Yesterday I did what I tell others to do all the time. I took a day off and looked after myself. Around 9am I loaded up my iPod full of music and headed off for the hour's drive into the big smoke. My good friend Susan travelled down to Brisbane from Townsville with her husband and while he was attending to business, Susan and I talked, had lunch, talked, walked around, talked, moved from the lunch cafe to the afternoon tea cafe and talked. It was a lovely day spent with a good friend and it did me a lot of good.
I picked Susan up at the Art Gallery and we went to the beautiful West End. Being Tuesday, a few of the cafes were closed but we found a place that sold fresh orange juice and pink grapefruit so we were happy. I have known Susan for over 20 years and we've grown close during that time. She is about 10 years younger than me, her children have just left home to pursue careers and she now has more time to enjoy life. When she emailed last week and said she'd be in town and could I come in for lunch, I hesitated for a while, then realised I wanted and needed to go. I'm so glad I did.
It seemed like 15 minutes, but a few hours flew by and it was time to tackle the almost peak hour traffic and drive home. Naturally I got lost. I don't know why they continue to change things as soon as I'm used to them being as they are! I didn't let it spoil my day, I just turned up the music and enjoyed watching people walking along the streets as I found my way home. As soon as I got out of the main traffic I relaxed more, then turning off the freeway onto the Glasshouse Mountains road I felt I was back in familiar territory. I stopped at a roadside stall to buy tomatoes and pears, then five minutes later I was home. As I drove in, Hanno was feeding the animals. It felt good to be back.
There were many things I could have done here yesterday but I chose not to do any of them. That trip into town to spend time with Susan did me more good than anything I would have done here. I let Jo, my editor, know I wouldn't be working on the book, she just went on to the next chapter, no problems. Hanno was fine, he worked in the garden and relaxed in the afternoon. The housework I might have done is still there. Sometimes what matters most is the care you give to yourself. There is no fairy godmother who will come along and tell you to take it easy for a while or take the day off. Only you know when you need time out, so be kind to yourself and relax when you need to. No one will benefit if you're stressed or fall in a heap. I think nurturing is a skill we develop as we age and although we may happily take care of our family and friends, we also have to give a little love to ourselves. I'm on top of the world today and ready to face the world - or at least my part of it at my neighbourhood centre. What are yo doing today?