I’m sitting on the deck of a one room cabin I’ve rented for a couple days. It’s a beautiful day, and I as sit deciding between wanting a second cup of coffee or a second sleep, I’m aware that the only thing I can hear is the sound of the wind in the leaves, the water in the creek, and the occasional bird in a tree.
It’s so peaceful, both around me, and in me.
This is a deep level of calm I enjoy deliciously, as it is not always present. As a self-employed millennial and mama of three, I understand intimately what it means to be “busy.”
Our generation is pioneering the concept of a work life blend, understanding that “work life balance” is a myth. Necessarily, we understand that our work will creep into our lives, and our lives will creep into our work. And we’re ok with this. We have day jobs and side hustles and brands we’re building and five-year plans and short term goals before that. We know that we can do anything we want, if it doesn’t yet exist we can invent it, and we know that the freedom that partnership brings can – at times – feel suffocating.
We accept that we are very likely to never be with the same company for a lifetime career, and we are comfortable with carving out our own paths to walk along. We are clear that it would be a rare occurrence for us to start at the bottom and work our way up, and are open to the notion that starting at the top of the company we’re building is starting at the bottom at the very same time. We know that both success and failure can strike in an instant, and we know that if we play our cards right and figure out how to beat the damn algorithm, we can learn from our failure, and strategize that our success comes right into our laps.
We know that having an entrepreneurial spirit is synonymous with a high value of and investment in intellectual capital, and that this means we will probably never have a 9 to 5 job. So while we never really stop working – because we never really stop thinking – we also know that our geographic mobility allows us to periodically escape somewhere for the day, provided we have our phone, our sunglasses, and a reliable wifi connection.
Having the freedom and mobility and constant inner monologue about work and life and brand and balance and having it all and for how long and endless access to more and more can sometimes bring a sister down. Why? Because enjoying all that freedom gets pretty noisy. The process of constantly creating oneself can feel both liberating, while also leaving you feeling (at times) restrained by the liberty.
Which brings me back to where I am, right here, right now, sitting in the audience of nature.
As millennials, we talk a lot about self-improvement. We read the books. We follow the Instagram accounts. We talk to the people. We invest in experiences, not things. We use “mindful” and “conscious” as adjectives to preface all that we do, from eating to meditating to living to love making. And still, amongst all the conscious mindfulness, many of us are wrapped up in stress and anxiety; amongst all our access to experts and information and apps and leaked wiki’s, we forget about the world’s greatest stress relief, time’s most reliable healer: nature.
We can get so wrapped up in the life we are creating, that we forget about the life we’re living. We’re so consumed by our drive, that we forget to pull the car over once in a while. We’re so busy digging goals, that we forget to dig in the dirt.
It’s astounding how easy it is to get outside, how easy it is to calm yourself down from the fray, and also how easy it is to forget about how easy it all is. You don’t need to summit a mountain, canoe for kilometers, portage for days to be outside; all you have to do is go and BE outside.
Never underestimate the power of feeling water, earth, and air against your skin. The exhilaration that comes from skinny dipping late night in the lake. The oxygen bath that comes from breathing in pure and fresh air. The sound of nothingness, balanced against a tribe of animals living the cacophony of their daily lives. Feeling humbled by the size and scope of trees and rocks and waves.
Stepping outside and allowing us to just be, just observe, just passively receive that which has come before us, and will be here long after we’re gone, reminds us that there is always something bigger than ourselves at play, which is humbling and calming.
So go sit by the water. Lay under a tree. Lounge in a hammock. Walk in the woods. Light up a fire. Look at the stars. Take two of these and call me in the morning.