MY LESSON IN DECOMPRESSION: THINK LESS

BeachAt first I didn’t think that we needed a whole week’s vacation. Usually, we do something big that requires a plane ride. We head to the coast pretty regularly, so it felt like a lot of time, time that we could have banked for our next big adventure, maybe.

But after the first couple of days, I started to decompress. The circadian rhythm clicked into place. We started to relax and I started to see things clearly. I had what might be called, “an epiphany.”

I noticed that the white noise, that circus of problems that we deal with on a daily basis; locking the door and getting to the bus on time, to work on time, remembering to pick up tape and forgetting your badge and realizing that you need gas but you aren’t sure that there is enough in your account because you had to pay for the vet…Had all gone away. And that is HUGE.

It takes a couple of days for that to go away for me, I have found that I am wound a leeeetle tight. When the survivalist in you shuts up, it frees up a ton of time and energy-and it’s all yours to fill up. So I slept when I was tired (and I slept fabulously), I ate when I was hungry, I drank coffee in the evening–which I never do because it keeps me awake.

But it had no such effect here.

I was compelled to just go outside, to exercise and explore, something can be a struggle for me in my daily routine. The weather was unbelievable, so it was easy to just go. But there was more; I had time for these things. I had time and space to myself. I read a whole book, I went on at least two walks a day with the dog.

Time had slowed and so I took it. I stopped (a feat in itself for me) and investigated the tide pools, new trails. Everything was done leisurely, there was no unpleasantness because nothing was rushed or urgent. We lived with no intentions-for a whole week-and it was bliss.

I had time to talk to people, I mean really talk. An older couple asked us directions one day when we had pulled over to watch the whales (!!!). We talked to them, right there on the side of the road, whales splashing and spouting in the distance, for an hour. When we parted, they gave us their son’s phone number and insisted that if we ever found ourselves in Texas, we should call him. We hugged.

I met more people in that week than I have in a year. Experienced more connections with strangers than even on our big trips. We talked with anyone who engaged us. We weren’t in any hurry and we found ourselves looking at people as strangers that we could surely get to the bottom of, if only given a few minutes.

I have since found myself looking at the people on the bus that way. Normally I see people as annoying obstacles on my way home (I can hardly believe my own cynicism!)

Moments happened, too. Sunsets, slow dances, playtime, walks that were not intended to raise, then lower the heart rate…Things that we are too bogged down for in our “real” lives. I felt creative for the first time in (this is really shameful) years. I felt more in touch with myself and it occurred to me that this is why my high school and college lives were so great; I had all the time in the world for projects and to put myself first.

Priorities surfaced naturally. Gratefulness and appreciation, too. I haven’t felt like this in ages and when I really go back to the last time that I had time to not be grumpy and rushed, well…College maybe?

It was a bit terrifying to see the difference, how happy I could be without all of the things that clutter my mind everyday, all that white noise that busies my mind, the over analyzing. It takes. So. Much. Energy. I am tired. Exhausted. Like all the time. I am 34.

I always find it a little crazy when the world steps up and shows you what you need. My mother always said that we don’t come with instruction manuals and it has been my belief that we need to write our own. We all need different things and clearly, obviously, this is what I need. The universe has spoken.

So here it is: I am resolved to think less.

I need more of the “vacation state of mind” in my day-to-day. Must have it. Not an option not to. Essential. A matter of survival. The problem is that I am a work-a-day girl and I have responsibilities, so it’s not like I can just quit my job (which is steady and not SO bad), so making small changes until I can facilitate the big ones is how I will have to move forward. My life is so different than the one I was living a week ago, it won’t be easy. I have started by not watching the news. That shit sticks with me and I found that I was much happier without it.

It has been a rough week re-integrating back into work (and into these pants!) but to think; I wasn’t even going to take a whole week…

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