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Old 04-20-2014
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After surviving a rough couple of days I realise how much I no longer take things for granted. Like the sun coming up in the morning, being able to go for a run, being able to go for a bushwalk, being able to take photo of flowers and sunsets. I want to make sure I can continue to do these things for as long as possible.

I drank almost 3 litres of caffeine on Friday, my anxiety stopped me sleeping. Now I am on my 2nd day without caffiene. My thoughts are much better already. After coming home from my run, I crashed to sleep absolutely exhausted, so tired I couldn’t lift myself from the bed. Lenny my constant companion was perched on my shin.
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Old 04-27-2014
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Saturday

Yesterday avo I went for a walk along the Creek trail to Rothsays Reach. I’ve run past this little boat landing and viewing platform many times. I was setting up for some photos when a couple of kayaks went by, disturbing the nice cloud reflections. There were fish about breaking the surface and causing ripples. Some roosting birds were settling in the trees above. Currawongs, Noisy Friarbirds, and White-cheeked Honeyeaters. The Royal Spoonbills that were patrolling the mangroves last weekend were not to be seen.

Then another boat pulled into the landing and tied itself off to the wooden structure. The owner tried to get the boat out of my picture. They took off inside a nearby house for coffee and a chat with grandmother and grandfather. The boat started to drift around. It actually gave an interesting point of focus, so I included it in one photo.

The boat owner came back and by that time sunset was over and it didn’t amount to too much colour.

The creek trail and I have a long history, going back probably 15 years. Lots of walking, and now running, a fair bit of pain as well. I know every inch of it, most of the wildflowers, and it holds a kind of fondness to me.


Sunday

I arrived early and walked straight along the trail to the beach. The asymmetric flowers of White root were flowering by the side of the trail. The track was dry, the paperbark channels emptied of water. I made it to the broad expanse of beach. Grey skies above but little prospect of rain. The ocean is a home to me, standing near the backwash brings me peace. I realise I would miss the coast if I had to leave. A latter day beachcomber I have become. It occurred to me I should get on with writing my regional park flora guide. To leave something of my life behind- a plant book. I’m 51 I should get on with it.

By the time I returned to the bollards on the Eastern Peninsula trail, the 2km runners were gathering at the start. I drank some Gatorade and stood amongst the Flooded Gums. The mosquitoes started to descend on the gathered runners. I put on my racing flats, making a commitment to race, with my ordinary level of fitness.

At the start I was spat right out the back. A lot slower than the last two years as was to be expected. I ran along the gravel path, happy to just pace myself with what I had. It is 2.5km to the first turn around.

The leader of the race was JG, shirt off and a target for mossie bites, with a young runner hot on his heels. Very impressive running for this runner I haven’t seen before.

The run back to the start finish seems to drag out forever. A runner in a blue shirt was up ahead. He said he was sprinting the 5km today. Last two weeks jogging I have been not far behind him after 5km. Today I ran on past before the turn.

I was back in about 6th place.

I went through the finish and collected my ticket, I figured I’d put in an effort worthy of a time today. JM told me I had not turned at the right place. I saw some flour on the track, and thought it was the final turn around. The real turn around was another 130 metres up the track. Oh well.

Probably about 46 minutes. So about 3 of 4 minutes slower than my best.

There was a shift in perception to the positive today. The people there were good. It went alright. That often happens if I make the effort. I think the reduction in caffeine certainly helps in these situations. So much more relaxed.
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Old 05-05-2014
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I just saw a photo in the newspaper of an indoor swimming pool I used to frequent in my days of knee pain. It dug up some powerful and unpleasant memories.

The smell of chlorine at the pool was overpowering. Dead insects floated on the water's surface, not much could survive in that pool. It was a 25 metre pool, the only pool in town open in winter. It was a bit of dive and not many people frequented the pool, which was fine by me with my anxiety. I felt confident to go there and practice, because I could touch bottom even in the deep end. I was still very uncomfortable in the water.

The pool had a tin roof. There were three swimming lanes and half the pool was a roped off area where anyone could swim.

I never liked pools or swimming. The smell of the chlorine, the way that voices echoed so loudly of the surface of the water, brought back memories of my childhood when the thought of going to swimming lessons and venturing into the deep end, made me feel physically sick. I can remember on school days when we had to go to swimming lesson, I used to feign illness to my mother to try and get out of it. At school swimming carnivals I never went in any of the races.

My knee was in a lot of pain, even kicking in the pool hurt it. I'd take off my knee strap and tape and step clumsily down the steps into the shallow end of the pool. I'd start by putting my goggles on and placing my face in the water and blowing bubbles out my nose. No one ever taught me to do that as a child. I looked it up on the internet. With the surface tension no water could get into my nose.

