Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it

On March 29, this blog will be 10 years old.

Then, I had been in Canberra for a month, and just started my PhD on the framework of an artificial mythology examining William Blake’s Vala, or the Four Zoas. It was a cycle he ended up abandoning – but he wanted to create something for England, and this was to be it. It wasn’t a complete failure though, as one element from this cycle survived, and the English sing it as their unofficial anthem: Jerusalem (*note: this short piece began in the Zoas, and then was lifted to be the Preface of another of his epic poems, Milton. Blake was utterly obsessed with Milton and Paradise Lost). I even got to hold the Zoas manuscript in my hands – it was a set of roughly A2-sized pages where Blake had annotated and written a great deal in crayon – which didn’t digitise properly. It was jarring to see after how small and delicate his Songs of Innocence and Experience were… but that was a time long ago. It was turning into an MPhil in Art History, so the framework, theology, and social anthropology stayed, and the literature changed to another artificial myth: The Silmarillion. Tolkien, too, was preoccupied with Paradise Lost, and the concept of an Ur-mythology (which Guy Gavriel Kay, Christopher Tolkien’s PhD student and editing assistant, investigated in a very comprehensive way within the The Fionavar Tapestry).

I had only just met the people who would put me in touch with CAVAL, the company that would send me around Aussie for several years as a consultant, and I hadn’t met Kylie or Becky: two of my academic role models. That would come later. I had just finished and submitted my thesis for my MLIS – looking at content auditing, Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort, and shiny, glorious metadata.

What a decade it has been! I began this blog to chart and discuss with people far away from me. And for shameless knitting posts. Even my knitting has refined in leaps and bounds since then. It’s charted my fights against The Black Dog, moving countries, jobs, crushing disappointments, highs, lows, triumphs and tribulations. It is, as you are, dear reader, an old friend. And for the last few years, it has been a lament. A chronicle of fight and frustration. I never intended it to be that. Even in this age of self-censoring, I really never intended it to be that. So it won’t be. Not any more.

You see, I’ve missed talking to the chasm that is the internet. I’ve struggled to think about what to say – I’ve not wanted to be contrived or insolent. I’m not a mommy  blogger or a travel blogger, or a political commentator. This used to be an academic-yarny blog. And it may become one again. With some cooking thrown in (I really haven’t spent enough time in the kitchen, and cooking for one can be boring, but to hell with it – there will be food this year), some books and music… French, and whatever PD or edX courses I end up taking. There may also be some Freediving or Apnea stuffs, and a little bit of social media management reflection here as well.

I’m going to start this next decade of Artificially Mythic with my original intent: this isn’t going anywhere, and it’s going to chart my personal and professional development. I may use Medium a little more when I get back into full PD mode, but I invite you, dear reader, to come along this adventure with me.

In the words of our beloved Starman, David Bowie:

I don’t know where I’m going from here,

But I promise it won’t be boring.

Until my next post (which, spoiler alert: will contain knitting. And possibly Google Analytics).

We’ll fill our mouths with cinnamon

Once upon a time, dear reader, a long time ago, I fell in love with my best friend. I can’t tell you when that happened… only that it was years later that I realised it was true and could admit it. But as the immortal quote from How I met your Mother goes:

“If you have chemistry you only need one other thing – timing, but timing’s a bitch.”

This is true. We got together, but I don’t think either of us were ready for it. I was spiralling into in a very dark place. We were both so scared of hurting the other too… It all fell apart. And I truly understood heartbreak. That was years ago. He was the love of my life, and truth be told, he still is. It has taken even more years after the fact to accept that this is the case, know that there’s nothing that will come of it, and let go.

So why am I talking about this now?  Because the chances of him ever reading this post are so very minimal. And, dear reader – I’m doing this for me. This is so much more than relationships and emotions. It about choices and learning lessons, and living.

My pinterest feed is full of platitudes and poems about love and loss and other such stuff. There were so many, I made a board for them. I visit it and my cynicism comes bubbling to the surface.  Men lie – People lie. Promises are broken. I should know this by now. But this is where that old chestnut what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger comes whispering in my ear. Do I get to be angry? Yes. Do I want to be? No: it’s too draining.

