I originally began writing this post last August. And then life returned to normal, and I never found the time to post it, probably due to doing too much, not saying no enough, and spending too much time on my phone. So, on this day that I took another type of vacation -- a staycation -- here it is.
The past year hasn't been easy. Staying home a lot of the time, not drawing a strong boundary between work and play, and focusing so much on things that are largely out of my control hasn't been good for my mental health. And it was never so apparent as when I took a weekend off to get away -- and felt like I was seeing the world through the eyes of a child again.
And when I say away, this trip was a mini getaway for our anniversary to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, like an hour and a half from where we live (hey, fertility treatments are expensive!). Amish country is seriously fun for both couples and families alike. For one, it's like a shopper's paradise -- with everything from outlets from your favorite brands to cute little boutiques offering an assortment of new and vintage items. One store, in the downtown area near our hotel, was full of mini shops/vendors with both new and vintage finds. We grabbed a cart and just made our way around the entire place.
For another, where else can you take a drive and find yourself behind an actual horse and buggie? Or check out a cute shopping village in a town called Intercourse, PA? Or take a scenic covered bridge tour in the rain (okay, it would've probably been better without the rain, but rain it did that Sunday).
There are some great restaurants -- from upscale, healthy farm-to-table spots to old-fashioned restaurants with unique communal-style dining -- and unique hotels, like ours, the Lancaster Arts Hotel -- what was once an old factory converted to a chic boutique-style hotel filled with original art. There's just something cool to see there everywhere, and the rooms -- our suite was warm and cozy, filled with more unique art and furnishings, with a jacuzzi tub right smack dab in the middle of the space. Too cool. Saturday morning, we even bumped into our neighbors at breakfast in the hotel (we joke that they travel so frequently, we even bumped into them on our one random trip).
Don't worry, there will be pictures (here's a few to start). But, with that said, here are a few things I realized that weekend:
1. How much happier and relaxed I felt
My perspective on everything seemingly had changed. For example, only two or three days before, I had a day where I was super irritable from the time I woke up. It was one of those mornings when nothing goes right. I overslept and then couldn't seem to do a thing with my newly cut and highlighted hair. I had made up my mind that I hated my new haircut and hated my hair color. Everything seemingly felt out of my control.
Then, while sitting in the passenger seat of the car while Jared was driving, I felt a freeness I hadn't felt in weeks, maybe even months. I looked at myself in the mirror, finding that I looked happy, excited, and passionate. My hair and skin looked brighter. I was wearing a cute new top and decided to play around and take a few selfies. You know those times when you try to take a selfie, but you just can't get it right? When you have to take a million pics? We all do. This time was different. I didn't have to try and force it; I literally was glowing.
2. How important it is to escape the noise
This so-called "noise" surrounds us every day. From overflowing inboxes to the ringing of the phone to social media notifications, this noise is difficult to escape. Now, did I not use my phone during this weekend away? Not exactly. But when I did, it was okay because I had just spent the afternoon exploring, taking in the scenery, leaving behind the routine and the monotony for a few days.
3. How much I love exploring
So, when I say exploring, I'm not talking about serious hiking in the woods here. I'm talking about looking out the window and taking in the scenery while being a passenger in the car (instead of the driver). Knowing you don't have to be anywhere at a certain time. Knowing the day is yours however you want to spend it. It's these times when you take a break and notice all the beauty we're surrounded by every day.
I'll give an example. I acted this weekend like I had never seen trees before. Seriously. This warm and sunny Saturday afternoon in August 2021 (still in the midst of the pandemic), I felt so excited to see the world, to feel the sunshine. While I should have just enjoyed these moments solely in the present, I seemingly felt the need to share everything I saw. Like trees. Jared literally told me I acted like I never saw a tree before. But what he didn't understand was that I hadn't seen one in this way for a long time. I hadn't appreciated the sheer beauty of the little things around me for quite awhile.
I think that's enough words for now. I'll let you see for yourself how even a short trip to a nearby locale to do much good.