• The Hopefulist

Slowing life down a little

We all seem to feel that life goes by way too fast. I think I discovered a way to slow it down a bit or at least, make the most of the life we lead. While on vacation in the Outer Banks I decided I was going to make the most of my time there. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed my time there and did things that would be memorable.

We have vacationed there in the past and it's always been amazing. It always seems to go by too fast as well. I left this year feeling refreshed, renewed and satisfied. Of course it always depends on the weather (and we were blessed with good weather this year) but I wanted to make sure to get out of the house and take advantage of all that I could. There have been years that we sat around the house most of the week and that is okay but those are the times I have often felt like my vacation wasn't long enough. That I didn't do enough. That feeling that I didn't get the ultimate experience. Don't get me wrong, sitting around the house playing games was one of my favorite parts of the week. We laughed so hard while playing a game one night my jaw actually hurt. You know the type of laughing that makes your stomach hurt? That was it...and it felt so good!

But we also did more this year than we typically do. First, we went horseback riding on the beach. I had never been horseback riding so I was super excited about that. We went as a group which made it that much more fun and memorable. I went to the beach so much more than I usually do. I'm usually happy to just sit on the deck and look at the beach but we went almost every day this year. In turn, that led me to taking a dip in the hot tub when we returned to the beach. Another activity I don't usually partake in. I feel like I got so much more out of this vacation than in years past. Just in the sense that I felt totally satisfied when the week came to an end and it was time to go home. Don't get me wrong, I could have stayed longer but I wasn't as sad to leave as I usually am.

So, what was the difference? I think for me it was the fact that I really took advantage of my surroundings. Hitting the beach, Cinco taking me for a ride, lounging in the hot tub, games with family that produced many laughs and bragging rights (My husband and I won the very first game of trivial pursuit!) Another thing I did this year was just sit and be. It's one of the things I love the most about being on the beach. It's one of the only times when I can sit and just watch the waves, listen to the sounds and let my mind wander without feeling the need to read, have my head in my phone or the need to talk. Just be. But I also took the time the do that outside of the beach.

Beverly, who was staying a couple of doors down from us, requested that we turn our outside lights off at night so they could see the meteor shower better. Meteor shower? I was not aware there was a meteor shower taking place. We looked up the info and indeed, there was a shower that was peaking last week. I don't know if you've ever had the chance to go to the Outer Banks but if you do, make sure you do some stargazing. It's one of my favorite things to do there. The sky is already amazing with more stars than I've ever seen but the chance to see shooting stars got me even more excited. I decided to get up at 5 am on the last two days I was there to stare up at the sky and just be. My sister got up with me and we had periods of just looking up and also times of just chatting about life. The sunrise was taking place around 7;15 so we had a lot of time to take it all in. And it is truly amazing to watch the black sky full of stars lighten up slowly and see the sunrise. I think that gave more satisfaction than I've had in the past. Just sitting and appreciating. Doing something that made me appreciate the world and all it has to offer. You can't get more basic than the sky, stars, moon and sun.

How do we translate that to everyday life though? We carve out time to take a moment. We make sure to do something that will give us the chance to sit and think and appreciate all that we have. Are you in a position to watch a sunrise or sunset? If so, do it. The magic of nature always makes me so in awe of life. But you can get the same result by doing things that bring you peace and comfort on a regular basis. Can you carve out some time to do something everyday (or almost everyday) that will make you stop and just appreciate. For example, take a bath. My niece told me while on vacation that she takes a bath every single day. What a way to unwind and let your thoughts flow. But it can be anything that brings you a sense of peace or even a sense of wonder. Listen to some new music and marvel at how all these individual instruments come together to make something so beautiful. Grab a book and sit in your favorite spot with a comfy blanket and a cup of tea. Watch less t-v and social media. Do more things that feed your soul. It will slow things down for you.

One of the reasons we feel life goes so fast is because we have sped it up with technology. We all tend to want to be doing something every single second. I tend to pick up my phone or book during the commercials of a show I'm watching. Try to dedicate your time to one specific thing at a time. If you want to read, put the phone away. If you want to watch t-v, put the book away. If you want to listen to music, sit down in a place without distractions. If you like to read in the bath, put the book down for a least five minutes at the end and just dream. My favorite thing to do in the tub is to pretend stress is oozing out of my fingers and toes. I also like to practice visualization. For some reason it's always been a place where I can dream of the life I really want to live. Actors do this all the time when they are up for a role. They visualize themselves in the role they want and see themselves acting it out. This is good to do for the life we want as well. And for some reason, it's always been easy for me to do that in the bath!

Find the things that tend to slow things down for you in life and do them more often. You will notice a difference in how fast life goes and the amount of satisfaction you feel. Give it a try. And be intentional in how often you do it. Any change is hard, even when the change is good for you.

It's Monday...my favorite day after Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A brand new week full of possibilities and opportunities. Now, go make the most of them and be your badass self. I'm right here, cheering you on.

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