I've masqueraded as a city girl for 15 years now. I love it. I love the noise, the bustle, the nearby beaches, my friends, and the community. The fact Uber now delivers burgers? Well that just tops it off.
That was until I got made redundant from my job, had no money, realised I hadn't nurtured my passion for writing in years and had no fricking idea what to do with my life. The city had changed. It was suffocating and scary and I was struck by fear.
I grew up in the English countryside so decided a mini break back to my roots might be the go. I packed a few pairs of undies and some jammies and headed off to country Victoria for a few days while my boyfriend painted the amazing property we would stay in.
That was four weeks ago. I'm still here, washing my undies on rotation and starting to question my ability to look feminine.
It's stunning. There are trees, hills, cows, and sunsets. While the house is haunted for sure (I named our resident ghostie Harold) and is a perfect set location for a slasher film, my anxiety levels have fallen. I can breathe again -- and breathe clean air rather than car fumes. I'm so zen I feel like growing a veggie garden. But so far the only thing that's growing is my waistline and armpit hair.
Here's what I'm discovering.
Good morning, morning.
For some reason I've become rather addicted to early morning wake-ups. This is bizarre. I love sleep and I don't do it enough, but here I'm going to bed at 9 pm in pitch black and waking up at 5:30 am with the moon casting eerie shadows over the trees. I love this time of the day and I didn't know it existed.
I have my little routine that consists of a quick social media check and four cups of instant coffee before I start writing. (Yep instant -- I've definitely been here too long.) And then I plonk myself on the veranda and watch the mist hover around the hills like I'm in a Jane Austen novel. It's utter serenity. It's so peaceful. So quiet (apart from the feint snores of my Mr Darcy inside and the kookaburras laughing at my bed hair and zebra dressing gown). This is me time to the max.
Finding my passion again
I've never written like this before. My head races with ideas and I wake up in the night having to scribble them down. It's like some weird, proactive, creative alien has taken over my soul. I literally can't stop. I'm inspired, which is a revelation in itself as I thought inspiration and I had cut our friendship ties many years ago.
I haven't just had writers block for the last five years, I've had a writer's blockade -- no ideas, no creativity. Now I'm writing the way I want. The stories and anecdotes I've found seeping from my pores have led me to being interviewed, published, commissioned, translated and featured. I'm starting to feel like me again.
I haven't seen my mates for nearly four weeks and I'm a 'matey' type of person. When you're stuck on a hill with only cows for company, it seems like four years., but it's definitely made me appreciate them more. (My friends, not the cows.)
I've actually had to use the phone, which I hate with a passion. Instead of my usual 'can't be bothered to pick up' attitude that infuriates people to no end, I pick up, and I dial.
While I'm cherishing my friends back in the big smoke, my partner, on the other hand, is busy making new country buddies.
His new bestie is the toothless, Akubra wearing farmer next door who calls him 'cobber'. I must admit, I'm still not totally sold on his new BFF. He reminds me a little too much of that guy from Wolf Creek -- the helpful larrikin, who's not so helpful when he's chopping your limbs off by a campfire.
When he invited my boyfriend to remote bushland to take the dogs for a walk and told him he'd bring guns so they could hunt, I was slightly apprehensive. I suggested maybe fly fishing would be a better bonding experience, or even a beer -- in a very public place.
My only friend is Brenda. She works at the town supermarket. Our friendship began when she commented on the lime and chilli coated peanuts I was buying to feed the little hunger demon I have living within. She thought that was very 'posh'. I must admit I felt posh, dressed in my PJ bottoms and uggs buying pricey hors d'oeuvres.
Two days later she yelled at me over the street -- "hey how were your nuts?" And that was how it began.
There are things you take for granted in the city that you severely miss living remotely. For example, Dominoes doesn't deliver. No take-away delivers. You'd think this no take-away deal would be great for our clean living, but no. We have replaced naughty Tikka Masalas with bread. With delicious home baked crusty-on-the-outside-gooey-on–the-inside sough dough. Of course I'd be doing this bread a disservice if I didn't slather it in butter, in chunky slabs that slowly melt through the holes.
Also what seems to have crept in to our diets is a necessity for crumbles, custard and mashed potato. Cold country air seems to dictate the need for comfort food like this. I nearly made a crumble the other day until I laughed my head off at the idea and just bought one instead. At least my laziness hasn't diminished in the country.
With all this eating going on, I know walking from one end of the house to the other is not going to decrease my love handles, so I found a gym. It might be a 50 minute mission to get there, but that means it involves actually working out when I get there. In the country, there are no distractions on the bench press. I'm the only one there and I make every minute count and it's almost a luxury to be there.
Last but not least, I've had valuable time with the beau. We have also wanted to kill each other. But with Mr Wolf Creek next door and Harold the ghost floating about, we have resisted the urge to become another horror movie cliché.
There's no Netflix, no friends, no pubs or restaurants. It's just me and him. We have actually had to use our words. I think we quite like each other -- that's not to say I can't wait to go back to my mates and sever this co-dependant tie we've formed. It's not sustainable but it has been a special few weeks getting to know each other all over again.
I'm planning to return to reality next week. I'm ready, revitalised and open to new opportunities. I can feel the fear rising again, but that is my life. This was just a break from it.
Dedicated to my bestie Nadine Foley.
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