“Life goes by in about three weeks, so be here for it. Stop hitting the snooze button. Wake up! That’s why you’re here.” ~ Anne Lamott
I just got back from a week at my beloved Outer Banks. For those of you who don’t know about the OBX, it is the fragile thread of barrier islands running along our magnificent North Carolina coast. My brother lives there and it is my second home, so, naturally, I headed that way when my spring break began.
I stayed in a little cottage like this one in a place called Pelican Shores. I arrived exhausted, burned out from too many mornings of rising at five and working late into the night. But a girl does what a girl’s got to do, and so I have. Now it was time to stop, breathe in the salt air, and reset my spirit.
One of the ways I keep from losing my sanity as I move through life is by reading the musings of Anne Lamott. She is now on Facebook and if you’re not following her, you should. This woman truly does live out loud. And that’s why I’m drawn to her. Anne has the rare gift of putting her raw, unfiltered, gloriously imperfect self out there for all the world to see.
And that brings me to the snooze button. Anne was about to go on a book tour last week and I was reading a post she had written about what she was packing, where she was going, and what she might say, when she said (in her thought-provoking, Anne Lamott way):
The most important thing I will say tonight is that life goes by in about three weeks, so be here for it. Stop hitting the snooze button. Wake up! That’s why you’re here.
Yeah, baby! my inner voice resounded. But wait. I’ve probably already lived at least two of those weeks. Perhaps I need to start thinking about Week #3.
So I left for spring break with Week #3 very much on my mind. I brought along my computer, a suitcase of books, and my joie de vie, so I felt I was well prepared.
What insights about Week #3 did I glean from my week at the beach?
My writing spot.
1. Stay awake. Be present. Enjoy every moment. I rose with the sun each morning and enjoyed coffee in my pjs before heading out for the day. I ate lots of local seafood. I enjoyed some great wines. I took afternoon naps and drives along the beach. And I found a funky little place to hole up and write.
2. Make time for those you love. I spent time with my beloved brother, my nieces, and a cherished friend. Hugs and kisses, laughing and lingering, are good for the soul.
3. Beauty is all around you. Drink it in. A friend of mine lives in a lake house nestled in the woods. This former New York/London/LA dweller now loves feeding the geese that frequent his lakeside shore. “There are no bad days in nature,” he says. Take time to enjoy the beauty of creation. And don’t forget to stop and thank the Creator.
4. You don’t need much. The older I get, the less stuff I need. Or even want. A friend once shared with me the secret of Europe’s relaxed and happy cafe dwellers: They don’t have a lot of stuff. Most have a modest dwelling. A nice leather jacket, a few pairs of jeans, and comfortable walking shoes. They share a passion for good food, good wine, and good friends, and, of course, travel. And they set time aside to enjoy all of the above.
5. Be grateful. Every day is a gift. Wake up and be thankful.
6. Give back. Discover and develop your passions and talents. Then use them to bring blessing and joy to others. Make a difference while you can.
7. Don’t take anything (or anyone) for granted.
Doing this thing called life is simple, really. But day in, day out, we forget. Sometimes we just have to get away and be reminded that life is short and we need to stay awake for it.
What are you doing to stay awake? I’d love to hear your story.