The relationship I had before him wasn’t a happy one. In that life, I lost myself in trying to appease and meet the expectations of the family and their quirks. I had to be the adult in that situation, a mother role more than a partner. And it’s taken me to now to even recover from that. It meant with him I wasn’t going to stand on ceremony for anybody. And I didn’t. It didn’t go down well with some, but a lack of communication made it all the worse. The things you learn at the end of it all.

But, this is for me to thank him, them. Both of them. For helping shape who I am today. For introducing me to music that I love, people and places I would never have met or gone to, and experiences I was too chicken to try until I realised I could. And for hurting me so badly that I had to rebuild and re-find myself: who I am, what my passions are, where I want to be, and why I do what I do.

I found the birthday card he wrote me a few months before the break up, and it had me sitting on the ground and crying for hours the other day. It made me realise that there are things I do regret, and there are things I will blame myself for – forever – and I need to accept that its okay, as long as I can take something from it and not repeat my mistakes: learn from experience, and value what I was taught. And  to remember that any relationship takes two. He and I are as guilty as the other here. That’s not going to change anything, but it helps with perspective for the future.

So I sit here, in my lovely home, with my view of the sea and my books, my yarn, my Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor (there are better quality ones, but I do love Rostropovich – his interpretation is more emotional than either Ma or Du Pré… and I haven’t found a good recording of Isserlis – even though I first heard him playing this live), and look at the photos of my friends, my adventures, and my list of projects I aspire to achieve this year, and I know I couldn’t have done this or been here if it weren’t for what they taught me about, well, me.

I think about where I will go and what I will do. That while there won’t be anybody else, it doesn’t mean I’m alone or a failure. My experiences have brought me a tribe of people to share life and laughter with, to learn from, and to have adventures with. It won’t be the one I called my best friend, but it will all be okay. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful.

“While I was singing you silenced me: Asked me to tell you the truth”

This year, I decided to not do the whole resolution thing. Instead, I’m going to keep on keeping on. (You know, learning French, knitting, half-marathons, glutting myself of live and classical music: the usual).

I’m finally back in the water (I got my AIDA 2* in December with no training beforehand – the only thing stopping a 3* is CWT, but who knows what I could do with some proper training?) I got in a pool for fitness with the Seals yesterday, and while I can keep up in the gym… let’s just say it’s good to be back in the water, but I have a long way to go. Still, I’m being conscious to not try do everything at once – I’m actually healthy now… there needs to be some balance in what I do. (hahaha). I also plan to read more (I gave myself a migraine from overdoing it during the holiday – I regret nothing), blog more, see friends I’ve neglected, and be more mindful.

It’s with morbid curiosity that I wonder if I’ll put myself in hospital this year. Will I manage contract another life-threatening illness, or am I off the hook this time (4 years since the dengue, 2 since pneumonia)? I’m hoping the commentators curse means I’ve nixed it now. I should have, I’ve been pretty disciplined in trying to address all the things.

2016 was a year of learning. I learnt hard lessons, and I learnt to let go. I learnt that it’s okay to feel, but not to let that consume me. I learnt to rebuild walls, keep my mouth shut, and that when people say that they value your honesty – they really don’t. I learnt that people will lie to your face and betray you. I learnt that you can’t trust anybody, even those you thought you would trust with your life. I learnt that I have value. I also learnt that I’m an analytical and logical being by default. (It surprised me somewhat, seeing as I’m so ruled by my emotions).  I learnt that I need to be careful with who I give my time and energy to, because I’m tired of being taken for granted and used. I learnt that standing up for others puts you in the line of fire. I learnt that my need for justice and what’s right can also be a fatal flaw.

I also learnt that people can surprise you. And that those who I do call my friends constantly amaze me with patience, good humour and wit. I realised that I have a few tribes of glorious people who keep me from anger and despair. And these people blow me away. How the hell did I find them, and what did I do to deserve them? All I can say to each and every one of them is Thank You. Thank you for sticking with me. Here’s to many adventures we may have to come, and to shared memories and laughter of adventures past.

