• Space Out

    So I’ve been thinking about space lately.    I am not good having too much in my world.   For most of my life I was dealing with deadlines.   I cram packed as much of life into my days as I could.   Downtime felt awkward and wasteful.    I still does.   If I have an open day on my calendar, my instinct is to fill it.   I’m slowly learning to fight that instinct.

    Not working a full-time job, you’d think I have an abundance.   But I give it away…too easily sometimes.

    When I find myself with a day free, I grab the to-do list.   What I am SLOWLY learning to do, is schedule open space.  It’s harder than you’d think, but it’s wonderful when I stick to it.

    I used to think me-time was just space in my day with no concrete plans.   Its more than that.  It means putting the to-do list, the FOMO and the cell phone aside for awhile.  If you have a cell phone attached to you in any way, you aren’t being by yourself.   You’re giving your moments and minutes and hours in that day to the hundreds of friends you have in cyberspace.    You are ignoring yourself and your surroundings.   Most of all, you are not letting your brain-space to take a breather.

    Our heads are so cluttered these days.   It has taken a while for me to realize the value of boredom.   I seriously have anxiety at times over this practice of sitting still, but I know it allows the cobwebs to clear a bit in my brain, and my creative, imaginative mind gets a chance to wander.   I also find the tension in my back lessons, I have fewer knots in my stomach and I just feel physically better afterwards.

    Who’s not stressed out these days?   Maybe try a little one-on-one time with your spirit.   Here’s a couple of easy exercises that can help you head in that direction.

    • Take 5 (or preferably 10) and lie on your bed and just stare at the ceiling.   Do not have your cell phone within reach or where you can hear it beep, buzz or vibrate.   Notice the patterns of the plaster or materials above you.   Count the holes.   Observe the cobwebs.  Feel your muscles relaxing against the bed.
    • Leave the cell phone in the trunk of your car for short errands.     You will be in and out and nothing that life-changing is going to happen in the time it takes you to pick up milk and eggs or get through the line at the coffee shop.   Make eye contact with the barista or store clerk and ask them how their day is going.   Engage with people standing right in front of you.
    • Schedule free time.  Book it and stick to it with as much conviction as you would a hair or doctor appointment.   This too is self-care and you need it.   If social get-togethers, fundraising events or even catch-up sessions with friends fill your calendar, decline a couple that don’t initiate a sense of peace or inspiration in you.   Fight FOMO.  (Fear of missing out.) Stick to a commitment to yourself for a change.
    • Take a drive….the old school way.   Turn the cell phone off.   (I am assuming that’s how to you have to do it with blue-tooth in most newer cars.).  Put on a mix of music that makes your heart happy and drive somewhere without an appointment or firm destination.   Pick someplace within an hour radius, and go there.   Have a cup of coffee, or a cold drink, or breakfast or lunch and come back.   Driving can be so relaxing when you aren’t in a hurry and not stuck in traffic, so do plan accordingly to avoid the crowds.

    Space is defined as as continue area of expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied.   Does’t that sound like a wonderful thing to offer your spirit mind and days?

  • Test flights

    There is something magical happening right now on the central coast.   I’m talking about the show Mother Nature is putting on via the pelicans that are hanging out along our coastline.

    Over the years I have observed they arrive right around tax time…a beautiful sign that summer is just around the corner.   They seem to me like old friends who come to visit for summer fun, and they spark in me a sense of play.   If there is activity at sea, they will be out.  If there is a gathering for sunset, they seem to enjoy a pass or two to check out the action.   And if they whales are migrating, they will seize the opportunity for a little feeding frenzy.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    While there is little information out there about baby pelicans in training, the past few years I have noticed August seems to be a great month to catch the antics.    The first time I noticed it was in San Simeon. when I was watching a flock of pelicans apparently enjoying an evening feast just offshore.  I thought the anchovies must be running or something to prompt the activity, not only by pelicans, but seagulls as well.   Upon closer inspection, however, I noticed it wasn’t seagulls mixed in with the big-billed pelicans, but young pelicans.   Furthermore, it didn’t appear any of the larger birds where actually catching anything, but training their young-in’s how to feed.

