I Live in a Town Where my Friends Vacation

Traverse City: A place where a homemade ice cream cone is around the corner, where the lake is your backyard, and where you can find your exactly location with the palm of your right hand.

A couple of months back, my friend and I had a conversation about our home towns. She laughed and questioned, “isn’t it funny that I vacation where you live?” To be honest, I never thought of it like that. Somehow, I forgot that not everyone lives on the lake during the summer months. I’ve been more than fortunate to have a childhood in one of the most beautiful small towns in America. At times, I itched to leave such a small town, but I now think about wanting to live here with my own family someday.

The tone of her voice still drifts in my memory, and the pause of my breath. I think that I just stopped and smiled. In the moment, I quickly remembered the smell of Spring, fresh cherry blossoms, and miles of pollen that follows you around.

I remembered the comfort of downtown at dawn during summer festivals. The flower beds at the open space, a riot of June colors. The exact shade of cracked brick on downtown cross walks. 

I bragged to her about how in the Spring, the trees are clothed in white blossoms and tips still in tight buds. And how downtown streets are purposely photogenic during sunset hours. A place where the lake basically becomes your dinner table, entertainment during leisure, and backdrop of the many photos taken. I showed her photos of sunsets on the dock, but kept repeating “this doesn’t do it justice, is just doesn’t”. I explained that the familiar sign of M22 printed on t-shirts and sweatshirts explains life in Northern Michigan.

A couple of months back, I forgot about my favorite details about my home town. I’m SO in love where I live, and so thankful to have friends who remind me of all my blessings. Being home for the summer make me even more humble to live in a town where my friends vacation.

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Stressed Caused by Relaxation?

All things relaxing is ACTUALLY stressing me out! -What. Rewind, that doesn’t make sense does it? Have you ever tried “relaxing” on a busy schedule and feel even more stressed after? If that’s a yes then phew I’m not the only one.

I try pretty dang hard to always stay proactive, but lately it’s been giving me eye strains, headaches, and fatigue. Most days, I try to listen to my body when it says, “you don’t need to do 100 things all at once, calm down girlfriend”. Okay, fine that’s easy to do, so I thought.

Although some stress IS good for us and it helps us identify what stress feels like for ourselves sometimes it becomes too much and it’s necessary that we step back and relax. The truth is we are bad at it. Speaking for myself I basically force myself to relax and that ends in a downward spiral. I’ve thought about it and thought about how to relax but come to realize that finding something of real interest allows me to lose all sense of time. And this method is much more effective than forcing myself to sit and do nothing for an hour. Researchers refer to this as “flow state”.

Fortunately, finding your outlet whether it’s creative or intellectual isn’t as hard as it sounds. I wrote down all that I find interesting and before I knew it I had a list with 15+ activities. Somewhere near that top of my list is hiking and walking with my pup.

Today, I took an opportunity to hike Sleeping Bear Dune Empire Bluff Trail. Luckily, it was the warmest it’s been in Northern Michigan in weeks. I felt the sun rays sink into my pores and it warmed up my body. I walked 3/4 a mile up to a wooden trail that overlooked Lake Michigan.

3-7-16 Empire
Empire Bluff Trial

Hiking is interesting, because I can actually begin to smell Spring, look around to find a variety of plants, see my pup prance in the snow all while having intimate conversations with my boyfriend. When we made it to the top we found a flat spot to sit and we both turned our faces towards the sun. Wow it felt good to finally relax (it’s been weeks since I felt this pleasure).  I could actually breathe. I forgot about the pain in my neck and forgot about what time it was, but instead focused on the flow of the waves and counted a two second interval between each wave as they kissed the shore. The hues of blue complimented the brightness of the sun and I took full advantage of this “flow state”.

 

Shall we recap? First thing first Northern Michigan is astoundingly breathtaking. Hiking in thick Sorrels helped with the melting snow but made my feet (very very) sweaty. If you’re struggling to relax, I encourage you to find an outlet that allows you to get into the zone. I suggest writing it down and picking one that suits you best! It might take some practice, but I have the utmost faith in you.. Good luck!