I hope that the lessons I learnt in 2016 will make my 2017 better.

My totem animal for the year is going to be the cephalopod: intelligent, agile, resilient, adaptable, courageous. Luckily, I have one to keep me company now, and remind me of those qualities when the going gets tough.


Until next I write, keep safe and be well.




Levavi oculos meos in montes, unde veniet auxilium mihi?

It was a wonderful week for my part of the Festival of the Scorpio. My workmates took me out for coffee and cake, I had a fantastic dinner on Friday with Good People that I’m very happy to have in my life, and I had tradition birthday High Tea with an incredible bunch of ladies (and Hywel). I topped it off by watching The Arrival with another new friend I adopted about a month ago, and made it home around 11 last night.

And then I learnt something about myself.

At 12:02am my bed started to rock gently. I don’t usually feel earthquakes in my apartment so I made note of it, and waited for this one to settle down, as they usually do. Only, this one didn’t. It got more insistent, my bedroom roller blind shot up and there was a sort of thump before all hell let loose. This was the first time I’ve lunged for the doorway. The shaking was so bad that I was actually flung backwards into hallway wall. I managed to steady myself in the doorway for what seemed like an eternity – staring outside and waiting of the quake to finish. I watched the beautiful blue lights flash high up in the clouds above the Hutt Valley, and then the green flashes along the Petone foreshore as the transponders all shorted – leaving darkness behind them. Then the shaking stopped, but I didn’t stop shaking. Not for another 5 minutes anyway.

One always wonders how you would act in case of emergency. I know now. While I was braced desperately in the doorway in terror (I’m not afraid to say that – I was terrified), the 12 storeys of apartment block groaning above me and the noise the walls were making, there was a very clear, very lucid part of me that was assessing the situation. It was making a note of where my wallet and passport were, how close was I to my shoes, that I had a backpack just around the corner (in fact I could have reached it with my foot) with water and some energy bars in it. That I had my walking gear in the cupboard near my left hand and a torch next to my bed. It also sighed internally and said I really don’t want to do that walk to Paremata again. And that part of me turned to thinking about my people in this part of the world, and if they were all okay. You can tell a great deal about who you think of first in such situations. I surprised myself. And then I grabbed the phone at 12:04am and called my mother: waking my parents up in time for the earthquake to roll through the Bay of Plenty.

There wasn’t much sleep last night. I think I managed about 4 hours all up, waking up with sandpapered eyes to the sounds of people examining the staircase and lobby on the other side of my front door (the joys of ground floor living). It took a little while to survey the scene. The support struts that dominate my hallway (I have the Harry Potter apartment) have new cracks, and some of them had clearly shifted. There’s a significant crack inside my built in wardrobe and there was a howling gale whistling through it. It looks like there’s a wee bit of structural damage to the external walls (some of them are now weeping in the rain) and there’s a fair bit of cracking around the place. It’s made for a nervous day with the countless aftershocks. The damage to these same struts that also run along outside and into the lobby looked far worse for wear than the parts in my flat. The significant cleaning that was taking place in the lobby made sense when I went out to look.

But I did the Long walk home last weekend. I managed 42km of the 50 before the marshals bundled me into a car and dropped me off at the nearest railway station (Paekakariki). In case of emergency I wouldn’t need to walk all the way to Kapiti: Titahi Bay or Paremata would suffice, boats can launch from either. The point of the exercise was an earthquake drill for those living in Kapiti who would need to get home from Wellington, should something like last night happen when they were at work. I did it because it would be good to know how to get out of Wellington if/when a mass evacuation will take place. People were encouraged to take their emergency pack with them on the walk, so they would know what it would be like.

