Living life on autopilot
Physically tired but mentally recharged. It has been a long time since I felt that way. And I didn't even realize that until last night. My status of late as been physically and mentally tired or exhausted at the end of each day. Honestly, I'm not even sure the last time I felt the way I felt last night.
That's the ironic thing about life though. Sometimes we are so busy living life that we don't even realize that we aren't truly living life! I had gotten into the routine of things- family, work, responsibilities, etc; and had gotten used to the complete fatigue at the end of the day. That had become my norm. But because of accepting that as my norm, I almost missed out on the opportunity to be reminded to make time to live life.
My husband and I had been planning a trip to take our kids to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to see the "Art of the Brick" exhibit as well as the rest of the Institute. We talked about going at the beginning of the month for our son's birthday. But due to our schedules the first time we could go was yesterday, March 29th. We didn't tell the kids since we wanted to surprise them, and in case something came up that prevented us from going that day. Yesterday morning I woke up feeling on the fence about going. I wanted to go. I wanted to take the kids to see the exhibit. I wanted to spend a fun family day with just the four of us. But I was tired too, and there were so many things I needed to get done at home, and I hadn't been feeling well lately. So many excuses, so many legitimate reasons not to go.
Just go for it!
While I took my shower yesterday morning, I decided to just go for it. Forget about everything else and just go! So I told my husband that I was up for going. From there we quickly made our plans. We decided to take the train into Philly instead of driving like we did before. And we packed a lunch, packed a backpack and bag, told the kids we were heading off for an adventure and hit the road. We gave the kids the option of us telling them where we were going but they wanted to be surprised. Part of the fun of the trip there was them making guesses along the way and seeing their faces when they saw the Franklin and knew they were right.
It ended up being such a lovely day trip. The 30th Street Station was 1 mile from the Franklin Institute so we got to walk from the train to the Franklin and take in some of the beautiful sites of the city. It was such a different experience walking through the city to the Franklin than when we drove to the Franklin a couple years ago and parked in the parking garage connected to the Institute. By walking through the city, it felt like we got to fully experience the city and feel it.
Fully experience the moment
Getting a chance to stop and look around, taking in all the architecture and details on the buildings and statues, that was such a fuller experience than catching glances of the city as we drove through it. It made me realize part of the reason that I loved my trip to Boulder, CO last March. There was something about that trip to Boulder that I couldn't put my finger on; something about that trip that made a positive impression on me. It was like it made a permanent mark on my soul. And yesterday I realized what that was. It was fully experiencing the moment with all my senses and my focus.
When I was in Boulder, I walked nearly the whole 3 days I was there. I was out in the city, among the people, feeding my senses, and taking it all in fully present. And that is what happened again yesterday. I'm sure that we would have still had a great day had we drove into the city. But we would not have had that magical experience of being fully engaged and fully present. There is nothing to distract you from the experience when you are walking through the city. The act of walking though a busy city means that you have to be aware and looking around just to stay safe with the traffic. Whereas being in a car, you can be distracted by other things if you are the passenger or distracted by maneuvering through traffic if you are the driver.
But by riding the train and walking the city, we were free to immerse ourselves completely into the experience. And by doing so, the experience was all the more meaningful. We made fun family memories. We had new experiences. We met warm and kind people. We learned that there is so much to do and experience with a short distance of our home. We learned that life is much better when it is experienced with open eyes, open ears, open hands, and open minds. We learned that the best way to experience a city is to get out of the car and move about through the city with others.
And I learned how good it feels to be physically tired but mentally refreshed at the end of the day. Life is busy and stressful. Much of the stress is a natural part of our lives, be it with our jobs or parenting or even our health. But in spite of all that, we have to remember to take time to stop and experience all that life has to offer. We have to remember to be fully engaged and present to truly live life.
Note: We were amazed by the "Art of the Brick" exhibit. The couple of photos shown here are the works of Nathan Sawaya. His artistry is incredible. There were so many amazing pieces. I highly recommend taking a trip to see all his works of art at the Franklin Institute. Or if you are not near Philadelphia, PA, then go see it when the exhibit comes to a city near you.