Strange days

Yesterday was the strangest day.

The thing about strange days is they remind you about the fragility of connections – something that as a writer, I’m growing to appreciate more and more.

My anxiety levels were running at about 300% because I was catching up with a work colleague in the city, and being in the city reminds me of my day job, which then reminds me that I need to act on some important decisions I’ve made about my working future. Stress!

Given that my anxiety levels normally run at about 120%, I was on serious high alert. Not quite an all out panic attack, but I felt like it wasn’t far off. My poor heart was rapidly thud, thudding in my chest, and despite the spring-like warmth in the air, my hands felt cold and clammy. Even the beautiful sunny day, bright blue sky, and my new polka dot handbag weren’t enough to calm my mood.

hello, friends

I had some time to kill before my lunch date, but where to go? Hmm…in the end my feet knew exactly where I needed to be, and I found myself seeking the comfort of a bookstore. Just the process of browsing the shelves and surrounding myself with those familiar faces was enough to make me feel a little better. I was about to leave for another store, when one of my oldest school friends (who I hadn’t seen in years and years), suddenly appeared in front of me. As it turned out, she happened to be in the city catching up with another one of our school friends.

We talked and laughed over cups of tea, wondering at the seemingly random series of events which found us in the same place at the same time.

Timing really is everything.


  1. woolf

    beautiful snippet. watch out for that 300 though, which is HIGH! ;)))
    thanks to come and find me, i’m a little cocooned in.
    you may call it renovation, allow me to call it defeat.
    not 300, more like chill factor minus {fill in as you like}.
    but we go on, like you do. you go on.
    courage, mon amie.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hello Woolf – Gosh … I know, while I’m by nature quite full of worry I certainly don’t like my stress levels to peak quite that high.

      Well I’ve been cocooned in myself with the writing, but how happy to eventually reveal yourself with a beautifully renovated home to show for all your hard work. xx

  2. nikki

    bookstores + tea = the perfect calm πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Nikki – Yes indeed … you can’t go wrong with books or tea. πŸ™‚

  3. katiecrackernuts

    A random meeting, a bookstore and cups of tea. A perfect way to soothe high anxiety. Thanks for the comment on my post. I haven’t ever read about running. I just started running one day but a friend who has been reading about running has made me think I should read more. Now you tell me there’s a magazine. That sounds more like my kind of reading.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Katie – Thank goodness the universe was looking out for me on a day where my anxiety was running particularly high. πŸ™‚

      Running is a favourite exercise of mine too. There is a wealth of information in those running magazines, and I always end up getting at least one tip (but normally more) from reading them. The best I’ve found in the Australian ‘Women’s Running’ mag, but there are quite a few around.

  4. Rol

    I recently bumped into an old colleague / friend at a music gig. Not that strange, you might think, except that he’d come all the way from Germany (where he now lives) and was seated three rows behind me in a stadium.

    Oh, and I sympathise re: the anxiety. It seems to get worse as I get older. I always thought the opposite would be true.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hey Rol – It’s bizarre how those random encounters happen when we least expect them to. That story of you running into your friend from Germany is almost unbelievable! That’s awesome. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, normally I try to just accept my anxiety as a part of life … but I much prefer it to stay more in the background rather than cause me to almost completely freak out. I thought it’d be something I’d have ‘got over’ by now too, but I suppose we can’t change every thing about who we are.

  5. bobbi

    I’m originally from Milan, which is a pretty large city. Everytime I go back there I bump into someone I know: old collegues, school friends, old customers…so much that sometimes I feel like I’m being followed. It has happened to me more than once that I think about someone I haven’t seen in a long time, and for no reason at all, and this person suddendly materializes in front of me. Too bad it doesn’t happen with Ewan mcGregor, I think about him all the time but there’s no sign of him.
    And yes, we are very similar (vegetarian bookworms rock!!) Keep dreaming!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Bobbi – Wow. It’s amazing that you have those random bump-ins with people you know back in Milan … especially given that it’s such a big city. I do the same thing as you, I’ll be thinking about a person that I haven’t seen in a while … and out of nowhere I’ll run into them or they’ll send me an email. Life’s wonderfully strange like that.

      Haha. I’m sure if you keep trying, one of these days Ewan McGregor will come walking down your street. I love him too. xx

  6. Kylie

    What a serendipitous meeting with your friend!

    Book shops are my anti-anxiety place too. If I’m ever worried about something or having a bad day at work, I wander down to Folio or one of the other book shops in the city and lose myself in there for a while. I always come out feeling much better πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kylie – I think I really needed to see a friend that day … timing is everything. Books are the best remedy for so many things … although bookstores can be dangerous places (it’s hard for me not to buy at least one book). πŸ™‚

  7. Lucent Imagery

    A strange day that seemed to dish out exactly what you needed. How lovely. I do hope that these big future decisions appear and settle soon for you. Sending you lots of supportive blog vibes!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lucent Imagery – It was a strange day indeed, but thank goodness for random meetings … and for bookstores! πŸ™‚

      Now that so many important decisions have been made, I am feeling much better about my next steps and where I’m heading in the future. xx

  8. Selma

    I call those ‘unexpected angels,’ when people come along to help you through a difficult patch. It is tricky when anxiety levels peak like that and I am glad someone came along to help you through it. Thank goodness for old friends and soothing cuppas!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Selma – Ah yes, ‘unexpected angels’ is a lovely way of putting it. I’m hoping I don’t have another high anxiety day like that for a very long time … I was so thankful to have the help of books, friends and tea that day! πŸ™‚

