Mr. Donovan and I usually spend the holiday break in Phoenix, where his parents and many of his siblings live. This year, after Christmas, we headed up into the mountains of Flagstaff, AZ with a few of his siblings and their kids, so that the kids could go sledding.
Unfortunately, northern Arizona didn’t get as much snow as predicted. We drove to a sledding area some distance from town.
The place was overrun by families. Cars were slipping and getting stuck along the side of the road. The three porta-potties had overflowed. Adults and kids careened in criss-crossing paths down the hill, courting disaster. Mr. Donovan and I didn’t stay long, which was my fault: I kept falling on my butt because I was sliding around in treadless sequined UGGs, and I really needed to pee.
I was thinking, Man, I don’t know if this is worth it.
But it was. The kids wound up having a wonderful time. My sister-in-law posted pictures of them on Facebook later, grinning and laughing. It was just exactly the kind of day that they’ll remember fondly later.
If they had stayed home and watched TV, that would have been fine, and certainly more convenient. And it would have been a forgotten day.
It’s easy to think about “seizing the day” in grand terms. Taking a vacation to Europe! Going to a lavish party!
It more often comes down to making the decision to do something fun even though you’re busy, even though it’s inconvenient, or even though it’s kind of a pain in the ass.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take a photo on Instagram every day. I am guessing that because I can only take so many selfies and photos of my dogs, adorable as we are, this goal will push Mr. Donovan and I to get out of the house and have more fun. (My goal of having an amazing weekend… every weekend… is designed to do the same thing.)
I have to laugh when people talk about how taking pictures supposedly keeps people from enjoying the moment. The pleasure of taking pictures can get me to show up to those moments in the first place.
It’s already working. For instance: on Saturday, we had a guy coming out to look at our broken water heater. We could have decided that we didn’t have enough time to do anything fun before he showed up.
Instead, we squeezed in a trip downtown to the beautiful Kansas City public library. We took pictures of each other in front of the parking lot facade that looks like a bookshelf. We browsed and found some books, and I was relieved to learn I didn’t have any fines for once.
You might be thinking: Seriously, you were excited about a trip to the library? That’s pathetic. But I love going to the library, and it was the difference between a fun Saturday and a dull one. I believe that little decisions like that, every day, can really add up. Most of life’s magic has to exist right alongside the friction and the hassle.
For me, it’s very easy to avoid actually doing things. Pretty much all of my friends live in my computer, after all. I love writing, reading, messing around on Pinterest, and other things that don’t require getting up off the couch. I can always make the excuse that I want to get more work done. But I know that real-life experiences make life so much richer in the end.