It’s apparent that the secret to my ability to begin relaxing during these days of uncertainty is due to my behaving like a resort tourist. I highly recommend it, so here I give you Five Easy Ways to Live Like You’re on Vacation, all the time. You could say that it’s been an entirely enlightening experience.
Change #1. Carry a camera. Actually use it.
One of the most beneficial things I’ve done during my first week of unemployment was to become a stranger in my own town. That means that I have carried either my phone or Canon Powershot everywhere I’ve gone, even if it’s meant stashing it in the trunk. Do you realize how beautiful your everyday surroundings can be when seen through the uncomplicated view of a fixed lens? There’s an art and entire philosophy to this way of seeing, and it’s called Miksang. Here’s a link to the Miksang training process. Even if you never take one of their classes, you can read the site and learn to see the small and routine things in unexpected ways… ways that will give you joy.
Change #2. Find tourists who need their photo taken
I’m a beachside photographer to tourists. It happens when you live in this type of town and I’m happy to oblige those who would otherwise have an imcomplete Oceanside family photo to place on their fireplace mantle. It makes me happy to think that the picture could warm them up on cold winter evenings by the fire. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for their having to resort to dangerous selfies.
Change #3. Hang out in public
We usually scurry from point A to B when out and about in our own city or town because we “know where we’re going”. Sure, we know the route and just want to get to our destination so that we can go about our business, but… stop. Because it’s just BUSYNESS. Hang out a little. Stop to have a cup of coffee in a little shop and talk to a stranger or two. What they say is true. They don’t bite.
Change #4. Help someone who looks lost
It’s always (well, usually) just a little heartwarming to be able to help someone who might otherwise suffer just a little without your assistance. As you help out, try to see your surroundings from their perspective. Forget about giving them the directions you know all too well because you’ve memorized the landmarks. Figure out how to help them navigate from the perspective of having no earthly idea how to find the “Old grocery store that used to be.. blah, blah”. Because you know how bad GPS can be.
Change #5. Find a new route to work each day
Yes, this one is time consuming but I’ve found it to be a small change well worth my time. Try it! In adopting this “adventurer” method of routine travel, you’ll get to see the changes that are happening in your community and eventually will understand exactly which route to take to avoid traffic or see new sights. Just giving your eyes and ears a new menu of input should shake some morning cobwebs. If you don’t have time to do this in the morning, do it in the evening.
The idea is to keep your sensory experience fresh and stimulated with leisurely types of input rather than those which make demands. Like a cell phone. Though the benefit may not be seen immediately, the effect is cumulative.
Before you know it, you find yourself smiling just a bit more often, for no reason except a mini celebration of your ability to find the novel and unexpected in every day.