Then I would practise a survival technique a swimming instructor showed me. Roll on my back, legs and arms out stretched. That way I could float on my back as long as I liked. This really helped later when I started swimming in deeper water, knowing I could stop and take a break if I became tired or panicked.

Then I would try to swim into the wall, about 10 metres. Turn my head to the side and try not take in water. Sometimes I'd only go a couple of strokes before I'd take in a gulp of water, and in blind panic stop swimming and place my feet on the bottom of the pool. Other times I'd crash into the lane rope. I was hopeless, but I kept trying. Eventually I could swim 25 metres without stopping and crashing into the lane rope.

I'd leave the pool and my knee would really hurt, which stressed me out. I'd sit at home on the computer, my nose and ears still filled with chlorined water. My life was really dimished, I was walking in pain, was unable to any of the things I now enjoy such as running and photography.

When I got more confident I started going to the outdoor Olympic pool. In the end I could swim up to 900m without much of a break, I even went swimming in the open water of the Jetty. I'm really proud of that.

In the end swimming pools and the deep end held no fear for me. I stopped swimming in 2009. It is simply not something that is a part of the real me. Running on the other hand is, and when I started to run again, swimming went out of my life again for good.


When I look back on those times, I realise it is a long way to fall back down. I'm in a much better shape at present, both physically and mentally for which I am thankful. Memories of the dark times are still there, and I fear falling back down into them, and it seems I have been fighting without a rest since then.
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Old 05-06-2014
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Lost Forever in happy crowd

[IMG][/IMG]

Standing at the start line of the City to Surf is like that for me. Surrounded by 80,000 other runners, soaking up the excitement, happiness, expectation, inspiration, but still alone, anonymous.

I wish I could stand there forever, lost in that happy crowd, because it sets my mind free. Standing silently waiting for the start, the sandstone walls of the Australian Museum to my right, TV helicopters hovering above, an old fig tree leaning across the road from Hyde Park.

There is so much history in this race, so much history in the city of Sydney. Surrounded by history's soothing hand, my battles seems less important, I am just one of the millions who have lived and died, one the millions still struggling to live, and the millions yet to come.

I stand on the start line having already faced my worst fears of the world that go well beyond fear of the race itself. And after the start I am carried away and swallowed up by a winding, noisy, colourful snake of thousands of runners headed to Bondi.

When I run, when I watch other runners, I see hope.

When I run ,my thoughts become lost in a distant place, my eyes become focused in the distance, on a place where my anxiety does not exist, where happiness has the opportunity to appear. Lost in a better place through immense physical effort.

And then when I push through the pain to the finish and achieve something unexpected, that is like a waking dream, and I suddenly believe in the impossible.

I stand on the start line triumphant, set free to dream, and cross the finish line victorious, free of fear.
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Old 05-07-2014
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Your posts are inspiring, my friend.
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Old 05-08-2014
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Cheers Mikey
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Resting swallow.

On Sunday I walked to one of my favourite spots. It is a headland where a creek flows out onto the beach in times of rain. There are extensive rock platforms and long sand beaches that stretch south to Picket Hill.

I parked my car at Tuckers Rocks and walked out onto the beach. Council beach to the right, dogs allowed, National Park beach to the left, no dogs. There was a wedding in progress down on the beach sand. The happy couple and several guests stood around a blue arch erected in the sand.

I headed north to the headland. You can see it up in the distance, an exposed clump of rock almost covered with drifting sand. The headland takes longer to walk to than you would expect.

As I walked on the wet hard beach sand several Welcome Swallows flew past checking me out. I managed to get a photo of a resting swallow, a little puffed up ball of feathers.



Lots of 4WD were driving along the beach. A car stopped and its occupants go out to pick up driftwood. Another car stopped and quickly explored the rocky headland.

The creek was blocked forming a stagnant lake. Not enough rain for it to flow out along the beach into the ocean. I arrived at the headland well before sunset. And the interesting high wispy clouds retreated out to sea as I stood there waiting. I sussed out a few locations. The southern side of the headland had more wave action, but no clouds. The northern side of the headland was sheltered with little wave action. There were some green nice algae covered rocks that I was attracted to. At sunset the clouds were disappointing.

[IMG][/IMG]

There was a colony of Terns on a distant rock outcrop. A small fishing boat was anchored off the rocky headland. A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers flew off to headlands further north. A Brahminy Kite used the last warm currents to soar up into the sky.

