Dave and I were in Palm Springs a few months ago, enjoying a celebratory trip for Dave's retirement (which means he was playing golf at every golf course he could!). When we checked in at one of our destinations, the guy at the front desk asked, "What other plans do you have?" We responded that we were just looking forward to enjoying some relaxation. His response made me laugh. He said, "Sometimes, you just gotta sometimes." What that actually means, I am not certain, but Dave and I have adopted some thoughts on our meanings of it.
1. Sometimes, you just need to avoid overplanning vacation time.
2. Sometimes, you need to do something completely different.
3. Let go, and let God!
Fast forward to this week, when we are immensely enjoying a family vacation, which is translated into a doggy vacation for us. We drove from Tucson, AZ to Ruidoso, NM, barely leaving Interstate 10 (did you know you could drive from California to Florida without ever leaving this one highway except for gas, restroom, food and hotel stops?) with the two older Labs and one young pup in the back of our SUV. We went from Tucson's 108 degree temperature to Ruidoso's 65 degree temperature---quite a blessing in June. We used to live near Ruidoso, NM, so we were excited to be back in this neck of the woods (which, to be perfectly honest, is Arneson for "we couldn't wait to eat green chiles at every meal"). But other than that, we really didn't have any plans---quite the first for control-freaky me. We said, "Sometimes you just gotta sometimes" and employed #1 on the list above. In fact, that is the one decision we did make: not to over-plan our vacation; instead, we wanted to take it one day at a time and see how the days unfolded. What happened this morning was indicative of that rule. We got up with nothing on our agenda and wound up driving up to the top of Sierra Blanca (the mountain which houses America's southernmost snow ski resort). Having gone snow skiing here many days in our past, we thought it would be fun to go up here in the summer and take the dogs for a hike. While we were saddened to see so many acres of trees eaten alive by bark beetles, we enjoyed so much watching for wildlife, wildflowers and wild Labrador Retrievers bounding through the meadows and forests.
What an incredibly beautiful morning we had, followed by a pretty surreal view of a guy hang-gliding off the mountain on our way down. Not overplanning allowed us to experience the beauty of the earth, something I firmly believe we all need!
Since that was so successful, we decided to try for #2: doing something completely different.
This afternoon, we let the dogs take a nap (they were utterly exhausted after their hike) and Dave and I went to the horse races at Ruidoso Downs. It might be a bit embarrassing to admit, but we may or may not have said things like, "Are those numbers the odds or the horse numbers?" and "I want to bet on the pretty gray horse." Okay, honestly, both of those items may be attributed to me, but Dave was there, too. We had so much fun, although Dave tells me I simply look at watching movies, playing golf and horse racing as excuses to partake in diet coke and popcorn. So?? We had such a great time together, too, which made it all the more fun! Doing something different provided the opportunity to enjoy each others' company while enjoying new adventures.
Finally, "Sometimes you just gotta sometimes" means, above all, "Let go and let God." If I try to micromanage every little thing without allowing the beauty of life to come along, we may never have had the best experience this afternoon. When we got back to our condo and let the dogs out,we realized the folks staying next to us were sitting on their back porch just watching us play ball with the dogs (and working on training Kirby). They said (the neighbors, not the dogs), "Do you guys train dogs for a living?" When I said, "No", the 15 year old daughter said, "You should. You're really good at it", to which her twin brother and little brother nodded. How sweet is that! Dave and I quickly decided we should let go and let God by allowing the three kids to do their own dog training with our pups. We gave them each a few dog training treats and a couple of simple lessons and watched, along with their parents and grandparents, as the kids mastered some simply dog-training tricks with our dogs. The looks of joy on these kids' faces when they were able to get one of our pups to "sit", "lie down", "stay", "free!" or "heel" were reward for us as much as the dog treats were for the dogs. The mom and I ended up talking about education, as she has been a PE coach at her school for 19 years and loves her students like they are her own kids. We both shared our passions for education---something I could do all day!
All in all, I would say the vacation has been a total success! Now, what will we do tomorrow??
Just for today, perhaps we can remember that we "sometimes just gotta sometimes".