    I was mesmerized.   The larger birds would fly a pattern and all the little ones would soon follow.  But instead of hitting the water at full speed, they would begin their descent, then kind of panic just as the surface grew close, throw out their brakes (wings) and paddle their feet as if to say “Whoa, whoa, WHOOOOAAA!   Could I be seeing what I thought?   Was I watching a pelican training school?  It was so adorable and amusing.

    According to Boston University, while birds are born with the instinct to fly, they need a little help honing their skills.    Just as humans are born with the instinct to walk, parents help toddlers along, often with one parent holding the child and encouraging them to step forward while another parent stands a short distance away with their arms open ready to reward them and offer a sense of safety.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “Similar to humans, birds are born with this same instinct, mainly for the action of flight. No bird is born with the ability to fly because it takes practice.   Rather birds are trained by their parents through the power of reinforcement.”  -Nature VS Nurture/How do birds learn how to fly-Boston University

    So this practice is happening right now off beaches and bluffs up and down the central coast.   Look closely…those smaller birds flying along side the larger pelicans are not likely seagulls.    Watch as they practice flying in formation, cruising coastal wind patterns and diving for food.   It’s quite entertaining and frankly can trap me for hours as easily as Facebook or a good Netflix series.

    I’m no expert in on birds.   This is by observation only and some very crude research on-line, so I welcome anyone to offer up anything more they know about it.  All I know is it’s magical.

    So find some time one late afternoon or evening and park yourself wherever you see Pelicans gather.   (Although I’ve seen them do it at all times of day, it does seem they come out to “play” as the sun starts to sink into the afternoon sky.)   I suggest the marina in Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Dinasour Caves Park, Avila Beach/Port San Luis, Morro Bay, Cayucos, or San Simeon.   All work.   Then get ready to watch the show.

  • Face the Fear

     

    I have said this and believed this for as long as I can remember.   Okay, maybe since around junior-high or high-school.    At some point I realized the rush of taking on something I was afraid of and getting to the other side, and I was hooked.   That doesn’t mean I chased that high with reckless abandon.  In fact, did so with a little less enthusiasm with each passing year.   Some of that is wisdom.    I know how bad it hurts to fall…off a horse, off a pedestal, out of love.    But with wisdom come too many fears sometimes.

    We all have fears.   Some of us more than others…maybe.   (Likely they are just different fears.)   But it is when I give into those fears that I feel most constricted and unhappy.   Usually I get to a point of discontent that is deep enough that I have no choice…I have to face them head on and move toward them, and what’s next.

    I believe we are motivated too much as adults, not by the pursuit of pleasure and happiness, but by  pain and discontent.   It is only when a situation gets painful enough that we will really push through our fears.  If only we could change that, we could avoid so much of that pain.   Fears are paralyzing.

    I keep talking, lately, about living more like our child-selves…those little versions of ourselves who liked to build sand-sculptures at the beach and didn’t care if we got a sand wedgie in the process, or stripped off our clothing as quickly as possible to jump into a body of water, without a thought about what we looked like in our bathing suits.   If only we could think more about what makes our hearts soar, rather than how they could get hurt….

    Kids don’t think so much about avoiding pain.   They want, and they ask for their object or experience of desire with every expectation the answer could be a yes.    And even if told no, they are likely to ask again.   They head into experiences the same way, with every expectation that this is going to be FUN!

    Marianne Williamson summarized it well in her book Illuminata:

     

    “Children are happy because they don’t yet have a file in their minds called “All the Things That Could Go Wrong.’  Marianne Williamson/Illuminata”

    What I challenge you to do when feeling stuck, or even paralyzed by fear is indulge the beast for a bit.  Go ahead and make the list of all that could go wrong.    Done.  You indulged the ugly creature that lurks in your brain.   Now, list all that could go right, and what may happen in your world if it did.   Zero in on those.   If even one or two of those happened that went well…imagine how you would feel.   Lean into that.   I know for sure it’s almost always worth the risk to head toward those potentials.   