That is probably why I was flicking through a mental inventory last night while the earth groaned. I put it all in a bag today: the things that can stay there in case of emergency. When you really think about it, it’s amazing what you would take with you. I had all last weekend to think about it, and today to clean up the broken crockery (I lost a few plates ), plaster, and bits of stuff I had lying around. Spoke to Apartment board members, took photos and submitted them to my rental manager, and felt generally frazzled, feeling horror at the stories coming out of North Canterbury and the epicentre. And then I saw the photos. I hate feeling helpless – I wish I could go down south and do something: dig trenches, clear trees, look after sprogs so their parents can rest, cook meals, anything. And in this weather I just hope things settle down soon – but with three hot spots playing tag, I don’t think that’s going to happen soon.

Peter Rabbit, my trusted stuff toy for 28 years.

And now the wind is howling and I realise the windows may be leaking too with the horizontal rain and the almost constant aftershocks. But I have power, and hot water; friends who care, and my lovely mother and brother on the other end of the phone when I need to be distracted.

I pleasantly surprised myself with how the rational side of my brain took over before the hysterical wobbly side was let loose once I realised I wasn’t in any danger. I’m happy to know that I would have the ability to act should I ever be in such a situation again – and that I have a go bag prepped now.

I hope I will get some sleep tonight. I’ve been running on adrenaline all day and feel it. One thing is for sure though: my toy rabbit, Peter, is keeping me company tonight.

On the right side of the looking glass…

In my never-ending quest to get better (the road of continuous self-improvement is a different post, but will probably hijack this one because the two are so interrelated), there’s been so much self-reflection and analysis (mental and physical), faltering baby steps, prioritisation and brutal honesty and actually letting go.

That last bit is the hardest. Letting go of expectations, perceptions, emotions, places, people, dreams. I’ve spent a lot of time working through this this year. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I won’t say “reverting to type” but will quote Polonius again, as I have done several times since I started blogging many moons ago, “to thine own self* be true”.

I was put onto a really fantastic podcast a few weeks ago – one of several actually. This one, You Are Not So Smart reaffirms that I really should have done psychology (and computer science) at university. While it is squillions of episodes long, I’ve been dipping in and out of them – looking at topics that take my fancy, and learning about others that I hadn’t really thought about before. I do find it odd how they explain some topics and perceptions like its all revolutionary, when it’s something so ingrained in academics that it’s our bread and butter (and so ingrained in me that I still refer to myself as an academic, even though I left that life behind a long time ago). But it’s that whole idea of perception – that’s what this series is about, and it’s fascinating.

Anyway, that segue aside, it – and several other things/exercises/aspirations/reevaluations  – have thrown things into stark relief. Taking emotion out scenarios, and reexamining things from other angles is also quite handy. (This is where I envy those who can operate in such a thoroughly rational manner. I find it so draining, but illuminating, but draining). Being consciously mindful is something I’ve always aspired to, getting the hang of it and putting it into practice does take baby steps, but I’m on that path and I know its the right one.

How? Because the mental self-improvement makes the physical self-improvement much easier. It means that while I still fight myself to physically get up in the morning, I am able to put my body and mind through their paces (gym, language classes and other mad adventures), and not end up a quibbling wreck of physical and mental exhaustion come 3pm in the afternoon. Well, I’m less of a wreck than I was 6 weeks ago, but I digress again. It means that after years (in some cases), the puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place. That I can solve my own problems for once. It’s quite empowering.

So letting go and being true to yourself. Two of the oldest clichés, but also two of the most important aspects of self-awareness and self-acceptance (of course there will always be arguments for self-delusion and cognitive bias here too, but they are also important parts of who we are – as we see ourselves, and we perceive others to see us). This post has already turned several shades of philosophical and circuitous in its dialogue, but the real tl:dr is to do both is terrifying.

Yes, I am being Captain Obvious here, but to actually do one, let alone both, is incredibly hard and takes you so far out of your comfort zone that not many people want to apply themselves in this sort of way. So of course I would jump headlong into the concepts with some wisps of not letting go to be found in my tightly clenched fist.


Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown.  Fear of  being a disappointment. Of not living up to the expectations you’ve built up for yourself and of others. And guilt. So much guilt.

