Overcoming a Roadblock

crescent bay 1

Firstly I would like to say thank you for all your kind comments last week. My love language is words of affirmation so your comments on last week’s post, on our anniversary on Wednesday, and for my birthday on Friday mean so much to me. Thank you for filling my love tank.

We didn’t do much to celebrate our wedding anniversary on the actual day. We went out to lunch together, and for supper we shared celebration cakes and churros with our good friends who were also celebrating a recent anniversary.

On Thursday we celebrated by going for a bush walk. We walked to Crescent Bay. It’s not a long walk by any stretch of the imagination but it was a big walk in my mind.

The last time I had attempted this bush walk was about 20 years ago. We had arranged to go for a walk with friends. I was six months pregnant at the time and I had spent my pregnancy so far lying on the couch and eating. I was not fit. I was not energetic. But I had been told that it was an easy walk, fairly flat, and so I was willing to try.

It takes a bit of time to drive to the start of this walk. Google says 1 hour 41 minutes. On Thursday we took our time, I wrote a short story to start off with which made us leave home fairly late in the morning, then we stopped for coffee and chai, stopped to say hello to Caleb at the campsite where he was working (and to pick up Moz’s sunnies), and eventually stopped for lunch at Remarkable Cave where the track begins.

I remember that 20 years ago, by the time we had got to Remarkable Cave I already had a headache and wanted to go home. But I pulled myself out of the car and started walking. There I was, hoping for a walk that would be like a wander along the street. Flat and easy. What I got was something very different.

There are just a few places on this walk where the track is very steep, steep up and steep down. Most of the track, in fairness, is reasonably flat. But there are just a few points where flat is not a description you can use at all. The walk did not meet my expectations and I wasn’t sure I could make it.

So that’s how I ended up in tears in the middle of a bush walk. And that’s how this particular walk loomed large in my memory.

And you know, I wouldn’t say that I’m fit right now either. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to cope. But I was determined to try.

If you’re the type of Tasmanian that goes for walks all the time, or a person that jogs for fun, or even someone who is reasonably fit you are probably laughing at me right now. It took us all of an hour to walk in to Crescent Bay and it took us an hour to walk out. We had a lovely hour at the beach wandering along through the waves. (We did not slide down the sand dunes on a boogie board. I wasn’t going to waste energy climbing up.)

It was not a hard walk.

But in my head it was quite a large thing to overcome. It had sat in my mind for 20 years. That bush walk that had reduced me to tears. That was the walk that others say is easy but I that had found so desperately hard.

I had to go back there and try it again. I needed to know I could. And, yes, I could make it. It wasn’t that hard at all.

It is now a goal of mine for this year to get fit enough to go on the walk again in a year’s time and find it easy. To race along the path like it’s no problem at all. Maybe even to have the energy to go dune sliding once we get there. I know I have been fit enough for this in the past, and I intend to be fit enough in the future.

I wonder if there is something in your mind that is a roadblock like the Crescent Bay walk was for me? It may not be a physical thing. You may have tried to write a story in the past and got stuck and now have trouble picking up a pen. You might want to play an instrument but you remember how embarrassed you felt in music class in high school when you took hold of the clarinet for the first time and made that first really awful squeak. You might want to go to uni but you remember just how hard maths was in grade ten.

There are so many places where we can get stuck. But sometimes it’s just that the timing wasn’t right that first time. Things change. We change. Maybe if you have another run at it, you will find that it isn’t quite so hard now as it used to be. You probably have new tools at your disposal, new skills you’ve learned along the road of life. And that roadblock might now only be the size of a speed hump.

Can I encourage you this year to give it a go? Have another try. See what you can learn from the experience. You might just end up having an experience as lovely as my walk along to Crescent Bay on Thursday. I hope and pray that you do.

We didn’t take enough pictures for you to really appreciate the dunes so I have found a website you can look at that shows you the beauty of the spot much better than my pictures do.