    It may be big (leaving a job, applying for a job, falling in love….) or small (tackling a cleaning project, attending a new fitness class at the gym)…but what fear could you face today?  Be brave my friends.  I am so confident you will feel lighter and freer when you get to the other side.

  • The Vibes of Home

    Home is such a multi-dimensional word.  It conjures up so many images and feelings:  Safety.  Warmth.  Love.   Sometimes it’s the place you grew up, sometimes not.   Sometimes it’s a structure, sometimes a group of friends, or a place.   It is an environment where safety exists and that touches you so deeply there is a familiarity recognized deep within.   It is a place where you feel you simply belong.

    I have, for much of my life, considered San Luis Obipso and the Central Coast home.  It is where I was born, where my family lives, and where I have long felt “rooted”.    I have spent much of my life in other places as well, though, and they offer up a familiarity as well.    It is amazing to me what happens to us when we return to a former home: instant recollections of times you have forgotten and emotions stored away somewhere surface.

    I just returned from a wonderful get away to visit some dear friends in two different states.   The first part of my trip landed me in my old stomping grounds of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I lived for 6 years while working for WCCO-TV.   I’ve now been back “home” in California longer than I lived in the Land of 10-thousand Lakes (there are actually 11,842 in the state), but the minute I walked off the airplane, I started feeling the “Vibes of Home”.    How many times had I flown in or out of this airport,  stood at baggage claim waiting for some news-maker to come down the escalator so we could get a quote, or eagerly stepped out to passenger pick-up after a trip.   I know this place.  It knows me.

    As I drove toward my destination, I didn’t need a map.   I knew the routes and neighborhoods and businesses.   If felt familiar and friendly.  And when I pulled over to stop at one of my favorite old hang-outs, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy.    I experienced some wonderful (and yes, deeply painful) experiences in Minnesota and being here again had them floating through my mind like a movie.

    The welcome I received from friends had me feeling like a child returning from a great adventure to her family.   We picked up where we left off, with an eager and enthusiastic game of catch up.    I was introduced to children I hadn’t met yet as “Aunt Jeanette”, and as we sat around and talked we were able to laugh at each other’s idiosyncrasies through our shared time and experiences together.

    I left Minnesota largely not of my own choice.  I was laid off in some downsizing of our recession and I was bewildered by the experience.  It led to a chance to come home to California, though, so I celebrated the opportunity and tried to leave the pain of the losses of that time behind me.  My recent return, however, reminded me of how roots once planted, always exist below the surface somewhere.

    I recalled how lonely I felt when I first moved to Minnesota, how far from home…but how I found a circle of friends who were like family.   I have incredibly fond memories of my time at WCCO, on sidewalk patio’s downtown and at lakeside docks.   I remembered weddings and funerals, adventures and mishaps, and the ways I struggled, grew and blossomed here.   My dog Madelyn’s ashes are scattered around Lake Calhoun, where we walked daily.   And no doubt, some of my DNA is here as well.

    After a wonderful week of catchup and re-connecting, I felt kind of re-rooted to this place I once called home.  At the airport my heart smiled again as the staff at French Meadow Bakery served up a heavy dose of courtesy and kindness with every bagel and breakfast sandwich.   Minnesota Nice isn’t just a saying.  I had forgotten.   I walked toward my gate grateful, lucky enough to experience it, and to know that anytime I visit, I will always feel the Vibes of Home here too.

     

  • Frame of Reference

    It’s amazing to me how our viewpoint does not always reflect any kind of absolute reality.    What we are seeing, experiencing in the same situation can be drastically different than what a friend, relative, or partner is.

    Consider trying to take a picture of the someone standing in front of sunset.   They are likely barely visible in image because the brilliant sun behind them is providing such harsh backlight.   But step around your subject, with YOUR back to the sun and suddenly they are perfectly lit and you have a shot worthy of framing.  The subject hasn’t moved or changed, but your perspective has.  You take a radically different picture.

