A couple weeks back, I wrote an Instagram post about remembering to go outside for a walk in the early evening, before the sun went down:
“Today I was working at my desk trying to rush and get stuff done before the weekend, but luckily took a pause and said to myself, if you don’t go outside now, it’ll be dark out and too late to go for a walk. So I went. And it was beautiful, and quiet, and there weren’t many people around, and the sky was gorgeous. And suddenly what I had been rushing to do didn’t seem so urgent.“
This idea has been with me for a long time – all the way back to when I had a “Don’t miss the moment” poster taped to my wall, and probably before that. I never want to look up and realize that I’ve missed all the sunshine, or get home from a party and have the yucky feeling like I wasn’t truly present for any of it, or that it’s only fun now that I’m reflecting on it after the fact.
This philosophy requires a lot of flexibility, creativity, and mindfulness, things that I am constantly working on developing for myself. I’m a person who likes routines, and can easily start to measure myself on how well I’m sticking to my (arbitrarily-established) routine on a daily basis. That night, rushing to get stuff done felt like the price I had to pay in order to enjoy my evening and relax, until I remembered that I am self-employed, I set my own schedule, and I can relax right now.
With this in mind, I’m making an effort to recalibrate my days to celebrate the change in seasons. Instead of getting all my work done before I go for my daily walk, I’m sticking my nature time right into the middle of my work day. This week, I’ve been going for a long leisurely walk right smack dab after lunch, soaking up the midday sunshine when it’s at its peak, instead of hoping to catch a few weak rays of it in the late afternoon.
Yesterday I went to the park near my house and laid down on a picnic table in the sun, cloud-watching and appreciating the light through the leaves on the giant trees. It felt “wrong” somehow to be doing this before I’d “earned it” (ugh @ myself sometimes, you know!?!), but it also felt so good. When I got back to my desk, I was able to be way more productive because I didn’t feel rushed, and I didn’t have to mourn the sun setting at 5:30PM before I’d had a chance to enjoy it properly. I’d enjoyed it already.
I know not everyone has the freedom to recalibrate their days to the extent that I do, but maybe you can walk on your lunch break. Maybe you can wake up earlier and sit quietly beside the window in the morning light. Maybe you can go outside for a five minute Vitamin D break.
As I try to embrace the change in seasons (so far, so good!), this tiny recalibration is making a big difference for me. How do you restructure your life as seasons change?