On my yoga mat this morning, I had that feeling you get when you are addicted to exercising and you have just gotten a hit of the drug. I had just spent 22 minutes on the elliptical, which I’ve done (or exceeded) nearly every day of late, except yesterday. It’s been regularly followed by yoga, and it feels good.
This is a new thing, at least since my daughter was born five years ago. I haven’t been able to run since safely then, even if I could without risk of injury or prolapse, I haven’t had the energy to sustain an exercise regimen. I’ve had a few good stints of a couple of weeks here & there, but something has always gotten in the way, like a broken toe or a sick kid or a sick me, or a worsening of whatever has been making me feel chronically bad, probably the Epstein-Barr virus but who really knows?
I’ve felt better for almost two months now. I could be jinxing myself by writing, and crap will rain down tomorrow, but I want to document the good while it’s happening so it can’t get lost.
The point is that I would really love for fitness to be a regular part of my life, and I would like the rest of my life to also feel good and have stuff to look forward to.
This mostly means being at peace with the daily stuff. I get that. But it also kinda makes me yearn for something special. Like a vacation, or time alone in my house.
So wanted to put together a list of what excites me, what really makes me happy, or would, if there were time and money enough for it.
I’ll add some family stuff on a second list, but the main things that come to mind are all experiences I get to have solo. The idea of a week at home without my children is pretty much my biggest fantasy. It will not happen until they are of age to go to sleepaway camp, but it’s fun – in a way – to think about it anyway.
It’s not just them not being here for a few hours. I get that every day with school. It’s them being taken care of by someone else, so I don’t have to think about stopping what I’m doing to make them food or attend to their many and varied needs.
Things I would love to do – The Without Kids “A” Side
- Listen to NPR, almost all of the Saturday line-up here on WAMU, though I’ve probably already heard the car talk and would rather read the Sunday Washington Post Style and Arts over a delicious late breakfast, having already enjoyed a fresh green juice
- Write. Not this kind of stuff (okay, some of this kind of stuff), but I would love to work on some real narrative non-fiction of the literary variety, and to drop into my novel. I didn’t manage to get an fellowship application to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts out for the winter/spring. It would be delightful to get to The Porches Writing Retreat.
- Go to a spa. I would like to be taken care of by other people. See below re: vacation.
- Clear out stuff from my house. It’s much easier when you know little people will not be returning in a few hours to reclaim everything you’re putting out for Freecycle.
- Have a gigantic brainstorming and work session with my Mindful Healthy Life team. Ideally this would include lots of work and lots of fun, food, and pampering on someone else’s dime. But it would for sure include lots of sharing and creativity.
- Go on a vacation. I would love to somewhere I didn’t have to clean. And even though I’m healthiest if I cook all my own food, to go to The Omega Institute and to Kripalu. I went to Yogaville once but I guess things that happened over a dozen years ago could stand to be repeated. It would be a dream to spend the weekend at a Joe Dispenza workshop. I think I would get a lot out a program at The Monroe Institute. Probably anywhere in Sedona would be cool. An overnight in Columbia, Maryland that included a visit or two to Haven on the Lake would be most welcome. (That’s probably the only one I have a hope of pulling off before 2017, if I’m lucky!)
The list could go on.
If we added my husband – but not kids – into this mix, there would be a whole other set of possibilities. But I can’t even conjure those up unless hundreds of babysitter dollars landed in our lap or on our doorstep appeared an intern who would stay at our home and watch our kids in exchange for room and board!
The “B” Side – Trips with Kids
I want to take my children so many places. The only non-extended-family-focused trips we’ve taken in the past five years have been two jaunts to Lewes Delaware, for a total of four nights. They were really nice, and I’d be happy to return, but I really feel called to be in a locale that feels different. And I want my kids to experience mountains, or a desert, or a tropical landscape or something that is not familiar.
Until recently, the idea of travel seemed completely overwhelming physically and emotionally. It still seems out of reach financially. And marriage-wise. I had set the intention for a road trip out West for the summer of 2016, but I am losing heart on planning it. My son is in 4th grade, which means we can all get into national parks for free through the summer. I’d really like to take advantage of that, and I also was hoping we could take advantage of a full two-week break this December. But I am not feeling hopeful, unless something shifts dramatically and I can suddenly bankroll it all.
If money and marital strife were no object, I would take my kids to:
- A handful of kid attractions, including Lego Land and Disney World. Both would love Legos play, and the older (and his mother!) would totally geek out at Harry Potter World. And all that other amusement park stuff would be fun, too. When it comes to stuff like this, we’ve really only done the county fair and children’s museums.
- Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, and Grand Canyon national parks and Dead Horse State Park, all of which I’ve visited. And the own of Moab. Well, maybe we wouldn’t visit all of these in one shot, but Bryce is one of the coolest places ever, and the Grand Canyon for sure has appeal beyond its natural grandeur.
- Joshua Tree. I’ve never been.
- Portland, Oregon. I might be way off, but it sort of feels like that’s where I should live.
- Portland, Maine. I did live near there for a while and enjoyed that time in my life a lot. I would love to get back to Maine and up to Acadia.
- Muir Woods, Sequoia National Park – stunning and very good for not thinking your problems are in any way huge!
- Colorado. Been twice. Know a zillion people who have moved there from DC.
- More mountains, ones I haven’t seen – Idaho, WashingtonState, more of Oregon.
- Alaska or some of the Canadian wilderness.
- Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario, where I did a college program my freshman year and returned to help run it my senior year. Targeting 2018 when the kids are nearly 8 and 12.
- New York City. Not for a long time but enough to feel it!
- A ski resort. To learn and to pretend we can be comfortable on hills covered in snow.
- An all-inclusive resort or cruise that will have my children doing ridiculously fun activities and learning cool stuff without me while I exercise, read, and get bodywork.
- A tropical rainforest, which I’ve never experienced.
- Europe. Haven’t been since 1994.
- Closer to home, I’d like to get to a place with water slides, like Great Wolf Lodge (which everyone else seems to have been to), to Colonial Williamsburg, and to different places to hike in the Shenandoah.
- Sometime, while we are in Michigan visiting extended family, I would really like to go up to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, and to Mackinaw Island. And finally, to Pictured Rocks, where I’ve never been.
- Meaningful volunteer work that is grounded in cultural understand, and experiences that would immerse my children in French and Spanish
Just a few of the possibilities on my mind!
But I’m also content at the moment to listen to the rain and be happy that my kids and I picked sweet potatoes and carrots, mint and peas, a few tomatoes and flowers from our garden today. Tending home is important, too.
Day 2: Why I Feel Better, Part 1: Diet & Supplementation
Day 3: What Life Sounds Like Now
Day 5: The Art and Joy of Saying No