Friday, March 8, 2013

Vacation State of Mind

I love to travel.  I love the adventure of going somewhere new, of finding fun little places for a cup of tea or perfect pastry. I enjoy meeting new people and exploring areas that are off the beaten path. Traveling gives me a chance to see the world and how other people live and come back home with a fresh perspective.

I'm hardly lacking when it comes to travel adventures. I get the chance to go on a big trip to our Short Wing Piper Club convention each year (like our trip to Utah last summer) and have gone many, many other places and have been on amazing adventures. But the silly thing is I have this tendency to compare myself with people who get to travel more than I do. And when I compare I start thinking that I don't get to go anywhere. And that's a total lie.

I've realized a few things lately:

  • I've gone more places and seen more things than most people
  • I am so lucky and truly blessed to have had so many great opportunities to travel!
  • I have a great wanderlust and will always be seeking out ways to go on another adventure

I've also realized that I often lose sight of how good life is right now because I get so engrossed in how good I think life will be if only I could be in England, say, or Grenada riding bikes with my friend Darryl of Loving the Bike.

In other words - I get stuck living in the future instead of the now

So I've decided that I'm going to start pretending I'm on vacation for at least a moment every day - I'm calling this my Vacation State of Mind Adventure. Or Vacation State Project. Or Vacation State Adventures. Or something like that. I'm on vacation right now so can't bother my mind with such minute details.

My plan is to get into a Vacation State of Mind each day and look at the things around me as though I'm a visitor instead of a person who is anxious to go somewhere else. Sometimes I'll take a picture and post it. Other times I'll note these Vacation State of Mind moments on Facebook, my blog or in my journal. At times I'll share my moments with my family and sometimes I'll just keep them to myself.

I'm not going to stop dreaming of my next vacation. I'm going to keep putting my change in my Italy Box and keep planning for that trip to Italy my family is going to take. But while I'm dreaming and planning and saving I'm going to remember to be happy where I'm at right now.

To note my first Vacation State I took a picture of the beautiful frosty morning that greeted me and my kids as we walked to the bus. We saw the frosty trees around us and said, "Wow! Think of how cool this would look to people who have never seen winter in Minnesota." Then we thought about how lucky we are to live in Minnesota and see the frosty morning ourselves. And we smiled :-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tea Kettle Cleaning

I’m at a writing retreat with two of my writing friends, Joy and Chris. Soon after settled in our retreat space, the lovely Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, Chris and Joy got right to work on their projects. If we had a retreat leader (we don’t, this is a self-led retreat), the leader would say that Chris and Joy are ideal retreat goers - hardworking, industrious, focused. If said teacher handed out grades Chris and Joy would get an A.
Anderson Center picture compliments of The Anderson Center,

I, on the other hand, would only get a B. But the B wouldn’t be for my writing. It would be for Tea Kettle Cleaning.

Because this is what happened to me when I settled into my room to write last night. I looked over three essays I started a while back and concluded that they are not worth editing or even looking at ever again. But then I realized that I haven’t written anything other than blog entries and content for a website project in about six months, so it made sense that writing seemed impossible, that I would think my stories were not worth working on.

So I went down to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Because I write best when I have a cup of tea. Hopeful that the cup of tea and new setting would inspire me, I brought my notebook and pen down to the kitchen. Maybe, I thought, since my essays were too bad to edit, I could at least start writing something new. 

But then I noticed that the tea kettle was terribly tarnished and dirty. So I took out the baking soda and a started cleaning the outside of the kettle. Sadly, even after considerable effort, it didn’t clean up to a nice shine - that’s why I only get a B in tea kettle cleaning - it is, however, much shinier than it was before. 

It’s possible that cleaning the tea kettle was simply my way of avoiding the hard work of writing. I would say that was true if I would have continued cleaning the house (I will admit I had to stop myself from dusting the radiator and arranging the spice cupboard). But it’s more likely that the act of cleaning the tea kettle was what I needed to get my physical self settled enough so I could engage my brain and write.

Because write I did. I wrote longhand until well past eleven in the evening. I got up and wrote more this morning. I even edited a bit of one of my too-bad-to-bother-with essays. They’ve totally taken on a new form and I’m a bit overwhelmed at where they are taking me. And now I’m kind of worried and am asking myself questions like, “Will you ever be able to finish anything, Myrna?” and “Why can’t you focus?” and, well, other not very helpful things.

Hmmm, maybe it’s time for me to clean the tea kettle a bit more and make it all shiny, try to get an A in Tea Kettle Cleaning this time.

Or maybe I just need to write through the worry and see what happens.

Here I go...