Several weeks ago I let myself get down about my upcoming summer. I was in the midst of the end of school year crazies and a planned camping trip had to be canceled (along with several other weekends worth of activities) due to the constant rain that drenched Atlanta this past spring. I felt like I had nothing to look forward to this summer and all I could envision was hours spent working in front of the computer (which was pretty much how I spent last summer while finishing the book!). I allowed myself to be grouchy about the whole situation and found myself grumbling about the adventures that others had planned. Not exactly an attractive mood nor one that is likely to improve my outlook.
All I can say is that it is amazing what a different a few weeks and some awesome people can make. Well, that and some actual sunshine!
It started with my mom coming to my rescue after my whiny post. I had already booked a trip to San Antonio to see her in June but she knew that I needed more of a “vacation” feel than just visiting my hometown. She and our close family friend, Kay, worked to book a trip to the gulf coast while I’m in Texas. Not only is this precious beach time (Atlanta is pretty landlocked!) but it’s also a rare opportunity for the three of us to be together. For most of my latter childhood, it was just my mom and I. Well, two
people, especially when one is a hormonal teenager, alone can get to be a bit much. Kay was frequently added to our family. She is like a sister to my mom and a cool aunt to me. She brought in needed energy and helped to mediate between my mom and me when it was needed. The last time we were together was two years ago when I last visited Texas. We went on a tour of various Hill Country Wineries. We sampled jalapeno wine, nicknamed a miniature donkey outside a wine tasting room a “burrito” and laughed more than is socially acceptable. All I can say is that Texas better watch out for this go round:)
Just having that coast trip on the horizon to look forward to was enough to break my funk. Sometimes it’s amazing how much of an impact a small adjustment can make. Just knowing how three days of my summer were to be spent made me see the entire expanse in a different light. I hope I can remember that lesson next time.
In the span of a few weeks, this has gone from a summer that I dreaded would be monotonous to one that is full of reconnection with my past and new adventures. And all I’ve had to do is say, “yes” to the opportunities that resented themselves. I’m reconnecting with old friends and teammates in Atlanta as we take advantage of the opportunity to leisurely lunch without cafeterias full of kids. I’m meeting up with my old boss and friend in San Antonio whose family adopted me for many holidays and birthday celebrations (he and his wife are two of my love mentors). I’m going to see Austin and Lake Travis (where I spent some time in college) from a new angle as I zipline over the lake (thanks to Kay!). And Brock and I will be returning to St. Marys (where we first talked marriage last summer:) ) to stay with our friends (and other love mentors) there.
On a more emotional front, I’m going to visit the youngest dog from my former life, who was adopted by a friend’s parents and now lives on a farm in Alabama. I’m excited about this, but also nervous, as I have not seen her (or any of the dogs, for that matter) since that life ended four years ago. I think tears will be guaranteed.
On the new front, I spent yesterday tubing with a new group of friends. I will be going skydiving for the first time with another group of friends once I return from Texas (assuming I live through the ziplining!). I have my first girl’s weekend of my life in Tybee Island at the end of the month with an impressive group of women, only one of whom I really know.
I’ve gone from feeling grumpy to feeling grateful (and delightfully nervous about the sky high adventures!). I feel so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people.
I feel like I’ve reversed my 20s and 30s in many ways. While touring a new friend’s college campus yesterday, it really struck me how I never did my 20s. I went to school, yet only lived the campus life for one year and even then, I was the one who would make all of the 8:00 am classes on time and would get annoyed when spontaneous parties broke out in the house. The rest of my college experience was spent working and going to school, often commuting quite a ways to reach the campus. Through all of that, I was with my ex. I never dated in my 20s. We bought a fixer-upper house at 22 and I was more concerned with the best toilet gasket to buy than finding the best blues and brews bar in town. I had friends but work and/or school was always my bigger priority. I stayed busy with occasional binges of fun, usually while on vacation.
Now, solidly in my 30s, my life has shifted. I now put more effort into finding, creating and maintaining relationships. I’ve learned that there is value in relationships and that time spent cultivating them is time well invested. I make sure fun is on the to-do list (and apparently get grumpy when it is absent!). At a time when many of peers are settling down and leaving the craziness of their 20s behind, I am welcoming some of that craziness into my own life and not just on vacation.
I don’t regret not living the life of the typical twenty something. I was happy with my choices. But there’s no rule that says that life has to take some predetermined path. That the 20s are about finding yourself and fun and the 30s are about settling down and getting serious. Besides, I’ve always found that I enjoy play more after the hard work has been done. I’m just getting better and sprinkling the play into the long sessions of work.
I feel silly now that I let myself get down. That I allowed myself to wallow in self pity. I may not have the finds that my student’s families do that allow elaborate vacations. I may not have the big family that rents a beach house for a month every year. But I have what I need and I have amazing people around me that remind me every day about what is important and make me aware of how rich my life is. My grumpiness has been replaced with gratitude and excitement (and a little healthy fear!).
It’s okay to have fun. It’s okay to set work aside for awhile. It’s okay to create things to look forward to. It’s okay to say “yes.”
And if you hear any screams coming from South Texas this week, don’t worry; It’s only me going down the zipline:)