This past weekend my husband and I went on a weekend get-away to a lovely mountain lake town in Pennsylvania. We have been there a number of times before. It is a beautiful place, quiet and harkens back to the days when the pace of life was a little slower.
The trip is about three and a half hours from home (according to google maps) so it is a nice escape that isn't too far away. Of course, we who are known for our slow travel, took longer. This time our slowness can be attributed to our meandering on back roads. We enjoyed the scenery as we meandered along the Susquehanna River before heading up the mountain. It was worth the time to see a slice of Americana.
We stopped at a roadside stand that was beckoning; an overflowing barn nestled in the mountain base. There were all sorts of concrete statues surrounding the building. We could have purchased a ten-foot painted chicken ($2,659) or a life-size gorilla ($2,499) but instead settled on two pumpkins and a large guard ($8 total) It did pique my curiosity- who outside of a mini-golf enterprise would purchase some of these statues? I discovered my answer a couple of miles down the road.
We had stopped along the river at a small park so that we could have a picnic lunch.. The "park" was just 2 benches on a very small strip along the road, right on the river bank. We had to park our car across the street in front of some duplex homes and cross the road. It was as I getting back into the car, that I noticed the fronts of the homes. There, bigger than the house itself, was a life-sized waving hat cowboy astride a bucking bronco. In addition to "Tex", in their small front garden were all sorts of other concrete creatures; gnomes, pelicans, small boy with a fishing rod.
Further down the road from there we saw another business. A small local diner with the enticing marque- "Home Cooking, Mini Mart and Tanning".
It just made us laugh and realize that humans are such interesting creatures. I think that some days in my busy-ness, I miss the interesting features all around me. I get too involved and just go through the motions with blinders on. If I really paid attention, what would I see, hear and experience?
The weekend trip was a nice time to put aside all the things that weigh on our minds. The things that have been troubling (which on reflection from this weekend aren't so bad), we can review from a distance. My personality is that I can get pretty tangled up with lots of thoughts- worries, anxieties, could've-beens, should've-beens, would've-beens. Getting away allows me to step back and objectively review.
Getting away also gives me time to decide when I want to do my thinking. At home I find that I will be so preoccupied that I not only miss out what is going on, but I also feel frazzled that I don't have time to sit and work it out. But when I am away, I can do some reflective thinking, and also have time to enjoy the moments; watching the wind dance across the water on the lake, enjoying the sights and smells of the wooded path surrounding the entire lake, or playing a game of ping-pong after dinner.
Getting away also allows me to think and plan for the future. What am I planning on doing in the next couple of months? What is doable? What is unrealistic yet I will write it down just to see what happens? I do a lot of day dreaming and future forecasting when I am away.
What about you? Have you been able to get away for some time of reflection and perspective? Where did you go? Was it relaxing? Did you want it to be? If you did and it wasn't relaxing, what can you do differently the next time?
If a time away is not in the budget, could you plan a reflective weekend at home? Could you switch houses with a friend or family member? You stay for the weekend or overnight at their's and visa versa. What about eating your meals in a different room of your home? Or sitting in a different chair? What about trying something different for your evenings: Playing a game? Reading a book? Listening to music or a podcast? Going to a local theater or concert hall? Spending most of the day outside on your patio or porch? Eating all meals outside? Camping in your backyard?
I think all of us need to step back and reflect on our lives- our past, our present and our future.