On ‘Dating’ Yourself

I have just arrived back from a couple of days at the beach. Solo camping is something I have been finding myself doing more and more frequently over the past couple of years. I love the whole process; planning a trip and choosing a location, loading up my camper, setting out with a playlist full of podcasts for the journey, arriving, setting up and of course, exploring. It is a completely selfish exercise,  laden with self-indulgence. Something purely for me. In my everyday life I cope with my fair share of stress while caring for my daughter. These solo camping windows of solitude are like beacons on my wellbeing radar. I navigate towards them whenever possible and take the time…no rather make the time for myself before it passes me by.

It is tempting to invite others, yet I always hold back.

It is my space alone and it feels sacred to me. This trip I got to pondering how solo holidaying is a little like dating yourself…

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Picture all of the fun things you would do on dates with your love and then imagine doing all of those those things just for You.

How would this make you feel?

Spoiled? Indulged? Pampered? Loved? Nurtured? Safe?

Yes, for me it is all of these things. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing these things with my love but when she is on the other side of the world skipping town for a weekend date by the sea is not really an option. Should I not go? Should I put my life on pause until we are together again? Absolutely not. I consider my sojourns ‘research’ for places to enjoy when we are together. In the meantime, it really does feel like I am dating myself.

Which is an extremely good thing!

Why wouldn’t I want to hang out with myself? I am funny, kind, serious, thoughtful and practical. I have good company within myself. I can laugh at my own jokes, which makes me the perfect audience for myself!

Traveling alone, I sometimes get strange looks and a darting glance towards the space around me from passers by, looking for my ‘significant other’. Indeed, as I was beach strolling yesterday I think I saw about one person on their own for every ten or so couples.

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There is so much to be said for traveling alone!

There is no one to rely on so you have to get things done, especially when things don’t go to plan. This inevitably makes you strong. Sometimes physically, but mostly mentally. You realise to a greater extent what you like and don’t like. What you will and will not spend time on. What experiences you hope to share with others and those which you prefer to keep primarily for you.

When camping alone I cook for myself. This rarely happens when I am at home alone. When traveling alone I will treat myself to things that I wouldn’t otherwise do in my regular routine – an extra long walk around dinnertime? Yes! Extended pondering whilst staring at the waves? You bet! Lingering over the paper and a chai for so much longer than usual? Absolutely!

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‘Dating’ yourself is so much more than treating yourself. It is about feeding your soul with the things that align with who you are and what brings you pleasure. The act of recognising these things and consciously choosing to foster them is so high up on my self love scale that I feel giddy just thinking about it. We so often do things for others and neglect our own needs, yearnings or desires. Feeding your soul with self love is where wellbeing shifts for me from an overused word into something real, something of value and something that will propel us forward to be the very best versions of ourselves, for ourselves. Don’t we all deserve a bit of that?

Luna xo

A Long Distance Valentine’s Day

Being in a long distance relationship does not come without its challenges. For me, the greatest issue is the emotional pain at being separated, particularly on days of significance for us. The following post is a brief look at how Valentine’s Day 2019 unfolded for me, on the complete opposite side of the globe to the one I love..

 

Yesterday:

7:10 am – I wake and slowly remember that today is Valentine’s Day. We are apart. She is in England and I am in Australia. I daydream for a few moments about the fantastically brilliant time we had over Christmas on her side of the world..

7:20 am- We skype. She asks if I have opened her card that has arrived in a bright red envelope with specific instructions ‘not to open until the 14th’. I confess I have not, refraining from telling her that it will be a bitter sweet moment; her words of love will spill from the card yet she will not be near for me to reach out to hold and return the sentiment. I end up opening the card over skype and we smile and joke lightly about the funny otters on the front..

8:15 am – I decide to put all thoughts of Valentine’s day out of my mind as I go about my day, knowing full well, it is an over-hyped ploy from businesses to draw people in to consuming frivolous tokens of affection..

11:15 am – I return home from running errands to find six long stemmed roses near the front door. They are yellow. Our rose colour. The pit in my stomach returns. Another reminder that we are together, yet so far apart. It is actually incomprehensible to me at times. I feel slightly disappointed to have missed the flower delivery man who seems to be following along with unfiltered joy our tale of love through the scribblings on cards accompanying yellow roses! The flowers come inside and are placed in a vase on the hall stand for all to admire..

12:30 pm – Over lunch I decide to have a social media free day. I can’t bear the thought of endless scrolling over people’s PAL’s (public announcements of love). I am in love! I have a Valentine! She is wonderful in every way! Yet, she is not near. Nope, no scrolling for me. It’s the local paper and a sunny spot outside with the cat today..

12:40 – I cave. I find myself scrolling through Instagram. As suspected every second post is a love heart or broadcast of affection of some sort. Yearning to throw the phone on the ground in frustration and watch it smash into a million pieces, I painfully and gently place it on the table face down..

