Last week, my extended family went to the beach. We made salsa, read, spent time on the beach and ate a boatload of ice cream (i.e. every night. The general store a few blocks from our house had the most amazing Peanut Butter Twist- vanilla ice cream with ribbons of peanut butter. Yum). This is the second year that we've gone and have committed to making it an annual getaway. Although we talked about changing the location, maybe North Carolina, maybe Delaware, the beach will be the ultimate destination.
More often than not, I gain a greater perspective on life when I attend events, travel and spend time with different people and I can say the same for this vacation. My three take-a-ways:
- I'm in a great relationship. Unfortunately, Doug couldn't make the trip, as he had some business travel scheduled, but I missed him everyday and looked forward to seeing him when I returned home. And while I already knew this, there are those moments when you reach a greater appreciation of what you already have. I have truly found my perfect partner.
- Working out is helpful. Always. Again, something I already knew, but when you're used to working alone and living with one other person, being in a house with 10 people for a week can be a challenge. Everyone has different schedules, different ideas of what they want their vacation to look like and different ways of structuring their day. Working out first thing every morning helped me to realize and appreciate these moments. Something that I've gotten better at doing over the years is checking out when I need a break. My sister commented on this recently saying "when you've had enough, you say peace out." And she's right. Everyone needs time to themselves to take a nap, go for a walk or enjoy silence. Working out is my time and I made sure I did something active every day on vacation.
- Let it go. I heard something years ago that has stuck with me: "Would you rather be right, or be happy?" There are times when I can be rigid. For example, I eat certain foods (and avoid others), keep a tidy home and like to read every night before falling asleep. But, in a house of 10 people, it's easier, at times, to go with the flow. While there are still some things that I don't eat and I made sure to keep my stuff tidy, I can't control what the other 9 people do. And that's okay. It was most important, for me, to spend the time with those I love and let go of the need to keep everything tidy, only eat certain foods and I learned that the world won't end if I peruse shoes on my iPad with my niece, rather than read a few chapters of my book before bed.
Now, for the photos:
My niece, Taylor, unprompted, put the note below outside the bathroom door and offered to do everyone's make-up. Note that she is in her pajamas as we stayed in that evening for dinner.
I left early Sunday morning to head home. In an effort to beat some of the west bound traffic I took back roads, ripe with farm stands. I stopped at Parson's to pick up some peaches, tomatoes and local honey, but stayed when I saw the animals out back and feed for sale inside the open-sided barn. A cow, two pigs, a couple geese and few goats all shared a pen and all were more than willing to enjoy some feed. The pink pig, which I initially found the cutest, was a little persnickety and took a chunk out of my thumb as I fed him. He was snapping at one of the goats and got my finger instead. Ouch. I went home and told Doug that I would like to spend some time on his family's farm down South. I suggested a month. He felt one week would be a better place to start -- stay tuned for that adventure!
As we get older and start our own families and traditions, it's nice to remember what's important -- family and spending time together. Life gets busy and schedules are packed, but it was lovely to slow down for a few days and enjoy the company of those I love. And everyone made it out alive, which is icing on the cake.