Happy new year, dear readers! I hope you all saw the new year in doing something you loved with those closest to you. And for those of you sleeping soundly through it all, as many of you I know did, I hope it was a beautiful sleep!
And so another new year begins, with a fresh stretch of time ahead to create new plans and memories and, I hope, see dreams come true.
These last few days I have visited a region of my past, journeying to a part of the Victorian countryside I had not visited since I was on the brink of adolescence. I have spent much time on the beaches I swam in as a young girl, eaten a heap of fish and chips, and stayed in a caravan park similar to the ones I stayed in with my family, although they’re a little more swish now, it seems.
Some of my best times were on these trips, when holidays meant caravan and camping and journeys involved countless hours on the road listening to my dad’s Spanish folk tape on repeat (the one I accidentally once taped New Kids On The Block’s epic Hangin‘ Tough album over) and my younger brother and sister talking in their made up language, arguing and then making up, all while I pored over the Melway to guide my dad to our destination. How I loved (and still love … this old-timer street guide has a special spot in my car) the Melway! On each trip came with me a pile of books and my journal, as well as the ‘shady ladies’, my horrible glasses with the tint my mother thought would be a nice idea, so I could see on occasion. If a boy was present said glasses were quickly hidden away and I adopted a squint in order to make out what was ahead of me. A bit sad when I think about it now, but they were huge glasses, and tinted for crying out loud.
Until the age of seventeen this was the only kind of holiday I knew, and it was the very best kind, which I will always be grateful to my parents for. Tanned and sandy and feral, I made pen pals and read my books and floated in seas and swimming pools and developed crushes on equally awkward boys.
On returning to the caravan park after a quiet drink down at the marina to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks exploding from the local pub owner’s boat (it did look as though the whole boat was going to catch on fire at one point), I listened to the shrieks and giggles of the gangly pre-teens while their parents drank themselves into 2016 listening to Wilson Phillips (kids of the 80s, like me, I suspect). Listening to those shrieks I felt both relieved that those confusing days were behind me and sad that I had forgotten what it felt like to have long stretches of time to do everything and nothing.
In this little, precious piece of time I have had in this beautiful part of Australia, I have been reminded not only of the fun of those times, but of the big, wild dreams I had. Some of them have become a reality, but many haven’t … yet. My dad has always said that life is long, contrary to the popular belief that life is short. While I often feel that time runs away from me far too quickly, my ‘New Year’s resolution’ for the sake of giving this reflection a name (I’m not a massive fan of resolutions), is to care far less about running out of time and make space in my life now for those big, wild dreams in a life that I hope will be long. It might mean that I have to say ‘no’ more often, that word that I find the hardest to say. This year I will make time to read more, write more, cook more and share more, especially on this blog! But today, you will find me swinging on a ropes course among the treetops in the Dandenong ranges … another return to my childhood. This one, a bit more terrifying!
What are your hopes for this brand, new year? Whatever they may be, or if your head is still too sore to contemplate this, I hope joy, peace, love and good food are yours throughout 2016.
With much appreciation and all my good wishes, Danielle xx