I’m back home following a weekend of beach-bummin’, road-trippin’, and sight-seein’! To celebrate a certain someone’s 13th birthday, we took a trip back to where she was born: Beaufort, South Carolina. It has been a decade since our family has been back to our old stomping grounds, and it was fascinating to see how much the town has changed since we moved to Ohio. I’ll write up something about the trip after a few more days of processing, but for now, there’s something else on my mind.
One of my favorite things about taking trips is that, if you’re in a rut, there’s just enough of a shake-up to break out of your routine. I wouldn’t call what I’ve been in a rut, necessarily, but I don’t feel like I’ve done a good job of ensuring my time is spent reflecting my values. Writing would be the obvious one, including the lack of any posts made here, but other ways I’ve dropped the ball have been through a lack of exercise and meditation. As someone who is not typically a fan of yoga outside of recovery following a challenging run, I’m finding that I crave a good Down Dog, and that’s clearly my body telling me I’ve got to recenter.
During the trip, we spent more time outside than we did inside, so that helped with grounding myself. The drawback is that three of the four of us are now covered head-to-toe in sand flea bites, but to be immersed in the unique nature of the area made it all worth it. (So says the one in four who kept her skin covered!) Between the sand under my feet and the Spanish moss over my head, I felt calm and in tune with my surroundings. I was constantly reminding myself “Be awake, Nicole. Take every drop of this in and lock it away in your memory.” I was present, and it felt right.
Still, I remember clearly that, just 10 years ago, I was in the same place, wishing I was where I am now. That is, I was a resident of Beaufort, SC, wishing I was once again living in Ohio. Typing this, I can see the tulips blooming out of my office window and, while there are no leaves on the trees yet, the promise of spring is unmistakable. There will be soft grass under my feet and rustling foliage over my head, but I’m struggling to feel calm and in-tune.
How do I come home and appreciate the life I live now with the same intensity I appreciate the life I had? I know nostalgia plays a part, but there has to be an element of wonder and curiosity alive in the present. I’m working to unplug from the “daily grind” and approach each day from a place of gratitude and peace instead. I’ve been steeped in negativity–I think all of America has–and at some point, I have to reclaim my thoughts, emotions, and actions. There’s more to life than what I have allowed myself to experience.
So, maybe that makes it a rut. Whatever label we want to slap on it, it’s time to turn it into a starting point for something happier and healthier. Nature is in bloom, and I am, too. Spring is the perfect time to wake up from these months of malaise and be present.