2017, The year of travel
Because 2016 was a deeply challenging year for me, I set out to travel as much as possible in 2017. We started the year with a trip to Disney. Then we went on two different trips to Austin. Next was a solo trip to Florida to visit my grandparents; after that, we traveled to Galveston. Then, I hosted my sister’s bridal shower in Baltimore in June, we went to Seattle in July, and then Baltimore again in August for my sister’s wedding. We hosted three different groups of house guests during the first eight months of the year too!
All this travel (and hosting) was so good for my soul. I was able to physically and mentally escape from feeling miserable at home in Gainesville. Traveling allowed me to spend time with people I love in places I love (or grew to love). Riley and I made great new memories, took a thousand photos, and ate lots of yummy food.
But this fall, we are staying at home.
Slowing down this fall
In early September, I realized that I had to slow down or I was going to have an adult meltdown. I’m not the kind of person (and never will be) who can throw a few things in a suitcase, pop away for the weekend, return home, and jump back into day-to-day life. I prepare for trips for weeks in advance, pack deliberately over time, become exhausted when I’m away (happy, but exhausted), and take at least a week to settle back in once I’m home. Basically: travel takes a lot out of me.
Sitting in bed one night shortly after returning home from my sister’s wedding in late August, Riley and I were chatting about all of this. “I’m realizing how occupied my brain has been for the past eight months. It feels like I’m always planning for a trip, packing for a trip, on a trip, or unpacking from a trip. I’m worn out,” I admitted. Riley said he felt the exact same way. Both of us needed a season of rest, so we decided to stay at home this fall.
Within a week of making that decision, we had three separate invitations to travel this fall! All three sounded like a blast. But knowing that no one will guard our time for us, we guarded our own time. We declined all three invites, which were graciously received.
Two months in, two to go
We have now been at home, not traveling, with almost nothing on the calendar since September 1st. The past almost-two months have been fantastic. We have made delicious meals, taken walks, nested at home, spent hours doing nothing, hosted new friends for dinner, read books, watched movies, and generally enjoyed unscheduled time together.
Throughout the week, we work hard during the day, but can unwind at night without an upcoming trip taking up mental space. Most Friday nights we stay in or do something locally. On Saturdays, we rarely have plans, so we piddle around the house, take a long drive, go grocery shopping, or meet up with friends. Sunday mornings are for church, Sunday evenings are for big bowls of soup with fresh bread.
If this all sounds too good to be true, I agree. I remark daily how thankful I am for these days at home. They have been so nourishing. Our next trip is to Baltimore for Christmas with my side of the family, which we both greatly anticipate. (Crossing our fingers for snow while we’re there!) Until then, we’re enjoying this slow pace.
You too can slow down
I am wholly in the “say no to the good things so you can say yes to the great things” camp. For the first part of this year, traveling was the great thing. Now, it’s rest. Seasons change, and so must we. I will be forever thankful for the professional mentor who told me to guard my time with my life. Those words were spoken four years ago, but they will forever be engrained in my heart.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: the world will never tell you when enough’s enough. Well-meaning people will always want more from you–more time, more hours, more energy, more, more, more. It’s up to you and me to draw the line and set the boundary. Life doesn’t have to be lived at a breakneck pace! There’s a time for fast-paced living, but then, there’s also a time for the slow.
If you find yourself weary and worn out, I encourage you to see what you can do to schedule a season of rest. What can you do to create a full life, not a busy one? We all need time to breathe, reflect, and rest. After all, as Ann Voskamp says, life is not an emergency.
// Have you ever carved out a season of rest after a season of doing? What does the rest of 2017 look like for you?
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