While it is true that I am in one of my favorite places on Earth, spending time with some of my favorite people on Earth (I know, Earth is big, and there are many places and people I have never met, but still—that doesn't mean that this isn't legitimately one of my favorite places, and these aren't legitimately some of my favorite people, even if the sample pool is relatively small) it is also true that I am getting very little selfish joy time. On this trip, I tried valiantly to take deep breaths and plan longer visits with fewer friends, which meant that I had to choose not to see some of my other favorite people on the planet. I won't lie. This has been hard. I miss them! They are right here! But I am getting tapped out, physically and emotionally, and that's not what any of us want! It's vacation! We all want me to vacate my stressful life and rejuvenate! And so I have had to say "I love you, but I can't see you" and that has hung over me and made it so that I don't feel all the joy I would hope to feel. Add on top of that a couple totally understandable mishaps, and my Monday was pretty far over before I found my little moment.
I really wanted to swim in rivers every day that I was in Oregon. I didn't swim in any rivers on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, so I was pretty committed to swim in a river on Monday. Barbara and I both got up before 4 AM to bring our people to the airport, then went back to sleep for a little bit, then got some stuff done, and then got together. By the time we got together we were both pretty wiped out. In fact, I even took an hour nap in the middle of my precious little date with her. But then we went to find a river to swim in. I remembered I used to swim in the Clackamas River on the way out to her house. We tried to find the spot, but never did. When we found a spot we might be able to swim, it was too steep to get down, and when we found another spot we could swim in, it was a crowded park with an entrance fee. I tried to lead us to a different spot on the river, but I totally failed. After all that looking, Barbara went home, and I tried one more time. I found a spot where I could climb down, but when I got down there, mostly the river was moving too rapidly to get in, and the place I could get in was colonized by a bunch of guys drinking beer.
I felt a little defeated, but I figured that was the exhaustion talking, so I slowed down, noticed how the river bank felt, noticed how it smelled, and walked in up to my calves. I let the cold water rush past my legs, and imagined what it would feel like to float in the chilly water, and soaked in the reality and the fantasy all at once, and let it be OK that it was lasting just a few minutes. It was the joy of good enough instead of the fixation on not enough.