As somebody who suffers from acute and sometimes crippling anxiety – these fears are constant. And they are detrimental to one’s health, emotions, interactions and relationships. All too frequently those who battle anxiety know how its effecting them and those around them, which feeds a vicious cycle, which can become a negative loop… I hate that space so much, but it becomes self-repeating.

So what do you do? Things that make you happy. Being kind to yourself. Forgiveness. Patience. Leaps of faith: of yourself and from others.

My inner (and constant) cynic tells me that now I’m just regurgitating things that you see in self-help books and magazines, and it’s all really stupid. And maybe it is. None of this is cookie-cutter stuff. But you have to try and see if it works. If it works for me, hooray! If it doesn’t work for you, then try something else. Chalk it up to experience. Live.

I got in the pool today. I was so terrified that things would go pear-shaped and I’d be crying in a shower cubicle desperately trying to warm up. The memory of having to do that months ago is still etched in my mind, and I have been so fearful of repeating that experience. But I must be doing something right with my diet and correcting imbalances. I was able to be in the water. And have fun. And laugh, and swim, and just enjoy the moment. And it was such a relief. I let go of that fear, and took a plunge, literally.

I know there’s a long way still to go. But I’ve made some progress. In theory, I’ve accepted that I’ll be starting many things from scratch. In practice, I know that’s going to be very difficult for me to start from scratch. There is evidence of this littered through the entries in this blog. I think I may actually be okay with it this time. Mostly okay with it.

I’m still working on that though. There’s years of unravelling I still need to deal with.

*After re-reading Persuasion (I adore Captain Wentworth), I can’t help but notice how often we use certain words when discussing a concept of a topic. Austen does it often in her works. Despite my best efforts, I find I did it here: not intentionally as Austen did, but this isn’t a novel. I also have the ponderings of a podcast on the Self I’m mulling over. Freud has a lot to answer for. #teamJung

Life without Music would B♭

A case for classical music. Live.

It won’t come as a surprise to those who know me that I love music. I mean I live for for my music. As somebody who feels too much (hello HSP!) music can be an absolute sanity saver when I need it. And while some music can be waaaaaay too much for me to handle, others just make life better. And what’s the perfect way to listen to music (other than with amazing open headphones that have an incredible sound stage, or decent headphones that give you clarity and bass)? Live music.

And what’s some of the best live music to listen to? Classical. Symphonic. Orchestral. In a hall with amazing acoustics and a plethora of instruments. its magical for several reasons:

  1. you’re going to get a different (but equally amazing) performance depending on where you sit in the auditorium
  2. no two performances are ever going to be the same. The atmosphere and energy of the musicians and the audience changes, so does the sound
  3. there is nothing like being surrounded with sound.

I have never been able to understand or comprehend why people find classical music/recitals boring. Is it because you have to sit and be quiet, or is it the idea that it’s all boring and stiff? Is it that old elitist idea that you have to be all classy and snobby to go to the orchestra? If this preconceived notion is true, it saddens me.

There is nothing like having music wash over you. The hum of the strings, the peals of the brass and flute, the earthy notes of the woodwind, and the silver cascade of the harp and piano (technically percussion) against the beat of drums and chimes and cymbals in a soaring melody.

Live music can change your world. From the moshpits of the rockers and metalheads to the sultry voices of lounge and jazz, to the earnestness and honesty of folk, to the musical paintings of instrumental works. It moves your soul. (Hell, one of the pieces I listened to a few weeks ago was by a DJing composer who wrote a Violin Concerto about a dinosaur. It was actually an incredible piece. I was apprehensive at first, but what a ride! Anne Akiko Meyer played it for us as well. She is stunning.) Even Metallica have an appreciation for classical arrangements

I just wish more people weren’t so afraid of classical music. Here in New Zealand we’re lucky enough to have several Sinfonia, as well as the NZSO (with the most amazing 2017 Season), the Aussies have some wonderful state orchestras (the SSO (featuring in one of my favourite arrangements of an incredible song), MSO (check this out for novelty), and ASO to name a few… while those in Europe and the UK are smothered for choice. All of these have options and heavy discounts for those under the age of 30 (and luckily in NZ, under 35) to go and experience the wonder of live magic.