    I was reminded of the importance of frame of reference this week.    I was heading back up to Tahoe for the weekend and got caught in nightmarish traffic due to accidents.   After 7 hours, I was still only to Sacramento and it was getting late, so I decided to call it quits at a friend’s house in Eldorado Hills just past the capitol city.

    After a deep, hard, wonderful sleep, I woke up cloudy-headed and kind of desperate for coffee.   My friend was working early so left me instructions on how to use her fancy espresso maker.   I read them carefully but got stuck one.

    “I have some fresh ground beans sitting in the grinder in the upper left-hand cupboard adjacent to the oven.”

    I opened that cupboard (and every other one in her kitchen) a half dozen times and saw no grinder.   I know how organized Missy is so I was certain it was somewhere but after a half hour of searching, I gave in and face-timed her at work.   She walked me through it and told me to open one cupboard again.

    “There it is!” She exclaimed.   I still saw no coffee grinder.

    “I’m sorry Missy, I must be losing it.  I don’t see it.

    “The white one right up there to your left.”

    “Oh!  It’s a WHITE ONE!”

    You see, in my cloudy-headed state I was looking for the coffee grinder that looked like the one I have at home.   It’s black.  Hers is white and since I was looking for a black little machine, my mind just didn’t register the white one right in front of my face.

    I was a reminder to me about the perspectives, and lenses we all carry with us into our daily lives.    They frame our experiences today, often based on our past experiences.  My perspective in my quest for morning coffee lead to a relatively harmless blind spot, but if our experiences have included hurt, betrayal, being taken advantage of….guess what we’ll be on the lookout for?   It also often comes at the cost of missing out on something useful right in front of us.

    Ever had a disagreement with someone and argued over the way things went down in a previous conflict?  You swear it happened one way.  They are indignant because they remember it totally differently.   You are both seeing your realities but from different perspectives.   Having a wise friend or counselor can be like me reaching out to Missy on Facetime.   They can offer another perspective.  Do try to steer clear from seeking out counsel from any friend who just wants to be your cheerleader.  You don’t need help finding what you can already see.   You need someone who can offer a different frame of reference and expand or even change your point of view.   “What am I missing here?” Should be the question we ask when trying to resolve a conflict, but too often we are more intent on proving ourselves right.   Just because we can’t see the coffee grinder on the shelf doesn’t mean it isn’t there.   And when you change YOUR frame of reference you may suddenly see your subject bathed in the beautiful glow of a setting sun rather than shadowed and dark because you were standing in the wrong spot to get a bright, brilliant and accurate picture

  • Shred the Gnar

    I keep being reminded to play like a kid. A couple of vivid examples happened in just the last week.

    Gordon, my fiancé, and I love boating up in Lake Tahoe. The first summer after I left KSBY we spent most of our summer days floating on the crystal clear blue of that beautiful body of water. He was recovering from surgery and I was recovering from my latest stint in television news. This summer we are both working more, have our condo up there rented out much more, and are both wondering whether taking the boat out of storage and docking it for the season makes sense. We have been dealing with a bit of option paralysis.

    Last week we were still debating whether to head north and get the “job” done. Gordon called Leon, the free-spirited owner of the boat storage facility who he had talked to several times already that week to say he had changed his mind again. We would wait until after the 4th of July weekend. Here’s how the conversation went from there.

    Leon: “Dude, too late. I already pulled your boat down, got the guys working on it right now. Time to Shred the Gnar Dude.”

    Gordon; “What is Shred the Gnar?”

    Leon: “Dude, are you that old? It’s 4th of July weekend. You know, get out there and get to it. Break some shit.”

    Gordon asked how soon I could be ready and said we were heading north.

    “It’s time to Shred the Gnar.” He told me.

