It's probably not a good business practice for an author to recommend a break from reading. Nor is it good professional practice for an author to stop reading. (Must always strive to get better…) But here I am, on vacation, with no plans, and I have not yet picked up a book.
Every year on vacation, I read or re-read a classic. Each year, I have enjoyed it so much, I have had trouble putting the book down. A sneaky little part of me, however, wanted the book to hurry up and be finished, because I wanted to do other things on my vacation.
This year I didn't. I have my classic picked out and loaded on my Kindle, but I have not started reading. Instead, I looked around. Here's what I found.
1. The sound of the ocean waves breaking is one of my most favorite sounds.
It's one sound that has never changed, throughout history. (As far as I know, anyway. I have only seen a few decades of history.) There's an incredible thought. The first people in the world to ever see the ocean heard exactly the same sound that we hear today. No enhancements, no digitalization. Nothing but the shear beauty of power.
2. My youngest loves to play in the sand. And she likes to help and be helped.
I remember my youngest child being grumpy in the past, but this year, she has really been much more pleasant. She has always enjoyed digging in the sand, and in earlier years, I was grateful for that easy entertainment. Every year, my feet have been buried in the sand. This year I enjoyed the bond of digging with her. Together, we buried everyone's feet to cool them off. And she's right. The feeling of wet sand on your hands is very relaxing.
3. My middle child is not a big fan of crabs.
I probably could have guessed this one, but it was nice to be there in person to see his reaction rather than hear the story at dinner and wonder where I was. (Oh yeah, I was in Civil War Georgia…)
4. There is some great scenery on the beach.
The beach is beautiful, but also, I love to people-watch. It's amazing to see how so many people can come to the same place and all be thinking something different. I try to read minds, too, based on what the person is doing. Kids playing in the sand are the best. Older folks are trickier. Also, I look for cute new bathing suit trends.
5. No one dies from boredom. (But it does lead to fake hunger.)
I almost posted, "I'm Bored!!!" on Facebook. I knew if I did, however, I would get sucked back in to Facebook and miss other things. Most of my "busy items" on my to-lists are back at home. Cleaning, phone calls, working, appointments, errands. None of it can be done at the beach! So here I am… back to sitting. Sitting, thinking, day dreaming. (OK, yes, I still do some exercise too. But not enough to take up a whole day.) All this time has been here on past vacations, but I never found it while I was lost in a book. I really haven't been bored since I was a child. I hated it then, and was a little afraid of returning to it now. But you know what? It really wasn't that bad. However, my brain often decided the best way to fill the void was to take a trip to the kitchen.
6. Adults can be grumpy when you interrupt them to talk while they are reading.
My kids learned this years ago, and I knew it when I was a kid too. But somehow, when you are on the other side of that book, you forget. The adults to whom I was trying to talk (whom also shall remain nameless) didn't even know I was talking to them. I am not putting down these adults - as I am usually one of them. But I am reminded how my children feel when I do it to them.
7. Days are longer than I thought they were.
Why did vacations seem to fly by so fast in previous years? Because I thought time was standing still while I was reading when it actually flew by. (I am SUCH a slow reader.) Without a book, I am getting done everything I want, and some of what the kids want me to do too. Mini golf might not be quite the chore I always thought it would be. Maybe this year, when it's time to leave, I will actually be ready to go.
8. There are lots of people in this family.
And they're all a little different. We're a party of 11 when we are all together. (My parents, my brother's family, and mine.) Watching the interaction and relations between each of the members is intriguing. Different family members act differently to one another. If you're in the mood for playful beatings, you go to my dad. Baseball talk? My nephew. The latest book? My sister-in-law. Everyone brings their whole world to the family, and interacting with each completely can take up nearly a lifetime.
9. Sometimes just sitting is okay. (But only when I have, or have plans to exercise.)
I sat on the beach today. I had to tell myself a few times that it was vacation, and it was okay to not be doing something. That self-talk was the only thing that kept me in my chair. Because I sat, I was able to do some of the other things on this list. (And knowing I would be on a bike within a few hours helped me not feel too lazy.) BTW- those who enjoy my "Body Language" humor series will soon hear from my body how difficult a battle this actually was.
10. My favorite waves are the ones that have not broken yet.
I remember this vaguely from my days as a kid, when I actually went in the ocean as deep as possible. (I'm still a little grossed out by the ocean as an adult, but this year I spent a little more time in it, just up to my knees.) The unbroken waves roll your floating body in a way similar to when you drive over that slight hill on the road and your stomach goes airborne. Why to we like that feeling so much? Maybe because we just realized that we got away with a free amusement park ride.
*Bonus- The little waves close to the shore look like they are smiling and giggling as they run up to your toes.
Now, some of you will be pulling out that soapbox, ready to yell, "Same with phones! Put away the phones!" I did keep my phone out with me. Why? First, because it is my camera. I don't want to forget this special time, and I want the kids to be able to enjoy it later too. Also, I did want to share it on social media with my friends. Not everyone gets a family vacation like we do. Some don't want to hear about it, but some really do. I appreciate those in the latter group, and I am happy to oblige.
And please. I am not condemning anyone for reading! (As a matter of fact, I would love to offer you a suggestion for reading here.) There is a time for everything, and if reading is your pleasure, you should definitely make time for it. All I'm saying is that I took a break and noticed a few things.
If you are thinking hard about it, you are realizing that, if I am writing this while on vacation, I am on my computer, and not doing any of the above. Well, I have a short memory, and didn't want to forget, so I had to write about it right away. And yes, technically, I am reading it too.
But that short memory of mine? That's exactly why I am very glad to be able to enjoy this "book vacation" as well. Who knows what I'll remember of these vacations when the kids grow up?
Passion Under Grace,