Northern Necessity

Being up north, specifically northern Michigan, has always been a special place for me. Every summer since I was 4 months old, I have headed up north to spend time with family. The family that makes it up every year is different, and the “me” that makes it up every year is different, too.  I’m actually writing and publishing this from up north so you’re getting this year’s “me”.

The “me” that is up here has changed in every possible way you can expect since I was 4 months old. Physically, I’m taller, stronger and right before the big lake’s eyes I’ve grown from girl-to-woman. Mentally, I’m more educated, professionally experienced and I’ve gone from needing an adult while out in the water with me to diving in on my own.

But there’s something about being up north that is unlike any other place for me. It hits directly at my soul, clears my mind and grounds me back to earth. In fact, when I’m not here, I tend to find the “next best thing” to try and connect with that feeling. It’s a powerful combination of fresh air, tall trees, bonfire smoke, unreal star gazing and not being able to see to the other side of the massive lake in front of me that brings me back to myself.

My original plans for this weekend included heading to northern Minnesota, a close second, but when I learned there was a special combination of family up here, I knew this is where we needed to be. Also, I’ve had a deep craving for the pine trees, true relaxation and mental clarity that I haven’t been able to satisfy. It has been feeling I couldn’t shake but I knew exactly where I needed to be to get it!

If you’ve been following along with the last few weeks talking about the concept of a “Quarterly Personal Retreat” than you know that where I’m at right now is about as close as I’m going to get to my perfect retreat (plus 16 other family members, so that whole solitude concept is a little far off...but I have to believe there’s something to gain from it this time around).

In fact, out on the beach today I had the chance to talk about this concept with my grandma, “Maa-ma” aka Lorian, Queen of Lake Michigan. We scratched the surface and talked about how the reason people don’t take the time to do this type of thing is because they are so busy. Taking this a little further, we discussed that maybe it’s not necessarily that we’re too busy, but maybe we’re afraid of the truth that hides behind looking deeply at our lives. A-ha. If you were miraculously given the gift of time, and the chance to really look at where you are in life, would that be scary? Would it be uncomfortable? If that’s where your gut goes, I’d take it as a sign that you need to take a step back and begin to look at your life from a higher level!

We also discussed the changes throughout generations, specifically for women. Take the “me” that’s up here and put this “me” back in Maa-ma’s shoes around the same age and the options were three: secretary, teacher or nurse. You found a guy, got married and had children. You’d spend the next 40+ years with the same company.

Back in her day, the options were limited and the choices you had didn’t necessarily scream flexibility or possibility. Today, it is completely different. Take the “me” that’s been up here as a test case: 5 years ago I’m a junior in college completely clueless on what I want to do when I grow up, 2 years ago I’m panicking because I’m doing what I thought I wanted to do when I grow up and I feel nothing but discontent and disconnection from my purpose. One year ago I finally make a change for myself to get me on a different path. This year, I am a business owner and filled with excitement on choosing purpose over practicality, want over should and heart over head.

Even the conversations up here have changed. I’ve gone from cooing and babbling with Maa-ma, to thoroughly attempting to take over as Queen of Lake Michigan as a 5 year old, and now, to engaging in a conversation in which the importance spans wider than just me or her and then or now. Self-care, looking deeply at our lives and getting to the places that bring us back to earth aren't just 'wants', they are are our new 'needs'. We cannot successfully keep moving at the current pace, with the pressures we face, without taking this time!

Find the time, find your place and make it happen. There’s no better time to start than now! The “me” of year’s past can attest to this and I know that the “me” of the year’s to come will thank me for it.