Soak: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?
In 2012, I soaked in a more positive outlook on life. I’m sure you’ve noticed in my posts if you’ve been following along with this month’s prompts, but I’ve been kind of gushing about my life lately. I didn’t always feel this way, and I didn’t always feel as sunny as I do now about my life, but this year, I learned to soak in moments and appreciate them for what they are.
Appreciating moments for what they are has completely changed my mindset. Instead of always expecting perfection, I am now content to sit back and enjoy the moment for all of the emotions that it gives me, even if not all of them are happy emotions.
For example, on our Ireland vacation, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We got lost coming right out of the rental car parking lot, we got a flat tire on the side of the road and had to change to the spare, then switch out the rental car.
This photo was taken right after we got a flat tire. We changed it, laughed about it, went to the Blarney Stone and moved on with our lives instead of worrying about logistics.
My greatest fears were realized by the terrifyingly narrow roads that had me convinced of my death at every turn, and then we took a wrong turn and the road gave away beneath the car and we nearly got stuck in a cow pasture.
I was terrified of the roads. Like, worst nightmare of my life terrified. They were narrow, steep and were on the edges of cliffs. I felt constant anxiety about the roads, but still soaked in the views because I didn’t want my fear to get in the way of my enjoyment of the beautiful landscape.
I didn’t want any of the amazing moments we experienced to be marred by a silly hang-up or something that we may laugh about or even forget at a later time.
Then I fell down some stairs and sprained my ankle, causing us to miss out on certain stops on the trip, especially when our timing was thrown off by my trip to the ER and then how much I had been slowed down by the crutches they gave me.
Here I am, mortified and in an insane amount of pain from falling and spraining my ankle. All I could think about was “I can’t let this stop me from doing the amazing things we came here to do.” And for the most part, I didn’t.
The trip was far from perfect, but I felt alive and happy (except for the terrifying bits in the car. I’d take a million sprained ankles over those roads again). Looking through our photos in Ireland, I looked happier than on any other trip we took this year. I was just so happy to have the opportunity to travel. I knew that it was coming to an end and I needed to appreciate moments for what they were instead of lament them for what they could have been or should have been.
It made all of the difference in the world.
I probably should have stayed off of my ankle and rested, but doctor’s tips be damned! I’ll see Dublin even if it kills me!
The last photo we took in Dublin. I was still happy and smiling. Even with a busted ankle and whatever it was that was going on with my bangs (it was raining).
When I think back to my first European trip in 2009, by the third day I was grumpy and jetlagged and tired and hungry and just not having it. I acted like a tired, spoiled brat. On our last trip to Ireland, my whole mindset had changed and no matter how bad things got, I just felt lucky and alive and amazed at the opportunity to experience more of the world.
I soaked in a sunnier disposition. I soaked in a new perspective. I can’t say that I’m still perfect about this because many times, positivity and optimism do not come naturally to me. But when it comes to travel, I have vowed to soak in each moment, as imperfect as they may be because they help define who I am in less-than-ideal circumstances. These moments also make a hell of a good story later.