I was back to work this week after a two-week staycation and like all holiday returnees I'm already thinking of the next break.
Not that I want to go anywhere. On the contrary. During my time off, I finally got to check out more of the town I have returned to after almost three decades in Sydney, and the more I have seen, the more I want to discover/rediscover.
During my time off, I also had the chance to catch-up on long overdue "life admin".
Diving straight into the role of Port News Editor in April meant I was juggling a new role and team, while simultaneously unpacking boxes, learning the best place to buy fruit and veg, and remembering which lane to stay in on the Lord Street roundabouts (not sure I've nailed that one yet).
I quickly found myself caught off-guard by just how much of my personal "social infrastructure" I had left behind. I don't mean the roads and bridges I use, or my family and friends, but the everyday services that keep me happy and healthy.
The independent advisory body Infrastructure Australia refers to social infrastructure as "comprised of the facilities, spaces, services and networks that support the quality of life and wellbeing of our communities."
Its 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan includes a roadmap for recovery post COVID-19, bushfires, floods and cyber-attacks. One of its recommendations concerns social infrastructure and its role in supporting economic prosperity and quality of life.
My personal roadmap was less ambitious but designed to achieve the same outcomes.
Finding a good local coffee shop was ticked off within days of moving back here, while finding a vet for my two dogs (one who's just reached 14) unexpectedly came a close second.
My optometrist is still the same person I saw here back in the '90s (he's also a dear friend) but gathering the rest of my wellbeing support crew was proving tricky.
I had already written about the difficulties I was having finding a doctor, so that was top of my holiday "to-do" list, as was a physiotherapist.
So I spent the fortnight drawing on my friends' advice, hitting the phones, reading reviews and, of course, the Port News classifieds. Happily, it worked.
I have now added a go-to hearing specialist to my personal support crew (just for routine checks) and a pharmacist I felt comfortable enough with to show my sore toe. I have a gardener I can call and someone to wash our crew cars (yeah, yeah, I know I should do that myself), a groomer for my dogs and a hairdresser for me.
It might seem like an exercise in indulgence more than necessity, but re-forming these sorts of relationships has helped me feel more settled and happy to be actively supporting local business.
It was a holiday well-spent.
Editor, Port Macquarie News and ACM North Coast
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