So often when we go away on vacations, we have set ourselves up for failure before we get there. How do you fail at a vacation? A few ways, actually...being so caught up in the packing and the planning and organizing; feeling like the burden of making sure each and every family member is enjoying themselves each and every minute of the length of the stay; taking the duty of wife and mother so seriously that we completely miss this once a year time (maybe?) to thoroughly enjoy ourselves and we end up returning home feeling just as exhausted and stressed out as when we first left home.
Today's Lesson: Indulge Your Senses and Make some Memories
For this lesson, I will break down the 5 senses and tell you how I was able to utilize them for my own memory making purposes, then how you can do the same on a "home" scale.
SMELL- When I first arrived at my destination, the first thing I did was breathe it in. Granted it was nearly 11 o'clock at night, but I was near my ocean and wanted every sense I had to know it- so I breathed it in. It was such a clean salty experience...because it was quite breezy and the wind seemed to be coming off the ocean, the familiar smells from the sea that I had grown up around just came rushing at my like a long lost friend. Every night I stood on my balcony with my eyes closed and just breathed in the different smells- the salt air, the fried seafood wafting from the bar and grill across the street...even the mini shampoos,conditioners and the over abundance of fluffy quality pillows fell victim to my sniffer. If I make it quiet enough, here in my room, I can still smell it all..../ Now that I'm home, I try my very best to make just as strong memories here. Things that I normally would take for granted are being etched in my heart...the strawberry-vanilla smell of my 6 year old's hair, the scent of our new puppy's soft fur, the sweet stinkiness of my 2 year old's chubby feet,lol. I love the smell of my husband creating new culinary art in our little kitchen and the intoxicating aroma of his Axe cologne wafting throughout the house.Anyone can make a memory just by smelling around their home- candles,children,food...even new linens, can all play a part.
TOUCH- How do you make a memory with touch? The same way you remember the softness of your first child's first downy hair, or the touch of the lips of your first kiss. Touch receptors in your skin were specifically designed by God to help you connect with the world around you. Part of this connection is memory building. You remember not to touch the flame of a candle when you first burn your skin; you remember to warm your hands the first time they are left exposed to the snow for too long and you learn to enjoy hugs and kisses the first time you received them and they made your heart flutter and feel warm and safe. Personally, my memories were made each time I buried my toes deep into the cool sand. They were made by lightly running my fingers across stucco walls, down the peeling trunks of palm trees and scratching the velvety fur of the horse I was riding down the beach.With every swipe, lift, grasp,caress and pinch I was making a new and indelible memory- another page to be written and added to my quickly approaching past./Nothing lasts forever. With this in mind- etch those things most dear to you (as best you can) in your mind with your skin. As your spouse or child sleeps-stroke their face, pet and twirl their hair. Snuggle deeply with your favorite blanket or fuzziest pet. Take a walk through of your house and just drag your finger along walls, doors, curtains, windows...whatever you can reach.Take into account each divot, crevice, fiber, bump and/or crack; it may seem ridiculous now, but someday(God forbid) for whatever reason, that home may no longer be yours and this will be the only way to keep it from disappearing altogether.
SIGHT-This may seem like a no brainer, but for some it is hard to do or remember. If you are lacking this one of your 5 senses, then I implore you to take full advantage of the other 4 that are understandably heightened. Those 4 senses will be how you see. As for those of you who are in fact sighted, take it all in. Every color and shape has been created for pleasure and learning. I, myself, was in a new place that I had researched and planned on seeing for months. Let me tell you, seeing a place online then standing in the very spots you saw on your monitor can be overwhelming. It's like being a part of something exclusive; thousands may stumble across this site, but YOU are one of the chosen few to be privileged enough to see it first hand. It's amazing. One of my favorite memories caught by sight was the sunrise over the ocean, as well as the sunset. Another was the fact that I had my own balcony overlooking this solar spectacle. In my mind, only the wealthy get this luxury. But somehow here I was (or rather there I was,lol). I am so glad that I took pictures; this way, when my memory begins to fail me I have photographic proof of what has begun to get fuzzy./I highly suggest you do the same. Pictures are forever eyes. If you are prone to being incapable of slowing down at the times you most wish you could, a camera can be your eyes and memory.Precious baby smiles, weddings, a simple bee on a flower, a stolen hug between two otherwise constant feuding siblings...make sure your eyes see these moments and then trap them forever with your camera. This is one of the reasons I opted for a camera phone...I would never leave home without my cell...neither would I ever leave home without my camera.
TASTE- Since finding out I was diabetic over a year and half ago, I have given up MANY foods and found healthier choices for MANY foods. So many times on our family vacations, I have wanted to try a new restaurant or food but passed it up because we just don't have the funds to be wasting on my children's picky palates. But this time I was determined to try something new, even if just once. So after indulging in old favorites( Chinese, fried calamari sans the breading, scrambled eggs and different types of grilled or broiled seafood) I let myself go and try a few newbies : Grilled Red fish, 2 (yes just 2) Hush puppies, my first go at Starbucks( gasp!) and my biggest try yet...alligator. I will never forget what it was like to try these new foods and beverages and I will forever associate them with this beautiful time in my life/ You needn't go to a tropical island or foreign land to try a new cuisine. There is always at least one restaurant, one plate of food that a person has not tried. Not so? Then try watching Bizarre foods! There are plenty of things that Zimmern has eaten as frequently as most Americans down pizza that you could probably find,purchase and try online. A few examples: fried scorpion, kangaroo tail or Durian (hehehe). Be adventurous...live a little.
HEARING- This was one of the strongest senses for me. How you ask? As a child, having lived by the beach I was almost forced into making a memory or 2 using this sense....the crash of the waves, the cackling gulls, the laughter of children playing tag with the incoming surf. In fact, I relied more heavily on the seagulls than Punxsatawney Phil to determine when Spring would arrive. If I heard the cry of this gull:then there indeed would be an additional 6 more weeks of winter. But if I heard the unmistakable cackling of this laughing gull:
then I knew that Spring was right around the corner. Although I was in a brand new place, hearing theses old familiar sounds was like coming home again. If I shut my eyes, I could just as quickly feel like I was 7 years old again as I could open them and see that I wasn't. Though I was hundreds of miles and decades away from my childhood, sound was the one thing that had changed very little, if at all...and it was so inviting to come back to these sounds./ Sound is one of the amazing senses that can be easily duplicated to not only make a memory, but to invoke a few. Live in a dry place and miss the sound of the rain pattering against your window? Grow up near the ocean but live nowhere near the sand? Used to hearing the wolves calling from your woodsy backyard and now you're in the city? Reliving your past can be as easy as ordering a Sounds of Nature Cd or mp3 online. For me, I am just as crazy about preserving the sounds of my children's laughter when they are very small as I am about taking their pictures.I want them to be able to hear how precious their little voices were at 2 and 4 and 6 years old. The best way I can suggest that you too can preserve and make memories using your ears if oddly enough, to just sit. Turn off and get away from all other distracting noises and just sit in the midst of the sounds you love the most. It couldn't hurt to have some type of digital recorder in hand to act as a second pair of ears. Take these sounds not just into your head through your ears, but into your heart. Remember the way these sounds make you feel, how they make you heart soar or give you a case of the goosebumps.