The tide was very low, and a few deep rock pools dotted the rock platform. There were fish swimming in the rock pools, and brown coloured branched algae, and black bowling ball, and black white zebra like sea shells. One of the fish was oval shaped and it swam around in the rock pool and disappeared into crevices searching for food.

Every time I go out into nature I see something different that is what I love about it.

A lady came over to talk to me. She was a guest at the local community nestled in behind the headland. She had to move down from up north, but hadn't found a place to live. She asked about my camera, she hadn't take any photos for a long while, but was interested in starting again. I explained to her it was a digital camera and how I had become to prefer digital photography more than my old film cameras. We both agreed the coast around this part of the world was really beautiful.

I'm not sure if she noticed my anxiety or not.

I walked back along the beach after sunset, guided by silhouetted hills, a sliver of moon to my right, and a Pine tree growing above the old house at Bundagen.
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In my dreams nothing holds me down, there is only out and away. I wish I could die and be reborn as a bird. William Wharton Birdy

Last edited by Kiwong; 05-27-2014 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 05-08-2014
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what a pretty bird! You must have a nice telephoto lens on that camera. Sounds like a lovely day.
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Old 05-09-2014
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Thanks Molly, I love swallows they are great flyers. It's a 400mm lens, I have respect for good wildlife photographers because it is hard and requires patience.
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They are good flyers- we have barn swallows here and they are very aggressive with the Mountain Blue Birds who are nesting in the boxes we put up. The bluebirds seem to be holding their own but now the darn robins are ganging up on them! Must have had 6 of them the other day trying to intimidate the blue bird couple that has a nest of eggs they are caring for. I have a sudden hatred of robins!

You're getting to be a very good wild life photographer! I used to dream of making wild life videos of bear and elk, moose etc... Just love the idea of watching them all day!
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Old 05-09-2014
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I noticed that you had a bluebird avatar a while ago that was lovely. Good luck to those Bluebirds. Aggressive territorial birds are nasty, we have Noisy Miners.

Many DSLR cameras also have a video function, so having a go at some wildlife videos is a possiblity? I was thinking of getting a video of the Rainbow Lorikeets roosting in a Lemon Scented Gum. There are thousands of them.
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Mothers Day Classic

This a new local race run on Mother's Day to raise money for breast cancer research. I'd entered on line a few weeks ago, it is a worthwhile charity. I lost my mother to breast cancer in 1987. The race was held at a park near the Jetty. The Jetty is a iconic landmark in Coffs Harbour. The Jetty is a wooden structure that extends out into the sheltered Jetty waters, splitting in between Muttonbird Island and the South wall. In the past it was used load and unload boats, but now it has been rebuilt and is a popular local tourist attraction. I had only run once this week, with a cold. My training of late has been really ordinary, no long runs for nearly 6 months now. So I knew I wouldn't run all that well.

There was a very good turn out with many of the competitors dressed up in pink running gear. I met and talked to a lady I know from work, who is also a local councillor and who was filling in for the mayor. She gave a short speech, and asked for a moment's silence for those affected by cancer and to remember them. I thought of my mother, she deserved better, much better. Cancer is a nightmare, too awful for tears, that is my experience of it. No time for final goodbyes, just last hellos. Life has an ephemeral quality to it, and there is a kind of dream like quality to the realisation that I'm still here standing in the warm sun of an autumn day, this strange mix of my parents genes, fortunate to be able to run at 51.

Race

Before the race a fitness instructor put the runners through their paces with some exercises. I stood back from the crowd and tried to warm my legs up by jogging on the spot. The race started under a pink blow up arch. I ran along the neatly mown grass of the park, and then around to the right. I was up in the top ten runners even with my complete lack of fitness, Then it was down a little hill past the jetty markets to my left marked with tents at each stall. A band played unknown tunes. Then back onto the cycle path. A traffic jam of runners bottle necked into a narrow uphill section onto the Jetty entrance, and I was shunted back several places. I tried not to tread on the toes of a guy in front wearing an IPOD.

Then the race opened up onto a broader footpath. The leading 3 runners had cleared off in front. I was running behind a group of 5 or 6 runners. It was frustrating to be so unfit. The race went along the Jetty Foreshores Park with its picnic areas and children's playgrounds. A little boy on a bike came pedalling like mad on his tiny bike in the opposite direction.

The course followed the cycle path all the way out to the boat ramp, where 4WDS with boat trailers unload their fishing boats out into the water. Then the course entered the road on the way out to the big quarry at Corambirra Point. Half this headland was quarried in the past leaving an ugly looking cliff face on its northern side. Then there was a turn around where a fence has been erected to close off the construction site for refurbishment to the south wall, which protects the entry to the Jetty, which in the past was open to the ocean.

