Exhausted? Sometimes it’s OK to say just say 'No'

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Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

I've often given the advice that while your OH (other half) is away it’s good to stay busy, and this is something that I still think is important, especially when you have just started out in FIFO/DIDO and you’re finding it hard to adapt. 

But more recently I have found myself having to develop a new skill – knowing when to say no.

Now this may come naturally to those such as Mr Miner, who is a classic introvert and loves nothing more than time alone with his real friends, the cars and motorbikes! But for someone, like me, a chronic FOMO (fear of missing out) sufferer, I am hardwired to say yes to anything and everything.

Seriously, I have watched two-hour school plays when I don’t have any children; driven to the other side of the city to watch a band I can’t stand; moved furniture in 30-degree heat; and volunteered overnight in the rain, because I just can’t say no.

I think with Mr Miner away, I have always been careful not to turn anyone down, because I know that I am reliant on them when he’s gone. I am a big believer that you need to be friends in good times and bad, and although the best friends are those who you can go without seeing for a year and just pick up where you left off, friendships need nurturing and support is a two-way street.

I am incredibly lucky to have a great group of friends who never judge our lifestyle choice and will often ask whether Mr Miner is home before trying to make plans. But the truth is, five years down the track, I have realised I need more of a balance in my life.

Perhaps it is a sign of being settled in the DIDO lifestyle, or perhaps it is the fact I’m getting older (having celebrated my 31st birthday last week, I can picture my 25-year-old-self looking horrified at what I’m about to say), but I don’t want to spend every night he’s away partying and I don’t need to spend every night he’s home glued to his side (I can hear him celebrating from 600km away!)

So Mr Miner was away last week and my diary looked like this:

Thursday: Gym session with personal trainer (the only night I ever manage to get to the gym)
Friday: After-work dinner in the city with friends
Saturday: Drinks
Sunday: Markets, lunch, street festival 
Monday: Lebanese dinner in the city
Tuesday: Work conference
Wednesday: Post-conference work dinner
Thursday: Frantically clean house until 11pm before parents arrive and need picking up from the airport at 7am on Friday morning!

I don’t want to sound spoilt, because I know I am lucky to have so many lovely things to do, and OK, every night is not quite like this. But for someone with no kids and responsibilities, sometimes I think I am making my life unnecessarily complicated. I still go to the same book club despite having moved an hour’s drive away for heaven’ sake!

Really, when it comes down to it these people are my friends and they won’t begrudge me a night to myself. They understand work stress, commitments, chores and life in general mean that you need a break sometimes – I know even my FOMO friends lust after that one night when there are no plans and nothing happening so they can take a well-earned break.

Being flakey, making lame excuses and letting someone down are one thing, but RSVPing no to an invitation from time to time is fine.

So this weekend, I finally did it. I said no. To a party no less!

Because quite frankly, all I really wanted to do was watch Goggle Box, have a bath, put on my PJs and go to bed early with a good book and a cup of tea. I am in my 30s now goddammit and I can say no … until next weekend at least!

Our Miner's Girl now has her own website: check out her blog here at http://minersgirl.com/

And here's lots more from Sarah on Mining Family Matters:

If you've got a question for Sarah or would like to tell your own tale about mining life, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!