We live in a world that is constantly dependent on our phones and all the resources that it provides don’t we? I mean I don’t know how I would get anywhere without my GPS to guide me to my destination (although sometimes even a GPS can’t help me….just call me Mrs. Directionally Challenged). I also find myself always connected to my phone and social media and wondering what to do with my hands when I don’t have it with me (am I really going to have to look up and make awkward eye contact with random people as I walk past them instead of using my phone as an excuse not to speak?). It is ridiculous I know and I am embarrassed to admit it all really but I know I am not alone. Sometimes it takes just getting away from all the busyness of the world to realize how much I am connected to the Internet and how little I am connected to my surroundings and the beauty that God has put before me.
Thomas and I were fortunate enough to go on a cruise about 3 weeks ago as an early Christmas present to each other. We went the Caribbean route and visited Turks and Cacaos, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. This was my first cruise and I had heard so many mixed reviews about them from friends that I was honestly pretty nervous about what I was going to think about it all. It had its pros and cons for sure (and that would be a whole other blog post to list them all out) but I would definitely do it again!
One of my favorite things about this trip was the fact that we had absolutely no service for the whole seven days of our journey. It was amazing to finally get to say goodbye to the real world for a little while and appreciate each other, the beautiful views, and the stress-free environment. I will admit, though, that it was hard to cope with not having any Internet at first (judge if you will but addictions are hard to break people). I am also a busy person (with a touch of anxiety) who always needs to be doing something. It usually takes me a couple days into a trip to be able to just relax, and since relaxing is a vital necessity to the body I made sure to let my body do so eventually.
Once I was able to let go of all my stressful thoughts, I began to actually be present in the moment. I started to think about how amazing and unreal it is to be on a giant ship (that looks like a small town) in the middle of the ocean and under the stars with the man that I get to call my husband. I started to think about how lucky we are to have such supportive family and friends, a house we get to go home to, and a dog that gets so excited to see us that he licks (and nibbles) us to death. God sure is good. We got to see so many awesome places, meet so many wonderful people, and got to spend quality time with each other without any distractions (which never happens).
I got to wake up miles away from reality and run around the ship. Talk about an amazing view for a run (and before you get to thinking how good I was to run while on a cruise, this only happened 2 out of the 7 days).
We got to lay on a beach together and happy hour started at noon for us...(don’t judge, alcohol in moderation right?)
We got to play on this little contraption that may look like it is for kids but it was serious business. We felt like we were trying out for American Warrior Ninja (so I guess that made workout number 3 for the week...we were so sore). I have never laughed so hard in my life and may have had to jump into the water just so I didn’t pee my pants (TMI?? whoops).
We got to relax and read books...and when I got a little too distracted to read I let Thomas read and I took awkward selfies.
We got to have date night every night, which makes for a happy wife! Amazing dinners and fun shows for the win!
So many fun memories are made when you don’t have stress, worries, or a busy schedule to pull you down.
Why does it take a trip away from the real world to really be present though? It shouldn’t and our bank account won’t be able to support this monthly need to go somewhere so that I can actually slow my roll, put my phone down, and take in all the good around me.
We got back to Ft Lauderdale feeling refreshed, happy, and hoping that these good vibes would stick around for more than 24 hours. I surprisingly did not even want to look at my phone once we got back in town (crazy, I know). I had hoped that my need to always be on my phone had vanished and that I was finally going to keep my nose up instead of in my phone, but I was wrong. We quickly got back into our usual busy week and I found it harder and harder to just be present. I decided though that this time I was not going to let the real world knock me down again. I decided that no matter what my day looks like I am always going to pause more throughout my day, appreciate the people around me, and be thankful in all that God has provided me.
The holiday season is about being present with your family, friends, and especially God. Let’s all make more of an effort to put our phones down and spend more time with the people in our lives. It is time to stop caring so much about what everyone else is doing on social media and start being happy with where you are. This isn’t easy and it is going to take daily practice but that is what life is all about, showing up to practice. In all honesty I told my husband that I thought I was writing this blog more for me than for others, as a way of keeping myself accountable to becoming more present each day. Let’s all (especially me) try and turn off all our distractions and practice pausing, becoming present a little more this holiday season and every day after that!