‘Does the walker choose the path, or the path choose the walker?’

And so it begins, my 500 Words Writing Challenge. 31 days and 500 words minimum per day, it can’t be so difficult can it. I’m usually not one to sign up for challenges, not so much because I don’t complete them, but usually that I have enough discipline to see through my goals without having to add the ‘challenge’ title for motivation. Writing every day for a month after an almost 18 month hiatus may well prove challenging though so here we are.

I like to rise usually between 4.30 and 5am, it really is the best part of the day. Living on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Australia we are surrounded by abundant birdlife and I often wake before the kookaburras sing their ‘morning song’ as my 3 year old likes to call it. If you’re not familiar with the song of these terrestrial tree kingfishers their name is much like their call. It also signals the first light of day and I often wake before them. The light through my bedroom window is soft at this hour, often still moonlight breaking through the native woodlands which surround our house, and my son is usually still asleep. It is a time of day I cherish to read, meditate, drink coffee and be still before the day breaks and responsibility of single parent life takes over.

Daylight savings has meant an extra hour of darkness although my body hasn’t adjusted to the new circadian rhythm. I’m a terrible sleeper waking regularly through the night. Dipping in and out of REM sleep constantly waking and dreaming intensely, then being woken by my little one in need of a cuddle, water and the like. The exhaustion often builds to the point I feel only coffee sustains me through the day, it is although improving now that childcare has resumed after 2 months during this lockdown pandemic life we’ve found ourselves in.

What a year it has been. Fortunately I have continued to work although in a reduced capacity given my childcare responsibilities, managing my clients’ needs the best I can via phone, text and late night emails. Their needs have changed remarkably from being solely work related to offering more emotional support this year. Previously I had barely known their family and private lives focussed purely on business outcomes and media requirements, but this year we’ve become closer as I spent long conversations listening to highly successful (always men) now relegated to the confines of a garage or walk in wardrobe, with poor internet and mental health issues creeping through, often wondering about the security of their job and how they will provide for their family. Always with noises of every day life quietly present in the background of our conversations.

What will this new normal look like post lockdown? Will we return to the hustle of CBD work life? I look forward to the long lunches in Melbourne’s stunning fine restaurants with views of the Yarra River again with my clients, the after work functions listening to great thought leaders about the future of our sector. Things we previously took for granted. I most of all look forward to taking my son on long road trips, packing up our car at the last minute and driving to a remote pocket of nature for a few days camping and immersing ourselves in the wild. Even at 3 years old he misses and recently asked, “when can we go for a long drive Mum?” Let’s hope October 19th brings us the freedom we once enjoyed again.

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