9 weeks on the road this summer. From Florida to New York and everything in between. Then for giggles clear across the country to Oregon. Sometimes the same route more than once but with different stops along the way.
Travel by plane. Travel by car. Travel by train. Travel by RV. We utilized Uber. We took advantage of Turo. We took many unconventional paths. We lived so much through our experiences. Turo and Uber were our app-worthy summer accomplishments. We even had some time to use bikes. So many memories. So many hiccups along the way. I wouldn’t change a thing.
So many photos.
It wasn’t always easy, but it was always workable with a positive attitude and a lot of flexibility. Work. Play. Recover. A delicate balancing act for some. A day in the life for me. I will never get to hit rewind on these months I just lived. Knowing that made me forge ahead to cram as much into the calendar as as humanly and financially possible.
Sometimes I had to plan and then re-plan. Things didn’t always go smoothly. I lived. I learned. I outlasted. Summer 2022 is in the rear view. So many college campuses were scouted out. Many highs. Many lows. Some visits at the surface level while others more in-depth. The process is real. The decisions are hard. The challenge is ahead.
My youngest will choose soon. Where to go. What she wants to be as an adult. I will become less needed. I will be an empty nester. A title I don’t really care for but yet one I will look forward to at the same time. As I earn that new title I will embark on new journeys and adventures. Maybe not criss-crossing the county in a summer but maybe exploring cities I’ve never been or getting back into putting stamps on my passport.
I’m adjusting to what’s ahead while enjoying what’s in front of me. Years become months. Those months turn into weeks. Before you know it, days are in front of us. Don’t waste the minutes. Value them. Cherish them. Enjoy them. I know I am.
As my mom always says: live life to the fullest. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.
For now I wait for the day to come that she decides where she heads off to beyond her days of high school. Close by? A neighboring state? Across the country? Another country?
I’m heading over to your house now he texted. It’s 5 am, nobody is awake I said. But you have bagels and I don’t he exclaimed. 5 minutes later the dogs are barking, the toaster is toasting and bodies are in motion. It’s still dark, it’s still not past 6 am. No school today. A day off work. Why oh why and am I awake?
Time to take the dogs out for the morning when they were perfectly content sleeping in. These little pups have no clue why they were jostled but they go with the flow. They bend and flex. They are loyal to the core whether it’s 5 am or 5 pm. We should model a dog’s resilience and adaptability more times than not.
Days like the one above may seem annoying in the moment, but today it seems like just what the doctor ordered. Nobody really likes a quiet house. They like a lived in house. That means people, laughing, chaos, and so on. This morning was a good example of such.
When I think back to my younger days I had siblings around most days but as the youngest those days thinned out. Less people. Less laughter. Less chaos. I never really thought about those days from my mom’s view until I myself had the shift in my own life.
Days dwindle. The kids go off on their own. College. Marriage. The teen who is always out engrossed in activities. Sometimes it’s just me and the dogs. Idle minds wander. As I reflect on the random visits for laundry, the 5 am pit stop for a bagel, the hi, what’s for dinner tonight randomness is part of what makes a house a home. Unpredictable times.
The family. The community. The chaos. One day this will be gone In the blink of an eye. However, we can all appreciate a reminder to live in today. Appreciate what is front of you. Even if it’s 5 am, the connection of people or sense of community is really what it’s about.
On a recent trip, I was the 6am girl. Are you making coffee I said to my neighbor. She replied yes. Can I come over? She replied yes. I enjoyed my early morning community. I think she did too but was she thinking omg why are you calling me at 6am? I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it then. 5 am, 6 am, 7 am are just time stamps. Open yourself up to the unexpected. Foster community with whomever needs it. You never know when opportunities like this will fade. Seize the moment. Make the coffee. Enjoy the memories.
As I go through phases in life, I see the same things differently. Some days I’m appreciative. Some days I’m annoyed or frustrated. A lot of days I’m tired and overwhelmed. However days like today? I’m thankful that I have life in front of me. As chaotic as some days get, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I’m not homeless, but many are. I’m not jobless, but some are. I’m not hungry, but some are. Today I shift a little from my normal routine to spoil some around me. Spend time with cherished family members. Live in today, because I can. I’m making that choice. I’m taking that time. There is a spontaneous part of life that we can easily miss with so many have tos on our plate.
