Elements

by Jennifer on August 21, 2008

A hairpin turn, or a switchback. Both, names for a point in the road where you’d better pay attention, slow down, and ease into the turn. Foot on the brake, eyes on the road. Breathing through the moment when you’re sure your heart has stopped. And then, when you come out of the curve, there’s a whole new view and you’re going in another direction entirely.

This time I took for myself in the last week felt something like that. It hasn’t changed anything fundamental about my life, but I do feel like things look different now, and familiar in a way that I’ve missed.

I did most of the things I planned. A movie with a friend. (Lunch with a friend is on deck, still.) A drive. Reading. A few movies at home. Taking time to go outside and watch the moon rise.

Nothing else about my life changed – I still had to manage the usual responsibilities and the flurry of the first two weeks of school and the car that needs brakes and keeps stalling for some damn reason. The difference was that I added back into my life some things I’ve let go. I took myself outside the walls of my office, where I’ve been spending too much time. And those moments in each day that I stole back helped to change how I felt. I began to relax.

Admonitions like “being present in the moment” or “finding balance” or “simplifying your life” have never felt comfortable on my tongue, though I get the point. It’s the language that I find unnecessary, especially now that those phrases are sprinkled so often through the pages of women’s magazines.

Make things simple sounds better to me. Maybe it’s all spin and soundbite, but if we can’t make up our own words when we sing along, it’s not nearly as much fun, is it?

Simple sounds better and better lately. The idea of spending a few days in a camper next to a lake in the mountains (someplace cooler than here, maybe) is more appealing than just about anything right now. Those of you who know me best, and know my dependence on a beauty routine, can stop laughing now. It’s called natural wave, and I can adapt. Really, stop laughing.

Maybe it all looks more peaceful in my head than it might go down, but I imagine spending days just hanging out, cooking simple meals. Watching the kids try to fish. Swimming, drying off. Wind, warm as a kiss, on skin. Swimming again, maybe at night. Making a fire (if it’s safe). And then, well-doused in bug spray, lying back on a blanket or a lounge chair, looking for shooting stars and watching the arc of the moon as it rises above the mountain and across the sky. Falling asleep with the sounds of the night close and scary. Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. The elements.

Eating. Laughing. Loving. Sleeping. The elements.

As for what I’m doing here, on this page, I’m going to let myself off the hook and ease up on the pressure to post almost every day (though that might still happen if I have something up my sleeve.). Not much else will change. You’ll still hear about cowboys (because, c’mon) and the never-ending house hunt, and whatever else. Because it’s all real, right? (I listened, and heard you all, and thank you.)

So I hope you’ll hang around. There might be a bonfire, even. Who’s in charge of gathering firewood? Did anyone bring wine? And I think I saw marshmallows around here somewhere…

A turn, a new view. Things look better already.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Csquaredplus3 August 22, 2008 at 4:30 am

That was so nice. Glad you’re back, feeling a bit refreshed, yet the same…

Csquaredplus3s last blog post..10 Random Things

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Emily R August 22, 2008 at 6:44 am

All good things, even blogging, need a rest now and then.

Emily Rs last blog post..Things a four-year-old doesn’t need to know

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melissa August 22, 2008 at 6:57 am

Ah yes, less is more.
Glad you had some time to just be.

melissas last blog post..Whoppers, Urban Legends & Blatant Lies

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Milena August 22, 2008 at 7:11 am

Listen, I’ll bring the suckling pig wrapped in the banana leaves. How’s that? Ay Jennifer! You make me sigh. All the time. In the best of ways because you have the mighty and moving power of ‘a way with words’ my friend. I missed you these past few days but I’m prepared to keep on missing you if taking some time off gives you all you’ve described. Besos besos galore and I’m always here – not too far away.

Milenas last blog post..The Village of my heart

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Louise August 22, 2008 at 7:16 am

You go right ahead an go camping. I don’t camp because as a grown-up I realize that it was so much fun as a kid because the grown-ups did all the work. Maybe climbing Mt. Everest would be more to my taste because there would be a sherpa.

I guess if you went camping with a cowboy, he would do most of the work and let you sit back and look at the stars.

(It’s not that I’m opposed to working or anything. God knows I do more than I probably need to, but camping just doesn’t sound relaxing to me. But I’m SO glad it does to you!)

Louises last blog post..Happy Cloud — SkyWatch

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Dharmamama August 22, 2008 at 8:10 am

I’ll bring the chocolate and grahams for s’mores.

One thing I love about camping is how much I appreciate my bed and shower when I get home.

And, the whole being close to nature thing. ; )

Dharmamamas last blog post..Lunch DNA

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Reluctantfarmchik August 22, 2008 at 8:42 am

“Simple” sounds wonderful. “Slow” feels good. “Declutter” (by someone else) is weightless. We all need to take these reality checks. Good for you. Stay with simplicity. My recent “a-ha” was “Authentic” It’s a very demanding word. The patterns and habits that we are in are so very hard to shake. Even though they’re not part of the real me.

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Ann August 22, 2008 at 9:00 am

The first part of this post brought me back to the 7 years I lived in Colorado and spent time camping in the mountains by various rivers. The beauty of which was transcendent. Or was that the mushrooms we took? Well, let’s not split hairs over it. Gosh, in this heat I’m missing those crisp, green, mountain views. I’m sick for Colorado lately.

As for posting less. Honestly, I’m kind of burned out on trying to keep up with folks who post every day – I just can’t do it – bc then I feel pressured to keep up. So, as a reader – I like it when bloggers post about 2-3 times a week, because I can keep up and I don’t miss any of their posts. I’ve actually read a few articles that *claim* this is the ideal number of times to post a week, from a reader’s perspective – for whatever that’s worth; and that posting every day can be very overwhelming for a reader. That’s what *they* say, lol.

