The alarm jangled its way into my dreams this morning, but it didn’t seem quite so difficult to drag myself out of bed. The rising sun peeks over the horizon and creeps across my windowsill a little earlier these days.
Kookaburras share an early morning joke as I brew a coffee. I wonder if they are laughing at me fumbling about the kitchen.
As I sink into my comfy old chair, my face tilted upwards toward an almost Ceylon Sapphire blue sky, I find myself daydreaming of seagrass rippling in the current, as the breeze ripples through the gum leaves in shimmering waves. It trickles across my skin, cooling the warm blush from the sunshine as it climbs higher into the morning.
What is it about the change of season? The cooler tones of winter imperceptibly – but almost suddenly – transform into the more vivid, fresh, bright colours of spring. As beautiful and stark as winter can be, there is something uplifting about that touch of warmth as it encourages the birds to sing a little louder and longer, as it draws us out from under the blankets into the fresh air a little earlier.
I take a long, slow, deliberate breath inwards. The aroma of fresh coffee is tinged with the floral notes of spring time. I feel energised and relaxed, all at once. A change of pace, a change of routine and a change of season.
Sombre grey skies and fine misty rain silenced the birdsong this morning, until a fresh cool breeze quickly whipped away the clouds and dried off the droplets.
Bright sunshine has broken through and warms my face. A fresh cup of coffee warms my body, as thoughts of friends warm the heart.
We are never alone. Old friends and new, absent friends, beloved family members, or a special someone who cannot always be near. That person may not be there when you reach out to touch them, but the connection is real and enduring, regardless of physical distance.
When it comes to refreshing and maintaining connection, technology – which we sometimes regard as a curse – is a real blessing. Past generations had to wait patiently for the post, for that handwritten letter to arrive. Now, all we need to do is reach for the phone to feel the comfort of their voice, or even see warmth of their smile.
A simple message can let someone know you’re thinking of them, but as a special friend often reminds me, there is nothing like taking a moment, dialling a number and hearing their voice.
Too many of us – myself included – take the easy option when we are busy, by sending a text. We know what we mean, but went sent in a rush will the recipient always read the same? The written word maybe concise and to the point, but the intended kindness might not always be conveyed.
Pick up the phone, dial the number and spend the five minutes you would have composing a text, to reconnect with a friend. It will be well worth the effort!
On demand TV is in most households in the developed world, but technology has provided us with a double edged sword.
From the moment we rise in the morning until well after our head hits the pillow at night – and if we choose so, every moment in between – the availability of any and all genre of visual media is literally at our fingertips.
TV is no longer limited to that one screen in a living room where the family gathered, if not to discuss world events reported in the news, then to enjoy nothing more than the comforting presence of one another in the combined enjoyment of a prime time show.
TV-time is no longer an opportunity to learn the skills of diplomacy and the benefits of democracy, as streaming has eliminated a need for these, when almost every member of the household has individual access to at least one screen.
TV has also become a minefield of censorship with guardians needing the skills and opportunity to enforce parental controls in a world where often their children are more tech-savvy than they are themselves. Navigating the tricky territory of viewing that was once restricted to certain hours, now being available 24 hours, is all but impossible.
At one time a parent could survive with just the extra set of “eyes in the back of their head“, but now with individual small screen devices in separate bedrooms across multiple family members, those eyes are simply no longer enough! The reality is that you’d be spending all your (usually very little) free time checking from one child to another to enforce, or ensure, that innocent minds are not being assaulted by any of the gratuitous violence (and worse) that is freely accessible.
On the flip-side, one can binge on whatever they desire without the frustration of other family members and their variety of interests. Children can laugh along with their favourite cartoon characters as much as they like, teens can dine on a 24 hour diet of music clips, while adults pick and choose as they please… Even if the kids haven’t gone to sleep yet!
Our positive flip-side is that we have created our own family viewing time around an oldie, but a goodie, in “Friends” – I guess you could call it “designer primetime“.
There were moments when I saw ‘on demand TV’ as the death of family time, but with a little gentle persuasion (and perhaps coercion), I am beginning to see the way to a new era of family viewing.
How has the availability of streaming services affected your household dynamic?
It’s a new year… I have a fresh coffee. The gentle breeze cools my skin, a bird twitters lazily on a nearby branch, and I muse over the year that was… but more importantly, I plan a positive start to the year ahead.
We all make “New Year’s resolutions” – some on a grander scale, while others remain a little more private. Most of us resolve to make the new year one of greater health and wealth. More exercise, less indulgent food, and perhaps a career change or pay rise. They are all great goals, but are they specific enough to achieve?
This year I’ve decided to get down to grassroots and create some achieveable new habits… A short walk with my daughter each day – not a marathon, just time to reconnect with my tech-distracted teen, and I will switch my lunchtime sandwich to a bowl of salad more often – always healthier to “eat the rainbow“. I also plan to enroll in a course that will equip me to use my writing skills to supplement our income, and a better opportunity to feed my passion for the written word. There you go… That’s it, “health and wealth” addressed!
It wasn’t until the night before last, as I settled my almost 9-year-old son to bed, that I stumbled across my most important resolution…
He asked me ‘what was something that I thought made me the best person I can be?’ I replied to say that I hoped it might be my caring nature and consideration for others that make me a good person. He was quiet for a moment and then his small voice quietly whispered into the darkness, “If you be a bit more selfish and look after yourself more, then you might be an even better person than you already are“. His wise words and perception, well beyond his years, left my heart full and my mouth speechless.
I now have my most important reason for a resolution – perhaps for all of us, given the life changing events of the past year – and that is to take better care of myself, so that I may better care for those I love.
School holidays, visitors coming and going, a family member recovering from an operation… Not much time amongst the chaos for musing.
Life is starting to settle back into a routine and it made me realise how long it has been since I made time to take time. Just that ten minutes here and there for my own mental R and R.
My ten minute brisk walk around the block (my friend and I call it our “twirl”) – I didn’t realise how much I missed it. Especially at this time of year when the air is fresh, and on a fine day such as this, the sunshine is warm on my back. It can be so invigorating!
Working for myself, helping out a friend in their business, and being a full-time parent can be exhilarating and exhausting all at once, so those couple of self imposed “time outs” can be crucial to well-being.
When the house is empty and quiet, it is so nice to throw open the windows and doors, inviting our beautiful garden in. To sit quietly, sip my warming brew, and indulge in one of my favourite ten minute pastimes… A morning coffee musing.