How many times have you said, “I just don’t have time for__________”? Do you then ever look back at your day or your week and think you could have spent your time so much more wisely, on more important things instead of something that just seemed urgent at the moment? I know I have. I get sucked into tasks that feel important, but could really wait. I have learned to say, “I did not make time for _________,”, which puts the responsibility on me to change things the next time. But guess what! That’s also an opportunity to craft my life differently going forward.
I think a lot of people struggle with this when they go on vacation. They create a list of things that must get seen and done or else consider the time wasted. Are you going on vacation to complete another to do list? Or are you going to unwind and reconnect with yourself or loved ones? If it’s the latter, sometimes we need help making the time for meaningful moments.
We went away for a few days this summer to the mountains with no plans except for where we were staying. I didn’t even realize we were a few minutes from a breathtaking national park or the filming locations of two of our favorite movies until we got there! Not having a plan goes against my nature, but I wanted us to discover the area together as a family, not rush from one place to another just to snap a picture and say we’d been there.
We spent some time marveling at beautiful scenery, hunting for mushrooms (we found chanterelles!), hiking to waterfalls and playing in the river. We wondered a the variety of people we met and what brought them to this tiny mountain town. We figured out how to make the most of a rainy day. Together. Of course we brought back pictures and a handful of pretty rocks as souvenirs, but that trip’s greatest treasure was the feeling, the memory.
The next time you travel, whether it’s to Appomattox or somewhere on the other side of the world, try leaving a day or an afternoon completely open and unplanned. You may be surprised what happens when you allow the space to be spontaneous.