I am back at home after my week at the Jersey shore with my family. While family trips are never 100 percent relaxing, we had a lot of good experiences. I enjoyed visiting the beer garden in Asbury Park, getting some solid time in the waves, and finishing Middlemarch (much read while drinking chardonnay on the balcony with a view of the sea!)
Last week I was also running a Daily Vacation Challenge. This was based on an exercise I discuss in Off the Clock (chapter 4) on how to strengthen the savoring muscles. I aimed to do something small each day that I knew I would enjoy. During the experience, I tried to really pay attention, and then I recorded the experience here afterwards. I invited others to do the same — and got a lot of great responses! If you haven’t read the last few days’ comments sections, please go do so.
(In general, comments on this blog are awesome — even when people don’t agree with me, they are thoughtful. I so hope to keep that going.)
Anyway, I’ve been pondering the ramifications of this challenge. I track my time, so I already have a fairly holistic perspective on my life. I know that a day where my 3-year-old decides to start pushing the furniture in our rental house around (why? why?) can also feature a lovely quiet hour on the porch later.
But I do know that this focus on savoring made one small experience seem longer. On Friday morning, I went for a short run in the rain. Then I came back and had a cup of coffee in the (quiet!) kitchen. I listened to the rain on the windows and enjoyed my nice hot freshly brewed cup (with cream!)
I sat there and lingered in the moment, and now I remember it. I hesitate to think how many thousands of cups of coffee I’ve had in my life (pretty much every day since age 15 – talk about a streak!) Most aren’t particularly memorable. But now this one cup is etched in my brain, and I remember those five or so minutes. Being able to remember a certain five minutes makes those five minutes expand. This is the point of stretching the savoring muscles: developing the ability to make good moments pass as slowly as the clock-watching bad ones.
If you participated in the Daily Vacation Challenge last week, did you notice that anything shifted in your perception of time?
In other news: I took the 3-year-old to his first day of day camp this morning. He wore his little backpack so proudly. And he tromped onto the playground like a champ. I said goodbye but I don’t think he even noticed. He may not notice I left until I go pick him up!