Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer Vacation

As it always seems, winter drags its feet and leaves kicking and screaming while summer seems to just fly by. Literally, I can’t seem to catch it. It’s a firefly I’m trying to catch in a jar, a sunset I’m trying to snap before it disappears. It’s a wave, a breeze. Before I’m ready to really settle into summer, it seems like it’s already beginning to bid us farewell.

Our summer swan song is always the same, a trip out to the west coast to visit my sister. I’m sure each of you have a place like California, one that you return to each year. We wait for California, we count down the days. It is our favorite thing. And it also means summer is almost over.

California is as much a state of mind as physical destination. To be in California means you let go of the daily logistics and schedules that consume most of our daily existence. There is still laundry and dishes. But there are long, late mornings spent on deep couches with the people we love most in the world. There is lots of ice cream and swimming pools and mountains everywhere that humble us, and remind us that we are small.

My favorite thing about our days in California are the bookends – the generous coffee mugs at daybreak and the long pour of wine outside on the patio in the evening. We move more slowly here. We know how special it is to be in such a beautiful place with the very best people. We really want to drink this in. As if we have to store those seven days up so that we can take it back east with us. When the schedules and the busy gusto of regular life begin again, as it should, we can search our hearts for that tiny space where we keep the California version of us. The ones that are more relaxed and bathed in sunshine, with full hearts, gratitude, and humility.

As I’m beginning to pack, there is another kind of vacation I’m preparing for as well. Starting on Sunday, I'll also be taking a social media vacation where I log off sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a week or so. I’ve been doing one of these for the past few years and I cannot recommend it enough. Here is how I know I’m ready for a social media break:

·         My social media usage has steadily been creeping up. My Twitter time in particular has really been on an upswing. The frenetic pace of the news cycle has me checking more and more.
·         Checking the news more and more means, in general, that I’m feeling more distracted. I am keenly aware of this sense of urgency to check, to find out about the latest Washington-based nuttiness.
·         On top of making me more distracted, reading regularly about the chaos in the news is making me more edgy and angry. I have less patience for small children whose needs aren’t that truly complex. But I’m frustrated about 18 different things that have literally nothing to do with them and I can’t fix it. I feel myself having disproportionate reactions to their small, but not insignificant needs and problems.
·         Most importantly, our time in California is special and fleeting. I don’t want to miss a minute.

Here’s the thing with my social media vacations: just like my regular ones, I know I’ll be back. But I’ll return hopefully just as I do from our time out west: with a fresh perspective and the chance to take that feeling, however much I can capture it, of knowing what is real and what matters and how to focus, when fall requires it of me the most. 

August may already be upon us, but its not too late. Perhaps you too have one more vacation left to take.

Disconnect.

Reconnect.

Bottle up summer and take it with you before it's gone.




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