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Our Unplugged Family Holiday, and What I Really Want For the New Year

We went away, for three days. With no access to the internet and no phone reception. Which turned out to be a wonderful experience, as I was thinking about what I want for 2015. I reflected on 2014 and felt a sense of pride that we had made it through our gloriously exhausting year. 2015 feels rushed already, with many significant milestones to hit, a PhD thesis and papers to write, a new kindergarten to settle into (along with fairly working-family-unfriendly kindergarten drop-off times). I felt apprehensive and nervous; so it was a relief to have three days away from the relentless flashing red notifications of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, to think and reflect.

But first, our holiday. We went to Daylesford, Spa capital of Victoria, though none of us got any spa time. (We did put the kids into the spa in our cottage but they were terrified!) Grandma came along for moral support. We stayed at Bergamo, a lovely two-bedroom cottage in the middle of peaceful countryside. They provided us free-range eggs for breakfast, and little goodies like this:

I saved this chocolate all to myself. The kids were having none of it!!!
I saved this chocolate all to myself. The kids were having none of it!!!

We visited a lavender farm, and had an outstanding Ploughman’s Lunch Platter; our kids were pleasantly surprised to be allowed to eat nothing but carbs that day (breadsticks and crackers, anyone?) and we enjoyed the peace that comes with said children eating bread. We wandered the lavender fields, saw lots of farm animals, and bought some lavender honey and essential oil.

Bowl of carbs on the right was consumed by the kidlets with gusto.
Bowl of carbs on the right was consumed by the kidlets with gusto.
We had many peaceful moments like this. These are my kids - I usually don't post photos of them to protect their privacy. But aren't they adorable? :)
We had many peaceful moments like this. These are my kids – I usually don’t post photos of them to protect their privacy. But aren’t they adorable? :)

On the way home, we stopped by a trout farm where each child caught one trout within minutes (not sure what they do to the trout but it’s guaranteed!!) and we enjoyed super fresh baked trout for lunch.

Smoked trout pate. Yum.
Smoked trout pate. Yum.
It was the kind of holiday where having a glass of wine every lunch time seemed the right thing to do. Certainly not something I will keep doing all year, but it was definitely pleasant :)
It was the kind of holiday where having a glass of wine every lunch time seemed the right thing to do. Certainly not something I will keep doing all year, but it was definitely pleasant :)

We had a great time. The kids got to see lots of farm animals and even went for a mini-hike. And while I didn’t get to finish the book that I ambitiously brought along to read, I managed to relax despite spending all day with the kids. I was surprised at how much I loved not having access to the internet. I felt uncluttered, more centred, calmer. It was quite enlightening.

After three days, I decided that what I want for 2015 is to learn how to slow down. The pace of 2015 might be lightning fast, but I need to feel as though I am coasting, or sailing, rather than paddling furiously. I am not quite sure how to do this yet, but this will be my mission for 2015. Slow. Down. (or learn how to). I have a feeling this will involve more meditation and less Facebook and compulsive email checking. I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life desperately trying to keep up. I am not even sure what I am trying to keep up with. Some call it life, but it feels like anti-life to me.

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I’m hoping you’ll all come with me again on this journey. This year I wanted to combine full-time work/study and being mummy to my gorgeous kids (and wife to my dear husband) as happily as I could. I feel like I have made a great start, but my mind needs to stop frantically scurrying about from one tiny detail of our life to another. It exhausts me and energy is what I need more of, not time. So thank you for being there this year, and here’s to another adventure in 2015. x

What do you want to work on in 2015? What’s your mission for the New Year? What do you really want? 

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6 comments on “Our Unplugged Family Holiday, and What I Really Want For the New Year

  1. Lorena Puentes
    December 31, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Hello Dr. Carolyn,
    Your children look adorable,beautiful picture! as a matter of fact my goal for 2015 is to be a better mother. I need to learn to be more patient , kind of like grandma patient!
    Yes, easier said than done.
    Looks like your mini retreat, helped you focus on how simplicity is so grounding for the soul. I myself have experienced life in the country, it’s so beautiful to be able to appreciate nature and the world as it is. Not many people can cope with out being unplugged, but all I can say is that we are all looking for something when we connect ourselves with the world. Sometimes all we need is more simplicity in our life. Wish you and your family a wonderful New Year!! Hope to see your posts here and there, but if we don’t that means that you certainly must be having quality time with your loved ones, as we all should.
    Happy New Year from my family to yours!

    P.S. I would like to share this email that my boss, shared with me, I personally liked it a lot..

    The Magic Bank Account

    Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules. The set of rules:

    1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.

    2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

    3. You may only spend it.

    4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.

    5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say, “Game Over!”. It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

    What would you personally do?

    You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right?

    You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?

    ACTUALLY, This GAME is REAL …Shocked ??? YES!

    Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. We just can’t seem to see it.

    The PRIZE is *TIME*

    1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.

    2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us.

    3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.

    4. Yesterday is forever gone.

    5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time without warning…

    So, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds?

    Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

    So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!
    Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending”….

    “DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT GROWING OLD,
    SOME PEOPLE DON’T GET THE PRIVILEGE”.

  2. Linjen
    December 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    This is a tough question, only because it’s personal. But I want to answer it.

    The first 3 months of my son’s life, my husband and I drafted apart. We became roommates at the same time we became parents. I don’t think we’ve come any closer since then. Though we remain a strong team when it comes to our son.

    So what do I want?

    Forgiveness. I want to forgive. I want our marriage back. I want my husband back. And I want to move forward as a family.

    Happy New Year!

    Xo!

  3. admin
    January 4, 2015 at 4:34 am

    Hello Lorena! Thank you very much for your comment, and for the beautiful story about time… Such aching truth in that, and yet, I forget it constantly! SO thank you for the reminder… As for being a better mother… I have no doubt you are already an excellent mother. because you are making this your priority for 2015!! I wish you everything you need to be more patient and also the peace and strength to know that you are already good enough. But we can always strive to be better for sure! All the best for 2015 and thanks for following. x

  4. admin
    January 4, 2015 at 4:37 am

    Hello Linjen

    Thank you for sharing. This sounds like a very difficult thing for you to come to realise, and a very very important thing for you to want in 2015. I hope that 2015 brings you love and forgiveness. It is a very hard thing becoming parents and maintaining a marriage or partnership. Very difficult. All the best!! x

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