I have a little food swap group with some friends. We use this as an excuse to catch up, mainly, and we swap some amazing food that we have cooked or grown or bought and have excess of. I was going to share with them my knowledge of how to make sauerkraut. It’s something that I’ve been making for a while now, and generally always have some in the fridge. It makes a nice addition to almost any meal. I especially love that when I’ve run out of greens, I can trust my huge jar of sauerkraut will be there ready to go. It lasts a fair while which makes it super handy when you can’t get to the shops.
If you’re thinking about making sauerkraut or if you’d like to see more- I’d love it if you’d take the time to watch my video and click ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’. Fireworks will go off in my heart and you’ll bring me silly joy.
If you’ve started a blog, YouTube Chanel or have started something creative, I would love to hear about it. Let’s inspire and support each other.
I chose to go on annual leave at the most peculiar time. I am a mental health nurse. It’s my job to ensure that people who are facing mental health concerns have the support suitable for them to maintain a good quality of life.
I took annual leave to further my studies into CBT. That, and I was turning 40. Then, isolation became a thing. We had plans to party and travel. Plans that are now postponed.
But I’m not sad about it. I’m doing all the things that have been on my list. Those things that get pushed way down to the bottom because there is always something more pressing to be done.
I’m a rusher. I rush here there and everywhere. From the moment I wake up in the morning, until the moment I close my eyes I have something I ‘have to do’. Even at the point where my eyes are closed, the ‘to do’ list continues, reminding me of what I haven’t done, causing me some mild forms of panic. This effects my sleep, which increases my stress levels. And the cycle continues.
This pandemic has given me an opportunity to stop.
Having the privilege of this time has forced me to be calm. My bond with my children has expanded, as that mum-guilt alleviates. The pressure I’ve put on myself has subsided. I’ve home schooled and cooked with them. They’ve let me into their world of play. They’ve crawled and climbed my body and hugged me more deeply and extensively. They’ve side-eyed me with those cheeky grins just to look at me, looking at them.
I have taken time and crocheted myself a blanket- deliberately something for myself. Time that I never would have allowed myself before. I have indulged in the way that I have always wanted to exist, but never had the headspace or energy to achieve.
For me, that existence is simple. I’m not after anything fancy. My shoes have been off and I have been grounded. My veggie patch is expanding. My compost is churning. My worm farm is doing whatever it is that worm farms do.
And mate, you should see all the things I have in jars right now. It’s like a science experiment.
I have kombucha, sourdough, apple scrap vinegar, wild honey mead (locally sourced raw honey) and a ginger bug. I have locally foraged olives in brine, homegrown preserved lemons and friend grown pears in vanilla and cinnamon sugar syrup. I have sauerkraut, and I even made a video about it. It’s cost me hardly anything as I scavenge and forage.
The interesting thing is, my connections within my community have grown because of my love of fermenting and foraging. Prior to iso, I swapped and traded. Some of us are still managing to do this, although keeping our distance. I received some beautiful leek seedlings that were placed on a neighbours porch for me. I traded a kombucha scoby for a sourdough starter. Tonight, I’ll be raiding olive trees.
The irony here is that previously I found I often felt alone and lonely in all my rushing. The stress was intense and I often just could not think straight. My to-do list was exhausting. There was rarely time for genuine connections.
And now- I mean, I’m not allowed to go anywhere or see anyone, but I have been in contact on a personal level with far more people than I usually am. I am opening myself up and loosing that self consciousness that normally haunts me.
I am smiling at strangers. They smile back.
I’m feeling connected.
And pal, it feels so good.
On Monday, I’ll return to the frontline real world. I’ll be there to support others with my feet firmly on the ground.
How are you feeling during this time? I encourage you to talk. Talk to anyone. A family member, a friend, a stranger. If things are feeling overwhelming, talk to your GP who can organise a mental health plan for you. Alternatively, if in Australia, call Mental Health Triage in your state or Lifeline on 13 11 14 for support. Talking is important.You might be surprised at how much it helps, not only you- but those around you.
So many people I know are in their 30’s and are single. Many of them, hitting their late 30’s and really starting the feel the push of making the decision to chose their career or to be overwhelmed with a rush to find that special someone and settle down. Buy a house in the ‘burbs and have children.
