Last year I had what amounted to a pre-mid life crisis. It was late March and I was struggling with indecision – my career felt like it had stagnated and I lacked a creative outlet. My insomnia was incurable as I pondered the existential question: what do I want to be when I grow up?
I told my husband that I needed a break. A real escape. I’d travel somewhere far, far away. Maybe even Europe. Just a weekend escape, but preferably a place where I didn’t know the language and could focus on the basics: eat, sleep, wander, think.
Fortunately I’m married to the kind of person who can sense an impending meltdown. “Do what you have to do” is all he said.
I opened my laptop and started to search for last-minute travel deals.
It’s been a few years since I’ve traveled overseas, but has airfare really doubled? Yes, sports cars are expensive, but a $2,000 decompression trip to Europe was well out of my mid-life crisis price range.
With my European fantasy on hold, I settled for a juice cleanse and a solo trip to the lake. My dog, of course, would join.
I loaded the trunk of our car with my meals for the weekend – beet, carrot & ginger; swiss chard, pear, and lemon; almond milk; coconut milk; turmeric tonic….The world was starting to brighten.
The value of rest can’t be overstated. Parents have a tough job, and scheduling time away isn’t always easy. But it needs to be done.
My weekend away did more for me than I though possible. I unwound, I read, I slept. I planned to start the blog, and quit my job by summer if things didn’t improve.
With a few coats of paint and some freshly-cut flowers, I’d restored my temple to its former self, and was ready to resume life with a renewed sense of purpose.
Now a year later, I look back to that weekend and realize how much I’ve grown. I’m happier now that I’ve made the tough but important decision to fulfill myself creatively, and not settle for career mediocrity.
The concept of Spring cleaning longer feels cliché. It has meaning beyond vacuuming under the beds, and rotating the mattresses. It’s a time of year to mentally, physically, and spiritually take stock.
And food can play an important role in that process.
Next week Rodney and I are starting our 3-day juice cleanse. We’ll follow it up with a healthy dose of cleansing foods to keep us moving towards the summer months. Raw vegetables, healthy fats, good proteins (sustainably farmed or caught). It’s less about losing weight, more about being mindful of the foods that we eat, and how we feel.
And I’m making good on my promise to keep my personal spark alive. A few weeks ago I started an evening watercolor class. And I’m thrilled to have received a yearlong membership to Skillshare for my birthday. It’s not always easy to carve out the time, but it’s important to find some escape in the everyday, to continue to learn, and grow.
So best of luck with your spring cleaning efforts, whether it’s mental, physical, spiritual, or all of the above. Make every day count.