I was in Sayulita, Mexico earlier this month at Playa Escondida and I did not bring my computer or Ipad. I brought my phone, but it remained locked in the safe. I brought the journal I had purchased in Italy, the one with Amalfi paper and the soft leather cover, the one that I write in with my best pen inspired by how the ink seeps into the pages with a sensual slide.
I sat my ass on a lounge chair by the beach and read Joan Didion’s amazing The Year of Magical Thinking in between swimming in the sea and watching the waves crash into the rocks and then toss and tumult as the tide came in. I thought about love and commitment and truth in living and contentment.
Rob proposed to me two days into our vacation, on one knee at sunset and when he did, my hair was salt tossed and I was not wearing anything pretty. When he knelt in the sand at my side, I said “what are you doing?” unable to comprehend what was happening. When he told me he couldn’t think of a better moment to ask me to marry him, I was tackled by joy and after I said yes, rendered heart-thumpingly speechless with surprise. He shared how he had talked to my daughters before we left for Mexico, and how he had been planning this moment for months and I had no idea. He had secretly been working on the design of the ring with a local jeweler since November. The ring has lightening bolts and hearts and has a bevel setting and is a personal reflection of our relationship.
Our engagement was the highlight, yes, but the entire week was graceful, gentle and generous to both of us. Our days were simple.
Rob went to yoga in the mornings leaving me to my coffee and book and writing in my journal. We woke up to the sound of jungle birds chattering and I imagined a group of chastising and gossiping women as their volume increased with the hour. Our cabana was overwhelmed with palm trees above and the morning sun did not reach or wake us and we slept until 9:30 our first morning. The bed had white curtain enclosures, and we kept a light near in case we had to get up at night.
We ate fresh fish and drank margaritas in a simple outdoor restaurant overlooking the ocean after spending hours playing in the waves, and my hair did not see a blowdryer all week and was curly in the humidity. One evening we forgot our flashlights and neglected to turn on the outside light at our cabana and the night was draped with deep darkness and Rob held my hand and we giggled and stumbled over the cobblestone road as he somehow led us safely home.
The moment I arrived in Mexico, I turned off my phone and the relief was instantaneous. Every journal entry from this trip comments on the peace and happiness I felt being disconnected or reflects on the powerful connection I felt without the distraction of text messages or email at my side. I had moments where I just stared at the sea or watched Rob race to collect shells before the waves took them back. We talked a lot and spent hours silently together as well.
We say vacation is an escape or a break, but I wonder if the truth of the matter is that vacation is our ‘real’ life. I wonder if the daily madness we allow at home is the true break from reality.
We played backgammon in the bar using beer bottle caps as playing pieces and we joked with Jesus, the man determined to make our stay comfortable and we walked into Sayulita one afternoon and when we stopped for a burrito, the owner kept pouring us complimentary shots of tequila and Rob taught me how to put salt on my wrist and suck on a lime, and we got a little lost walking back.
I am home now considering, wondering, contemplating how I can maintain this peacefulness knowing that my life does require me to be connected. I do not have the answer yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying.
I can remain connected with my daughters 2000 miles away via text and enjoy the ability to share and receive news on Facebook and my work has benefitted from social media access but the downside can be enormous.
I sometimes feel like a high voltage lightbulb that is burning too hot and the intensity is exhausting and I’m wondering if real life is truly supposed to be this way.
I’m thinking I’d rather be a candle. I’m thinking our trip to Mexico was real life.