Monday, July 30, 2012

Deliberately spend at least 15 minutes outside most days

I am an outside kind of girl. I really love being outdoors, either for walking or hiking, eating on a patio, or relaxing in the sun reading a book. Add mountains or beach to these scenarios and I love being outside even more--except for when it is cold. I do not like being cold.  At all.

When I made my list, I had had a bit of a revelation. I was an outside girl, but I was living an indoor lifestyle. There are a couple reasons for this. One is that my sweet J is not such an outside guy. And as much as I dislike cold, he dislikes heat and humidity. Living in mid-Carolina, that sometimes presents a bit of a challenge for us to find a way to be together outside and both be comfortable.

The second--and truly bigger--reason is that I became a mom. Being a mom comes with mom responsibilities. Like cooking a lot of food.  And then washing a lot of dishes. And doing a lot of laundry. And sweeping and vacuuming so you don't get ants in the house--which in a house built in the 1950's only works hypothetically. And just as soon as you accomplish all that, some sweet little person wanders in from the beloved outdoors--where you were just planning to join them--and exclaims, "Mama! I'm really hungry!" And the cycle starts again.

See, in most homes, at least homes that I can afford, there is not an outdoor kitchen with an outside dishwasher. Or an outdoor laundry station. In my dream house, I have an outdoor kitchen (and I hire someone to do our laundry).

So back to my epiphany. I realized that if I was going to have some time outside, I was going to have to choose it. It was going to mean that sometimes I would have to choose to be outside over washing pots and pans. Sometimes laundry baskets would sit unfolded for me to get some sunshine in. Occasionally I would leave the crumbs to the ants in order to sit in silence on my porch for a few moments. But I realized that part of who I was had been missing. That's how this item ended up on my list.

I would say that this goal has been accomplished for a while. I just haven't gotten around to blogging it yet. I now have a habit of grabbing a bit of time outside most days. Sometimes I trade a Y workout for a walk on the greenway or grab my yoga mat and practice on my back deck. (Earlier this month, I took my mat to the greenway and did yoga on the greenway--even a little more scary than doing yoga on the beach--but it was great fun!) Sometimes I read a book on my screened in deck.  Sometimes I sit on our front steps with my kiddos at dusk and we listen to the night song and look for fireflies. Sometimes I find an outdoor table at a coffee shop and write there. Sometimes I push my kids on the swings as long as they want me to. Sometimes I sit with the word of God as I marvel at His creation.

This action item has brought me more than just some fresh air and vitamin D. It has brought me perspective. I've realized that sometimes the sink of dishes and the baskets of unfolded clothes can wait. Martha Stewart isn't actually coming around to do perfect house checks. Sometimes an apple, a handful of grapes, carrots and some whole-grain crackers is a "good enough" meal for my monkeys.  But most of all, it has taught me to not deny parts of myself that God created. He made me to be a girl who loves nature and sunshine and the summer breeze. I'm more of myself when I step out the door.

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