At this point in the summer, working on my thesis feels like a full-time job. There, I said it. This is work. And a lot of it. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be able to write for my “job,” but it has definitely shown me a side of the creative process that I had never before experienced. How lucky am I though, that I am able to figure this out over the summer, when I have infinitely more time than I would during the semester? Very lucky, indeed.
Last week, just when the task of writing all-day, every day, started to take its toll, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a break, to fly across the country, reunite with one of my dearest friends, and give myself a few blissful days of rest from the world of my own creative mind. And trust me, when you spend all day hatching plans for people who don’t really exist, getting out of your own mind is welcome change of pace.
Where was this carefree land I flew to, you might be asking? Seattle, Washington.
Before embarking on this trip, I really knew very little about Seattle. This summer one of my friends is interning there and invited me for a long weekend. And since I had never been to the West Coast, I was definitely on board. Back when I planned the trip, I never could have guessed that it would be the perfect time to shake up my writing routine, but it certainly was!
My goals for this visit were twofold: to soak up as much of the city and surrounding area as possible, and to take ALL of the pictures. I didn’t want to stress myself out with a million things to do, but I also knew it would be the perfect location for taking photos I would never be able to take anywhere else.
So, off I went. And let me tell you, friends, it was incredible.
There is something about being in a new city that has such a fantastic potential to breathe new life into your creative muscles.(Well, probably all of your muscles, as my calves would tell you. But I chose to focus on the creatives ones.) My trip lasted from Thursday afternoon to early-early Tuesday morning. And since my friend worked the Friday and Monday of my trip, I had those days to wander by myself. Those unscripted moments were so enriching.
Camera in-hand, I meandered through Pike Place Market, streets adorned with gorgeous homes, and the bustling retail core. I may have had one or two real destinations on these days, but I was more focused on the journey. I walked whenever I could, enjoying the new sights that being on-foot allowed me to see, and talking with people I bumped into along the way.
On the Sunday of my visit, we took possibly the most beautiful hike I have ever taken in my entire life. Granted, I don’t do hikes often, but I’m pretty sure that even if I did, this one would be tops.
And while it was definitely a physical challenge at times, I couldn’t help but to fall in love with every single step I took.
Too often, I find myself with my eyes narrowly focused on the end goal, the finished project, the top of the mountain, the final due date. And while it’s perfectly fine and advisable to be aware of where you are going, this trip to Seattle emphasized for me the importance of enjoying the moments along the way.
I wonder if perhaps some of my exhaustion in terms of my own work was that I never truly allowed myself to take pleasure in the individual stories. So far, each new narrative has just been one closer to the end. So of course it would feel monotonous. But the creative process shouldn’t feel that way. Life shouldn’t feel that way. I just had to step out of my routine to see that.
I’ll leave you now with this week’s inspiration:
For the Eyes: Nature. While the weather is nice, take an afternoon away from your screens, your social media, and your stresses. It’s amazing what a little time in the wilderness can do. (And this is coming from a true city-lover.)
For the Ears: Silence. Every once in a while, there is something so refreshing about turning off the music.
For the Soul: Generosity. Be generous with your time, with your affection, with your humor, and with yourself.
Til next time, friends.