  9. Christine

    Sounds like a delightful reunion πŸ™‚ How wonderful.
    Hope anxiety level is back to its normal 120 ;o)

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Christine – It was wonderful to catch up with my old friend … it had been way too long. Haha, and yes since then my anxiety has been back to normal. πŸ™‚

  10. Camila Faria

    Bookstores are my favorite places in the world. But they’re not 100% anxiety-free places to me, since sometimes I get anxious and can’t decide which books I want to take home with me. πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – Bookstores are wonderful … haha, but yes that’s true about the potential for them to cause stress and anxiety – I’m terribly indecisive when it comes to books (mainly because I just want them all!). πŸ˜‰

  11. Hila

    I live in Perth, so this happens quite a lot πŸ™‚ Although I’d like to think your friend was sent to you on that day to take you out of the stress zone.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – I really must visit Perth one of these days … I’d love to see how it compares with the look, feel and size of Brisbane. I definitely think the universe must have been looking out for me that day … as soon as I ran into my friend, all thoughts of worry and stress were gone. πŸ™‚

  12. Debby

    What a happy serendipity Tracey. Hope you are feeling more relaxed now. I find chamomile tea sometimes helps too…

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Debby – Yes indeed … I very much needed to see a friendly face that day, and I’m most definitely feeling more relaxed since then. I used to drink chamomile tea quite regularly, but seem to have fallen out of the habit … it might be time to get back in touch with my herbal teas. xx

  13. Linda from Heartfire At Home

    Thank goodness for a bookstore and your friend!! I had some herbal tea today and it was yum… that really helps! Sounds like you have a big decison to act on about your future! Me too, my acting will come on Monday morning when I have to walk into my current place of work and tell them I’m resigning. (I think I’m safe in assuming they don’t read any blogs I do!). I’m not going to enjoy that for many, many reasons, and in the job I’m in, the moment you say it you’re out the door. So I have to go and pack everything up tomorrow on the quiet and make sure I have a list of all the things they’re going to need to follow through. I hope you go well with your decisions…. sometimes we have to make the hard choices to be true to ourselves. It can be a massive anxiety inducer, but once you’ve done it, imagine how much better it will be that it’s over.

    Linda. xox

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Linda – Thank goodness indeed … I was so happy to have found many signs of comfort that day.

      I’ve come through my big decisions in recent weeks and I’m now feeling so much better about where I’m heading next. I’m a little behind on your lovely blog at the moment so you may have already shared this, but I do hope that your resignation went well. Knowing you, I’m sure it was not a decision you made lightly, and therefore it must be the right step forward for you.

      I think for me and my big decisions, I was avoiding them for so long that I kind of made things more difficult for myself. Once I took the time to be objective and practical about things, everything kind of fell into place. That all sounds pretty cryptic, but I’ll fill you in properly soon. xx

  14. Rel

    How serendipitous that you ran into your friend. I can definitely relate to anxiety, and a cup of tea does wonders – well it could be a cup of anything actually – just an excuse for a peaceful pause in this frantic world!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Rel – Yes, I can’t believe the set of circumstances that came to be that day to ensure I ran into my friend … it’s quite spooky really.

      Haha, and yes tea fixes so many problems of the world (it’s become a real favourite of mine … but will never quite replace my morning coffee). πŸ™‚

  15. Chuck

    I find that just being surrounded by books calms me down. I always leave book shops in a good mood even if i haven’t bought anything. Hope the anxiety is better.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Chuck – Yes books do have a wonderful way of just calming us with their presence. πŸ™‚

  16. krystal/village

    everyday is a little surprise πŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – That’s so true. You never quite know what you’re going to get, or who you’re going to run into. πŸ™‚

  17. Pati Mo

    The way I deal with stress is to breather, literally. deeply! Xx

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Pati Mo – Taking some nice deep breaths is definitely helpful when stress is around … there is something refreshing and mindful about the process. πŸ™‚

  18. Andrew


    I looovvvveeee bookstores! A great place to relax, whilst hunting thru the shelves for a hidden gem. I especially love second-hand book shops, which I find the quality of english from yesterday, to be superior to many modern books.

    Sorry to read about the anxiety, but awesome you bumped into a buddy. πŸ™‚

    I’ve shutdown the blog, so if you want to, you can remove the url. I appreciate you adding it. I’m not returning to my main personal blog, or at least not yet, but will be making my blog home my book review blog for a while to come, that I’ve run for a couple of years.

    Hope all is well, and look forward to your next blog post.

    Best Regards

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Andrew – Bookstores are great for all moods. They’re nice to escape into for a while, even if you don’t end up buying anything … secondhand shops are great – I love the random range you’ll find, and just the atmosphere of them.

      That was just a particularly stressful day, I think I had too much filling my head, and causing me to get way too wound up … thank goodness indeed for a friendly face.

      PS. I’ve updated my links with your book review blog. πŸ™‚

  19. Gracia

    Beautifully timed pick-me-ups or friend run-ins always lighten the day, and bookstores are great soothers the world over.

    g xo

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gracia – Thank goodness for timing … I do so love those little random moments that pop up and make everything better (and yes, books and bookstores are filled with much wonder and comfort). xx

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