Ready for summer? Ready to unwind? At the start of the season we yearn for summery jaunts to the beach – time for swimming, farmers’ markets, music festivals, and the indulgences of Christmas food and wine. Summers down the coast are full of choices. From Lorne, stunning drives south along the Great Ocean Road, into hinterland to wineries and cafes, or walks from the local beach to the ice-cream shop. Day trips, luxurious overnighters, camping, or seeking out that perfect beach shack. With the volume of people on the move, and the range of activities this region offers over summer, this season can certainly cater for our extroverted selves.
But sometimes, before we know it, we can end up limping towards the end of the hot season, awaiting some autumn solitude. Finding ways to recharge is essential. For the extroverts among us, energy is drawn in by being around other people, but the more introverted need some time alone to regenerate. Generalising whole populations into two categories isn’t always helpful, but knowing where on the spectrum your needs might lie can be a guide when prioritising your precious time and commitments as this year draws to a close.
Here the concept of the beach shack can cater for us all. They have certainly captured the imagination of many photographers and artists. Some shacks are meant to be found and admired with friends, family and many visitors. Others are quietly hidden among hinterlands; they envelop us in a sleepy solitude for relaxation and reflection.
We can create our own temporary shacks on the beach – a portable beach shade, towel, headphones, and instantly we can have our inner sanctuary. Or a solitary walk, or gaze at the ocean, even whilst surrounded by others, can centre us. This is the time to digest that novel you otherwise don’t have time for. Without places to retreat to, we can end up needing a holiday after the holiday is over.
The summer read is high on holiday makers’ to-do list. A possible choice while settling into our beach shack is, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. The author Susan Cain argues that ‘society has a cultural bias towards extroverts’. In this age of super inter-connectivity this is certainly worth reflecting on. As we age, ideally we to get to know ourselves better, how to respect the needs of those close to us, and how we draw in energy and lose energy. Time is precious. Retreating to our inner shacks, alone or in company, is a way to honour these moments. Happy summer.