I’ve been thinking about Thoreau and how he had to ‘get away from it all’ to pen his masterpiece, Walden. Then, as intentionality/universe/”U”niverse/God would have it, I came across this quote in a book:
“When man has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I knew I needed time alone but I wasn’t really sure why. I figured I’d eventually figure it out. I think that maybe I have.
I’ve done a lot while I’ve been in Puerto Rico but I also have found myself with periods of boredom and loneliness. Not sad loneliness but literal alone-ness. When you’re not talking to another person all day, the brief banter with a Starbucks barista becomes significant and cherished. I’ve read books — yes, plural. I’ve binged on television shows. I’ve done my conference calls and emails. So, what do I do once I’ve done all the typical things that I use as procrastination techniques to avoid doing what I’m meant to do? I started writing. I started building a freelancer website. I started analyzing the sparks of the reason I’m on this earth and how I’m intended to serve others.
Ah. That’s why I needed to be alone.
It’s worth noting that I’m not saying people can only figure that stuff out if they’re alone. I’m saying that I needed to be alone to figure it out. I’m also quite certain I haven’t actually figured out anything and am simply on a new path of discovery that I hadn’t noticed, before. This time here in Puerto Rico is my time at Walden’s Pond.
Yesterday, I went on my Couch to 5K run. It was the first time I finished and felt like I’d done a good job and not half-assed it. After breakfast, I walked back along a new route and found myself wanting to run some more — and so I did. Then, I found myself in an unbelievable tropical downpour. Nobody else was on the streets as even strong umbrellas weren’t up to the task. But, I had on my visor and was already in my wet-from-sweat attire, so I kept running. It was exhilarating.
The force in which I was moving forward matched the force in which the rain was pummeling me. It was a beautiful and vigorous dance. I tried to snap a photo but even my phone refused to work under the given conditions. I found myself smiling gleefully as I ran in the rain past huddled folks under awnings. I maybe have never felt more alive. Sure, a cliche, but now one I can truly wrap my arms around. After my running desire waned, I was still several blocks from home so kept on walking. As I’d encounter puddles I would literally slosh through them like a child. It was delightful. Walden’s Puddle?
Today, the office closed early for the long Labor Day weekend. We’d caught a break in the rain so I decided to try the beach, again. This time I took less stuff in my bag but grabbed the apartment’s beach chair and boogie board. Out of guilt for hauling them, I used and enjoyed both.
I love how the ocean is the great equalizer of the ego. I thoroughly enjoyed watching people in their cutest beach attire tiptoe into the ocean for their partner to take their picture. Within a few moments, a wave would knock them from their perfectly posed footing and the resulting smile was pure joy and far better than their previously staged serenity. I bet I watched this exact same scenario seven times.
I also learned that you can use the Marriott beach chairs and umbrellas if you spend $20. Nachos, Pina Colada, done. I loved my day at the beach, although I still had altogether too much sand, everywhere. After my pina colada (plus contraband rum drinks I brought from the apartment) and wave jumping, I napped hard. It was almost sunset and I had a date with Bruno Mars.
Okay, I said that for dramatic effect. A local outdoor shopping center is hosting a “Friday Night Sunset Concert Series” with a Bruno Mars tribute band. Currently, I am sipping a Chardonnay and doing the equivalent of squinting my ears to make myself believe that’s Bruno I hear crooning.
Happy Friday, indeed.