We just returned home from a week’s holiday.
Got home, put the washing on, ate some sushi, opened mail, started to unpack. Little Kid ran outside to quickly say hello to her neighbour friend. And now we’re all sprawled out in beds having midday siestas.
And I am here, writing to you. Because all the words are reckless and wild inside me, and I don’t want to forget the moments. Want to wrangle them down here. Make an altar for them.
And I am here, writing to you because somehow I feel changed from being away. Full of vim and vigour and wanting to change my life. Does anyone else get that way? Go away, return home to a life that doesn’t quite fit anymore? Of not wanting to fall asleep, not wanting to go back to old habits. Wanting to harness all that clarity and make it into change. I’ll try to write down that fire too, try to remember what it was that the days of sun and light brought out in me. Try to turn the fire into momentum.
But firstly, the memories made.
We stayed in a holiday home on a canal only half an hour south of here. We haven’t stayed in a canal or river house before and it was divine. It had a pool, a wee private beach, a boat shed loaded with kayaks and its own jetty. It was magical. (And actually cheaper than just going to a hotel!)
Chris’ parents joined us, as did our everpresent elderly Maltese Shitzu. Angel is now a grand old 17 years of age and continues to be obsessed by my husband whilst only mildly tolerating me/the rest of the planet. Chris spent most of his holiday time alternating between taking care of Angel’s high needs, making sure his parents were comfortable and occasionally looking out the window to see me and the kids yahoo-ing by the river. We joke that Chris is Angel’s support animal – she doesn’t cope well with life without him. Nobody else will do. I get it, babes.
Things I want to remember:
Kayaking with the kids on the river. How my little kid decides she’s no longer afraid of boats when kayaks can be this fun. How my big kid took to kayaking like a duck to water. I love kayaking too. I love that I can share this joy with her.
How every day there, my big kid’s favourite time of day is when we sneak away together to go for a kayak down the river. Watch the world glide by, paddle by paddle. Together.
Chris’ smile when he’s in the pool with the kids. How much they light up around him.
Sitting on the dock in the twilight with my big kid, watching a storm roll in.
Eating like queens. A German banquet one day for lunch, including an unbelievably delicious (but atrociously named) pork knuckle. Daily bubble tea, delivered. Roti and Malaysian curry. Woodfired pizza with potato and rosemary. Pretzels with salted caramel sauce.
Yoga on the dock at the sunset. The fruit bats flying overhead. The gold light dripping all over the water around me.
A raucous card game of Monopoly Deal with five of us playing. I couldn’t be more obsessed by this game.
My kids jumping off the jetty, legs akimbo. Water and sun and gladness.
My little kid in an enormous hammock chair, bubble tea in hand, overlooking the river, living her best life.
Going to the aquarium. Getting a photo with an enormous seal named Groucho who huffed in my ear.
So many happy hours spent looking at the river, playing in the river and swimming in the pool while looking at the river. That river was our lifeblood and our joy. Chris’ parents even spotted dolphins in there (while we, ironically, were at Sea Life).
The kids would disappear off to the dock just to watch the water, the light, the wildlife. They spotted so many sting rays, fish, bats, birds. They say it was one of their favourite things.
When we leave, me and the kids go to get frozen yogurt for the drive home. Beside us in the carpark, we overhear a bunch of blokes talking. One of them says to another in the most Australian way possible: “You know Kelly? (a pause while he tries valiantly to remember her full name) Kelly… Bloody… Johnson?” Immediately, me and the kids freeze and stare at each other with wide, thrilled eyes. I don’t know why it delights us so much, but it does. Kelly… Kelly… Bloody… Johnson is our new favourite name, and we call everybody and everything it, including dogs we pass. I despair that Chris hasn’t shared the moment with us, but when we recount it to him at home, he is completely on board. Kelly… Kelly… Bloody… Johnson… is our new favourite thing. Kelly… Kelly… Bloody… Johnson… whoever you are, wherever you are out in this bright wide world, you have brought us much gladness today.
Memories, done. The fire of transformation, next.
I want to get fitter. Not in a lose weight, look better kind of way. More of a “Oh fuck, my back and neck are constantly displacing from hypermobility and I am spending so much of my time in pain and it’s restricting my ability to do so much physically and I really want to have more adventures and less pain and I think that means I need to have much more functional strength than I do” kind of way.
I’ve been doing 1:1 pilates once a week for 18 months, and it’s been hugely helpful… but I think I need to kick it up a lot more notches.
There’s still so much I want to be able to see and do in the world. So many holidays I want to have, places I want to see. And I need to be able to do it without my back shitting itself.
I think I need to have a Fit Gurl Summer.
I think I need to work out how to make that happen.
A little while later…
It’s now 10 days later. And that fire of transformation? It’s staying with me. What a blessing.
I made up some colourful posters to help me stay inspired and on track.
BEHOLD! My Fit Gurl Summer posters!
This one is a tracker.
Everyday I colour in when I’ve done some form of movement. It doesn’t matter if some days are small (i.e. 15 minutes of yoga). It’s just helping me to do SOMETHING every day.
Beside the tracker, I keep a menu of possibilities. I don’t have to do them all. Just some ideas & inspiration for when I don’t have any. I also got the kids to brainstorm with me of activities they’d like to do with me these holidays as well.
I’m so in love with these ding dang posters. Honestly, paper + coloured pens can pretty much cure everything.
Already, it’s making more memories.
Last week, I went for a walk at sunset with my darling Madi. We got accidentally stuck in a gated estate as the stars came out, and screamed laughing when we thought we were being attacked by a lizard.
Then yesterday & today, I went to the beach with my beloveds. The weather is cool and windy, and the waves were tumbletorn. There were no sunbakers today. Just the most determined of walkers, and the great shimmering expanse of sea. The kids ran wild, and I could not keep the smile from my face. It was perfect.
I’m so grateful for all of this.
The magic memories. The light on my kids faces, the scratch of my husband’s beard when I kiss him. How good it feels to see and do new things.
And so I stretch my limbs and pull at my muscles. Because yes, to all of this. With a great gasping inhales. More of this beautiful life, just as it is.
All my love,
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