This Sunday I spent time in nature, specifically, the beach. I love being outdoors, but somehow I never get around to venturing outside. It’s as if I forget how much I enjoy smelling the fresh air, or watching birds hop through the trees, or listening to the ocean waves hitting the sand.
Today, as I drove down the coast, I thought about when I lived in Humboldt County in Northern California, where I did my undergraduate work in Molecular Biology. I was lucky enough to live near both the ocean and the trees, and I loved it! In my rigorous science program, I needed an escape, and I made sure to dedicate a part of my schedule (even if it was just a small part) to spend time in nature. Whether it was sitting in a park or hiking through the forest, or dipping my feet into the ocean, I made sure to take some ‘me’ time.
Being a member of the Audubon Society, I sometimes went on bird watching excursions, binoculars and all. How l loved learning the different calls and colorations of the local fauna. I went on a backpacking trip with some classmates, had bonfires with friends on the beach, and took a few class trips to study plants.
I felt so alive, hiking and breathing the fresh air—not at all like the smog in the Bay Area. Life was calmer too; drivers were courteous, people on the street were friendly and helpful; there was always some street fair or event going on in the town square. Life was slow, deliberate, and meaningful. If I haven’t emphasized it enough, Humboldt is a wonderful vacation retreat.
Driving through nature this afternoon was a reminder of my nature-filled past. I realized that when I lived there, I took time out to take care of myself physically and spiritually. School was extremely difficult, but spending time outdoors relaxed me, so I felt balanced. Sometimes now, I feel off balance. I have chores and work, and things to do and people to Tweet, and I forget that I love nature and need to throw myself into it occasionally.
I want to remind you (and myself) not to forget what we need in order to take care of ourselves. Figure out something you love doing. What is something that brings you peace, or makes you forget about time? Find out what that is and do that. The time is now.
Tell me, ILWADians, what are some of the things you do for yourself that bring you happiness and fulfillment?