I hope that you are all making merry during this long weekend. I’m feeling particularly content at the moment after one of those days that helps me put my priorities in order. This fall I’ve been operating in overdrive, not allowing myself much decompression time because I’ve worked mostly from home. Today I had a real vacation day where I did my favorite activities: exercising, envisioning future possibilities, indulging in incredible food, and feeling inspired to pursue my passion. Best of all, I shared these things with some of my favorite people on earth. It was a day that reminded me how I want my life to be, and how it’s up to me to make sure it ends up that way. Here’s the rundown of events:
8:45 am: 5-mile jog after a full night of sleep. My sister’s fiance, Brian, and I kicked off the morning with a run through the sunny Sonoma backroads, past vineyards and rolling green hills. It felt good to move after indulging in so many rich holiday delights.
11:00 am: Cohousing Tour in Cotati. Many of you know that one of my most important goals is to live in a community setting one day, with multiple families living in separate homes built on a shared property. Cohousing developments are one possibility, like condo complexes owned by the residents and designed to have large common spaces. Gill, Bri, Darren, and I toured a cohousing community in Cotati that had a toolshop, vegetable garden, dance/music studio, and a couple of costume closets. They had me at “costume closet.” I am crossing my fingers that our own little enclave, perhaps in the south, is in the cards in the next few years.
1:30 pm: Lunch at The Girl & The Fig. My sister, Gill, Brian and I started a tradition last year of treating each other to a gourmet lunch instead of exchanging gifts. Darren joined the crew this year, so we had a nearly three-hour mouth-watering meal accompanied by plentiful red wine. After spending the fall on a modest budget, I let myself splurge a little. Three words: Wild. Boar. Ragout.
4:30 pm: Hanging out at Barking Dog Roasters. While Gill and Bri met with the priest who will be marrying them next month, Darren and I sipped French Roast coffee and quizzed each other on Trivial Pursuit questions from the very outdated Genus edition. (Q: What’s the only Australian city to host the Olympics? A: Melbourne.)
6:00 pm: Inspiration from a stranger. When we got home, I had a hand-addressed envelope waiting for me from South Bend, Indiana, which piqued my curiosity. Inside was a Christmas card from a woman who wrote, “You do not know me, but I heard of your project to reschool yourself and I would like to make a small contribution to the cause, and to offer you a large encouragement to go after your dream.” She went on to share a story of overcoming adversity to complete two university degrees, and closed with “Good luck to you, and blessed faith to you. Happy Christmas from a stranger in Indiana!”
I’ve had moments this fall of wondering what the heck I think I’m doing, and whether I should be a responsible grown-up already and do something practical. But when perfect strangers have come across the project and resonated with it, they inspire me to see it through. Those of you who have contributed and left comments also fuel the fire — your support and responses have motivated me to keep writing.
8:00 pm: Dinner at Cafe LaHaye. Instead of giving gifts to the kids this year, my parents are taking us all to dinner at Cafe LaHaye, which is a tiny restaurant with limited hours that we’ve all wanted to try for ages.
9:30 pm: Sonoma bar night. Gill says something to the effect of “I don’t even need to go to my high school reunion — I just go to the Sonoma bars the day after Christmas.” We’ll reconnect with some friends we see only once a year, and probably some people I went to middle school with.
It’s been quite a day. I hope you’ve all gotten some downtime this weekend to sit back and enjoy doing the things you love, with the people you love. I love the holidays because they let us catch our breath, indulge ourselves a little, and remember what’s really important to us.