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Online quizzes

I have a theory. It’s based on a very little research and a testing base of one but I like it and it’s my blog after all so I’m going to put it out there…

But first, have you heard about the Five Love Languages? It’s a great concept developed by Gary Chapman. There are whole books written on the subject. There is a book for couples, one for kids, one for teens. And they are worth reading.

My pocket version of the concept is this: each of us understands love best when it is shown to us in a particular way. There are five broad categories for love languages. You have one or two primary languages and then the others are lower on the list for you. You will need the lower love categories filled occasionally but you really need your top one spoken regularly in order to feel loved.

The five categories are:

  • Touch
  • Words of encouragement
  • Gifts
  • Quality time
  • Acts of service

So some people feel loved if you go to their house and do the dishes for them and they show you love by coming to your house and doing your dishes (I think my MIL is in this category – she did a wonderful job of my dishes the other night, I am so grateful!)

Others feel loved if you give them a hug, or just touch them on the shoulder on the way past.

Others need a gift – not necessarily an expensive gift but if something is given to them as a gift they feel loved, valued and cared for.

For others, the major way of filling their love tank is to spend lots of time. Take them on a coffee date, go for a walk with them, play a card game, spend TIME.

And finally, words of encouragement. It has taken me years but I have come to realise that this is my primary love language.

Here’s an example: I felt dissatisfied about my birthday for years. I had no idea what I really wanted. I would pine for gifts and then realise I didn’t actually want what was given. I would organise big parties that would just leave me stressed and exhausted. (I’m an introvert! I didn’t need to be surrounded by vast quantities of people all day! Why did I bring this on myself?!) Every year I would look back on the day feeling like the celebration, while lovely and appreciated, didn’t quite hit the spot.

And then one year I realised, I didn’t need the party, I didn’t need the gift, all I needed was the birthday card. The card with the loving words written inside. In fact, I love birthdays now that I’m on Facebook because I get so many loving messages from so many people and it totally fills my love tank. My family have come on board and give me one card each and sometimes two per person!

I also remember feeling totally safe when I saw the lovely cards my Dad gave (and still gives) to my Mum on special occasions. They are great with words.

I am a words of encouragement person.

And this brings me to the online quizzes. Have you done any? I’ve done heaps!

  • How many years have you been a teacher? (Let the quiz guess)
  • How old is your soul?
  • What one word totally describes you?
  • What is your song from the 80s?

And so on, and so on.

You answer such important questions as ‘which dog would you choose?’ ‘What colour suits you?’ ‘Which slang term do you like best?’ ‘where would you prefer to live’ and then, (here’s the really important part) the quiz gives you (you guessed it) words of encouragement.

‘You have been teaching for 5-10 years. You have a beautiful soul and are loving to those around you. You are sometimes taken advantage of but you are generous and kind hearted and forgiving. You speak into the lives of those around you and will be teaching for many years to come.’

You see? How do they know that about me? Because I chose a sausage dog, the colour blue and the slang term Y.O.L.O.!

But I love to read it! It lifts my spirits!

One time I did a ‘what colour is your soul?’ quiz and this was the answer it gave: yellow. That’s it. Just one word. I felt totally ripped off! Where were my nice words that told me that yellow meant I was a nice person who cared for others and blah blah blah.? Nope. Just ‘yellow’.

Anyway, I am an Australian, and words of encouragement do not come easily to us. We are much better at the friendly insult, the gentle ribbing, the sarcastic comment and the witty put down. I don’t really want that to change – it’s an important part of our culture, but perhaps we could also share encouragement with those around us. Tell them something we like about them, so they can hear it from someone they know, not just an impersonal online quiz. I think people love it, need it, because that’s why the quizzes are so popular. We are all desperate to hear those words of encouragement (well, if you are built like me you are anyway). That’s my theory.

Are you a sucker for the quizzes? What is your love language experience?