If only I’d known

Other people’s words about … what’s important (or not)

I found a studio where I could practise a particular kind of semi-cultish yoga; I sweated on my purple mat for ninety minutes to pounding trance beats, drank smoothies in the vegan cafe, relished the feeling of freezing sweat on my cheeks when I threw my coat on over my leggings and walked in the snow to the Q train.

Maybe this will be the year I’ll learn to stand on my head, I thought, maybe a headstand is the thing I will accomplish in 2014. I thought about it a lot, like a headstand was a thing that was important.

From ‘This Really isn’t About You’
by Jean Hannah Edelstein

If only I’d known. That’s the feeling Jean Hannah Edelstein is describing in the passage above. In her case, these words applied to a period in her life when she didn’t yet know that she had Lynch syndrome, a hereditary condition that predisposes her to developing cancer later in her life.

If only. If only. Who hasn’t said that to themselves, at some point in their lives? If only I’d known, I’d have focused on other things. If only I’d known, I’d have made different plans. I’d have done more; I’d have said more; I’d have tried more. I’d have been more.

Don’t tell me you haven’t ever thought that.

*

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks over here in my nook of the world, as I continue to try to find my way in the freelance world. I don’t know whether I’ll manage to make a living from freelance editing, in the end. But on tough days, uncertain days, I remind myself that at least I’ll always know that I tried.

Which makes for one less if only in my life.

Grey skies

And meanwhile, in my spare time, I’ve gone wandering beneath grey skies, and blue skies, and cloudy skies, and clear skies. Because there’s no hint of an if only whenever I’m out wandering.

Blue(-ish) skies

Lately I’ve been reading about …

Out and about: field of flowers

‘The fight for free space — for wilderness and public space —
must be accompanied by a fight for free time
to spend wandering in that space.’

from ‘Wanderlust
by Rebecca Solnit

I nipped down to our house in Aldinga for a couple of days recently, and just had time for a quick cycle to the bakery on my bike for fresh ciabatta and then for a brisk walk the following day.

I think cycling is a form of wandering, don’t you?

Cycling home past the supermarket, I noticed that the field of gazanias was out in bloom again.

As I remarked around the same time last year, gazanias are noxious weeds in our parts …

… but they never fail to lift my spirits.

Out and about … but still reading!

I don’t have a quote for you today: just a link to a post by the lovely Sophie of Wholehearted Eats, whose healthy-cooking blog I often drop in and read. In her post, Sophie, someone who has experienced anxiety all her life, suggests creating an anxiety toolbox — a kit you can (metaphorically) carry around with you at all times, full of techniques and strategies you can use when and if you need to. I’ve often toyed with the idea of sharing some of the techniques that I’ve learned over the years to cope with anxiety, she writes, but never got around to it.

Till now, that is.

Vineyards on Thomas Street

Head on over and see what you think. Perhaps you, like me, will find some of Sophie’s techniques helpful.

Meanwhile, as for me, I’ve been out and about a lot on my bike recently, exercise being one of the greatest feel-good strategies I know and keep in my own toolbox. The gorgeous sunny weather we’ve been having this autumn and winter has added to the joy I’ve felt getting on my bike and pedalling away from home.

Eucalypt and vines
The different shades of autumn in the vineyard (Branson Road)

The photos in today’s post all come from one of my recent bike rides, this time around the Aldinga/McLaren Vale area. It was a still, sunny day, and every moment of that ride was uplifting.

At the top of Branson Road
Sheoaks in golden bloom, vineyards and … my bike (of course)

I hope these photos leave you feeling uplifted, too.

Back in the vineyards

I’ve been slack with my bike-riding over the last few months,
for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here.
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But in late October I finally took another ride through the vineyards.
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And it was worth every puff and pant up and down those hills.
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Yes, I’m hooked once more!
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Tidal flats

Cycling from our house south of Adelaide to the shops one morning in late June,
I took the coastal bikepath.

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It was about 10.30 in the morning,
and it was still and cold and clouding over …

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… and the tide was low.

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Low tide is a time the birds love.

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Oh, who am I kidding?
It’s a time I love, too.

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