Good morning, Dear Reader! I’m back from my little jaunt, and I’m happy to be home. That said, I believe these little trips are good for my soul. There are just some things that can’t be processed without the help of a back country road, a little whiskey, and gas station beef jerky. I managed to drive 1,426 miles over six days – two of which I spent working in an office. I would have liked to have more time in Minnesota. It was stunning. Iowa was…peaceful…and hot…but I can say this about the upper Midwest: People sure are friendly. And not in the snarky “Bless her heart” Southern way that I’m so used to.
Along the way, I knocked another Missouri covered bridge off my bucket list, stopping to see the Locust Creek Covered Bridge on my way home. And let us not forget: I witnessed every covered bridge in Madison County, Iowa, and even traveled down Francesca Lane. I’m amazed by the craftsmanship of these bridges and disheartened by the graffiti. People are assholes.
I returned in good spirits, although I found myself a bit sad. I read a quote yesterday that really resonated with me:
“Ironically, when we start to get better, we also often get sad. Because we start to realize just how much we missed out on, how badly certain people failed us, and what the younger version of us actually deserved. Healing involves healthy grieving. No way around it.” – Unbreakable & Uplifting
Ain’t that the truth.
I wasted many years making other people happy at the risk of my own wholeness, and this year was the year that all stopped. How do I do it? Well, a lot of therapy and a little IDGAF. Want some tips? Okay, then.
Grab a drink. Settle in.
Let’s talk about how to practice a little self-care with my five favorite things I do to take care of myself:
1) Stay in touch with those who like you despite your flaws. I typically will plan my trips around a quick little visit with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. That way, I can balance the solitude with the excitement of catching up. Last March, I visited my friend, Bonnie, in Massachusetts, getting hooked on Outlander, laughing over shots of Irish Whiskey, and freaking out a little after our tarot readings. This time, I was up north in Minnesota to visit Candi and Dave. I even met a guy I’ve worked with for nearly three years that I’ve never seen in person. September brings California, and maybe I’ll touch base with my cousin while I’m there. As I age, I realize just how much of a vital role some of these people play in my life.
2) Embark on new experiences that stretch your comfort level. Hot, sticky, and buggy is the only way I can describe the last week. I slept in my car for two nights in the middle of nowhere without electricity or ‘bathroom’ facilities. I had to plan out potty breaks and research where to wash my stinky body. Sometimes, I felt my anxiety rise a bit due to the unknown. I pushed through it and, each time came out of the experience with a better sense of ‘self’. Whether a solo trip or learning to cook, every new venture provides an opportunity to learn about yourself and others. I am still amazed at people’s generosity (strangers, even). This trip restored my faith in humanity for sure.
3) Sad songs or songs that envoke the past have no business on your road trip playlist. So, with that in mind, I binged Southern Fried True Crime podcasts. (I know. Weirdo.) But I also did listen to a heck of a lot of Pink and Eminem. My Good Vibes 2022 playlist is public. Take a listen any time you want.
4) Simplicity is always best. As I’ve preached for nearly twelve years, less is more, especially when traveling. Less clothing. Less food. Less coffee. Less alcohol. Less contact with the general public. Less self-judgment and less fear. Living your best life really starts with clearing out the clutter. My car looked like a New York City apartment – small and full of crap – and I didn’t need half the stuff I packed “just in case”. It made me stop and realize I still have so much I continue to hang on to “just in case”.
5) Epic is overrated. I’ve often said this, and I’ll repeat it today: There is something to say about living a mediocre life. And I don’t mean mediocre as in ‘less than’. I’m saying that not every experience must be epic to be memorable. I once took a road trip to Hannibal, Missouri. It wasn’t epic in the least bit, but it was memorable. And it changed the course of my life. After all, any day that ends with a cold beer and a cheeseburger with the prospect of getting kissed can’t be all bad, right? Right. Unfortunately, I’m stuck between “I need to save money” and “You only live once”. After California, I’m taking a bit of a break. Next year will bring a road trip through Yellowstone or Michigan’s U.P. And, 2024 will bring Norway, baby, and the Northern Lights.
The bottom line is: It’s okay to live a simple life, as I’ve stated for years. Your life could be mornings with coffee, watching the sunrise with nowhere to go. Or you could climb that mountain – not for the selfie but for the experience. Cook healthy food not to lose weight but to care for your body. Spend less time working and spend time with those you love before they are gone. Stop. Listen. Turn off distractions and the constant need for more. Ditch the comparisons and consumerism for a life that’s wild and free. Adventure awaits.
As always, here’s your song. And it really is YOUR song, Dear Reader. This blog – my creepy online diary – gives me something to look forward to. I love sharing my epiphanies and stories with you. I hope you are inspired, as well. Smooches all around, People. Muuuuaaaaahhhh. (For an awesome Ronnie Milsap playlist, click here)
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