess I do, pretty much.
My last post, Home, signed off with a reference to a walk I was planning on doing.
A month ago, it was an exciting pipe dream.
Yesterday, I bought my tent (which will henceforth be referred to as the Palace) and a little canister stove. This pipe dream is getting real.
But like a good friend said to me recently, “Dreams won’t work if you don’t work!”
I have to work to make this happen.
So I work.
A lot a lot.
Last week I clocked up 61 hours.
The week before that was also 61 hours – including jetting to Sydney and back on Christmas Day for lunch.
And the week before that was a whopping 68 hours.
All on my feet. Hence, the shoes. If I want to keep this up, Nanna was right: I have to look after my feet.
Of course, it’s not sustainable forever, but I can push through for the next three months. Yep, that’s about all I have left before I take off to conquer my next feat. I have a lot of saving, a lot of planning, and a lot of organising and preparing to squeeze in, in not a lot of time.
“But wait, Naomi, did you just say that you flew to Sydney AND BACK in a day? On Christmas Day? For lunch?!”
I can hear you thinking even as I write this.
Yes. Yes I did.
I worked a crazy amount in the days leading up to Christmas, had to wake up at 4:45am for an hour-long drive to the airport, catch the flight down (hour and a half) and then a train (another hour) to reach my family late Christmas morning. And I was facing the same in reverse for the trip home that evening.
A month beforehand, I was tossing up back and forth and really couldn’t make up my mind if I would go down or not. I’d been working so hard to save up for this trip, but then – family time.
Mumma’s simple wisdom was, “Choose whichever will give you more peace.”
I knew I could always make more money, or sell Betty the motorcycle, or take out a loan if I was that pressed for cash, whereas family time is not something you can ever get back. And having lived through the grief of losing a beloved friend way too soon, I find I treasure moments with people I love a whole lot more than I used to.
Growing up, life was mostly shiny in that regard: I hadn’t lost anyone particularly close to me out of the blue. The end of life was a somewhat abstract concept to me.
It’s not anymore. I knew that I would have the most peace – by far – with my fambam on Christmas Day, even if it meant I had to pay exorbitant prices and travel for seven hours to get there.
Any time I get spent with them is precious time – even if we’re fighting, or not talking, or crying, or arguing over childhood memories that we apparently remember differently. (This time we didn’t fight at all. I just cried [overtiredness] and took a nice long nap with their laughs and banter filtering through to my peaceful subconscious from where they were around the kitchen table).
And here I am, back at home in my cosy caravan. I had a five hour shift this morning at the cafe, and have another ten hours tonight at the pub before my Saturday is over.
When I woke, I read some Bible and journaled a little, savouring my black coffee and the sun sending its rays out over the rolling meadows at the foot of my little Lennox hill. In the few hours I have between jobs, I napped, swept the floor, cooked up a half dozen meals all portioned out for the next week, toasted up some more muesli to replenish my jar, and cleaned out the fridge. I’m about to duck down for a dip in the ocean and a hello to old housemates and will head in to work again with a minute or two to spare. And I wrote this.
Life is full at the moment, but so is my heart.
I love having goals to work towards, and the reward of seeing the fruits of my hard work is priceless.
I’ve had many magnificent, extraordinary, adventurous, blessed years already, but I reckon 2018 will go down in the books as my greatest yet. Here’s hoping!