    After a quick inquiry from me, followed by a google search, I learned “Shred the Gnar” has to do with extreme sports…snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing or skiing but to me it’s a fun new commandment to quit taking life so seriously and seize the day. It’s become my new favorite saying for the summer.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shred%20the%20gnar&defid=6348075

    https://www.quora.com/What-does-shred-some-gnar-mean

    We were back in Shell Beach for the actual 4th where for some reason we tend to steer clear of the crowds and craziness and watch the fireworks from a friends house. But this year, we opted to get on our bikes and ride right down into the chaos. Gordon, his son, a couple of friends and I ended dancing our way down to waters edge, lying on our backs with the fireworks exploding right over us. I mean you felt each explosion and it was fantastic! Not quite tearing down a powder-covered mountain, but Shredding the Gnar in our own middle-aged way.

    I got to thinking about how easy it can be to take the easy path to summer and life in general. It takes a little extra coordination to load bikes, boats, or toys of any kind and actually use them to PLAY (you know, like you did as kids) but it’s so worth it.

    As we were riding home (must faster than cars caught in traffic) and my legs and lungs were burning heading up the hill out of Pismo Beach I got to thinking. How many 4th of July celebrations have I missed because I was reading the late news. I remembered how for the last couple we weren’t sure Gordon would even be able to ride like this again. I was overcome with such a sense of gratefulness we made the effort. And a commitment to continue playing like a child as often as possible. Life is short, unpredictable and far too serious for too often.

    So Shred the Gnar Baby!

  • Rediscover Rather than Find Yourself

    I had this saying taped to my mirror for years.   It is so wise and so true, and could make our paths to enlightenment so much easier.    We all, at some point or another, struggle to find answers..   We buy self-help books.  We take classes.  We join groups.  But I believe Glenda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz was right.

    We had them all along.

    We just forget as we grow up and life happens to us.

    I think one of the best ways to be reminded of our inner wisdom, to solve a problem that’s been nagging at us, or to help ourselves make a decision we’ve been struggling with, is get outside and play.

    This past week week I was struggling a bit with business plans, projections and projects.   The weekend had arrived and I was feeling like I should spend much of Saturday at my desk again.   But it was a perfect summer day on the Central Coast, and friend of mine asked me to go to a popular beach a short drive from home.  She proposed, however, we do it a bit differently than usual.  Instead of jumping in the car and fighting traffic and parking when we got there, she suggested we ride our bikes.   It was an easy sell as I had my 11-year-old niece and her little friend coming over for the afternoon.

    We packed up the backpacks, bungee-d down the beach chairs and peddled off.   Immediately I recalled the memory peddling off for summer adventures when I was a kid:  It mattered not our destination or timeframe, the minute we made it to the end of our own street, we were headed for summer fun.

    That’s how it felt as we took off for the beach last weekend.   We were able to take a bike path the whole way, so had no worries about traffic, parking or navigating intersections.   We were just cruising.      I looked at my niece and her friend and was moved by their enthusiasm to play.   When I had asked them earlier about riding with us, they simply said “sure” and went to get their bikes.  They had no questions about destinations or plans.   I watched my friend Tarren who is a successful attorney, mother and grandmother peddle away, and saw instead little beach girl enjoying the same sense of adventure.  Her bike was packed up with all the essentials for a fun day at the beach.   I was grinning ear to ear watching it all.  Feeling it all.

    We got the beach, locked our bikes up (just that ritual brought back an inner reminder of childhood adventures) and headed for the surf.   My niece and her playmate couldn’t get their shoes, hats and clothes off fast enough to run to the water.   I watched them jump the waves, squeal and laugh in the surf for hours.  And as I felt the familiar comfort of the warm sand below me, the hot sun above and a light ocean breeze keeping the temperature just right, I thought, “This is the kind of joy we are born with.”  This is the kind of joy we need to soak up at every opportunity.    Even if we aren’t on summer break.

    I think we need to quit trying to figure things out so much and remember what Mom told us when we got cranky, were testing her patience, or whined that there was NOTHING to do.   Remember?   Mine would snap: “Go outside and Play!”  I am learning more each day the wisdom in those words.

     

    Find a way to go play today my friends!

     

    Next week: Shredding the Gnar.

     

     

     

     

  • Messages in the Sand: Spreading magic

    Messages in the Sand:


    Can you remember the thrill of magic? “What?” You ask. MAGIC. Most of us believed in it in some form or fashion as children. Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. Our imaginary friends. Coming back to you? Well can you really remember the FEEL of that magic?

