Tuesday Tales: Celebrating the small stuff – Donna Thistlethwaite

Brrrrrrr, it was cold this morning. Especially if you were waking in a tin shed on a southeast Queensland island as I was.

I had no idea what time it was because my Fitbit’s battery had died days ago and my iPhone’s battery had drained overnight. All I knew was that the shed was dark and the cold snap that had blown in yesterday was still making its presence very known.

I actually spent an entire day in my pyjamas yesterday, an almost unheard-of occurrence for me. It felt so easy with the chilly weather, the cosy camp-kitchen fire and the company I was with … you know, the people who accept you for who you are, and always make you feel comfortable (I hope you have a collection of them in your life too).

It had been a super chilled five days really – reading, chatting, dancing and even a surf swim. How cool is it when you can toss out your usual routines and the pressures of life and truly relax? A-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Determined to get dressed and organised for departure day this morning, I pulled some clean-ish clothes over my thermals and headed towards the camp kitchen in search of coffee. I was the first up and I had a sense it would be a little while before I was joined by the other adults in our group given the early hour.

I looked over to where yesterday’s fire had blazed all day and thought, “Oooohhh, definitely a fire morning, how’s this going play out?”.  While I’m a regular camper, lighting the fire is something that I’d previously managed to avoid. I have friends who love that stuff and who am I to get in the way of their fun?!

“It looks like it’s up to me if this is going to be”, I soon realised.

“Ok Donna, you’ve watched people building the fire before … it’s not like you’re on Alone or in the bush with nothing but a few sticks to rub together. There are things … How hard can this be?” I scrunched up some newspaper, put a few pieces of chopped wood on top, struck a match and was very excited to see an eruption of flames … which quickly burn out.

My mind went into problem solving mode. “Hmmmm, I’ve heard people talk about kindling. I guess that’s what that box of twigs is for. Should I be making a tepee shape, I feel like I’ve seen that before? With a little bit of trial and error, it wasn’t long before … TA-DA … bright orange and blue flames consistently danced around the timber cuts.

They continued their dance for hours warming the camp-kitchen and heating the water for us to wash our dishes and clean away the sand, and other remnants, of our fun-filled five days.

I looked over to the fire and felt my own glow – the satisfaction of trying something new, of persevering and on this occasion of experiencing success.

It’s often the simple things in life. What are you feeling proud of right now?

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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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