Summer is more than half way finished now. I am just at the start of my summer vacation; something I have been looking towards for quite a few weeks now. We all need downtime. Vacation doesn’t need to be the great family cross country adventure, although sometimes they are wonderful too. We did the big vacation last year, and my boys still tell me it was the best vacation and greatest memory of their lives to date.
This year, it is more relaxed. Spending time at home, exploring things to do in the neighbouring cities and here in our own, day trips to other locations, kayaking on the river and lakes, and the oh-so North American camping trip. I know that many things will likely slip away in favour of simple relaxation, and I am ok with that. More than ok, truth be told. Holidays are meant for relaxation and recharging. To let your mind be free is a truly precious thing. It has already boosted my creativity and given me encouragement to continue on with projects that have been waiting on the sidelines to carry forward. I still wake early and have the house to myself for hours before my young adolescents finally make their way from their beds in search of food. This gives me time to write or develop my upcoming website, purge unnecessary items that seem to find their way into our lives and weigh us down, or sit and be still, enjoying the fruits that meditation brings.
Whatever it is that summer vacation brings for you, be sure to keep a bank of memories from it. As I have said before, we only have 18 summers. Make memories before they are grown. Give your children the gift of fond childhood memories to look back on when they are grown up.
Vacations are wonderful. You plan and prepare for the trip, decide which sights you want to see and when. You plan every day to be a full as possible so you can fit everything in to your limited time, because if you don’t, you won’t have a chance to do all the things you wanted to do.
But during that vacation away, did you think to take a day to just relax? Maybe sleep in a little, or spend a lazy day exploring the forests or the beaches?
These vacation days create a lot of memories too. Sometimes, I wonder if maybe they create more memories than running from the art gallery to the science centre then to the zoo…you get the idea.
We did all of the planning. I had every day scheduled with where to go and what to see. In the end, what my children wanted to do won out. We peeled away one activity for another. We didn’t do all the things we had planned. We spent way more time sitting on the beach watching sunsets and looking for crabs instead of going to the sights that we had on the schedule. We took a morning and strolled through a forest and created a fairy home at the base of a giant redwood tree.
We created memories.
Yes, we did a lot of the scheduled stuff and hit the highlights. But in retrospect, the highlights really were about exploring nature that was new to them. About seeing the glimmer in their eyes as they discovered something they had never seen before. It was about their pure excitement and joy the first time they dipped their toes in the salty ocean water.
These are the things that will create the memories that they will remember for a lifetime.
It’s easy in life to get into a routine and keep within that place of ease, where you know exactly what to expect. You can anticipate situations and outcomes and be prepared for them. But what happens when the rug gets pulled out from underneath you? When life changes suddenly?
Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that this has happened to me. Divorce is a rug being ripped out from underneath you and then falling through a hole in the floor under that rug.
There is a lesson here that I have learned, and continues to be reinforced often. Life is more exciting and interesting (but sometimes frustrating) when you live outside that comfortable life. Five years ago, I would not have done what I have done today.
Living outside my comfort zone has helped me to grow as an individual. It has helped me discover my independence and has even created an urge within me to continue to do things I would not have considered before.
Don’t let life pass you by, wishing you had done things.
Do the things. Live. Enjoy. Life outside your bubble is going to give you greater satisfaction, and perhaps you too will discover a little something about yourself that you never knew either.
Summer days are meant for doing a certain amount of nothing. It rarely seems the case these days, as I watch my friends and their children rushing to summer hockey camps, day camps, intensive swimming lessons, and a plethora of other activities to fill their summer days.
What happened to just having nothing to do? To the days of going to the park and playing, or reading? What happened to just being a kid?
This isn’t a popular perspective where I live, and I would wager it isn’t where you live either. These days, everyone needs to be scheduled to the hilt, because if you aren’t busy, you are wasting your time, right?
There is so much benefit in just allowing yourself time to be. Time to sit and just watch the day go by is so mentally therapeutic! Being busy does not equal being productive. This is something I have learned after years of having too much going on in my life. There is still too much going on, but I am still a work in progress too. I am officially on holidays for two weeks, and while my time clock may be stalled, work wise, my actions have not. I still have lists of things I wish to accomplish during my time off, but I know full well that there are too many lists and too little time. Where do I fit in time for me?
It’s ok to let the dust settle in the corners once in a while, or for the dishes to wait until morning. We all need to recharge our batteries once in a while so that we can function optimally. Don’t forget to take time out to relax and do nothing. There is so much value in just being.
As I travelled across four provinces and back to visit my family, a few things were noticeable to me. Every province is unique in its landscape. If you pay attention, you can see the differences in the farmland in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The landscape of the Rockies and footlands are distinctly different from the rocky landscape of the Canadian Shield. Even the trees, while similar, still hold their own differences.
Somewhere along the way, I have become an Albertan. Somehow, particularly over the last four years, I have made Alberta my home. And as I drove the long road back home, I realized just how much I am in love with Alberta landscape and all the variety it has to offer from the flat prairie to the desert badlands to the majestic Canadian Rockies. Somehow, over this time, I have made Alberta my home without even realizing it. I had always assumed that I would in time move once again. But after this realization, I am not so sure if I will. I have a new appreciation for all that I have been taking for granted in my own backyard.
And I love that here in Alberta, I can proudly wear my cowgirl boots without anyone giving it a second thought. It’s interesting how culture is different from one area to the next. I appreciate all that this beautiful country has to offer, and loved camping in Manitoba near the lake, but now I feel like for the first time, I know what it feels like to truly be home.
My boys and I regularly go on adventures. Some are big and others not so big. Adventures take many shapes and forms, but they are all exciting no matter what it is. This weekend we did our annual dinosaur hunting adventure. I take them to Drumheller, Alberta every year since we are all dino-crazy.
The weather was not fantastic. It was downright crappy really. Cold and overcast, with rain in the night making the outdoor activities poor to nonexistent. One of our mantras was used excessively this weekend. If you’re not getting dirty, you’re not adventuring.
We did get dirty. We also got muddy and wet. So we spent the majority of this adventure indoors. Naturally, we had to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum as we do every year. We love it there. Everyone should go at least once.
Drumheller is a place where I feel like I’m allowed to let my inner child run wild. It’s ok to be obsessed with dinosaurs and fossils there. It’s encouraged even. I’m sure the local businesses love it because they want you to buy dinosaur merchandise and fossils. You know, support the local economy and all. We do. We drop a small fortune every year, and I am totally ok with it.
Am I sad that our annual dinosaur adventure is over for this year? Absolutely. But now we get to look forward to the next one. And in the meantime, I have my memories, photos and souvenirs to remind me of the fantastic trip we enjoyed together.