3:30 pm- Thoughts of her waking up filter into my mind. I wish I was there to wake up with her. I am feeling incredibly sad and sorry for myself. Misery is oozing from deep within me, seeping out of my every pore.

5:00 pm – Her first skype messages of the day filters through. She is thanking me for the ‘sweet owl card’. In my haste posting it, I had neglected to put a clue on the back to ‘not open this card until the 14th’. I had recalled that the stamp was upside down on this one…and she remembers. She has saved it to open today. My heart melts.

6:00 pm – I begin to stress that I have not organised something to be delivered to her. I was so happy to have posted my card in time to her. I fret over her not receiving a gesture of love when it is the only day of the year that she will be constantly reminded that we are together, yet so far apart. I can’t bear it. Thoughts of frivolous consumerism fly out the window. I spend an hour while I should be making dinner searching local businesses that might send an appropriate gift of love. The cut off times were mostly 3pm the day before. Bugger! Buggerbuggerbugger..

6:30 pm – The local florist near her is my saviour. They are just starting their working day and reply graciously to my confuddling series emails. The time difference works in my favour. I send thanks to the universe that this is so.

6:45 pm – The fretful feeling has passed. The only way to feel the love is to release the love and as hard as I had tried to hold on tight and refuse to acknowledge this day of ‘love’ that we are forced to endure from a commercial point of view, I know I need to show her just how much she means to me. Being apart is absolutely the most difficult part of our relationship. Especially those times when all I yearn for is her smile, her hand to hold or her laugh that makes me dissolve when it hits my ears. The vast emptiness is heart-wrenching and the hours apart so incredibly long.

10:30 pm – I turn out the light and think of her going about her work day. It will nearly be lunchtime with her. I wonder if the flowers will make it to her or not. They have not reached her in the past due to work and location issues. I feel a sense of peace knowing that my gesture of love is out there, somewhere making its way to her, somehow..

4:12 am – I stir with a pulling feeling that won’t go away. I try to ignore it but it proves impossible. I roll over and check my phone for messages. She has received the flowers and chocolates. And the heartfelt scribblings on yet another card. The space/distance barrier has been ruptured again…

Luna xo

(This was our first Valentine’s Day since becoming engaged).

The Ups and Ups of a Long Distance Relationship

Three and a half years ago I met her. The One I Love.

Touring the UK with my mum and brother, she was an unexpected appearance in my recently fractured world.

“We can make this work.” She ponders as we avoid counting the minutes that we have left together at Heathrow Airport.

“I don’t know…I have so little to offer..” My voice trailing off as the reality of the vast distance between London and Melbourne began to sink in. 16,893 kilometers to be exact.

“You have SO much to offer!” We stand in silence and despair at the thought of parting.

With the concept of physical distance beginning to dissolve, being replaced with the closeness one feels in the heart when emotionally connected through a dimension physical distance does not occupy, I began to see that maybe this could work. We could have a chance at this. It need not be the end, especially as it really did feel like the beginning…

Jump forward three and a half years and I wonder in awe at how we have come this far.

Have we bridged the gap? No.

Is there a move scheduled sometime soon? Nope.

BUT!

We see each other every few months for a few weeks at a time, minimum. The world and it’s noise ceases to exist and only we are present in our glorious bubble of love. We condense our ‘dates’ into blocks (and have a bloody good time with that, let me tell you!).  When we are together we laugh, chill, go out, stay in, sleep late, eat delicious food, drink way too much and go places that we really want to share with each other. We read funny things and share them, in real time!

What about when you are apart I hear you ask?

We skype and text message everyday. And send lovely (and ridiculous) snail mail and special deliveries. We share our online music.

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Anything else that brings you comfort when you are apart? 

Well since you asked..

I know she can’t smell me when I skip a shower some days.

Garlic consumption is no longer an issue. For either of us.

I can eat at weird times (or not at all) and not feel guilty that I am depriving her of her daily nutritional intake.

There is a bucket load of time to work on personal goals, study and plan for when we are next together. This has to be a good thing, right? Yes!

I can research new places to go when we are next together, add to my list and watch it grow.

Netflix binging. It’s only natural that not all our viewing tastes align. Say no more.

There is no limit to the amount of sport one can listen to. Or choose not to listen to!

The cat sleeps on my bed (again, shh..).

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Ridiculous snail mail! (Postcard courtesy of Chit Chat Design UK)

In all seriousness, what I appreciate most of all about being apart is the abundance of time for personal growth and working on achieving goals. Knowing that I can invest time in myself which will help me to become a better person, which in turn will bring us closer to being where we want to be, whenever that happens to be. There is something so wonderful about working hard for something that is so important to you (i.e. your future life), and enjoying your time together along the way.

I know that it won’t always be this way and I have every faith that we will somehow bridge that gap the separates us at times. Until then, there is much work to do to make sure I am in the best possible place when that time presents itself announcing that it is in fact right.

Be well out there, whether you are near or far from your love, if you are yet to meet them, or your love is yourself (as it should be for all of us!).

Luna xo