I can’t ever get time back thus I must use my time wisely. 24 hours each day. You choose the path. Work? Family? Friends? Memories? Fitness? The beauty of today’s time is all mine. How I choose to share my hours and minutes is all on me. I plan to make spontaneous choices at random intervals over this year to ensure I am staying true to opportunities even if they appear at 5am.
Oh how I wish I was Forrest Gump some days. Like the days my gym programs a running workout or when my friends do a trail run. I’m just not a motivated distance runner. I’m more of a short sprint girl.
Hill sprints off and on, no problem. 200 meters, no problem. 400 meters may push my limit. 800 meters just seems overwhelming on most days early in the morning when it’s dark out.
A few weeks ago I strolled into the gym at the wee hours of the morning or more specifically 6 am. A friend called out what are you doing here? It’s a running day she shouted. I giggled because I knew it and still showed up. I had my running shoes on instead of my CrossFit shoes. I felt prepared. I knew I wouldn’t do the run as prescribed for many reasons but I committed to walk/jog/run the entire time. Just keep moving, that was my goal. Lo and behold I did it and felt accomplished.
I had a week off for spring break so I missed the next running segment. Of course I didn’t care because most know I am not an avid runner. Then today came. Another running day. Do I even go to the gym because I could run at my house or the park? Unfortunately, I know I won’t so I go to the gym for accountability and my routine. Sure I was tired. Sure I was not excited about running, but I somehow put my mind to it.
This time was different. We had three options today. Mostly the options had to do with pacing. Meaning I run a lot slower than a 22 year old guy thus I could elect to run for the same time he would and not worry about my distance per se. This was brilliant for me. I didn’t feel discouraged for me slower and I still got my rest time allowing me to maintain my pace.
I got to choose my path or route outside. I had a set run time and off time. I chipped away at the task. I even enjoyed it. Partly because of my music selection but nonetheless this was a big win for me. I even opted for hill sprints for my last 45 second sets. The picture above was snapped for me to hold on to. First I am confident I can do this workout again and improve my pace and distance. Second it’s a starting point for me to say I came back to running this way.
Who knows where my running will take me now but just a few years ago I was able to run a half marathon. That may be ambitious today but everyone starts somewhere. Today I’m celebrating my little run progress and the fact I enjoyed it.
Sometimes things get taken away from kids, teenagers, and sometimes adults. Maybe for punishment. Maybe for a break of sorts. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to hit pause on items or things or maybe people.
In the past seven days I lost communication with somebody very close to me. The first thing taken was the Snapchat streak. It might not seem important to some but the duration signifies a time period of connectedness. Random to some but important to us.
The next thing that seemed to slip away was the sight of a smile. The connection of where our eyes met each day. The partnership. The little nuances only we know. The physical connection whether in person or virtual.
The backup plan was taken. We watched each other’s pets when each other had conflicts. We covered car pools. We shared burdens. We backed each other up. When one of our dogs would run off the other’s phone number was on the pet tag. Only I lost my ability to call. I lost my backup.
Breakfast visits. Laundry pit stops. What’s in the fridge visits. I just stopped by to say hi. I just decided to drop by with coffee. Want to meet at the game? All taken. Gone. Vanished. Obsolete. A new lonely sets in your heart.
Sometimes we take advantage or complain about what’s in front of us and don’t really appreciate it until it is no longer there.
Take note today. Breathe deeply. See what’s around you. Be aware of your good friends. Support those who support you. Be present.
You never want to feel the empty I felt this week as I adjusted to my new normal.
The military can be a great option for some and it can be lonely road for others. Today my family falls into the lonely road category. Timeframe is unknown but the missing time has already begun. Of all things taken I miss time the most.
Time to chat
Time to laugh
Time for us
Time to be free
Time creates memories. Time is captured in pictures. Time is so very valuable. Time really can’t be replaced. Time away triggers feelings for many around us. Time belongs to the military when you enlist until your time commitment has ended. And for some time can be extended if certain instances such as a time of war or other conflict. As a civilian I never really understood military time as it didn’t apply to me directly.
As I wrap up my day, I still feel lonely. A week of time has passed, but I’m not better. I may even be bitter. I want what was taken but I can’t have what I want. Not now. Not in the near future. Patience is what I am practicing today, tomorrow and beyond. Shifting from civilian to soldier is taxing for not only the soldier but also their loved ones.
