How do I know I’m Flourishing?

At the regular spoken word & poetry open mic night that I host we have a kind of unwritten rule about disclaimers.  That is, we don’t have no truck with them.  The people don’t want to hear your excuses.

I wonder if the blogosphere has the same principle.  That is, it’s poor form to start off a post apologising for not posting lately.  I suppose it’s a pretty boring and obvious thing to say isn’t it?  And there’s nothing more tedious than telling people all about how busy you’ve been.  Especially when they didn’t ask.

Especially if there’s no one reading…

But then again isn’t the entire blogosphere all about telling you stuff you didn’t ask about?

I bet you didn’t know you wanted to know all about it.

Weeelll.  Enough said.  Here we are.

So how has our little battle with convenience been going?  Thank you for asking.  It’s been sick.  And I don’t mean in the Australian use of the word ‘seeck’.  Not even ‘fully seeck’.  I mean the kind of sick that sees you making your nostrils raw while simultaneously destroying every hanky in the house and resorting to toilet paper, scrap paper and old t-shirts if necessary.  Also the kind of sick that has you exploding out every orifice normally reserved for more genteel activities.

Think Neil from The Young Ones.

Such has been the stuff of our winter.  Seraphine’s first winter attending pre-school where they should advertise free immune system load testing.  We’re now deep into spring and staring down the barrel of a good, hot summer and still I seem to be battling sore throats and leaky noses.  Not all my hankies have survived.

In real life, I spend a lot of time thinking, talking about and promoting wellbeing.  In particular us mental health promoters are taken with this idea of flourishing. What does it look like?  What does it mean for us and our society?  And how do we get there?  How do I know I’m flourishing?

Despite what I was saying earlier, I think I’m the fittest I’ve been in years.  At least, before the last week or so of flu-imposed inactivity.  I also find it doesn’t take much to set me back a notch, having now not played football for a couple of weeks.  I put the fitness down not only to playing the beautiful game again but having the hill walking routine imposed everyday, commiting to using the stairs at work and cycling more.  In fact I was feeling so good I volunteered to participate in this.  A little bit of fitness going to my head.  Sheesh.  But it’s a clue.

The point is, I do feel good.  And lately being car-free has not been easy.  We’ve seen off the worst that winter could throw at us (although no snow this year) but now the weather is picking up rapidly and the great wide open is beckoning.  The far-off, secluded little bays on the peninsula; the wild West Coast; my sister’s little slice of Rohan in the mountains.  Easy to survive not having a car when the best activity is red wine and a DVD.

It’s peak season now for renting cars so it’s not so cheap to get one to travel in.  Even so, we’re planning on renting something for a couple of weeks over Christmas while nearly the entire House of Davidson visits us.  It’s going to be a BIG family Christmas, and I’m looking forward to that too.  There’s so much to look forward to actually.  And that’s another clue.

Seraphine is a rambunctious little toddler now.  The days are getting hot.  There’s family coming to stay.  Christmas is approaching.  I’ve got a NEW tent (more on that).  I’ve only used my hanky twice today.  Yip, I’m feeling pretty positive.  It seems like ages ago now but it’s not that long since we started this blog and I wrote optimistically about Loving The Effort.  And it’s become a sort of personal mantra for the tough times.  In fact it’s the second most common tag for our posts (after ‘Car-Free’) and it’s kind of the apotheosis of our thesis around defying convenience.

Earlier in the week I was lying in a hot bath trying to revive myself enough to go to work and facilitate a workshop on this whole darn flourishing idea.  I’d initially thought to cancel the workshop but as I lay soaking in the hot, deep bath (oh, thank you Elizabeth!) and even though I was quite ill I kept thinking about the 20 or so people who were coming to the workshop and all the challenges they’d faced to get to where they were.  I thought about loving the effort and how, despite currently feeling a bit crook, I was actually doing OK and I realised that our message about flourishing was about just this kind of thing – regardless of the times when we get sick or the other limitations we might face, and we all face these at some point in our lives, we can and sometimes do, flourish.  But not enough of us.

Anyway, whether it was the force of this idea or the restorative power of a hot bath, strong coffee and paracetamol, I made it to the workshop.  We talked all about it and what it meant for each of us and decided we thought it a pretty damn good goal for society.

I then went home again and collapsed.

So.  My thoughts on some of the ways I know personally I’m flourishing:

When loving the effort means you’re not just gritting your teeth through what you must get through but actually seeking out new challenges and enlarging your efforts.

When despite currently being unwell you see the bigger picture of your overall wellbeing and fitness and it’s good and getting better.

When you feel like there’s lots to look forward to.

When you’re sick as a dog but you feel compelled to go out and talk to people and hear their good ideas.

When you’ve got no car but you can’t resist buying a flash new tent! Which we got for a song.  Actually that’s not really about flourishing but I’m looking forward to using it!

So anyway, it’s good to be back.

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18 thoughts on “How do I know I’m Flourishing?

  1. The relay sounds cool.
    Big events like that are so much fun. Kind of like stadium concerts but, er…a bit different
    “flourishing” always makes me think of either
    -men in big white shirts with floaty sleeves, or
    -plants that become crazily overgrown and try to invade your house.
    That’s not exactly what you seem to be on about though, is it…

    • Um, no. But the image of men in big, floaty white shirts is awesome. And probably not too far away from a lot of people’s impressions either. I certainly got that feedback from a 4th year teaching student at a recent workshop. You teachers.

  2. CAMPING!!!! Well that’ll make you flourish even more! I love your tent, and I really love camping. Al and I went camping for our honeymoon! I’m even condsidering camping in January this year … although I think commonsense will prevail (baby due 26th jan … planning home birth, NOT tent birth…) xx

  3. Hooray – Can’t wait for mega flourishing family christmas – “Deck the halls with bottles of bolly, sha la la la laaaaa, la la la laaaaa – hic” Xxx

    • Of course you did. That’s why you’re our hero Soph. You are the epitome of loving the effort. You know, the one and only time we tented with Seraphine so far was with you and the weasels at the Waihi Bush Folk Festival. We were so proud. And you have set the benchmark for luxury camping – I mean you brought an actual dinner table…

    • True Soph, Camping early January is looking likely … so we’ll see! Actually camping while heavily preggers isn’t my main concern … it’s the tyrant of a 2 year old that keeps following me around that I suspect might make it hard work!

    • Ok … camping early January is being negotiated … Soph … how did you cope with the whole needing to get up to pee every 10 mins situation. I’ll be 37 weeks pregnant .. I think I could cope in a tent apart from the toilet issue … Trudging thru dewy grass and fighting off the wetas and those horrible floppy moths to use the camping ground loos at 1am, 2am, 3am etc doesn’t really appeal.. Maybe we’ll find a nice 5 star hotel instead! Ha ha ha!

      • I see two options. One: camp close to the loos. Two: camp as far away from the loos as possible and just pee in the wild. I seem to recall from somewhere that pregnant woman weez is just about the best thing for the garden. Leeks in particular. Am I way off on this?

  4. Pingback: Camping Deluxe « Tyranny of Convenience

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