It was a gorgeous DC summer Saturday…85 degrees, lots of sun, very low humidity. Very unusual for the typical hot, humid DC summer. On tap for me on this absolutely amazing summer day…absolutely nothing.
How I saw the day shaping up…I would hang around the house trying to decide what to do, eventually the sun would start setting, and I would opt to go out for dinner or drinks with my best friend. Not a bad day, but…that’s hours worth of sunlight that I saw myself wasting by hemming and hawing over an action plan. I would love to go to the beach, but the closest “real” beach is three hours away, which is easily four or five depending on beach traffic. And of course you don’t drive four or five hours just to come straight back, so I’d have to then deal with overpriced beach rentals…which now means my simple attempt to enjoy nice weather has turned into an all out high cost excursion.
So not in the mood for that.
Nor was I really in the mood for a crowded boardwalk, wrangling over beach space, and being overcharged for everything.
But I did want to enjoy the sun, listen to some waves, and totally veg out for a couple of hours. I knew there were some smaller beaches in the area, so I looked one up, packed a simple beach bag (towel, shoes, cardigan, book, bottle of water, that’s it!), met my bff, and rode the 45 minutes to Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. My bff and I are known to really overdo a simple outing. We pack a cooler, sandwiches, snackies, waters, adult beverages that we pre-make, slice cheese platter, make our own trail mix, wash and bag all types of fruits, and don’t forget all of the related plates and cutlery, make a playlist, the list goes on. And while we love having all types of conveniences with us while we relax at the beach, it makes a simple trip seem like a daunting plan that requires a ton of prep work.
Then the “me” in me always has to play out every possible scenario, and pack for that as well. What if we decide to go dancing, what if I get tired and want to stay the night, what if my shoes get too sandy and I need another pair as a back up? And that always results in a ton of extra time gathering up those must-have items, plus lots of extra crap in my bag. It’s just too much! So I decided oh well, if I need extra stuff and don’t have it…OH. WELL.!! Pack what you need for your objective (sitting on the beach), and roll out. And so I did just that.
As we set off for Chesapeake Beach, unlike travelling anywhere in the DC metro area on a Saturday, there was virtually no traffic. Aside from a minor unrelated snafu getting to our meetup spot, getting to the beach was a breeze. Ahhh…I can feel the stress leaving me already. Few cars on the road and lots of trees to look at as we rode along. Our directions to the beach had literally two turns. Simple, simple, simple. And I loved it!
The beach was tiny…TINY. BUT…at the end of the day, what did I want? A non-fussy place in the sand where I could lay in the sun, listen to the waves, read my book, and laugh with my bff. And that’s exactly what I got.
After we had enough of the beach, we went to the local beach resort, had some dinner and drinks, listened to the house band, ate some great seafood, and enjoyed the fresh air. It was perfect.
The lesson learned from this outing. Keep it simple! Remove the excess from my objectives, and stick to the task at hand. In this case it was taking advantage of a beautiful day. Done! And we had a great time. Our only regret was not coming up with the plan way earlier in the day. We would have loved spending more time basking in the sun. But now we know for next time.
How can you remove excess from your objectives? Pick something that’s been overwhelming to you. Remember the purpose, and remove the baggage. Give it a try and let me know how you do!