I’d love to challenge those who read my blog to take the plunge and go have a night at the orchestra. If you’re not sure what to start with or where to go, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll point you in the right direction. You don’t need the backstory for the piece or even need to have studied music. Just a love for sound and a willingness to close your eyes and enjoy the adventure.

Do it, go on. I dare you.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars…

It’s funny. Well, I’m sure there’s another word for it, but I’m going to use that term anyway. I’m sitting here, knitting, looking up things to do to get better. Be better. Beat the fatigue. Beat down the frustrating little niggle that takes you back three steps for every two you battle forward.

Daylight savings has come and gone. I walk out of evening appointments and still feel slightly startled that it’s still light at 7, or even 8 at night. My body’s refused to play by these rules through. I may try be in bed by ten and awake at 6, but it’s having none of that now. I wonder why? I’m not the only one still feeling it this year. Is it because we’re all getting old, or too wired on caffeine (still on the decaf. It tastes like ashes. The ashes of hopes and dreams), or just too plugged in? Last year, well… last year my lungs were still shot. Oh wait. Technically they still are. The vampires took more blood to sample a few weeks ago, and I had to do the spirometry test again. It was… deeply disappointing.

Between that and my utter inability to deal with the cold/water, I’m really having to face some hard decisions and realities. I’m fairly certain that in high summer in a 5mm wetsuit and constantly moving I’ll be fine – but training to even get to 5m – let alone 10 (and there are catfish I’m going to slay at those depths) – may be a slight problem. Getting in a pool still doesn’t work. I’ve tried a few times now, and, I’m not sure how much more disappointment I can take. The spirit is willing but the circulatory system is weak. What do they say is the definition of insanity again?

What do you do when you fall in love with a sport, a community, a lifestyle… and then you physically can’t do it anymore? I always said I would judge before I competed. And I achieved that, and I love judging. But I look around, and there’s not a lot for dedicated judges in the sport in this little corner of the world. They’ll always take the senior judges first, and there’s now a good deal in Aus as well who need the experience. And in NZ… Shrugs.

At what point do you stop having to justify your position, your ambition, and your desire to make things better, and just leave? Is there weakness in quitting in such a way? Should I even be thinking like this? (I know several who chide me for not having left a long time ago). When does the frustration get too much and it all become too unhealthy? I love the people. Seriously, freedivers are some of the most amazing, insane, but fantastic people you’ll ever meet. And I have so much time for all those who I call my friends. What a community! There is something magic in the water, and all these people are a part of it.

When does one love it and leave it and cherish the memory? I don’t think I have it in me. But I’m have to have that conversation with my Self almost constantly now.

The conversation to be brave and enjoy things I can do. Learn more, participate in other sports and communities. Teach and help in ways where I am valued and can be productive. Be a part of an amazing group of other people. Be in other tribes. Refine my craft and skills. Learn another language or two. Tick off half marathons and walks. Gain the skills to defend myself and get better situational awareness. Give up that mermaid tail and focus on dry land.

I’ve been looking for the face I had before the world was made. Looking at who I used to be. A long time ago. Before I lost myself. Who was I? What did I like before I shaped myself for other people? For relationships I shouldn’t have been in? And look how those invisible scars shaped how I would deal with next relationships, with myself and with others. Where the strengths and weaknesses are. Perception and presentation.

How very deep of me, eh? You can only grow when you take stock of what you’ve done, and been through, and acknowledged faults. And learnt and changed for the better for it.

I bought a beautifully lettered version of the Serenity Prayer from Covent Garden in 2008. It hangs framed in my lounge. Along with Desiderata and the first four lines of Blake’s Auguries of Innocence. They spoke to me back then. They spoke volumes. And they still do. The Serenity Prayer certainly does get glanced at often. Those are wise words:

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can, and

Wisdom to know the difference.

I don’t care who your god is. This is a very honest appeal to life and the way we live.

