“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Some of you may recognize the above quote from this week’s Motivation Monday! A dear friend made the art for me last week while I was having a rough day, and although it wasn’t meant to be a Motivation Monday, she gave me permission to use it for one. I now have it set as my laptop background, and every time I start to feel overwhelmed, I eliminate all the windows I have open on my screen and read it, while focusing on calm breathing and not throwing my computer out the window.
I actually had a completely different post queued up to launch first thing today, and when reflecting on this quote, and the weekend that John and I had, I just had to share. What this quote reminds me of, and what I learned firsthand this weekend, is that sometimes things don’t always go according to plan – but that’s totally ok! Veering off our “planned” course opens us up to new experiences, some of which may be better than those you had originally planned. Here’s an example:
This past weekend John and I were supposed to be attending Coachella, a large 3-day music festival in Southern California. Some of you may have seen our excited posts and pictures a few weeks back when we were elated to see our tickets had arrived in the mail. We had purchased our tickets when they first went on sale back in May of 2013, so you can only imagine the excitement leading up to something that you paid for nearly eleven months earlier – we were freaking pumped!
But alas, life sometimes doesn’t follow our master plan and we need to adjust our course. Many of you know I’ve been dealing with some personal health issues lately, and as appealing as a three-day festival was, complete with camping and four days of port-o-potty use, I knew I had to have a serious conversation with John about whether or not my body was strong enough to handle Coachella this year. After talking, we both agreed that the timing wasn’t great, and decided to sell our tickets, hopeful to attend another festival instead. Womp womp.
BUT, don’t get too depressed yet – the story has a happy ending! :) Since John and I have been working so hard towards our goals, and were bummed about not attending Coachella, we decided to make different plans that we could be just as excited about. We realized that we needed to take a mini-vacation that would allow us the opportunity to disconnect from technology and actually relax.
After a bit of online searching, we came up with the perfect Coachella alternative – a much different weekend than the party we had originally been planning on attending, but something that we were still extremely pumped about. On Homeaway, (a great website similar to AirBnb, and one of John and my favorite hotel alternatives), we were able to find a remote cabin in the woods, complete with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, bomb kitchen with all cooking equipment, comfy bed and inviting living room, and a surplus of board games, puzzles, and movies. We had certainly found our weekend getaway!
We purchased a bunch of amazing food from the farmers market and headed up to the cabin on Saturday. We both left our phones and forms of technology in the car upon arrival, and didn’t think about them once. We had over 48 hours completely disconnected from everyone and everything. We didn’t see or hear from another human the whole two days! And you know what? It was freaking awesome.
We spent all weekend working on a puzzle, enjoying each others’ company, indulging in delicious food, reading in the sunlight on the balcony, and simply, doing all the things that we wanted to do. Although our original plans had been changed due to unforeseen circumstances (Coachella and my health), the resulting weekend was even better than we could have hoped, and in hindsight, just as much fun (a different kind of fun, but fun nonetheless)!
In addition to the major lesson learned, that plans do change and we have to go with the flow, John and I had several other takeaways from the weekend that we wanted to share, as well.
Turn Your Phone Off
How much of your weekend is actually spend doing things that you want to do? Now, how much of that time is uninterrupted? Probably none of it.
Honestly, the most beautiful thing about our weekend was not having our cell phones ring, beep, or ding the entire time. Neither one of us was distracted, when talking to the other, we had full attention at all times. Our movies and puzzle were uninterrupted by phone calls, text messages, and emails. I wasn’t lured out of a relaxing sleep due to a push notification or calendar event. I can’t stress how liberating and wonderful it was to be disconnected from the device that seems to take up so much of my time!
Think about it – when was the last time you went without your cell phone? I can distinctly remember the last time I was without my phone – I realized I had forgotten it at home halfway through my work day, and on my lunch felt compelled to go home and get it – just in case. In case of what? If I remember correctly, when I got home and picked up my phone, glad to finally have it back as if I had been without it for weeks, it didn’t even have any missed texts or calls! I’m sooo popular, I know, but in all seriousness, why is our phone treated as this all-important, never-go-without-it, the-world-will-end-if-you-forget-it type of device? It shouldn’t be.
Enjoy the Little Things
We currently use our phones and computers to fill any gap of boredom that we face in our day-to-day. For some reason, now that technology is always at our fingertips, we almost feel as though we’re wasting time if we aren’t reading or browsing while we wait!
Just the other day, while John and I were waiting for our food at a take-out restaurant, John remembered that we hadn’t put change in the meter and decided to head back out to the car. On his way out of the restaurant, I though, “Shit, I don’t have my phone, now what am I supposed to do all by myself while I wait?” Immediately after thinking it, I realized how ridiculous that was – I couldn’t entertain myself for ten minutes while waiting for my food? Who did I think I was? I then spent the next ten minutes thinking about what humans did just ten years ago to entertain themselves while standing in line….
Spend Uninterrupted Time with Those You Love
Real quality time with loved ones should be uninterrupted. All too often, you’ll see a couple or group of friends out to dinner and notice one of them on their phone. Think about the last time you watched a movie, did it annoy you when your significant other paused the movie to take a phone call, answer a text message or respond to an email? If you had asked me how I felt about it on Friday, my opinion would have probably been different, but after a weekend of talking with John and enjoying his company, I want many more uninterrupted weekends in our future! We were able to focus on one another, concentrate on everything the other was saying, and really absorb and process our discussions. We even had a few pretty awesome brainstorming sessions. After merely two days of being cut off from the outside world, John and I felt so much more in love and were enlightened by the weekend of enjoying one another.
This is something I’m personally striving to get better at each day. For me, it’s taking the time to smell the roses, to enjoy the little things in life. What better way to have fun and de-stress than with a Sunday afternoon puzzle or glass of tea by the fireplace? Or if you enjoy food like John and I, treat yourself to a delicious steak or grass-fed bacon (had some over the weekend and it was like next-level shit kind of bacon, out of this world)! Have you had a book sitting on your nightstand for months that you haven’t gotten a chance to even read the first page of? Do that this weekend! Take some time in the near future to do something that you enjoy.
Plans will always change, and you’ll always be dodging curveballs as long as you live. But if you have the flexibility to go with the flow, and really accept the alterations to your plans with open and willing arms, everything will fall into place. You might even find, as John and I did, that sometimes the new plans work out even better than the old!