This fall I had the incredible opportunity to do just that for 10 weeks. It was truly a miracle, a synchronistic happening, or whatever term you might use for something that was outside normal expectations. I was a house-sitter for friends who were out of town for an extended period of time. They felt more secure having someone stay in their home for at least part of that time. Guess where they live? Long Beach, California – 5 blocks from the ocean.
After having a very challenging several months on a couple of levels, I was eager to step out of drama, disappointment, frustration and more. I did what was necessary to leave my house unoccupied for that period of time with the help of dear friends. That included emptying and unplugging the refrigerator, turning off the water and water heater, and having those friends agree to check on the house periodically.
My intentions were to first relax and unwind, and then to spend more focused time working on my online business along with visits and adventures with some friends. I continued part time work virtually, which is so incredible to be able to do. I was also experimenting with actually living in southern California, since my family now lives there, and looking at housing possibilities. The time culminated with taking care of my grandchildren for nine days while their parents were on vacation.
What I Experienced and Learned
Some of the things I experienced and learned during what I called my “Sojourn in California” were the following:
+ An extended time away can truly provide relief from stress and issues that seem intractable.
+ Time passes more quickly than I imagined possible; 10 weeks seemed like such a long time but before I knew it, it was over.
+ Being in a new setting, especially one which is so different from where I live in Nashville, provided great opportunities to see my surroundings and enjoy them. In our everyday settings, we go into autopilot and miss so many things.
+ Experiencing a new setting without having a car was a wonderful experience – walking so much felt good and allowed me to experience the neighborhood in a way driving everywhere could not have.
+ Using a ridesharing service (Lyft) when I did leave the neighborhood to visit people, etc. turned out to be a fascinating way to hear the unique stories of each my drivers. What a way to meet such a variety of people!
Everyone cannot have ten weeks away; I encourage you to think about how you can get some of the benefits in other ways. Even much shorter periods away from your routines with specific intentions can be really helpful. Your intentions might be to totally disconnect, to immerse yourself in a different locale mostly on foot, to meet and share stories with as many people as possible, to isolate and write, etc. Choose what you think will help you the most. And most of all, when you need a break, figure out a way to make it happen!