I've just returned home from an international writer’s conference, which was held in Surrey, B.C., Canada (a suburb of Vancouver.) Writers of all genres, authors, editors, agents, etc. from all over the globe participated. Quite an impressive collection of creativity. Wandering the crowded halls between workshops and lectures was like being back on a college campus. And happily, I didn’t stick out like an aging, molting hen in a sea of fluffy chickens like I feared I would. I blended quite nicely. I was just one more color among a rainbow of threads weaving together the tapestry of this multi-cultural, age-inclusive event.
Before I left on this trip, I was dragging my considerable behind. The older I get the more I grasp the meaning behind an old saying of my mother’s: a change is as good as a rest. Prior to leaving for Vancouver, I had zero energy and less motivation. Even thinking about what to pack was draining. But, surprise, surprise—being thrust out of my comfort zone (I’m not the most adventurous traveler) and dropped into a totally different environment turned out to be more invigorating than uncomfortable. I came home mentally stimulated and physically pumped (okay…aching) from all the walking we did in Vancouver.
Take-away Numero Uno: When you feel the most sluggish, what you need isn’t a nap but a change of scene and direction.
Seems my spouse was having a similar experience. There must be some validity to another old saying: absence makes the heart grow fonder. If not fonder exactly, then more appreciative. My husband was left at home for a week with three demanding pets, a large garden to hand-water, laundry to keep up with, meals to figure out, and all the basic minutia that fill up a day of domesticity. Nothing like having to take over some of your partner’s responsibilities to fully understand why they moan about having little-to-no time to pursue personal interests, like writing blog posts. Right? It’s been a while for sure.
Our little section of the planet shifted on its axis while I was out of the country. I came home to find David cooking! Seriously. This man, who thinks cooking is heating up a boxed macaroni and cheese “dinner,” pulled out one of my recipes and made an amazing Italian beef stew! Household tasks that had long been put off were tackled, and now he’s announced that he’s willing to cook dinner maybe one night a week. Now for me, THAT is a coming-home gift of major proportions!
Take-away Numero Dos: Time is a wonderful gift. Time to oneself is the best gift ever.
Seems that we’ve both been breaking new ground. While D was home re-evaluating our household roles, I was stepping into new territory as well. Not only was this my first experience at a writer’s conference, I haven’t flown anywhere since 2016, and I haven’t traveled out of the country since 2002. Everything has changed. The airports have gone all techie. Kiosks! Passport readers that take one’s photo. Apps on mobile devices. Yikes. Totally intimidating. What saved my nervous traveler’s ass on this trip was my experienced traveling companion (thank you, Eva.) Who knows, after watching and learning, maybe next time I will be able to navigate the process myself. Maybe (fingers crossed.)
But here’s the best part. Flying north in the early evening, I was stunned at how the sunset stretched endlessly for miles and miles on the western horizon. This was not the limited flare of red and orange we glimpse from our static locations. This was a blaze of color that went on seemingly for hours. It was awe-inspiring. It changed my perspective. There’s nothing like being on the other side of the clouds, with an endless sunset stretching across the horizon, to open one’s eyes to the bigger picture.
Which brings me to –
Take-away Numero Tres: So many of our limitations are self-inflicted. If we strive to move past them, we can extend our personal sunsets indefinitely, enriching our lives with an abundance of color, light, and joy.
I might just become a frequent flyer!