The other day, a friend who has just recently separated from his partner of 7 years, called me to ask if he could borrow my stand up paddle board. Before he asked that though, he asked if he could ask me a question. Instead of asking to borrow the SUP, he asked ‘Sally, what is the meaning of life?’
My immediate response was to say ‘It just is.’
The more I think about this question, the more I feel like maybe I finally got the answer right.
I’ve spent a lifetime in an existential crisis. What is the meaning of it all? How long do I have? Am I doing it right?
You know what I realised? The fact that we exist is the meaning of it all.
It’s like that zen moment in the end of the Dark Crystal after the gelfling replaces the crystal chard and the mystics and the skekzis become one. Suddenly, they stop fighting and calm descends over them all.
We don’t need to search. We don’t need to fight. We don’t need to stress. We just need to be. The world will keep turning. Even if there is an all out nuclear war, the world will keep turning.
My life has been a series of misfortunes and luck.
When I was a kid, ideas of my future career scrambled around combining the illustrious career of working in the Levi’s factory that was once located in my hometown, with a sideline in hairdressing.
As I got older and realised every little girl wanted to be a hairdresser, I moved in to the idea of marine biologist or artist. Of course being the 90’s, all of the adults that surrounded me told me that to be a marine biologist I’d have to work hard and move interstate, making the idea sound impossible. All the adults told me that artists only make money once their dead. Even photographers and graphic designers don’t make money.
And so on I meandered, through a BA where I didn’t do particularly well but I did enough to pass, through to a graduate diploma in visual arts which I foolishly sidelined for a stupid, horrible relationship (young love, hey?). During these times, I had been fortunate enough to have been given fabulous jobs in youth work, disability, and cleaning. These people who gave me these positions obviously saw something in me that I didn’t know I possessed. I felt awkward and weird and lost.
I felt like I was constantly waiting for something big. I was destined. If only I knew what it was.
And so fast forward ten years. Skip over a nursing degree, and 8 years in a permanent position. A grad dip and a casual position. And now a masters. All the while falling in an out of photography, art and deejaying, but feeling like a fraud. I was interesting hearing Zan Rowe talking the other day about how no matter how well we have done for ourselves, we’ll always feel like an imposter.
Throughout my life, two things have been constant: my need to have more than one job at once, and the opportunity to make and create.
I’ve always tried to fake it till I made it, remembering that even Jackson Pollock felt like a fraud. I’ve never been particularly confident, but then I’ve never particularly dedicated my heart and soul to any endeavour. I had a blog that could have been so much more. I curated and ran life drawing groups and painted. I deejayed and photographed all whilst feeling extreme lightening bolts of self doubt. Jack of all trades. Master of none.
And so now, I’m starting to get it. I’ve made my plans and I’ve chosen a future, kinda. Having kids has certainly help me realise what’s important, and I want to be a good role model for them.
It’s now the time that stop winging it and improve my skill set.
I like to google. I google everything. I’ve got a lot of questions and thanks to the internet I now have most of the answers.
So one late night, around the time that I hit burnout with my job, I googled online photography courses.
I found The Photography Institute and immediately enrolled. It’s taken a little while to get into the swing of things, with getting married and having two kidlets all in the space of three years. The beauty of this course is that I can take my time. They allow me that privilege and now I’m on a roll.
I’m learning so much. With each unit that I read, I find answers that google couldn’t give me. My passion is evolving and I honestly love it. It’s making me excited for the future and giving me focus.
Today is Friday. Friday in the world of maternity leave is not a great deal different to most other days with one exception.
I know that tomorrow, I’ll wake up, roll over & see all the faces in the family I’ve made.
That I’ve created.
Lately, it occurred to me that even if I live to be 100, that’s only 38,900 days on this planet. It’s just not enough. That realisation has really spurred me to reassess my priorities and goals.
My future hopes are:
•Focus on family. Give them my undistracted time, love & attention.
•Remember that happiness from things is only temporary and stop spending money on things that will soon become clutter.
•Work my garden. Help it grow.
•Save the monies. Get debt free. Buy a house so that when I’m old, I’ll be debt free, won’t have to pay rent & have an investment for my kids.
I’m far from perfect. These are simple goals.
I want to stop wanting more things. I think that’s the key.
I’m generally happy with the things I have here & now. I don’t need more clutter.
This is it.