Holy crap, it’s December already!
When did that happen?
It’s been a big year. We came to Playa del Carmen to write books and eat tacos and swim in the sea, but so much more has happened. It has all been good, even the difficult stuff, and I am coming to understand that those challenges have softened and shaped me and deepened my experience of life more than just writing books and swimming in the sea and eating tacos would have (though there has been a bit of that too!).
I am grateful to have been in a position to support friends and family who have suffered enormous loss and grief, to be a part of their ‘healing circle’ which has also healed me and taught me valuable lessons, because that’s how it works.
I am thankful for all the visits from family and friends, who swung by these sparkling turquoise shores and subsequently fell just as deeply in love with the Caribbean coast of Mexico as we have. What a gift it’s been to show off our adopted home to Tyrhone’s sister Taunee, my sister Holly and my Mum, all in one year. Never did we imagine spending so much time with family in a place so far from our respective countries of origin!
Selfie in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas…
It has been wonderful to be involved in the community and to have had the opportunity to volunteer with the KKIS (Keeping Kids In School) project and assist them with their fantastic work. From reading to local primary school kids to packing hundreds of backpacks with school supplies, it was a thoroughly rewarding experience that I encourage anyone visiting Playa del Carmen for an extended period of time to get involved in.
Of course, thanks to you guys (seriously, just thinking about you all brings tears to my eyes, I seriously cannot believe how blessed I am for your unending support and love!), we were able to raise $2200 for Jorge which has helped him beyond words, giving him a new lease on life in countless ways and showing him that he is a worthy human being deserving of care and support. I cannot thank you all enough for that. He is doing really well with new teeth, new digs, new shoes, new friends and a new happiness. We have US$690 remaining which will assist him over the coming months as he gets back on his feet and explores other options for income and support.
Jorge, doing well (thanks to you all)…
After six amazing weeks in Mexico, my Mum began her long journey home to Australia, and should arrive some time next week (kidding, but it’s a seriously long trip). Since saying goodbye to her on Saturday morning, I’ve been gathering my thoughts and energy, reflecting on the year that was and realizing that I need some down time to focus on my needs and my relationship, because oh yeah, that’s right, I have a partner and I think his name is Ty…ty…? Oh never mind, it’s something weird like that.
Yep, he’s with me…
I am joking of course but I’m pretty sure he feels like I do forget about him sometimes. We were doing this personality quiz the other day, and I was stuck on the first question deciding whether I was an extrovert or an introvert. He cracked up laughing and looked at me saying,”Exactly what part of you thinks you are an introvert?” Honestly, it was kinda news to me that he saw me as a clear-cut extrovert.
He tried to explain in the best way possible, by imitating me, of course.
“I’m just going out/ We are meeting this person tomorrow/ I’m just going away with the girls/ I’m meeting this person for coffee/ Driving across India/ having dinner with that person, do you want to come?”
And although I don’t think I flap my arms around quite as much as he suggested, I kinda got it.
I thought that since getting sober I was really quiet and sensible and bookish compared to the drunken maniac I used to be, which is true, but my true essence hasn’t changed in that I do still receive energy from socializing with people. But like anything that feels good, I tend to over-do it, and lose myself a little in the process.
And here’s where I am feeling like shifting gears for just a little while, to gather my energy rather than spreading myself around. I am not burnt out, or depressed, or sad, but I am feeling a strong urge to focus inward and be more protective of both my personal time and my time with Tyrhone, before I reach that point.
I have a tendency to want to be a lot of things to a lot of people, which is fine when my energy is high, in fact it serves me well. As a recovering alcoholic and someone who is prone to self-centered fear, giving to others helps me stay sane within my own busy mind, giving me something to think about apart from myself.
But as someone who simply does not understand the concept of balance until I find myself in a crumpled heap in the corner, sometimes I lose myself in other people and forget about what I actually need to be well, mentally, physically and emotionally. This has probably been the biggest focus for me this year – self care, and yet, I am still in the early stages of discovery.
Which is why for the next three weeks or so, I’m making some very subtle changes in where I direct my energy. I will still work (I do some freelance writing here in Playa to pay the bills), I will still write here because it’s one of my greatest joys, and I will still see my friends occasionally (because they fill me up). I may dust off the two chapters of my book, but I don’t want to get too crazy and productive. I will attend my recovery meetings because staying sober is my biggest priority and a larger focus of my life than I could ever express here.
I won’t be returning to volunteering with the KKIS project, however, because, quite simply, in the business of self-care and relationship maintenance, something has to go.
I cringe a little at the concept of trying to explain having ‘me time’ when I am a young-ish woman who does not work a full-time job and lives in a small town in Mexico, but I feel like it’s the very idea of ‘should’ which keeps so many of us from realizing our true selves. I come from a society which values ‘busy’ and ‘success’ and ‘having it all’ – career, kids, mortgage, bills, cars and expensive vacations, however, in case you haven’t noticed, the world is kinda mad, and following ‘the world’s’ values had me pretty insane for a long time too.
For me, success is living a sober life when my default setting is drunk and miserable, maintaining a relationship with a kind man when my default is ‘kick ’em to the curb’. It’s taking time for myself to regroup when I feel my energies waning, and saying ‘no’ to a few things even though I’m afraid of what people will think. It’s knowing that I don’t want to spend my days working in a job I don’t like, or even one I like, for that matter, because my recovery is the only job that will ever bring me any true happiness.
So for the next few weeks, I’m going to have some down time, which doesn’t mean isolation or hiding, but simply directing my energy towards myself and the most important person in my life – Tyrhone (that’s his name! See, it’s working already). He is really wanting to lose weight and get in shape and I want to support him in that by eating healthily and exercising together, because we could both do with a bit more of that.
I think progress for me is not feeling the urge for an extreme ‘internet fast’ or ‘juice detox’ or ‘silent meditation retreat’ but simply slowing down, getting quiet and listening to the message my heart is giving me: “Take some time, for you, and for him.”
And so that’s what I’ll do, because it hasn’t led me wrong so far.
Some reading to catch up on…
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