Slowing Down is a Practice

Happy summer solstice! June 21 just may be my favorite day of the year, and yet there’s something so bittersweet about arriving at the longest day of the year.

To celebrate, I got up early and drove to watch the sunset. My day nearly took a downward turn at 4:45 am when the beach I wanted to go to didn’t face east, but I made it work. I guess rolling with the punches is also a practice.

After watching the sunrise over Lake Champlain, I headed over the lake to Vermont, where I spent the day on a gorgeous beach. The sun and sand were hot, the water was cold and shallow. It was relaxing and invigorating at the same time. The day ended with a steak dinner and a sizable glass of wine, and I found myself bursting with gratitude for my life in the middle of a Longhorn Steakhouse.

Van life isn’t always easy – last night it took over an hour to find a parking spot for the night after my first two options didn’t work out. But in the moments when it is I remember how hard I worked to get here and how much I love this opportunity.

My time in New York has come to an end, for now. I spent in a month in my home state, bouncing between driveways of loved ones and trailheads. I saw family, friends I hadn’t seen in months and even managed to complete a few outstanding van projects (we have a drawer and a shoe holder now!)

The van has felt like home for some time now, but like moving into any new place it takes time to settle in. It’s cleaner and more organized now than it has ever been and I’m starting to think more about décor. There’s not much space, so any pieces will have to be small, unbreakable, and on the wall, but that still gives me options. I want it to feel as cozy as my apartment felt by the time I left.

I find myself with large gaps of time in my days now. My daily client and admin tasks take only a few hours, and I have the rest of the day to myself. I can nap, read, walk, write, or plays hours of solitaire (and I do.) in fact I have so much free time I’ve started to toy with the idea of a side hustle. But I’m in no rush.

I want to enjoy this summer fully and deeply. I’ve worked since I was in high school, and my last truly free summer was before I turned 16. Now that I’m working part-time in my business, I have more free time this summer than ever. It is exciting, overwhelming, and a little bit guilt-inducing.

That last one caught me off guard. Why should I feel guilty for having free time on my hands? But ours is a culture of hustle. When everyone around you, everyone you love is working themselves to the bone, I can’t but feel a little guilt for how much pleasure and flexibility I have in my life. That’s the catholic in me.

Nature doesn’t ask you to feel guilty about enjoying things – just to be present in doing so, and that is what I want to practice.

Here are some photos of things I’ve enjoyed recently.

Published by Jessica Reilly, Writer

Writer, cannabis aficionado, and poetry lover

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