Some of you already know that I have effectively relocated my family to Park City, Utah, for a four-month stretch. Park City has long been one of my favorite places for a getaway, and we’ve spent a good many days and weeks up here, but never this long at one time.
Of course, we are lucky, Jennifer and I, in that we can do our jobs remotely – not everyone has that option.
I’m taking advantage. And there is considerable advantage to be taken – I find the change of scenery does change my perspective – if I let it. And the fresh insights I’ve gained are profoundly useful.
In Utah I have more reflective time – and use it.
I have discovered how much less stuff I need than I thought. I brought tons of books with me, and, while I have done a good bit of reading, I won’t have read nearly all I brought by the time we return home to New Orleans.
Clothes? I packed for all contingencies and find myself wearing the same five sets of pants and shirts over and over.
To me, that’s a valuable change in perspective – and I hope to keep working on having less of what I don’t need. To better curate my life toward what I truly value, with less time and energy spent on what I don’t.
Of course, travel and changes of scenery and working remotely are not without drawbacks – I miss personal interactions with friends, clients, colleagues, and my team. Online conferences are a wonderful tool, but they aren’t the same as in-person interactions.
But there are opportunities for in-person contact everywhere, and an extended stay allows for deeper connections – we’ve found ourselves involved with new people through the church we attend when here, and making a point of meeting our neighbors led us to participation in – you guessed it – a pickleball club! Jennifer and I play several times a week with our new friends.
New friends, too, new voices, new viewpoints, bring new and valuable perspectives with them.
Now, it’s true that wherever you go, there you are.
And you bring with you all yourself – if you have a medical condition, if you take regular prescriptions, this doesn’t magically go away with a change of scene. If you (like myself, like pretty much everyone) struggle in certain situations, you may be able to modify your responses to some degree, but you are still who you are. Warts, angel wings, and all.
But you can look at yourself, and your life, a little differently in the light of beautiful mountains and of new friends’ lives and perspectives. And you can become aware that perhaps more change is possible than you’d thought before.
I’ve been meditating on Marcus Aurelius – who famously wrote, “Soon you’ll be ashes or bones.”
It’s too true. We all come nearer to the end of our lives every day.
Taking some time away, whether for a week’s vacation or longer as Jennifer and I are doing, can help us re-appreciate the delicacy – and the beauty – of life. And how short it is.
We can let that last truth depress us, or we can seize the days we have, and fill them with the things that matter most, living as richly as possible. Why not choose the latter?
What are some of the ways you’ve found a change of scene a truly recreative experience?
Please click here to share your stories with me – I would love to hear them!
Until next time –