So I’m trying to apply that now. I’m trying to change the things I can. And some of that will take time. Serenity to accept… well… working on it. Anger is a secondary emotion after all. I’m looking at what’s causing the anger in the first place, and acknowledging and dealing there. And knowing the difference? That comes with trial and error, I suppose. That’s how we all gain knowledge. And wisdom.

Hello world, remember me?

I’m the girl I thought I’d never be.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve grown up and got myself a permanent job (it’s a godawful photo). I’ve scratched a  few more things off my bucket list. Fought the Black Dog. Am continuing to fight my immune system. Gone on more adventures. Met people. Lost people. Found myself. Invested in self-reflection. Knitted. Cuddled babies and toddlers and dogs. Had some eureka moments. Listened to music. Ate. Drank. Have been merry. And tired. (I say tired because saying bone-crushingly exhausted tends to make people jumpy, I can’t imagine why).

I’ve learnt to ask for help and not feel guilty for doing so. I’ve learnt that people can make mistakes, and can be forgiven. I have forgiven, but not forgotten. I am practising the art of “this too shall pass.” I’m getting indignant about a male dominated society, angry about invisible diseases, and learning to be kind to myself (although that’s not always easy to be).

I’ve been thinking about you for a couple of months now. But you know how it is… it’s been so long since we talked, and I didn’t know what to say. Or how to say it. But I think it’s time we got a hot beverage and we started talking again. I’m doing some cool stuff in work and play. (I’m afraid I’ve been having an affair with Pinterest, it’s definitely more easy on the eyes). I’ve been listening to podcasts (I know!) and reading some good books. And experimenting with some good food. So it would be great to let you know what’s happening at the edge of the world. I know I’ve said I’ll keep in contact before. But this time, I mean it. Because I said I would.  And I need some selfish time to write about things. I may yet write some more on Medium and post to Instagram as well…

It really was another world.

When I was still sliding into the depths of darkness, and hadn’t quite figured out there was something very wrong a few years ago now, I went to New Caledonia with some special people to visit some other special people. I wish I could go back and experience it again, without the veil that covered most of the trip. Maybe it would have been less stressful for the others too… Maybe.

One thing that I have kept with me though, was the feeling of freedom when exploring the reefs – we got a water taxi out, and would go explore, and then go back to Noumea. And on the Friday, it was a catamaran to Phare Amédée and a swim around the island. It was the sound the parrotfish made while eating the coral – the pufferfish, angelfish, and clownfish, the tricot raye, the swimming with various sharks, turtles, giant travelly… And they were some of the best days I’ve had. It was a calm in a storm I wasn’t quite aware of yet. I could hear the thunder, but wasn’t sure how close it really was. I just can’t help but wonder how much more vivid they could have been?

Anyway, its been quite a few months. I’ve had to start from scratch back at the gym… and we’re not even going to talk about the pool. My lungs really aren’t what they used to be, and it turns out pneumonia takes a very long time to recover from – and some people don’t. I can’t wait to get into open water though – I’m hoping that may make training more enjoyable. But that the same time, I’m keenly aware of how quickly I still tire. I should be used to this level of frustration by now, but somehow, I’m not. I guess I’m always going to expect myself to be better than I am. Go farther, lift more, train harder. I love the drive, the accomplishment, the serotonin. The fact that I am going to continually be limited is something I want to ignore, but need to be mindful of.

So I’m keeping busy in other ways. I’ve judged a couple of rec grade freediving comps, worked on comms and sponsorship for some athletes. Built some more websites, and just carried on carrying on. It’s coming up to the end of the year and things are about to get very interesting across several levels. I can’t talk about them all yet, but it’s going to be a fun lesson and great personal development.

There are projects on the needles and yarn in baskets. A pile of books sits next to my bed. David Gilmour’s Rattle that Lock and Elbow’s Seldom Seen Kid are frequently on my playlist. I have a post I need to write about music, moods and those songs that hit you between the eyes. Next time.

For now, I’m listening to cricket (SA vs India), and remembering what it was like to swim with the fish. I can’t wait to do something like that again.