I kept moving up a few places. A lady runner went flying past, running really well, and another older guy also overtook. Then it was back the way we came, along the cycle path, a pleasant Sunday morning with families enjoying picnics, kids playing on the swings and slippery dips, and throwing balls in the warm sun. After another kilometre or so it was right out onto the wooden jetty structure. Running along the wooden planks out into the Jetty for about 300 metres. The masts of the boats in the Marina to my left, and in front of me the treeless crescent of Muttonbird Island rising up out of the ocean.

The ocean was calm, and a few high clouds moved on past quickly by above. I wondered if they were the clouds I'd seen at sunrise.

Then it was back out to the Corambirra Point quarry again. Two runners pulled out, and I passed another, suddenly I was in about 6 or 7th place. If only I'd been fit, oh well, maybe next year. I tried to chase down a guy in a green shirt, but I couldn't catch him. Then two lady runners overtook me on the Jetty. I let them get away, my endurance was ordinary.

So I finished, and the announcer said "Well done Kiwong. " I got a medal, pink with mother's day classic on one side, and silver on the other. I hung it around my neck with a pink ribbon attached to the medal.

I had a chat with another runner who finished ahead. It was a really beautiful autumn morning, and I bought a sausage sandwich and ate it sitting on the grass. I really enjoyed my morning, even though I didn't really run that well at all. It was good to be part of the run, and I reckon there was nearly two hundred entrants, so the race must've raised a fair bit of money for charity. I felt a part of something, felt like I was living.
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Last edited by Kiwong; 05-27-2014 at 10:24 PM.
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This morning was a good one for me. Instead of withdrawing from running, I faced my fears and reached out and tried to connect through my running. My anxiety wanted me to withdraw, but I wouldn't let it, I went to a local social training group for a run instead.

On the walk to the Olympic Pool, I had a bit of a chat to a lady from work, who was having her first run for a while.

When I arrived I was welcomed to have a run. I did 12km all up, 5km hardish and then about 7km easy. An unbelievably beautiful autumn morning, a little bit of coolness about the air. Blue skies, no clouds at all. There was a big turn up of runners out the front of the Olympic Pool. The creek trail is dry, not a breath of wind rippling the creek surface. Sometimes after pushing through the dark times, everything looks clearer more vibrant like a desert washed clear of rain.

On the 7km easy loop of the trail, I had one of those happy ever nows. A sudden joy hit me right in the guts. I imagined myself maybe winning a place in my age group at the local Half Marathon, and standing on the podium, and raising my arms to heavens, and yelling "Look at me I am a survivor". Haven't had one of those running happy ever nows for such a long time. I thought, running is a part of my future too, it is fundamentally a part of me like eating, sleeping, or drinking. There is no other activity I do that makes me feel so alive, that can take away my dark thoughts so they retreat to a millions miles away.

Sometimes when I reach out the whole opens up, and I believe "I can beat this."

Good night.
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Such an incredible and inspiring story, this is one of my favourite threads
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Thanks Joule, mad scientists like us must be fighters.
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Sunday 9km. Today was my first DNF for a long, long time. I couldn't complete the 10km race. I stopped at about 7km. I felt tired and heavy through my whole body, an exhaustion from not sleeping well this last week.

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

Vincent Don McLean



The good part about today was walking from the cark park down to Emerald Beach. Looking south from Bare Bluff to Look at me now Headland. How beautiful it was on this sunny autumn day. A couple of members of the Emerald Beach Grey Kangaroo mob hopping away at my approach. How can you take living somewhere like that for granted? A completely blue sky without clouds, and spring almost summer warmth to the air. Waves curling in to the beach, with an on shore breeze whipping white tails off wave crests. The waves breaking over the wet rocky toe of dark metasedimantary rocks of Bare Bluff Headland way down below. A few flowers blooming on the grassy headland, Goodenias, Rice flower. Zieria prostrata not flowering this time of the year. A wide flat beach of wet hard sand to run on.

Have I blown it, I thought, will I lose the opportunity to continue to enjoy this? This horrible fear that something terrible is going to happen and take away the things I love. I want to get out and see as many sunrises and sunsets as I can. This coast that I know, these headlands where I have found peace. There were market stalls at the emerald Beach fair, one was selling photos. Maybe that could be me one day, trying to sell some of my photos? A sky diver made an appearance from above and landed on the beach guided by orange and pink flares. A big crowd lined the foredune looking and pointing skyward as the skydivers descended. I saw a Horse-tail she Oak with thongs hanging through it, and a sign saying the "The Thong Tree."

