How can we make every day of 2024 special?
Although I believe life doesn't end for us here, and that we graduate to new adventures in other dimensions when we end this lifetime, I also view life on Earth as precious. 2023 has seemed to me like the fastest ever, and although I had many beautiful experiences during the year, for some, life has been very challenging. There has been much loss and struggle for the world over the past year. My family has not been exempted. Due to complications from my grandfather's stroke a few weeks ago, my grandparents are being required to leave their home of over sixty-five years. In the midst of the sorting, organising and emotion that have arisen from this situation, my aunt (on the other side of the family) also left us. None of us know how much time we have, and I am further inspired to bring beauty and joy to this coming year - to elevate the everyday by choosing and creating inspiring environments in which to live, work and play.
Today, I am in Warwick's Gardens Galore, working on projects, writing this blog, drinking coffee and eating orange and almond cake. I had an enjoyable country drive, reminiscing about my uni days, when I was twice allocated teaching placements in Warwick - quite a long drive every day for three weeks and then again for five. 9/11 happened during my kindergarten placement in Warwick. In my final placement, in a Grade Three classroom, my mentor teacher gave me four little girls and a song about Mother Mary and sent me off to choreograph and rehearse a dance - a long held dream from my days training to be a ballet teacher when I was eighteen. When the girls performed their dance for the families, in white dresses, with me prompting from side stage, my mentor teacher cried. It was a very proud moment for me.
If you have a chance to visit this garden centre, I would highly recommend it. Warwick Gardens Galore (@gardensgalorew) • Instagram photos and videos. The owner, who I met at the front desk, is clearly a person with a creative vision. There are chooks and goats outside, and many plants, pots and statues for sale, and inside, there is an extensive gift shop with clothing and homewares. Another clothing shop is at the far back, as well as a gelati shop, and a gingerbread house with food and lollies for sale, and a caravan and various huts displaying pots and ornaments.
The day before, I went on another adventure, with friends, to Crows Nest, a little town outside Toowoomba that I visited many times when my nanna and my uncle were living there. We went to a bustling café called My Little Blueberry Restaurant | Myrtille | Crows Nest, and ate the best quality pies we had ever tasted. We looked in the garden shop and the gift shops and stopped for an iconic Crows Nest soft drink Crows Nest Soft Drinks | Old Fashioned Flavoured Syrups (cnsd.com.au). Before driving home, we walked around the Crows Nest Cemetry, visiting the gravestones of my nanna, poppa, and great grandfather.
I am thinking of all the ways I have elevated the everyday over the past few weeks since I left home: Watching the sunset from the barge, eating dinner on the dunes at Marcoola, singing and splashing in the ocean at sunset, watching the rainbows dance in my hotel room, evening swims in the pool, watching the lights on the water, eating a famous Kenilworth donut and coffee in the park, speaking light language on the Toowoomba Range in a mysterious fog, and enjoying the visual delights of the film, Wonka, with special friends. It was so wonderful to sit and gaze at the waves, walk on the rocks at Mooloolaba, and drive through the beautiful country surrounding Montville and Maleny.
When my sisters and I were teenagers, we were captivated by a book called Jane Seymor's Guide to Romantic Living Jane Seymour's Guide to Romantic Living by Jane Seymour | Goodreads - I'll have to look around to see if my mum still has it. The book was all about bringing beauty and elegance to everyday living; dressing up, enjoying nature, picnicking, arranging flowers, lighting candles, dancing, and a wide array of beautiful, romantic pursuits. Elevating the everyday doesn't have to require a lot of money; it is a mindset. We have the opportunity to make the choice to focus on, appreciate, and create beauty, and to include small luxuries and self-care, even in the most challenging of times. Life is not something to 'get through', but to cherish and to celebrate.
My sisters and I used to play a game called ''The Singing Game''. To this day, we have never spoken of what "The Singing Game'' was, we just understood. We would walk around at night in romantic settings, like gardens, singing - lost in our own daydreams - together but apart - each communing in her own way with the enchantment of the evening. Sometimes, as an adult, when inspired, I have played ''The Singing Game'' again; I remember a delightfully romantic evening in the gardens beside the Eiffel Tower. On the quiet beach at Marcoola, in view of incredible pink clouds at sunset, I played ''The Singing Game'' again.
Life in 2024 can be a romantic adventure - even if you don't leave home. I will include some ideas below. Perhaps these are not new ideas, however it takes thought and intention to implement them in our lives. These ideas can be enjoyed with others but can also be enjoyed alone. Beauty, elegance, and romance can be part of our lives without the company of others.
Light candles outside on a winter night
Swim under the full moon
Have a night picnic
Go for an unplanned drive and see where it takes you
Buy flowers for yourself, or arrange, press or hang them
Eat something you've never tried
Cook something new
Redecorate a room
Wander through a market
Walk in the rain with an umbrella
See a movie at a vintage theatre
Visit an art gallery or museum
Try a craft or dance class, or a 'paint and sip'
Visit a farm or winery
Photograph or film things that others don't notice
Stargaze or moon bathe on a clear night
Enjoy a massage or some pampering
And I could go on and on....
Let's make this year a mindful and beautiful year!
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