The best thing happened this summer: My phone fell victim to some serious damage with five days left of warranty coverage. Apple Store repair shenanigans placed me alone at the bar of a Chili’s for an entire Thursday evening slurping melted cheese out of a tiny skillet, repeatedly asking strangers if they had the time. It was heaven. I was free to spend the night without that inexplicable, invisible tug toward the icey blue light of my iPhone. No FOMO, no distraction, no guilt for failing to maintain conversation with people thousands of miles away.
Since then, I’ve been embracing life without constant internet access by leaving the house with nothing but a drivers license and keys. Sometimes, my phone stays in Do Not Disturb mode for days on end. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but if you think about my age and environment for the past few years you’ll understand certain digital habits run deep. But also, so many worthwhile things can happen when you gift yourself less connectedness, just walking away from it all. Hence the radio-silence.
I know it sounds like an excuse to not maintain virtual relationships or responsibilities, but honestly the overall quality of my life seems to have a positive correlation with time spent looking at clouds and a negative correlation to anything related to an acquaintance’s cousin’s baby’s birthday party on Facebook….The folks that understand this have gigantic monuments erected in my heart in their honor.
This summer has taken the form of weeknight walks on the beach, cataloging dead bug friends at the museum, and watching the sunset wrap around the north and south edges of the island at the same time. It’s been composed by little joys like cooking outside on a hot night and spontaneous swims. Sometimes we pull over the car to simply marvel at how bright the stars are and how dark everything else is. I’ve been relearning the feeling of what its like to shake and sweat and breath with purpose between yoga, swimming, hiking.
It sounds super cheesy, but this summer has been spent trying to focus on the things that bring us joy in reality -as opposed to what is seemingly important. I’ve spent nearly my entire life considering the right ways to spend limited time, money, energy, etc. with plenty of grief in any case. Ultimately, I like reading in a hammock on a Friday night instead of going out, and buying clothes where you can also get 20 lbs of frozen chicken. I like hanging out with my husband pretty much all the time, and fiercely whispering to him when there’s a cute dog nearby. I like not responding to text messages for two weeks then replying to everyone all at once after they’ve given up on the conversation. Its not like I’m aiming to have “kept up with appearances” written on my gravestone.
Being off the radar does not mean we haven’t been busy, though. At one point this summer, we tried roadtripping Oahu but arrived at the literal end of the road within an hour and fifteen minutes at Ka’ena point. We hiked up to the Makapu’u lighthouse on a day where a Humane Society dog rally was happening. Great Frigatebirds coasted overhead and the wind whipped past our ears as dusk settled in (dogs barking in the breeze). We snorkeled on the north shore in a cove only safe during summer and saw some fluorescing corals, testing our lungs freediving next to schools of fish. Today I realized that when you dive under a breaking wave, everything seems to slow down as if complete suspension in water suspends time too, been thinking about that for a bit. Pacific golden plovers have arrived from Alaska for the season and cheerfully scurry through parking lots these days, so viewing them has taken up a lot of my personal time as it would anyone of course.
In trying to not be busy this summer we ended up occupied, but in a way where the hours are filled with wonder and happy exhaustion. What we have is the best life I could ask for and I’m so glad for every decision that was made along the way to bring us here today. For real though, there’s a place that puts biscuits and gravy inside of a breakfast burrito…Life is a good thing.