I am fortunate to have family that lives in south Florida where the temperatures stay summer like and the ocean is swimmable all year long. I recently was able to visit and while sitting at the beach, my kids were asking me to join them in the surf. It definitely was swimmable but it was still on the chilly side. I hesitated. I was so happy sitting and watching them while reading a magazine. But their insistence finally got me out of my chair. As I slowly worked my way into the water, I felt the cold and uncomfortable shock to my body. It was so cold!!! And I"d been so comfortable in my chair enjoying the view! But soon I was in and just like my kids promised (and I intuitively knew), it was lovely. As I swam around enjoying the feel of the water on my body and the sensation of floating, I was reminded of this idea: that the really good things we experience in life often take a little effort. It takes a small push out of our comfort zone into a place of play and enjoyment on a deeper level. Children instinctively move towards play and are rewarded with many rich experiences of adventure and excitement. As we grow older and life becomes more challenging, many of us do not look at play in the same way. We choose comfort and security over play and adventure...often because we just need a moment to catch our breath. To move into play requires energy while resting requires none! Of course there are times when we should simply stay on the beach chair and read our book or watch a favorite show or "check out" with social media. It is important to learn how to rest and take a moment. But if we take that every time, then we miss out on the really good stuff that comes when we give ourselves that small push. And while rest is good, moving into something that fills us up is really good! It can recharge and invigorate us far beyond a rest or "checking out" can do. This comes from mindfulness; it comes with saying "yes" when an opportunity presents itself. Sometimes we need to chill, and choose a t.v. show, or a nap, or a manicure. But we need to keep investing a little bit more energy to go outside for a walk, to call an old friend, to do yoga (even for 15 minutes), to pick up your paintbrush or garden shovel. Or to wade through the chilly water to get to the adventure of playing in the ocean with your kids.
So in this new year when we rise and fall on our resolutions of good health and living, maybe find a more sustainable way to push yourself.
Kimberly Simpson, a native of New Jersey, graduate of Wheaton College and resident of Nashville. Married and mother of three children. Lover of the ocean, gardens, yoga, cooking and travel.