In Search of the Eternal Buzz

My older brother, who is way cooler than I’ll ever be, used to drive a ‘76 Monte Carlo hot rod. On the back bumper was a sticker that read, “In Search of the Eternal Buzz.” As his younger sister, I gathered that search involved fast cars, beer, and babes. Much older and a little wiser, I’ve discovered that the buzz is as unique as the buzzed. As Cole Porter points out, ‘I get no kick from champagne, cocaine, or a plane, but I get a kick out of you.’ To each his own, right?

I’ve had quite the range of experiences in search of my own eternal buzz. Some healthy, some not. Some legal, some not. Some safe, some not. Fast, slow, expensive, free, large groups, alone, far away, right at home. I’ve come to find my brother’s life motto is another way of describing the concept of flow. It’s not about the end result, but the journey. It’s about living in the moment so deeply that nothing else exists. Leaning in with open arms, heart, soul, and mind.

I’ve also learned there are a lot of buzzkills out there. Avoid them. They are speed bumps that need to be swerved around. Some people just don’t like that others are happier than them. Misery loves company, and all that. Buzzkills are narrow-minded enough to think their way is the right way, the only way. But I’m rubber and they’re glue…

Some people are lucky and find their buzz early in life. Some are old and gray before their search comes to a blissful end. Either way, it’s important to keep looking. And once you find that buzz, just keep buzzin’.

So in my search, I’ve found that I love adventure. I love writing. I love traveling. I love food. I love wine. I love learning and knowing things. I love good stories. I love when things are clean and organized. I love puzzles. I love being able to fix things. I love music. I love my dogs. I love nature walks. I love cool air. I love to be entertained. I love to play. I love Christmas. I love the fall. I love to laugh. I love when the ocean or a mountain comes into view. I love the moon and the stars. I love my home. I love my family and friends. I love God. I love my daughter. And I love me. Every day I make time for something or someone I love, and so every day I catch a buzz. The more I focus on what and who I love, the longer my buzz lasts. Voila! It’s as easy that.

So what gets you buzzed?

A Rendezvous with Déjà Vu

The theme of my blog posts is “finding happiness by wandering back to youth.” I’ve written before that I’m able to re-experience my childhood simply by playing with my child. I love introducing her to games I used to play, places I’ve been, and other activities in which I’ve participated. As a parent I experience déjà vu often; I re-live events, but this time around I get to do so through the spirit of my child, while reawakening my own child-like spirit.

As mentioned in my previous post, my daughter and I just traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for vacation. It was her first time leaving her home country; the first stamp in her passport. I knew the trip would be special, even if we just sat by the pool all day, but I wanted unique, unforgettable adventures for us. I didn’t want to be so busy going out to find food that we wouldn’t have time for fun, so I decided we would stay at an all-inclusive resort. I chose the Hotel Riu Palace Pacifico in the state of Nayarit. Everyone there was so friendly and accommodating. It was clean, and the food and drinks were delicious and plentiful.

The first day we took a taxi to Aquaventuras water park for a Dolphin Encounter. It was a Bucket List item for both of us. We stood side-by-side in the pool, and pet and played with Quintus the dolphin. To be able to enjoy the experience with my daughter, and to know she is just as grateful for the experience as I am, is a dream come true. We paid extra for the professional photos of our encounter, but we were allowed to stay and enjoy the water slides and a free lunch, so it all balanced out.

Bucket List: ✅

Afterwards, we took another cab downtown to the Malecón, a boardwalk with shopping, restaurants, and beautiful sculptures to enjoy. You can shop inside stores, or purchase items from the artists selling at outdoor stands. This is a great way to feel the city.

Sights on the Malecón

The next day we took a cab to meet the owner of Rancho El Charro, who then drove us the rest of the way to her horse ranch. When I traveled to the Dominican Republic back in 1998, my sister booked a horse ride along the beach, and it was such a wonderful experience, that I wanted my daughter to also have the opportunity. She and I rode into the Sierra Madres on a three-hour tour. It was so peaceful and beautiful, and she loved it.

If there’s a different mode of travel available to see the sights, take it!

Our last full day was to be spent relaxing by the pool and taking a dip in the Pacific. She had seen other girls getting their hair braided on the beach and asked if she could get her hair done. In the DR, I also got my hair braided, and loved it, so I just couldn’t say no. Afterwards, she met up with another 9-year old girl who was staying at the resort. They met the day we arrived and became fast friends. I had purchased a waterproof case for my phone, so they wanted to take some underwater photos in the pool. One photo had an uncanny resemblance to one of me taken over 20 years ago…

Double Take!

We left the next morning, but my daughter was desperate to say goodbye to her new friend. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the last time I saw my friend, Vanessa, back in first grade. My mom helped me to search high and low for her at the airport, with the hunt ending in a ladies restroom with a hug and a fracture in my heart. This is when it hurts to know how much my daughter is like me: we both love easily, making goodbyes that much harder. I stood by watching them hug goodbye, neither wanting to be the first to let go. She cried as I walked her to our taxi under my arm.

Fast Friends

Sometimes it’s heartwarming, and sometimes it creates heartache… seeing my reflection in the life of my child. I may have been where she is before, but together our feelings create a harmony, making a richer and brighter cover of an old song. Even the sad times are worth experiencing again, because it reminds me of my own wealth of emotions and ability to feel deeply and completely. If not for the capability to empathize, how else could I really share these experiences with my daughter?

Happy or sad, my memories make me who I am. And sometimes I like to be reminded of who that person truly is. This is why I make time to rendezvous with déjà vu.

Winter Retreat

Back in middle and high school, my church youth group took an annual trip to Camp Squanto in New Hampshire for a Winter Retreat. The recent weather impacts across the country have me thinking an awful lot about that trip. You see, growing up in the Northeast, we expect bad winter weather so much, that it’s never really bad, because we’re prepared. We can appreciate and enjoy the beauty of snow because, for one thing, when it arrives, it sticks around for awhile. Secondly, we know how to manage it efficiently, leaving time for play. So regardless of the weather, we’d still make the trip further north to camp, where we’d retreat from the stress of school, and play with our friends in the seclusion and serenity of a Winter Wonderland.

In the north there were 10’ snow banks on which we were kings. Sledding hills were covered in enough snow to ensure a smooth ride and cushion at the bottom. We would build snow forts, dig tunnel mazes, and have massive snowball fights. We could snow shoe and cross-country ski our way to the store. And the ice actually froze thick enough that we could fish, skate, or play hockey without worrying (too much!) about falling through.

One of my favorites memories of the Winter Retreat was playing Broom Hockey. We’d sweep off the outline of a large square on the surface of the lake. Everyone had a broom, and there was one ball. The game was won when one of the teams swept the ball all the way around the square one time. Sounds easy enough until you consider that everyone is slipping in their winter boots, and the other team is trying to steal the ball and move it in the opposite direction around the square. The games would go on late into the night. Then we’d tiptoe into the Dining Hall and warm up with hot cocoa before collapsing into bed.

I have so many sweet memories of the beauty and fun of my childhood winters, that living in the south in the winter leaves me feeling rather rueful. The winters down here are cold with little to no snow. Lately we’ve had rain, freezing rain, ice, and more rain; not much to enjoy about that. Ironically, when most people move south to retreat from winter, I’d rather retreat to winter!