Two weeks ago, I boarded a three-times-delayed airplane to see my cutie grandparents in Phoenix, after a whirlwind weekend of photographing two bar mitzvahs. If I'm honest, it's been a whirlwind two years of bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, family sessions, what feels like a hundred mini sessions and lots and lots of GO GO GO since the last time I really rested.
This break in the action was spawned by a need to REST. If you remember, at the beginning of February, I wrote a blog about taking Sundays as a Sabbath rest day. A day to disconnect, to rest, to reconnect with family and friends and to just be.
If you ask my boyfriend, you'll hear that I did this for maybe one Sunday. The others? I kept up that pattern of GO GO GO. I didn't turn my phone off. I spent the day thinking about work and turning on the computer and dreaming about it - but! I didn't actually turn on the computer or sit at my desk or do any editing! (That gets me some points back, right?!)
What did I do?
> I celebrated a really full and fun Valentine's Day with that cute boyfriend - I mean, seeing an omnitheater movie about hurricanes, volcanoes and tornadoes is super romantic, right?
> I met with my tax accountant and do some strategic planning / wishing / hoping / dreaming.
> I brunched at The Copper Hen FINALLY with my friend Clare (you remember her!) upon her return to the US from a work trip abroad. I ate way too much and drank a mimosa and it was pure heaven.
> I dropped off 3 packages with January bar and bat mitzvah clients and again was reminded that I TOTALLY LOVE THIS JOB. Sitting at the computer isn't the most fun thing ever, but the personal, face-to-face package drop off makes every minute worth it. Hearing your oohs and aahs and remembering the moments alongside you? ALL THE HEART EYES.
> I spent hours at the two communities Luis and I choose to worship at and we connected with some of our favorite people on the earth. I don't talk much about this part of my life on this blog, but these are places where I can go just as I am, a mess or not, and I always leave feeling full and refreshed.
After all of this (plus lots of computer time and photographing of course), I went to Phoenix to find some rest. It was colder than I had hoped, but the three days I spent being loved on by two of my favorite people on the planet made every second worth it. We ate, drove to Sedona and shopped, saw the sights and really relished our time together. They asked me about my clients, about how I do what I do, Gramps shared business tips from his time owning a business, Gram baked me cookies to take on the airplane. We dreamed about the future for our family, for my own family someday and talked about our shared history and the legacy of my great grandparents.
I left feeling the same way I always feel leaving Gram and Gramps' - sad to go, already looking forward to our next time together and full from all the moments we shared.
On the airplane home, I replayed the trip in my mind and thought: I can't wait to retire when I'm .... years old and really rest and live up that lifestyle! I caught myself and instead rephrased it to be: I will take rest now when I need it. Life is happening before my very eyes and it's my job to capture it for my clients but more importantly, for myself. For my future kids and grandkids and also to remember times like this with my grandparents so I can pass on their wisdom to those that will come in the future. I thought about the stories we shared about my great grandparents, about my grandparents spending their growing up years in a small town, about how now, I watch them as they care for each other in a new place that although it's far from home, it still feels like home because they're together.
I thought about how time was different when my grandparents met, fell in love and started building their life together. There weren't cell phones to stay connected, watching Netflix together wasn't an activity and for part of their story, they wrote war-time love letters to each other. Gram cooked (and still does!) Betty Crocker recipes and Gramps spilled on his shirt at dinner, to which Gram threw her napkin at him (and still does!). They both worked hard to provide for their family, they went to church on Sundays and spent any time they could seeing the world together. But mostly, they spent time with family, telling stories and creating new memories.
Maybe I didn't spend every Sunday as a true Sabbath rest, completely disconnected, but I also think I'm not wired that way. I want a balanced life that is okay with spending an hour or two laughing and relaxing with Luis while he builds bike wheels in our living room. One that is okay with knowing that if I work on a weekend, I can take my weekend OFF during the week. Maybe taking my parents' dog on a long walk through a newly discovered park in the sunshine is just enough rest after a morning of photo sessions. Or meeting Luis for a beer after a long day of shooting and making plans for camping trips and biking adventures the next few months.
And after this time of reconnecting and making memories on a Sunday (or Wednesday or Thursday), I'll get to work come Monday morning, coffee in hand and answering emails.
I'm looking forward to a life that includes really hard work building this dream come true and also, the next chance I'll make happen to rest :) Because in the end, in that time of "retirement," I want to look back on a life filled with balance and understanding and most of all? Memories and stories.