    Give it a try. Can you recall that FEELING you had as a child in the days leading up to Christmas morning? Or maybe what it felt like waking up and realizing today was the day, then rushing out to the living room to see what Santa had left. There was a thrill to believing in something as magical as good old St. Nick.

    I was reminded of that feeling recently while having my coffee down at the beach not far from my home. Someone magical in my neighborhood leaves messages in the sand for those of us who will get up early enough to take them in before high tide and beach activity takes them away.

    They are so special to me they will get me out of bed long before my body is ready so that I can run down to see what words of wisdom have been left on any given day. I feel Iike a kid when I begin to rise from a deep slumber, hesitant to even open my eyes, and then it hits me: “Message in the sand! Hurry! Get up!” It feels like it did every Christmas morning long ago.

    The other day I was up especially earl before the sun and cruised down to catch the beautiful transition from night to day. I lumbered over to see the message knowing there was no real hurry as the tide was still very low and no one was up yet to mess up the artwork. I reached the viewing spot and was caught off guard to see the mystery writer in the act. My heart leapt, and there was a moment of panic that I had ruined the magic. I felt exactly like I had caught Santa Claus in the act. I backed quietly away and left him to his work.

    I now know who creates the inspiration for all of us in the beachside community and that’s okay because his messages are still so much fun to get each morning. But that morning I realized the impact a random act of kindness can have on people. The sand-writer has no idea who will see his work each morning, nor does he ask for any recognition. He does it anonymously the messages he leaves behind change the trajectory of days for most who see them. It is a random act of kindness that has a magical effects.


    I don’t think we should let our efforts to create magic go by the wayside after children shed their beliefs in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and other magical figures. What random message of inspiration could you leave for someone today? It doesn’t have to be penned perfectly on a stretch of sand, but scribbled on a card or piece of paper and left on a desk, doorstep or public place. Maybe pair it with a flower or sweet treat. Our lives are so hectic these days, I can’t think of a single person who couldn’t use a little serenity delivered to them now and then. Sign it if you’d like. (Especially if you think your recipient might be inclined to be creeped out by an anonymous gesture.). But you can always leave it packaged beautifully in a public place and addressed to “the next person who uses this restroom” or ask a server to deliver it to their next client when they settle the bill. The point is, to share a little magic with those who have forgotten how fun believing in it can be.

  • Clean up the chaos. You are risking your life.

    I never really took to heart how dangerous it was, keeping the corner of my upstairs loft as my daily dumping grounds. In truth it was really more like the better half of a large room that exists up the stairs of my small home. It was the place I put the things I’m too tired to put away each night: the pile of mail I picked up on the way home but don’t really want to deal with right now, the boxes I haven’t unpacked since I moved in more than two years ago, stacked on top of boxes still unpacked from moves before that. It’s where the clothes I can’t fit into hang, where old picture frames and posters collect dust and debris, and momentos that mean something only to me are hidden away.

    Ironically this dumping ground exists within my favorite space in my home…a loft area, with a peek at the ocean, I dreamed of having as my creative space when I moved in. It also happens to be the easiest space to close off and hide from people.

    I think we all feel at some level how the junk drawers of our lives weigh us down. Some of us have entire spaces that fit the bill. Hoarders are the extreme cases, but most of us have dumping grounds of some sort. It wasn’t until Martha Beck asked me to give it a soul of sorts…a voice, that I realized how truly dangerous it was, and how how much it was taking from me.

    What would my dumping grounds say to me if it could talk?

    “Stop it. I’m suffocating, and I’m angry. Clean up this mess. I need room to breathe. Until you do, I will continue to trip you up, leaving your knees, head, and toes bruised every time you stumble trying to step over, around and under me. I will hide your treasures from you, wasting your valuable time and energy, giggling silently as you frantically search for something important you need desperately to find right now. Deal with me! I am not your friend until you do.”

