The Holidays at Home

Things are starting to slow down again, and we are starting to pack up the decorations and waving goodbye to loved ones as they make their way back to their homes. The holidays are over, and it is time to find ourselves in that slower groove that comes with our regular routine. And though the bills coming in might depress us a bit, I think it is important to look back at the holidays, and remember why we put ourselves through it every year.

It is a time of the year where the little things that we do not always get to notice become more obvious. The decorations that people put together can be subtle, but they can make us laugh and put us in a better mood just by having seen them. It is also nice knowing that the little details that we put together for someone else has been appreciated as well. We might forget these things as we move on with our busy lives, but these are the things we should remember when the weight of responsibility starts to get us down.

It is also a time when the inclement weather does not get us down as much. A snowstorm in December is a different event than the ones that bear down on us in March or April. The blanket that it produces is just an extra touch that adds more to the moment because we do not have those places we need to get to, and it forces us to slow down a bit and enjoy the moment. I know that it can become a chore later on as we have to pull out the shovel again to make sure we can get our car out of the garage, but we should really enjoy on those days where we are not forced to address this concern with the cold snow.

And for ourselves, we get to find those small moments we can slow down and recharge our batteries. Life can be busy and hectic, and sometimes we can forget to take care of ourselves. But when we are shut indoors with a heavy snow coming down, there is no excuse but to let things go and just enjoy the afternoon with a little nap.

But I think the thing that I enjoy the most when I get to go home for the holidays is seeing all of my family again. All of the other stuff is nothing more than fluff. The time at home should be about home. It should be about getting together with those that you love, so you can share in laughter and good conversation. Yes, it is centered around tradition, and sometimes we forget about the most important thing because we put too much weight on those things that we believe need to be done. But in reality, life will be fine if you did not find the time to bake those cookies, or you were unable to find that perfect picture for the Christmas card. It all gets forgotten the moment that you lose yourself in your family, and that is the most important thing to take from this time of the year. I know we will all soon forget what this time of the year brought. Some of us have already done so. I also know that it will be easy to lose yourself to school or work as you push your way through the colder months. We will have to endure a couple of Hallmark holidays, and soon the lazy dog days of summer will occupy our minds more than the cold comfort of the end of the year. But when things start to get you down during those times of the year, think back to this time and how you felt. It may be the greatest gift you can take with you throughout the whole year.

Thank you for those memories for everybody I got to spend time with over the last couple of weeks. It has been wonderful to be back in the United States for the holidays, and I treasure those moments I got to spend with you. It may be awhile before I get to see you again, but I will take those memories with me as I hope you do as well.

Memory’s Snapshot

I’ll have to put the camera away
And learn how to live in the moment.
The ocean begs for me to come and play,
Making the day worthy to have been spent.
On my tiny craft, I’ll travel the waves.
With my curiosity to guide me,
I will explore all the shore’s hidden caves
And marvel at the sights I get to see.
I’ll have to commit it to memory
Because I do not have the convenience
Of snapping a picture of the beauty,
Making it become my experience.
We cannot rely on technology
If we desire to truly be free.

Downtime – Around the World Day 28

Anybody that really knows me has heard me talk about the importance of experiences. I believe that this is the currency that we should live by. Too often we collect things and hope that these hold the memories that we are looking for, but it is not stuff that makes life exciting. It is moments that are created with other people that help to create those memories that we treasure, and I believe that when all is over, these are the things that we will go back to that shows that the life we lived was the gift that it actually is.

My trip around the world has been about this. I have had many opportunities to make the most out of life, and I have picked up some great memories along the way. It seems like everyday there is a new and exciting adventure scheduled for me, and I have not regretted any of the moments that I have experienced. But as of late I have hit a wall. I have been coming back to the place I am staying, completely exhausted even though I have not really done anything too strenuous. It might be because I have been going the whole time since I left on that plane almost a month ago, and it is starting to catch up with me.

This brings me to the point of this post. It is not always important to be at making sure that I am experiencing something all of the time. Every once in a while, I need to make sure that I sit back, relax and recharge my batteries, so I get the most out of the experiences I have when I come across them. If I am go, go, go all the time, I am no longer enjoying the experience. I am just trying to make sure that I have enough experiences so that at least one of them is worth the time that I invested into having experiences. I cheapen all of the experiences I have by looking at them this way. I need some time to let this stuff go so I can sit back and reflect on the experiences I have had.  That is what will make them a true memory that I will want to revisit some day.

This why I spent yesterday on a couch, sitting back and reading a good book. It was a great day because I was able to do that. But on the other hand, if this is all I did, it would be a problem as well. Not to take away anything from reading because I think it is really important. It makes us more intelligent because we learn something every time we read something, and most importantly, we learn the valuable trait of being to empathize with other people. But you cannot experience what life is really about by reading a book. You need to put it down and go out there and see, and experience life at the same time. The combination of both of them is the most valuable thing I think anybody can do.

It is about finding that moderation in your life. You need to go out and experience life and see what that is like, but at the same time you need to have that downtime so you don’t run out of gas too early in life. It is hard to find that happy middle ground because both of these lifestyles can be seductive, and you can find yourself wrapped up in either one of them if you are not careful. It was nice to have that easy day in this crazy trip so I could collect myself and get ready for the next stretch.

I am sorry that today did not have an exciting adventure for you to follow, and this post may just include a philosophy that I try to live by, but I hope that you still get something out of it to consider when you think about your own lifestyle. How much do you wrap yourself in either side of the issue, and what does your life look like because of that? I think those are both important questions for us to answer, and when we come up with the answer, hopefully the most important thing is presented to us, our memories.