I am thankful for the last two days, as I head into the unknown of another week, hoping I have a future. Counting each day, and testing my fears and trying to move towards some peace.

It's only a matter of time- Day 5. Still no apocalypse.
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I've always loved the quiet places away from people.

At school I'd walk to work, never catch the bus. I walked under Miranda Fair through the ground level carpark, finding a path to keep away from other school children. I'd arrive at school late, intentionally missing the gathered assembly, and wait outside my first classroom of the day for the other students to arrive. At lunch I would stand near the quadrangle wall, and look out over Miranda Park beyond the noisome adolescent throng to White Ibis feeding on the grass. I walked the quiet corridors where few frequented. I hated being an adolescent, adolescents frighten me, they still do.

At Sutherland cross country races I warmed up as far away from the gathered runners as possible, exploring secret side trails only I knew, looking at the sandstone wildflowers, listening to the sounds of bush birds. The gatherings of people at afternoon tea brought me no comfort at all. But I am a social animal, I should enjoy that, I didn't, I still don't.

At university, a quiet walk around the lake path, often at night in the dark, I'd seek out the quietest corner of the library, the furthest seat away from anyone else in the lecture hall. I'd eat in the dining room late at night when all the other dormies had gone to sleep.

At work conferences I'd find a quiet place by the side of the creek, listen to the water run over the rocks. Baden Powell Park near the creek, the quietest corner of Forsyth Park were my quiet places away from work. I never use the lunch room, stay away from morning teas, farwells, only visit it when it is empty.

At parties before I stopped bothering going to them, I'd find place in the cool air outside under the stars, away from the loud music, and meaningless chatter. I wouldn't mind if a kindred spirit ever chose to join me, but that never happened.

It's who I am, a solitary soul, and I am most at peace in the quiet places away from people.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwong View Post
I've always loved the quiet places away from people.

At school I'd walk to work, never catch the bus. I walked under Miranda Fair through the ground level carpark, finding a path to keep away from other school children. I'd arrive at school late, intentionally missing the gathered assembly, and wait outside my first classroom of the day for the other students to arrive. At lunch I would stand near the quadrangle wall, and look out over Miranda Park beyond the noisome adolescent throng to White Ibis feeding on the grass. I walked the quiet corridors where few frequented. I hated being an adolescent, adolescents frighten me, they still do.

At Sutherland cross country races I warmed up as far away from the gathered runners as possible, exploring secret side trails only I knew, looking at the sandstone wildflowers, listening to the sounds of bush birds. The gatherings of people at afternoon tea brought me no comfort at all. But I am a social animal, I should enjoy that, I didn't, I still don't.

At university, a quiet walk around the lake path, often at night in the dark, I'd seek out the quietest corner of the library, the furthest seat away from anyone else in the lecture hall. I'd eat in the dining room late at night when all the other dormies had gone to sleep.

At work conferences I'd find a quiet place by the side of the creek, listen to the water run over the rocks. Baden Powell Park near the creek, the quietest corner of Forsyth Park were my quiet places away from work. I never use the lunch room, stay away from morning teas, farwells, only visit it when it is empty.

At parties before I stopped bothering going to them, I'd find place in the cool air outside under the stars, away from the loud music, and meaningless chatter. I wouldn't mind if a kindred spirit ever chose to join me, but that never happened.

It's who I am, a solitary soul, and I am most at peace in the quiet places away from people.
I know what you mean about quiet places, I had a walk at Knocklofty Park in West Hobart today and from the very start there were people everywhere kind of ruined the walk.
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I also need solitude like air. In my previous life, which was not very pleasant most of the time, I was saved by my ability to easily be in the woods in a matter of mins. Our property bordered a land-locked 80 acres of forest that no one ever used. It was mine and my best friend, fur-buddies, paradise. I could always retreat to it whenever I needed to be alone. The solitude of the woods has saved me my whole life. The locals tried to scare me of stories of bears and mountain lions but that made me want to be there ever more.

You remind me of myself too when I was young, I always cut class when I got to be a teenager. I couldn't stand being around kids my age. They were like a alien species. I would walk to the local public library and hide in the isles of books for hrs a day. They were my woods when I had no forest.

Just found this perfect quote by Einstein~

“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.”

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Despite your desire for solitude, you and I are going to meet up for coffee one day.

Having time alone is necessary to recharge and gather thoughts, even for extroverts.
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