Lessons from Aruba: Life Looks Better from a Hammock

Dr. Robyn with iguana in aruba

…From Sandles to Snow Boots in One Day

Dr. Robyn Silverman

It’s always nice to go on vacation and get away from it all…especially when “getting away” means getting away from the snow and bitter cold of the Northeast (at least for me, anyway).

On Friday, I returned from Aruba.  We were in a very turbulent airplane while making it back to Boston in the heavy snow.  I had my feet firmly planted on the Aruba sand in the morning and shoved in snow boots by nightfall.  Oh well.  The vacation (something I take rarely), helped me to remember a few things.  Perhaps vacations do the same for you:

What I learned in Aruba:

(1) It’s important to get in touch with nature: It’s embarrassing.  How much time do we spend on a computer?  Phone? Ipod?  Believe me, I’m guilty of it as well.  In Aruba, I was watching Iguanas crawl on my husband’s shoe.  This would probably be disturbing at any other time in any other place.  But here, in Aruba, it was fabulolus! I was captivated by pelicans in trees.  They reminded me that I was in a special place. And, as you can imagine, I was shocked to stand right next to the flamingos on the beach.  Ahhh.  This is the way it’s supposed to be.  We are sharing this earth with other creatures! Who knew? I don’t know about you, but I sometimes need to be reminded. My phone didn’t work in Aruba– and that was a very good thing!

Dr. Robyn with her husband, Jason in Aruba on flamingo beachThere's an Iguana in my shoe!aruba_pelican

(2) Nothing soothes like a great sunset: Sometimes I’m so busy looking at what’s right infront of me that I forget to look at the amazing sites Mother Nature provides.  Wow.  Sunsets make me breathe deeper and remember why nature inspires artists to paint. You’ll see what I mean below:

Gorgeous Sunset in Aruba with sailboat December 2008Dr. Robyn takes picture of Aruba Sunset with big boat

(3) Beauty can be captured from all perspectives. I love doing yoga.  However, doing yoga on the beach was an amazing treat.  Being the kind of person I a (type A), people might say I have some trouble slowing down.  Yes, I admit it’s true.  I realized in Aruba, while doing yoga on the beach, that when we surround ourselves with beauty, it’s almost impossible NOT to slow down.  Looking up from my morning stretch, I was captivated…and I’ve never breathed so deep. This is what I saw:

View from yoga in Aruba

Now if I could just paint THAT on my gym ceiling…

(4) Explore different ways to exercise: Yoga on the beach is one way.  Dancing is another.  While having breakfast on our first full day, we saw about 50 people taking a Latin dance class.  It was amazing!  People of all shapes, sizes, and ages, were grooving to the music.  One little boy was keeping up with the rest of them…which got me thinking about the trouble we’ve had getting our children to move their bodies and get up from the TV or computer.  Perhaps if we were more innovative about our exercise plans for them– not going to the gym– but doing the fun stuff like martial arts, gymnastics, dancing– we would be getting a lot further.

boy doing Latin dance class in Aruba

(5) Try new things: When was the last time you tried a new food?  It had been a while for me too.  But who could resist trying some of the local seafood in Aruba?  Caught in the morning and served that night, it doesn’t get fresher than this.  We tried local Grouper, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and some other indigenous fish. Yum.  This is the farthest thing from fast food and TV dinners. It’s even better when you eat it right on the beach.

Dr. Robyn and Jason in Aruba at simply fish restaurant on the beachSeafood Risotto in Aruba

(6) Relax and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: My brother used to have a quote on his wall (I believe from the movie The  Natural) that said “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.  It’s all small stuff.  If you can’t fight and you can’t flee, flow.” It was written in crayon– but that’s another story. While in Aruba, I checked my email only once everyday.  Since I had no phone access, this was my one way to connect if necessary.  It’s funny, one email I got was from a reader who was very upset that I had a “comma splice” in one of my recent posts.  She actually told me she was “dismayed.” I realized how uptight we can all get about the little things when we’re caught in everyday life.  I made a conscious decision not to fret over it.  Instead, we decided to make a toast to all the things that made us feel grateful. Perhaps this lesson has inspired me to remember to relax in 2009– even if I’m not in Aruba!  Or, at the very least, I need to remember to go on vacation more than once every 5 or so years!

aruba at Pinchos restaurant

(7) Life looks better from a Hammock: Expanding on point number 6– yes, life does look better from a hammock.  Should I put one up in my yard today? Probably not.  After all, it’s like, 5 degrees out today.  The wind chill feels like a layer of skin in being peeled off your face.  However, perhaps I need to keep this picture of me in a hammock– and the views from the hammock– nearby.  There’s something about being suspended gently off the ground while looking up at nature that makes you feel weightless physically and emotionally.  And of course, you have to have a book.  In this picture, I’m reading one of the most ridiculous books I’ve ever read– but hey, I was on vacation!

Dr. Robyn on a hammock in ArubaView from the hammock in Aruba

So, this holiday, as people are running themselves ragged, complaining about the economy, fretting about company, and pulling their hair out because of comma splices or the like, I’m going to will myself to incorporate my view from the hammock into my life.  Is it possible?  I’ll let you know.

Wish me luck. Happy Holidays everyone.

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

PS Just a funny picture.  These Iguanas thought they’d have a little happy hour in a beach goer’s Pina Colada.

aruba happy hour for iguanas

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6 Responses

  1. Very well said- I wish I had read this before sitting in traffic at the North Shore Mall and thinking that the world was coming to an end because I just HAD to get get in touch with someone who wouldn’t pick up their phone. I needed Iguana Therapy.

    The picture under #4 reminds me of the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris is on the float and everyone is dancing on the stairs- Perhaps I watch too many 80’s movies… 🙂

  2. HI Billy–

    Iguana therapy– I like that. Yes, there is something very relaxing about an Iguana in your shoe. I know that sounds strange– but it’s true.

    Yesterday the bottle of soda water exploded a little while I opened it. Made a bit of a mess. I just kept saying to myself “I’m in a hammock, “‘I’m in a hammock” and ya know what? It worked.

    Here’s to taking a step back and realizing it’s not all that big of a deal-

    Dr. Robyn

  3. Glad you enjoyed Aruba – it’s one of my favorite places. Now that you have returned to the northeast – BRRRRRRRRR! – I’d like to recommend a fascinating novel that will put you right back in Aruba: An Island Away by Daniel Putkowski. The story takes place in Aruba’s refinery town of San Nicolas. Check it out!

  4. Thanks, Heather! Yes, we’re FREEZING up here in the northeast. I will check out the novel– anything to put me back on that hammock in Aruba!

    Dr. Robyn

  5. Yes, I think life does look better from a hammock. I love these tips! Thanks for sharing.

    I often think about how hard and expensive it is to get my child moving. I wonder why we don’t have early morning tai chi or dance classes free for anyone in the grass at our local school. It might be because of the below freezing temps in the winter….

  6. […] We all know what they say about “an ounce of prevention.”  When we ensure that our family is organized and prepared, we can focus on the best parts of the trip—having a great time, enjoying each other’s company and making wonderful memories!  Whether you’re going away or staying close to home, we hope your next family vacation is filled with family fun. […]

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