It is all too often that I find myself consumed in plans. There are meals to be prepped, laundry to be folded, kids to be worn out, a husband to be loved, and shit, I completely forgot to get gas.
Don’t get me wrong; I love to be busy. A good friend of mine once told me, “I would say ‘I’m sorry,’ but I know you are your best when you’re running like a freight train.” Accurate. However, there is this old saying, “life is what happens when you’re busy planning,” and I tend to completely lose touch of that. Like I lose touch so hard that I basically have no recollection of its existence. So here is a story for you.
On my birthday this year, (the big ole 2-5) the husband took off work to be with me so we could spend the day on us (stay tuned for “Working on Us After Them“) while Elylah was at school. Best idea he has genuinely ever had, next to purchasing a unicycle because that was just… LMAO. Hoooo-hooo… ahhhhh. *ahem* Excuse me, anyway…
We live on a beautiful island with beautiful people, in a beautiful culture with beautiful (and delicious!) food and beautiful customs. It only hit me recently that 75% of this four-year tour is over. Three years gone, and I can legitimately name on one hand the number of different restaurants I have eaten at. Why is that the case when this island is riddled with hole-in-the-wall cafes, ramen shops, and farmer’s markets with homemade breads, pastries, and desserts? I can name on one hand the number of attractions we have been to and the number of times I have made an attempt to attend local events. Why am I spending all of my time where I’m comfortable?
With all that being said, we have been making an effort to get out and about more recently. I am hell-bent and determined to make a greater effort at experiencing this beautiful world that will continue on in my memories for my greater existence.
We were walking along a cliff, probably 50 feet up, over massive coral rocks and a gently rolling tide. Intoxicating.
Quite a while back, we had been out driving, driving, driving, and we followed this road that went from pavement to rock to dirt, and then came to a dead-end engulfed by jungle. We hopped out of the car, 3-month-old baby El strapped to my chest, and walked down a path that led us to a huge cave. I could see a dig in progress, and I didn’t want to disturb it. We turned to walk in the opposite direction of the cave, where we came out on a private little cove with a gorgeous view. Given that physical anthropology and archaeology are the focal point of my studies, you must understand that it was picking at the back of my mind for that entire year that I could not go back and explore it. (Perfect example of how I let “life” get in my way of living. I had to learn to “control my breathing,” if you remember from, Crushing Barriers: Happiness and Crappiness.)
On my birthday, we finally got out to that local archaeological site that we accidentally discovered about a year ago. We walked straight down into the cave, careful to mind the markers and arch materials scattered about the area. (Definitely want to get out on this dig, or any of the sort in the local area. If you know someone, shout it out!) The cave came to a close about 200-feet in, and we were forced to turn back around. However, there was a beautiful rock staircase that swirled up into the cave ceiling. Whether it was created by the arch folks or indigenous peoples is unbeknownst to me, but it was very neat, no less, so the trip into the cave was not wasted. We saw a path near the right entrance of the cave and followed it up and through a sugarcane field and various jungle brush. It was so humid, damp, and dank, but there was something so refreshing about the thickness of the air.
I was out of the office.
I was out of the house.
I was out in the world, into one of the most natural environments left existing on this Earth.
As we followed the path, it continued to widen and narrow repeatedly when suddenly, a ray of light shot through the small tree branches nearest my face. I stopped for a moment, to move the branches to the side. We were walking along a cliff, probably 50 feet up, over massive coral rocks and a gently rolling tide. Intoxicating.
On the cliff itself was a large banyan tree with a rope tied around one of its more robust roots. Grabbing the rope, we scaled down a smooth, muddy pathway, and the bottom was a large coral ledge; we reached the ocean. So beautiful. So peaceful. Seriously, the amount of freedom I felt with the salty breeze blowing my ponytail was unreal. I couldn’t see anyone, I couldn’t hear traffic, or phones ringing, or sirens, and I just… aaaahhh.
Yo, Chessa, is there a moral here? It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day that before we know it, the days are gone, the weeks are over, and the years are muddled memories of us going “why didn’t we?” The worst part? We have no reason why we didn’t. Don’t get so comfortable in your cage that you forget what it’s like to be let out. There is an entire world waiting for you.
I urge you to get out there and try that new Thai restaurant that so randomly popped up in your tiny Midwestern town. Check out that local music performance on the beach this evening. Get in your car, go for a drive, and breathe in the fresh air that reminds us we are alive. You only get one shot right? For the love of experience, don’t waste it.