Anns last blog post..That One Damn Book

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Daryl August 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

Missed you .. glad your break was helpful!

Daryls last blog post..

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Lisa Milton August 22, 2008 at 9:03 am

Forget the spin; there’s truth lurking behind silly advertising.

I like this pace for you.

I like where these elements will take you.

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flutter August 22, 2008 at 9:28 am

simplicity is necessity. Glad you are finding it

flutters last blog post..Life is good, even when it’s crap.

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we_be_toys August 22, 2008 at 9:45 am

Make it Simple is my mantra girl! It doesn’t always work out that way (I don’t have to tell you that!), but striving for it does get results.
I’m glad you took the time to get out of here and take a dip in the pool of life – it’s good for gaining perspective.
I missed you!

we_be_toyss last blog post..Muddy Waters

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Tina August 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

Welcome back! I’m happy you had the time to relax and reflect. It doesn’t matter how many times a week you post, we’ll keep reading…

Oh, and I’ll bring the napkins and plates. We’re drinking right out of the bottles, right? Or should I bring cups?

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Bruce August 22, 2008 at 10:10 am

These are all common themes of folks over 30. I know I make list after list of things I want to accomplish and always at the top of that list is to slow down and prioritize, but it never seems to happen in this rush, rush world.

Blogging in and of itself has a life cycle, where we start to get into the mindset, must blog, must blog all the time, like it is a contest. Eventually, you settle into a routine with occassional spurts of genius and insight.

Don’t stress over it.

Bruces last blog post..My – POV [Pei Wei]

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Rhea August 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm

I’ll help with the bonfire. :o)

I’m glad you’re still here and staying REAL. That’s important.

Glad you took a break and did more stuff for you. That’s just as important as well.

Rheas last blog post..Hearing loss, detention & Mama Dawg

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anymommy August 22, 2008 at 4:17 pm

I love the view from here. Welcome back!

anymommys last blog post..I’m Going Insane. GOING INSANE??

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manager mom August 22, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Don’t post every day. Live your life, and share what you have time to share. We will still be here for those moments, and we will be cheering for you all the more to enjoy them to the fullest.

manager moms last blog post..Saving The Drama For Her Mama

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Mrs. Schmitty August 22, 2008 at 8:36 pm

I so need to add some of that simplicity to my life too. I never seem to know how to relax and take things easy.

Mrs. Schmittys last blog post..Just Eating Rainbows And Pooping Butterflies

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Hatchet August 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I like a nice bonfire!

Enjoy the camping!

Hatchets last blog post..Contact! Baby Sign Language Rocks!

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Shelby August 23, 2008 at 5:53 am

sounds so peaceful and solitude-i-nous.. love it.

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texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvana August 23, 2008 at 8:29 am

Beautiful.

I make a seriously mean s’more…..

texasholly @ June Cleaver Nirvanas last blog post..It rained

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Jenn @ Juggling Life August 23, 2008 at 11:53 am

It is easy to get sucked into the vortex of the blogosphere. I’m glad you’re finding your balance.

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Overheard On The Road

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San Diego Momma August 23, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I could have written this post myself (except not as well).

Pressure has a way of killing moments, I’m glad you’re finding perspective.

San Diego Mommas last blog post..Not Me

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the mama bird diaries August 23, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Uhh… I don’t really camp. Well, that’s not true. I went camping in 8th grade. And well, it may not be my thing. But my god, you sure do make is sound blissful and romantic and heavenly. Ok, ok… I’ll go along with you.

the mama bird diariess last blog post..strawberry ice cream is really gross

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jenrantsraves August 24, 2008 at 7:31 am

I’ve been offline for a month, not by choice, though. It did result in me managing to get some stuff done that I have been putting off for way too long.

Maybe there is something going on this month because I have been feeling restless myself. One thing that is getting to me is the never ending chores that I have to do each day, that take up so damn much time. I need something to look forward to, I think. I haven’t had a vacation in 2 years.

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Lisa August 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Sounds like a wonderful, well deserved break 🙂

Lisas last blog post..These two brothers go to a shoe store….

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Crazycath August 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I am sooooo glad you are back. And that you weren’t away too long.

I understand this post 100% and think I am close to this sort of decision and simplifying too. I just want to wait a little while longer then I think I will be “reviewing the situation….”

Crazycaths last blog post..Camera Critters #20

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JCK August 24, 2008 at 8:30 pm

So glad the break refreshed you. We’ll be here whenever you post. Thursday Drive works on all days or any day of the week. Sending hugs.

JCKs last blog post..It is the most muscles she will ever have

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Stacie August 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm

“There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still.”

I think Mr. Thoreau said it best. Your post made me think of Walden Pond.

Stacies last blog post..I miss him…

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Sandy (Momisodes) August 24, 2008 at 9:37 pm

So glad you had a chance to find a new perspective. I’ll definitely be hanging around.

“Eating. Laughing. Loving. Sleeping. The elements.” – Perfection 🙂

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..Weekly Winners

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Suzanne August 25, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Welcome back, I know I’m just one of the voices that can’t wait to hear what you have to say…..

Suzannes last blog post..Out of Synch with the Natural Order of Things

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melissa August 26, 2008 at 6:30 pm

The randomness of those written blurbs delight me!
I have a couple of decent journals and a couple of cheap spiral notebooks–I keep paper handy in many locations because I never know when I’ll have a minute or two to start jotting.

melissas last blog post..Indifferent

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