I think I may be suffering from a love-hate relationship with Ireland – as a place. Unlike Australia which I loved as a location, it’s more complicated with Ireland. She is often challenging but occasionally she offers up moments of joy, wonder and a feeling of being in the right place.
Right now I am loving her.
This week, she is putting on a show and I am falling for it. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.
Loathe as I am to admit it, the weather has a lot to do with it. I wish I weren’t so dependent on it. But I can’t deny it. As we hit the south-east, the clouds part and God’s fingers cast their magic spell.
After the drama of Day 1 we are settled in Casey’s Caravan Park, Dungarvan. We plan to spend time in Ireland before heading to Europe, to get used to the workings of the caravan.
The weather seems wrong. In our first 7 days, we have one entire day of continuous rain. I’ll take it. It follows six glorious days of blue sky. We spend the week strolling along the beach, swimming, SUP’ing, supping, and generally lounging like lizards. The sun on my bones recharges me.
What have you got Waterford?
Turns out, a lot! If this week is all about gradually winding down then the Gentle County is playing her part.
On Monday we settle in, not going far as we potter about our new space. Clonea Strand offers a soft sandy stretch and sun-kissed ankle-biters for the children to splash around and for me stand-up paddleboard. The surf can wait.
Dungarvan town has a nice mix of coffee shops and a quiet little library to work in.
On Wednesday I’m facilitating my last wellbeing, productivity and life design workshop for a large company’s offsite at Fota Island. It’s nice teaching wellbeing and work-life balance and being able to mention that right after it finishes, your family will pick you up before heading off on an 8 week caravan trip. I don’t always practise what we preach but today’s a good one.
Ironically Thursday is my birthday and I spend it working remotely. The plan is to completely switch off work on July 10th when we ferry to Europe. Everybody complains about me working on my birthday – including me. I didn’t plan that so well! But if it seems wrong to spend your birthday working, I realise it’s often what people do. It’s just more noticeable because we all expect to chill now. So we have a “#birthdaynotbirthday” today.
On Friday, I get to completely switch off and, indeed, ordered not to do any work. No better man. Ava, Erin and James are getting used to their little chores now. It’s easier to have teamwork when nobody (including me) has any excuse or outside commitments. We might actually be starting to enjoy pitching in together.
I’ve also noticed snoozes happening frequently. Our (real) body clocks are being listened to now that the artificial clocks are less visible. I’ve also noticed snoozes carry their own risks.
Saturday bring one of the highlights. A 27km bike ride across viaducts, under bridges and through railway tunnels with dripping wet rocks dropping the temperature. The magical Greenway from Dungarvan to (almost!) Kilmacthomas and back does not disappoint. Nor does James our 6-year old who powers through the full distance. Although I have a vague recollection of him arriving midway through the night for a leg-massage, which he deservedly got. I may have slept through that.
Living in a small space with the five of us is working its magic. That may change but right now we’re loving it. Each day, we learn more about one another. I certainly am as I spend more time with them.
One morning with Ava as stroll along the beach, she spontaneously hugs me and says “Thank you for bringing us”.
It’s a moment. We will look back on these and they will seem fleeting. I cherish it and sink into the hug. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “we only have moments to live”. There is no past. There is no future. There is only now.
I read somewhere recently that you cannot manufacture quality time. You spend quantity of time with your children and those quality moments occur with spontaneity and serendipity. That makes sense to me. Of course, we can – and should – switch off the devices and eliminate the distractions during any time with others. Relationships are nurtured with presence and openness. But quality-time comes from quantity-time. These little moments are making me realise and appreciate something I already knew deep down. That the special moments occur when I am not doing something at all – but when I am just being – with no timeline, no end goal, indeed no sense of time at all. Doing has its usefulness – we need to get our shit done. But being is why are here.
Going with the Flow
Sunday is supposed to be moving day as we plan to head for west Cork. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.