I returned from a week in Juneau, Alaska a couple of days ago. I am a believer that life’s adventures always provide lessons if we look for them. Sometimes the lessons are slaps in the face, sometimes they’re humorous, and sometimes they are just reminders of previous life lessons. Here are my Top 5 Lessons from Alaska:
#5 I am geographically challenged. I’m not sure how I pulled it off, but I got through high school and college without being able to label all 50 states on a map, identify their capitals, or label the major bodies of water. I found myself asking very touristy questions such as what the name of mountain ranges were, what body of water I was looking at, what a glacier is, how many feet about sea level I was, and how that ice stays solid when it is 65 degrees. I was amazed by what I was seeing, and the writer in me couldn’t help but ask. I certainly challenged the idea that there are no stupid questions.
#4 There is nothing wrong with plaid. No matter how many people pick on me for my jeans, boots, and plaid shirts… I blended in perfectly well in Alaska. Perhaps the problem isn’t the girl or the clothes, but the location. Interestingly enough, my pale skin was actually considered tan there, so maybe I should just relocate to the cooler state–at least for the summer months. (Just kidding, Mom. Don’t freak out on me.) It reaffirmed my desire to be happy with who and what I am no matter what others may say or think. Of course this extends beyond my clothes and into my parenting, my writing, and my life choices. I know I am judged frequently for how I raise my kids and how I live my life, but realistically this is MY life and these are MY kids. I don’t need to worry about what everyone else says or does. My God and my husband are really the only two people I have to answer to. I need to remember to listen to what others say, check their judgment with my personal convictions, and then move on.
#3 I have a high tolerance for adventure. I went zip lining for the first time. I have heard countless stories about how scary stepping off that ledge was, but it honestly did not bother me. Knowing that now, I think I need to update my Bucket List. The most thrilling things I’ve ever done were cliff diving in Jamaica and getting a tattoo. Zip lining makes me want to test my limits a bit more. The ideas of jumping out of an airplane or parachuting off a mountain are getting more intriguing all the time.
#2 I really, really like unplugging. I uploaded a few pictures to Facebook, but for the most part, I was completely unplugged for a week. And you know what? I loved it. It makes me want to disconnect more often. It seems like the news and Facebook is just covered with sadness anyway, and quite honestly, I don’t need that in my life. Sure I have a handful of close friends that I want to share life’s ups and downs with, but I’m not sure about how knowing that the child of a high school classmate stumped her toe really affects my life. And of the 379 emails I returned to, I truly only needed three of them. I had a couple of calls between me and my doctor about my recent diagnosis, but realistically, that kind of stuff can wait too. Taking a REAL break is good.
#1 Motherhood is hard. When I returned home, it took me half a day to remember exactly how impossible this job of mine is. Raising three kids 8 years old and under is hard; raising them to be decent people is almost impossible. It seems like no matter how much I let go of, there are still more demands on my time than there is time in a day. I need to take breaks. I need to keep up with my exercising, but I don’t need to stress myself over every extra pound on my body. I need to keep up with my writing deadlines, but I don’t need to lose sleep over them. I need to spend time loving and playing with my kids, but I don’t need to feel guilty about setting limits. I need to be balanced, and I deserve to be happy.
Alaska allowed me time to reconnect with my husband, myself, and the amazing world around me. This break was incredible and incredibly needed.
When was the last time YOU really took a break?