Gas prices might be soaring. There may even be conflict overseas. The price of groceries are high. Supply and demand issues lurk as well. For me my conflict is here with me. Front and center. A daily battle. Just a mom missing what was taken; her son.
The long awaited getaway weekend had arrived. Schedule conflicts hit hard as the time of departure hit. It took some finagling to get all to work out but that was not without added stress.
The take off was planned for early morning with a distance to drive. All attendees were to meet at the destination vs the previous plan of arriving the night before. This special time with friends was a long weekend planned for my birthday. Lots of unknown surprises and adventures were on the agenda. The list was long but there was a PJs party and sleepover, of course. Plenty of sweets to eat for all. Many giggles with the girls took away any of the pre-travel stresses.
One planned event I knew about was a spa day. However, I knew nothing of the venue nor did I really remember what treats were in store for me at the spa. The check in was detailed. A locker was assigned as well as a fancy robe. The cell phone was tucked away for me to adhere to the cell-phone-free zone. Off we went to a waiting room which was more like a grand foyer with a fresh wood-burning fireplace.
The waiting room ended up being a common area or meeting place for us to exchange stories and socialize in between services. At this point I had no idea how much time I would spend here but it was already amazing at this point. This common area had a snack bar with nuts and water and little refreshers which was a nice treat but the log cabin feel of a living room with the fresh fire added to the ambiance. The lounger chairs were placed on the outer edge of the room for reading: the inner area was a plush leather couch and recliners assembled with care for a little closer seating to chit chat. There were so many ladies in and out.
Moms and adult daughters. Girl groups like ours. It was hard to guess the average age or if there were any patterns of ages. While I might have silently people watched or observed my surroundings on my first visit to the common space, I didn’t care after my first moment of zen. I had entered a whole new state of ooey gooey relaxation.
I had a massage first. 85 minutes of aroma therapy, oils, hot stones and a medium level touch. It was just delightful. Head to toe relaxation. After a huddle up in the common area one pal headed to sauna. Another to steam room and shower. Two of us opted for the salt cave encounter. This was a first but a one and done. A novelty experience but one I don’t feel I would ever do again.
Back to the meeting place. This time we shuffled around the corner to a semi-private area for a mini lunch and mimosas. Oh, the treats hit the spot. Grapes for refreshment. Berries to add to the mimosas. Meats and cheeses for protein. A few crackers for crunch and orange slices for some sweet hydration. Some chocolate covered nuts and strawberries, however those were not on my tasting list this time. Each table set up was slightly different in theme making such a cute accent for those gathered for these snack sessions.
Next was the facial. Cute little coverup was worn to allow your arms and shoulders to be free. For yet another massage of sorts. The head. The neck. The face. The shoulders. The arms. The hands. Hydrating massages built into the facial process was beyond amazing, the glow after the service was remarkable. Such a rejuvenating experience.
For this spa had rooms upon rooms. Long hallways. An upstairs and a downstairs. Lots of nooks and crannies. I had never been to such an interesting spa. Many had brought their favorite books for reading in between sessions while others were in small groups chatting away.
I will be back for sure. Another interesting tidbit was there were more males than I expected receiving service however they had their own section for gathering. Oh how I wished to be a fly on the wall in the women-free zone to see their snacks and relaxation stations, now I’m so curious. Maybe I will have to make a phone call to inquire about the difference.
Today was a great time with friends but the most pampering I have ever had. Not sure if it was the time, the kinship, the services or the combination but I will cherish the experience. I chose to write about this day for many reasons.
One day I may want to reflect on this day with valued friends.
One day I may not be fortunate enough to receive these kind of services this I would want the detailed memories to relive the moment in my mind.
One day I will want my daughter to read my recap for her to understand how she should value self-care.
And for today, anyone reading along who may not ever experience this bliss, I want to share my experience virtually. Not for a bragging type experience rather for an experience to daydream about what can be someday.
Dreaming big is an important part of my life. I live for new experiences and opportunities. If I never had things to look forward to I would remain stagnant. My hope for readers is to reach for those days ahead that seem impossible for I know one can always reach beyond to get what they are willing to work hard or push for.