Last week I spent one glorious day “solving all the problems of the world” with one of my soul friends (you know those friends for whom the term ‘friend’ is grossly inadequate because every time you catch up, you save each other’s lives a little bit?)
We had a long lunch in a cafe until it closed and the wait staff literally stacked the chairs and tables around us. Then we walked along the shoreline of Sans Souci (the Sydney suburb named “Without Worries” in French) and unpacked all the stuff.
Why do we feel so isolated sometimes when we have such good people and support systems around us?
Why are we both waking up at 2 o’clock in the morning besieged by a tornado of worries in our brain that stops us from getting back to sleep?
And why don’t those worries seem to worry us quite so much during the daylight hours? As if they’re Vampire Worries that only come out to party at night (and bleed us dry…)
Has doom scrolling about the war in Ukraine, the floods in the Northern Rivers or the tsunami in Tonga done anything to help our friends and other people in these places or does it just leave us feeling hopeless and helpless?
If we stop doom scrolling, does it mean we don’t care?
Is donating money enough? Are there other ways we can help? Is it ok to support one cause but not the other?
As dual Aussie-European citizens (which we both are), what does it say about our countries if Europe has opened its borders and homes to Ukrainian refugees in a welcome that was never extended towards Syrian or Afghani refugees? Why couldn’t Europe “cope” with the influx then, but suddenly double the numbers in a fraction of the time are being welcomed easily now?
And why do these images of war and disaster no longer evoke the same feelings of despair? Have I gone numb?
How do we detach from the tragedies unfolding without detaching from our humanity? How do we care without being consumed?
Is it ok that in the midst of this global crapstorm, I’m actually feeling really happy and positive about my life and excited for the future?
Crikey, where did this cafe source their Chai because it’s just the right blend of spicy and sweet and what do you mean it’s all natural with no syrups? I need to get me a bag of this…
Now, of course, we didn’t really solve all the problems of the world throughout the course of our conversation. In fact, I don’t know even know if we came up with any answers to these questions (except the Chai, which apparently comes from here and no, this is not a sponsored post, it’s just really good). But still, the simple act of speaking these worries out loud felt like the first inhale of breath after swimming under the weight of deep water for a long time.
I came away feeling… hopeful. And calm. Kind of like someone had unplugged the blender that had been crushing ice in my brain, and replaced it with a few strings of warm and twinkly fairy lights.
The Worry Vampires have moved on and I’ve been sleeping through the night ever since.
Every blog post is like Christmas…
At the end of every year, usually around Christmas, my family come together and we take turns sharing our three highlights over the past 12 months. Then we set an intention for one thing we want to welcome into the new year.
This is a way of closing out the year with gratitude for the positive things that happened and celebrating the moments that brought us joy. Even in a crappy year (I’m looking at you 2021!), we can always find three happy outcomes; the highlights we can hold on to…
David and I also do this at the end of one chapter, before the next begins (like when we leave one country for another) and my friends know I’ll often ask them to reflect on their personal year’s Top 3 on their birthdays.
One of the reasons I struggle with blogging is that I have so much to say that every post blows out into a rambling memoir. So I’m going to see if treating every blog post like Christmas could work.
If I add a “Three cool things + 1 intention” section to my blog posts and limit to myself to 1-2 sentences for each, will it keep my word count from blowing out?
Let’s find out…
Three awesome things
#1: One of my absolute favourite moments of the publishing journey so far was sharing a meal with the Gurung and Nepali community at The Muglan restaurant in Rockdale last week, so I could present them with a copy of Tell Them My Name. Connecting with this group of strangers, who belong to the same ethnic group as our Nepali family who I wrote the book about, felt just like coming home…
#2: I attended my first writers festival, Words at Wagstaff, and was utterly inspired by Jane Caro and the ease with which she stood in her truth and spoke about feminism, Scott Morrison’s government, how joyless motherhood can be at times and how ridiculous it is that we don’t talk about periods more — despite the large number of men, mothers and Liberal voters there were in the audience. It was liberating to watch and I’ve decided I need to make more of an effort to cultivate the courage to be disliked.
#3: I spent a rainy day hanging out in our house bus with my niece and nephew (11 and 6) playing Skip-Bo, teaching them the ukulele and having pillow fights. Living in a tiny house on wheels is like playing cubby houses all the time and the simple moments really are the most magical…
My intention moving forward…
Over the next few weeks, I’m going through the process of blowing up the little life we’ve created in Australia over the two years of the pandemic. David is putting his business to sleep and I’m taking mine on the road as we head south on a mini book tour to Canberra and Melbourne. Then we fly to Nepal. Then France. Which is a whole lot of madness to fit into one tiny month.
So my intention is to take all the anxiety bubbling inside of me and reframe it as EXCITEMENT.
This is what Amy Molloy suggests we do in her book, The World Is A Nice Place.
And I like that idea because, despite all the chaos unfolding around us right now, I do believe the world really is a nice place…
Laura Maya is a writer, coach and culturally curious “digital nomad” who has spent over 20 years wandering slowly through almost 60 countries. She is the author of Tell Them My Name, an inspiring true story about two indigenous Nepalese farmers who travel to Paris on a quest to explore Western culture (2022, the kind press).