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Last weekend I went to the seaside, but I almost didn’t get there and not because of my car, but my mind! Thank F+++ I did! I’m a better human for it today!

I’ve had this gentle tappety, tap, tap, woodpecker song of freedom singing away inside me now for several weeks: “go to the sea, feel the sand under your feet”, “go to the sea, feel the sand under your feet” (so simple, even I could remember the lyrics!). It was clear, gentle, insistent. Tap. Tap. Tap. But while I could see and FEEL myself being there on the beach, I just couldn’t see HOW to get there while sitting in in my little London home office set up, whose walls I now know so well. 

Oh, the irony, feeling desperate for a break away from my house but too anxious to take one -“That’s what other people do. I’m rubbish at going away. How is everyone else on Insta constantly on some idyllic looking mini break and how do they know where we can go and what we’re allowed to do when we get there?  How do they all know what they’re doing? I haven’t got a clue how to go away anymore!”. 

“It would be easier if I was with a partner, yes, they’d know what to do for sure. Where will I stay? What will I do if it rains? OK, I’ll wait for summer, yes, that’s what I’ll do. Yup, it needs to be a more summery month first…” My self talk spewed unlimited reasons to limit this “get away from it all” day dream.  In the game of “Get Away V My Excuses”….. My Excuses were winning.

This isn’t a new story. It’s old, really old. I’m quite great at a few things, taking a break (by which I mean leave my neighbourhood) isn’t one of them and lockdown has added a fresh chapter to My Excuses’ well worn pages.   And this little home sized comfort zone of mine has only gotten smaller during this year of “on again, off again” London Lockdown. Lockdown may be lifting (again) now in England but my “I’m bad at going away” excuses haven’t. They’ve got worse.  And it’s really rather annoying as I LOVE being away- I blinking LOVE it.  But, a bit like going to the gym, I have a HUGE mountain of resistance I have first to overcome to actually get me there.

But do you ever get bored of your own story?  I mean so bored of it one day you wake up and say enough? I do!  I think the contrast of living a year where I couldn’t go away showed me I was now CHOOSING to not allow myself to get away.  I am actually a FREE person.  I get to choose what I do today. Am I REALLY going to stay at home when I CAN now leave? Really? … Why not now?   Why not this weekend in fact, on just an average Saturday in April.  WHY NOT?  DO IT.  NOW!  Excuses begone!

Woo hoo!  Decision made – I WAS going away to the beach!  Before I could back out I made a quick google search of “beaches within close driving distance of London” for my short list of easy destinations.  Margate (home to Tracey Emin and fish & chips) appeared right near the top and I remembered, thanks to Insta, that a friend had recently been!   Then, informed by a quick check of the weather forecast, I set the date. So, by now, 24 hrs later, I had a date and a destination.  

I woke early the next morning, tapped “Margate” into my satnav, and flew away in my trusty little mini car for my little freedom trip with only a picnic blanket, a protein bar, a bottle of water and a book lying next to me for company (and yup, the keen eyed will note I didn’t pack a plan and I forgot a towel. But that’s ok, I wasn’t going sea swimming anytime soon. It was April people, that does need a more summery month for me to submerge!!).  

It was bliss! Absolute bliss! As I walked down the beach I thought “wow Lauren, this is one of the best adulting decisions you’ve made for yourself for a long time”. That day I just kept doing what felt good: when it felt good to dip my toes into the FREEZING, squeal inducing sea, that’s what I did. When it felt good to smile at a family of strangers, that’s what I did. When it felt good to ask someone “where’s good for lunch?”, that’s what I did (PS go to Angela’s in Margate and say the lady who loved your mussels in cider and asked for a second bowl of them sent you).

It turns out it doesn’t have to be a special day to do what feels good.  It turns out (once lockdown was easing) the only thing holding me back and frustrating my daydream from becoming reality was me. It turns out I CAN go to the beach on an average everyday Saturday in April.  I don’t have to have it all worked out.  All I had to do was be willing to leave my little homestead shaped comfort zone and set the destination to go somewhere new (oh and a phone!).  It turns out I get to be like “other people” too. Maybe they don’t know what they’re doing either, they just do it anyway?

What’s the thing you have a book of excuses for?  Perhaps you’re amazing at going away but can’t go out on a date?  It’s time to re write that rule book of excuses my friends!  After over a year of lockdown are we really going to lock ourselves in?  Where would you love to go?  

Love,

Lauren  x

P.S. I’m sorry if you’re somewhere in Lockdown right now. This was the first time I’d left London in a LONG LONG time. Perhaps you could plan where you want to go when you can?? Getting ready to be ready could be fun?  While I’m writing this I still can’t fly out of the UK but I can dream of it… 

 

 

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