When I was growing up, we had a cabin on a lake, that is only about three miles frommy current home. I have so many fond memories of visiting there. Tooling around the lake on our boat, sitting out on the deck watching the sunset, eating fried fish that we caught that day, with my grandma’s rhubarb torte for dessert. We’d go into town and look through the quaint little shops, or go to a nearby state park for picnics. We’d go out for pizza or ice cream, and we had sparklers for the Fourth of July.
I daydream about having a cabin all the time. Ilse, Kelli and I were discussing the allure of upper Midwest cabin culture one day, and Ilse mentioned that she likes to make her home her cabin getaway. I’m sure Ilse will make a post on this, too, but she has me thinking, what would it take to make my home the place that brings me all of the things a “getaway” provides?
I mean, I actually live in cabin country. A short bike riding distance from my house there is a popular bible camp and a YMCA camp, precisely because this is the sort of place that invites outdoor recreation and relaxation. I live 15 minutes from the very state park I ate so many of my grandma’s KFC picnics every summer. While my house doesn’t have any usable lake access, I actually do have a lake in my backyard. And it’s lovely.
I live 10 minutes from the beach, a couple of state bike trails, a cross country ski area, a downhill ski area, a water park, antique shops and wineries, and a short drive to a waterfall you can actually play in. I have a fire pit in my back yard, and we make s’mores on a weekly basis. We own canoes and kayaks, and live close to two rivers, and more lakes than you could count. We have ice cream shops, pizza places, and a lovely local coffee shop with homemade caramel rolls. There’s live music several times a week, and more often than that if I can get my teenager to break out her guitar. The house I live in was going to be used as a bed and breakfast by the previous owners, before they got in a car accident. Even on work days I can get up and watch the sunrise over farm fields, go for a walk by the lake, or take my husband out for a date on the patio of a waterside restaurant.
Clearly the issue here is not a lack of amenities. It’s a state of mind. I’ve been kicking this around in my head as I go about my business for the last week and this is what I’ve come up with.
1. Mess makes stress. Less mess, less stress. Now I just have to crack that how-to-keep-the-house-clean nut, because unlike my high schooler, I don’t like cleaning.
2. Expectation management. The difference between living full time in a resort area and enjoying it a few weekends a year is that real life is a thing, wherever you live. In addition to all of the beautiful amazing things that are happening, reality right now includes a mom that is passing away, a major construction project and two year molars. Not every problem can be escaped from.
3. The perfect is the enemy of the good. I have a good life. A decent helping of counting my blessings goes a long way towards appreciating the good things that already exist for me.
4. I want a boat. 😜 OK. OK. That’s not simple. But I still want a boat. Cheyenne, Bella and I counted up about how many shifts I’d have to pick up to save for one. It’s not an unattainable dream.
What I can do, in the meantime, is to actually make use of what’s available to me. I can play more card games with my kids, get to the beach more, go on walks and ride my bike. I can make sure I get time in the canoe and kayaks this summer, and eat ice cream for dinner. We can stay up late and look at the stars, go on hikes, and experiment with campfire recipes. We can take the fishing poles to the park and catch some dinner. It won’t make real life go away, and I think I don’t want it to. There’s beauty in the struggles, too. But it might make the hard things more bearable.