    It took that little exercise to prompt me to block out a couple of days and get to it. I can’t tell you how much more light of heart and spirit I feel walking into my home now that I have. Even though the space is upstairs, I feel the harmony that now exists there the minute I walk in the front door.
    If our homes are symbolic of our lives, my loft was the dark corner in which I couldn’t seem to sit still long enough to deal with. It was the place in which I longed most to sit, relax, write and create, but the corner I gave the least focused attention. Consequently, it sat as a constant reminder of all I have fallen short of accomplishing.

    We all have them: places we long to be, to explore, to experience. But we clutter up the our paths to get there with the debris of our daily lives, putting it off until some future perfect day when we can dive in. What is the space you give the least attention to in your life? The area you have a hunch would be your comfort zone, if you would only set up shop there. There is likely a place in your home that represents that. Want to travel the world, but can’t imagine having the time or money? Forget the rest of the house today. Focus on organizing all those travel magazines and books and find the perfect spot for them. They is not just another project you will get to “someday.” This is your dreams being denied because you are ignoring them.

    I have come to believe putting off cleaning up the clutter of hobby space is more than procrastination. It is self-neglect. There is no future perfect. It is now. Today. And the longer you put off clearing the clutter, the harder it is to find the treasures.

  • Put more happy in your hours (with or without cocktails.)

    Happy Hour. Come on. Just the name makes you want to be part of one, right? For as long as I can remember I’ve been intrigued with the concept…even before I knew what it meant. Happy Hour. It’s just so full of joy.

    I attended my first sometime in college. It was at a bar called Los Hermanos in downtown San Luis Obispo.
    For five bucks, you could get a pitcher of margaritas and nachos. What’s not to love about that? I’d head down after swim practice with friends probably once a week and they were, indeed, happy hours. The frozen mix of sugary lemon-lime, salt, low-shelf tequila paired with bottomless chips and salsa and bargain nachos left me with a comfy combination of a full belly and light head.

    As I entered the working world of television news, those kind of happy hours went by the wayside. When it seemed most of my peers where spending their winding down hours enjoying drink specials and social connections, I was winding up with late afternoon deadlines and live newscasts at 5 and 6. Don’t get me wrong. It fueled my fancy in many ways as much as nachos and margarita specials. But when I decided to take my time out from life as a knew it a year ago, Happy Hours were were toward the top of my list of things I was looking forward to enjoying again.

    I did, and I still do. I love being out and about when the working world calls it quits and people head to their favorite patio or watering hole to speed up the winding down process. What I also discovered is how my favorite happy hours come in all different forms.

    At first it was being there for sunset, glass of wine in hand for the magic. Eventually I found the joy in doing wind-sprints with a group of like-minded fitness idealists at the high-school track. And it’s hard to beat walking a long stretch of Pismo Beach or Morro Strand and watching the world wind down in their own perfect ways when I normally would have been reading the news.

    Those are the moments when I find myself overwhelmed with joy. So completely taken by the magic of the moment and the gift of time I have found to soak it all up. Happy Hours. They don’t always come at quittin’ time or with drink specials and $5.00 nachos. They come in blocks of time when we say “time-out” to the responsibilities that plaque is. The endless to-do list that will never be done. They are our responsibility to schedule, seize and appreciate. And I am convinced they are the moments we will remember most, and best.

    So, as I enter back into the work world and realize I’m just not ready, financially or professionally, to retire, one thing that will be non-negotiable are my happy hours. They may come at dawn. They may be lunches that spill over into early afternoon. Most likely they will be the hours that were once out of reach for me to be outside and most definitely, they will paired with Mother Nature. For I have found how deeply I love to be in her presence.

    So stay tuned as I share my search for the best Happy Hours. Whether they be seaside at sunset, kicking back at a beautiful winery listening to the talent of our great local musicians, or exploring a new hike through this beautiful country we call home.

    I truly believe fun is the best thing to have, and at the end of our journeys we will long for the days we were most happy rather than most successful. So I will seek more happy hours than more money or more prestige. That much I know. So Cheers my friends! Here’s to more Happy hours in your days and lives.