I headed off to Florida with high hopes and dreams of spending time on the beach writing. I wasn’t too disappointed after the first day but by the third day when I had only one page to show for my efforts, disappointment set in. I got frustrated and angry with myself and it wasn’t too long before I was telling myself how stupid I was for even thinking I could write. That was a week ago and it is just dawning on me that I need to adjust my attitude. I need to step back and look at this situation from a completely different angle.
I am currently reading, Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart. Gary is the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant family. They moved here from Russia to give their son a chance at a better life. He shares how disappointed his family was with him at many junctures of his life. I can’t imagine the pressure you feel when your family leaves their life in another country to give you a fresh start. It seems the American Dream would feel more like a heavy obligation rather than a dream of success. As Gary’s family had to change the way they viewed success when their son became a writer. So, I also had to change the way I looked at my Florida trip. I had to adjust my attitude and recognize the benefits I received from spending several days reading on the beach. My expectation was to write, but instead of writing I ended up reading three books. I didn’t accomplish what I had intended too, but I did get some much need reading time. This time was a refueling, refreshing time that couldn’t be replicated by the same amount of days writing.
In evaluating my week in Florida I stopped to ask myself what I learned. In order to answer that question I had to stop beating myself up for not meeting my goal. I had to suspend judgment long enough to evaluate exactly what I did learn. I spent hours enjoying the crescendo of the rhythmic ocean waves. I lost myself in the back lit pages of my kindle’s white screen. I smiled as my face was warmed by the bright Florida sun. I laughed when I saw a dolphin surface from the depths of ocean for a breath of air. I watched a couple manatees calmly eating grass at the side of a boat ramp. I settled into the soft, muted orange light of an evening sunset. I took pictures in an old orange grove where Spanish moss graced the old branches and white blossoms buzzed with the sound of honey bees. I reveled in the fragrance of those blossoms, as their smell over powered all other senses; I was raptured in a moment of scent-full bliss. I recognized that the few times I allowed myself to enjoy the moment are the sweet memories that linger in my mind. I am reminded of just how lucky I am to have experienced and really reveled in those moments.
I find myself most grateful for the opportunity to get away and spend time on a beach. I am thankful for the dolphin, and the manatee that showed up. I am grateful for the warmth of the sun, as it has been a long, cold winter here in Colorado. I realize that I need to spend more time in the moment and less time criticizing myself. I realize that I need to devise a new plan for the future. I vow to love and enjoy more moments and place less importance on performance based goals. I vow to love myself instead of criticize myself. I vow to be grateful, constantly looking for sweet blessings and lessons from our Creator, God himself.