We’re just back from a fabulous week on Block Island — a small (3 miles by 7 miles), under-developed island 12 miles off the Southern coast of Rhode Island. The water is crystal clear, the land is hilly and green, and with old stone walls everywhere, the terrain looks like Ireland. This is the view from the backyard of our rental house.
It was our first vacation of any kind in two years, and our first restful vacation since we had kids. This trip was all about simple pleasures: daily trips to the beach, drippy sandcastle making, ice cream excursions, bike rides, the farmer’s market. And I learned a couple of simple lessons while we were away:
If you want to nap, you’ve got to lie down first. Every afternoon, I’d lie on the couch with a book while my son napped and my daughter slowly extracted every piece from the trunk full of board games and mixed them all together in various bowls as she made “pie”. And every afternoon, I’d fall asleep. Which is ironic, because I’ve always told myself I’m not a napper. Even when I had newborns, I rarely dozed off during the day. I realize now, that was only because I never lay down! Woah. It was quite the revelation.
Vision boards work. I have been wanting to try stand-up paddleboarding for over a year now. I even have a picture of a woman riding one on my vision board. So on Block Island, my husband and I booked a babysitter for an afternoon and went to rent his and hers boards. Only problem – it was so windy nobody was renting. This was the only sitter we could find for the only day she had available, and our trip ended in 2 days. Then we brainstormed a solution – the next morning, we’d rent one double kayak and one paddleboard. One of us would paddle the kids in the kayak while the other rode the paddleboard, and we’d switch every so often. It was pretty windy the next morning too, but with the image on my vision board seared in my brain, I was persistent in asking the outfitter to let us go out. He agreed, gave us a quick lesson, and we were off. It was so much fun. But if I hadn’t declared to myself and the universe that this was something I really wanted to do, it probably wouldn’t have happened.
Keep it simple, stupid. I was a little worried that we’d be bored during our week away with just the four of us to entertain each other. What if we drove each other crazy? What if it wasn’t fun? But it was perfect, as we spent the mornings and evenings all together (mostly digging holes on the beach) and had a couple hours to ourselves every afternoon to sleep or play or watch Wimbledon. Not having others to coordinate with anyone else let us follow our own rhythms, which was supremely relaxing.
And while we were there, I picked up a copy of Nora Ephron’s last book, I Remember Nothing. Her writing is so straightforward and lighthearted (even when talking about capital-I issues, like death), it really inspired me to root out any fancy-pants sentence construction or words from my own writing. I had just finished reading the book (which she ends with a list of things she will and will not miss when she dies), when I found out she was gone. I’m inspired by Ephron’s effortless writing and our uncomplicated week to find the ease in everything – even the big, scary stuff.
I hope you’ve been able to enjoy some simple summer fun in the past couple of weeks. I’d love to hear about it! (Leave a comment to share your story, pretty please.)
Take care and keep breathing,
Join me in Boston on August 7th!
I’m super excited to attend Spark and Hustle in Boston on August 7th. If you’re in the area and are looking for an entrepreneurial energy infusion, join me! I always love the opportunity to hook up with my people. Here’s the link to sign up. Email me at kate [at] msmindbody.com if you’re coming!