Continued from Taking a Break (Part 2).
Not once on my hike today did I think about email.
I didn't think about Facebook. I didn't worry about whether or not someone would text me back.
I heard thunder in the distance, but didn't think about checking the radar or my weather app. If it rained, I would just get wet.
I didn't wish I'd brought music with me - I enjoyed the sounds of the forest, and the crunching of my own footsteps.
When I reached the end of the hike, I didn't feel the desire to share the moment with a photo on Instagram.
I just sat. I rested my legs. I breathed in and out. I existed. And it was beautiful.
Last night, while riding the boat home from an evening of tubing and swimming in the lake, I thought - how can I save this feeling forever?
How could I possibly capture the child-like exhilaration of being whipped around on a raft behind the boat (in a non-stop fit of giggles), or the feeling of floating in the warm water, legs dangling below me, the glassy waves rising up to my chin and the orange sun setting in the distance?
The feeling of the warm wind pulsing against my skin as we sped back to the dock - eyes watering beneath my glasses, tangles of wet hair whipping around my face and neck. Feeling a blissful sense of happiness and tiredness and absolute contentment. The strain in my chest of the love I feel for my friend Megan. The way the water sparkles as we skim over the top of it in the final pink of sunset. A smile spreads across my lips, even though I know I can only hold onto a few small pieces of this. I won't remember every detail, the exact temperature, or the sweet smell of the air. But I still have this moment, and it is wonderful.
It came and went, but it was there. And that's what makes me happy.
My trip to Missouri was absolute bliss. There was a moment when Megan and I were sitting on her porch next to each other. We had our feet resting on the railing, while a thunderstorm was raging all around us. We were silently reading our books, when Megan turned to me and said, "I'm so glad that you're here."
I saw all kinds of animals - herons, turtles, skunks, deer.
I bought a candle called "Crisp Morning Air" that reminds me of the smell of the woods.
I drank beer from a local brewery that was light and sweet and refreshing.
I didn't worry about what time it was.
I read a book.
I floated in the warm water of the lake, and was reminded of how nice it is to swim in something that's not chlorinated.
I dove off the dock.
I cooked dinner with Megan (well, let's be realistic - I cooked, Megan ate).
We watched "Slow Learners" and "Jurassic Park".
I cross stitched.
We kayaked and got homemade barbecue.
I got sunburned, then really tan.
Megan and I sat in the tree house spa and talked about our dreams for the future.
We drove around the resort in a golf cart while I yelled at the squirrels.
We played fetch in the lake with Grace.
We went tubing!
We watched the sunsets.
I went shopping at the "antique" store (more like a junk store, but I still loved it).
Megan bought a dress at the Jug & Plug.
When I departed very early on a rainy and foggy Saturday morning, I reluctantly turned on my phone. It beeped continuously with all of my unread texts and voicemails. But when I began responding I realized nothing was terribly urgent. I got home and began replying to my emails and Facebook alerts, it only took me about an hour to catch up.
I realized I can spend HOURS every week checking and re-checking for emails, posts, and messages, when in reality the internet doesn't need me there all the time.
This was a magnificent thing to learn. I think from now on I will make a rule: No phones on vacation, unless there's an emergency. I'll also designate more time every week / weekend to shutting off everything, and just existing.
Could you go without phone or internet for a week or weekend?