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

On Finding Home

Lately, I’ve been thinking a little bit about ‘home’, what makes up the feeling of home and what this means to me.

As a child growing up in 1980’s, ‘home’ to me was the place I came back to after school, the place where my Nanna would come to visit, the place where I would play with our dog in the backyard and the place I would spend with childhood friends during the long and seemingly endless days of summer.

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In my twenties home took on a different meaning. Home was a physical place to raise a family. There was a certain functionality to it. Home offered four walls and a front door and comfort within. Inside we were safe, my children were loved and there was always a steady supply of home cooked food to feed hungry, growing bodies. ‘Home’ during this time for me was a sanctuary, a place to retreat to after the busyness of the days spent running around after small people and their hectic schedules. Home was an escape from the outside world and all of the noise that was ever present in it.

Sliding into my forties on rather a bumpy route, the concept of home has once again shifted for me. The family home that had meant so much to me was dismantled and divided up. Possessions associated with cherished memories were released, leaving a heartbreaking void that had once been filled with love and joy. As I ponder now on the meaning of home, I find my thoughts and feelings aligning more with the feeling of home that one carries within. I think of how home can know no boundaries and it is the energy and life we put into a place that makes it home. A house is a physical structure, yet home is carried within the heart. It can be shared and expanded. Home cannot be taken away from a person when viewed this way. Home will go where I go and where ever I find myself, I will be home.

 

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I am so happy to have come to this realisation. Last year I bought myself a camper with the intent of traveling to places with my teenage daughters. Whilst used a few times for this purpose, I have found that the camper’s greatest gift to me has been the opportunity to go somewhere completely different to my daily space, on my own with only my thoughts to guide me. The greatest gift has been the sense of home when I am driving somewhere new and unexplored, the sense of the unknown stretching out on the road ahead of me and the peace that I feel as I am driving there. I am absolutely at home within myself. This is indeed an incredible feeling.

Luna xo

Self care in times of stress

It feels so good to rise to the surface and breathe once again after an all-consuming month of assignments and exams which mark the end of my first year of uni as a non-school leaver. Whilst I absolutely LOVE studying, I have found the pressure involved with end of semester requirements quite overwhelming at times. Being a more ‘vintage’ individual, there are increased demands to navigate through – home/study balance, raising teenagers and work issues to start. This is a gentle reminder to take time out in times of heightened pressure to just.. Be. Breathe a little. Give thanks for all that is good in life. Just an hour a day has been my aim, yet sometimes even this has been unachievable. In which case, even ten minutes will work wonders.

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Take that extra long shower. Download a new playlist to zone out to. Enjoy the superior chai in the ‘Cafe of good vibes’. Walk alone in nature without earphones. Message your loved one with silly banter. Pull out 3.5 weeds from the garden and be proud with this effort. Grounding is brilliant. Even just sitting on the grass with a cup of tea for 10 minutes can recharge oneself for the next intensive session of fact absorbing/essay creation.

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Take time to just be and tune out. Fuel your body with healthy foods that will bring the rewards of increased energy and focus for learning. It will soon all be over, and there IS life after exams. Actually, that is exactly what life IS. Exams are just a stepping stone to move from this chapter to the next and are not in fact ‘life’. Remember who is important and take time out of the study schedule to maintain contact. Connections are what count. Connections are what keep us going most of all in times of high stress.

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Be well,

Luna xx