A friend called the other day asking if I might like to go with her to a wildflower festival in the mountains for a few days in July. Usually, my first instinct would be to say no because I didn’t feel that I could afford it, couldn’t take the time away, felt guilty because that’s just not what my people do. We work. We don’t vacation. Hell, we don’t even staycation. This downshifting/sabbatical thing has been difficult, but I’ve forced myself to do things I enjoy like sitting on the porch reading, cleaning the spare room so I have somewhere I can do yoga without hitting a piece of furniture, enjoying the outdoors, taking time for myself to be with friends, enjoying food and drink at places I don’t normally go.
Something in my heart told me to think about her suggestion before I answered. I tend to overthink, and then lose opportunities because I’m too late and I thought too long. I gave myself until Friday morning to decide. By then, I’d have been able to look at where we’d be going, see what others thought about it, and spend some time determining if I even had enough money to go and have fun, not pinch pennies.
I put off thinking about it until Thursday.
I try to meditate every morning. Sometimes I used guided meditations from a variety of apps on my phone, and sometimes I just sit in the quiet of the morning, listening to the birds and the traffic on the street outside my house. I often get lost in thought while I meditate, but Thursday morning I was able to just listen. The person leading the meditation talked about how we are worthy of living our lives to the fullest and should take opportunities that present themselves to us, no matter how small. Our lives are often spent “doing” instead of “being” and it’s a completely different thing altogether to go somewhere and just be in the moment… That made sense to me.
Normally, I’d ask friends what they thought, essentially asking for permission to go–that it would be seen as acceptable to my tribe that I go. I didn’t this time. I asked my boyfriend if he minded if I went, and he didn’t and would even make sure the cats didn’t have a house party. Summer is his busy season so it would be hard for he and I to get away, but I should definitely go–I’m on summer vacation after all, and I should vacate if I have the chance!
I texted my friend and we made a few plans, evening finding somewhere to stay that wouldn’t cost a hojillion dollars. We won’t be gone long, only a few days, but it’ll be glorious. Lots of time outside, lots of time to talk and process (she’s brilliant, see, and I learn so much from her, both professionally and personally), and lots of time for me to learn how to just be. And for the first time ever, I’ll have a little money to partake of the spa…
I thought over breakfast this morning about how we are so quick to say “no” when a new opportunity arises. It’s as though it’s safer to say no up front, not risking the possibility of complications, things going badly, or disappointment if it doesn’t happen. We’re quick to do it when our kids ask to do things that are a little different in our classrooms too. I remember giving my kids assignments and telling them that if they had another idea, we could talk about it. It was a risk, and the first time I said it, I never anticipated how many would come to me with their ideas. Their ideas were different, to say the least, one being to create a newscast, complete with additional anchors and a weather and sports person, to demonstrate what they’d learned about Medieval history. But I rarely said no to their requests…their ideas were always innovative and fun, often more complex than anything I’d come up with, and because my focus was on evaluating the content of their work and their understanding of what we studied, not the manner in which it was presented, I could simply enjoy their imaginations while they worked to prepare what they wanted to share.
It was worth it to say “Yes” when they asked. It’s worth it to say “Yes” to an adventure too…even if it’s just a couple of days in the mountains.