1) Slow Down/Breathe
Hands down, my favorite part of any yoga class is always shavasana. I think it’s because I’ve been (without realizing) practicing it since I was a little kid. Maybe I called it sunbathing, pretending like I actually gave a shi*t about how golden my skin would get, but I would just lie on my stomach with my ear pressed against the cottage dock, listening to the water underneath it slosh around as the waves came in.
I would take in all the sounds, smells and feelings. The goosebumps I’d get from the sun drying my wet skin, my parents chit-chatting about whatever it was grown ups talked about (and I zoned out), or the smell of the charcoal barbecue promising a tasty hot dog, hamburger or marshmallow later on.
To this day, these smells and sounds are not only my favorite in the world, but can zap me right back to being a little girl. As soon as I step foot on the cottage dock, I’m reminded to slow down and check in with my body.
2) Family Time > Everything Else
Some of my all time favorite memories from my childhood took place on the dock. From endless hours of jumping in and out of the lake, to meaningful conversations with my family members to getting together to build a new dock (even though we were kiddos and I’m SURE were just in the way); time spent with my family beats pretty much everything else.
I never take how close I am with my family for granted. Ever.
3) Just Like Water, Life is Non-stop
Does anyone else get practically hypnotized when they watch waves? The same goes for watching a flame. There’s something so fluid (PUN!) and relaxing about watching the natural flow water has. Even on calm, windless days, though, where there isn’t even one boat to be seen creating waves, water continues to move. Even if it’s the slightest, almost unrecognizable movement, it’s happening.
The same thing applies for life. (Promise I’m not trying to get TOO deep here… ANOTHER PUN!)
No matter how hard you may fight it, life will continue to evolve and change. As someone who used to fear change, I’ve taught myself to not only embrace it, but to accept and love it. The best things in life happen after a big shake up and there’s no use in ever trying to control that.
4) The Concept of Infinity is Scary, F*cked Up and Beautiful
Looking back now, I realize it’s super weird for a little kid to get absolutely overwhelmed and panicky about the universe when looking up at the night sky from the dock. It was totally foreshadowing years of struggling with anxiety and general nervousness, but it was also a good life lesson that I carry with me to this day.
It was a similar kind of feeling that I get now when I’m in the mountains. Part “I am so small and insignificant”, part “Oh yeah, we only get one life. This is it so I better make it count”. That first thought always hits me like a ton of bricks and I automatically think of the silly things I’ve been obsessing or stressing about recently. Whether it’s something as small as some work drama or something more crippling like money struggles, being on the dock always helps me put everything in perspective and reminds me what’s ACTUALLY important and worth obsessing over (spoiler alert: The answer is almost always ‘nothing’).
I used to hate the feeling I would get when I looked up at the stars from the dock because I would get completely and utterly overwhelmed. Now I try to take those same feelings and transform them into something good, like inspiration to write or telling someone how I feel about them (#tender).
5) The Art of Doing Nothing Is Something We Should All Master
Most of the time, yes, I head to the dock with a book in hand. I almost never bring my phone down (unless, of course, a friend is en route and may need help with navigating the cottage roads). Sometimes, though, I think it’s really important to spend time doing absolutely nothing. No company, no distractions, no agenda.
To just be.
We live in this strange A.D.D. world where people treat their phones like limbs and don’t even notice how often they obsessively check their texts, Insta, etc. so I’ve always made a conscious effort to never be ‘that person’. It’s important to me to be present and the dock at the cottage helped with the training process.
6) Unplugging Is Absolutely Critical for Sanity
In the same breath as #5, unplugging is essential. How many wellness blog posts have you seen that say exactly this? Probably a billion, and it’s because it’s friggin’ TRUE. Airplane mode is my BFF at the cottage, especially overnight (every night my phone’s on Do Not Disturb because the thought of a text or call waking me up makes my skin crawl).
Sleep > everything else, AMIRIGHT?
7) Jumping in the Lake Cures All
Hungover? Jump in the lake. Sun-burnt? Jump in the lake. Sixteen and heart-broken by the boy 4 cottages down who keeps whizzing by in that stupid white speed boat ? Jump in the lake.
I’m convinced that 1) My lake has magical healing powers and 2) Similarly to running, swimming can be VERY therapeutic and clear your mind of any BS that may be bothering you.
It’s also cold AF most of the time so if you went a little hard on the red wine the night before, it’ll give you that shock to your system that your bod is craving.