How a 15 Minute Roadside Stop Changed My Life Perspective / by Jennifer Evans

princeton life perspective How many times have you said to yourself, "I really want to do that", but somehow you keep pushing the "that" to the back burner because you have a million and one other things that take priority?  No big deal, right?  Your "that" will be there in a few hours...a few days....a few weeks....next year....  Besides, your "that" isn't really that important in the grand scheme of kids, work, life, etc...right?

Let me tell you one of my recent "thats" and why I'm changing my outlook about these seemingly insignificant "thats" and why I hope my experience and this blog post encourages you to do the same.

All summer long I have been driving to Pennington to pick yummy veggie goods at my CSA farm.  Every two weeks or so I would load the kids up with our baskets and take the 40 minute drive.  One the very first trip of the season I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous building overlooking a lake and I made mental note to check it out at some point.

The next trip I made a point of slowing down a bit so I could get a better glimpse through my car window to see if it really was something that I wanted to take the time to do.  I decided yes...it definitely was, but not today - the kids were already cranky because it was really hot out....maybe next time.

The next time we had to be back in time for a party so stopping for the mere sake of enjoying scenery was not an option.

The next time the weather was questionable so the priority was getting to the farm before the rain....

And on and on the excuses went all summer long.  Whatever - it was no big deal....it wasn't a priority and it wasn't going anywhere...I'd get to it at some point, right?

So this week, as I head into my busiest season thus far since starting Fotoplicity, I had to trek into Princeton to do a headshot session for a law firm that I consistently do work for.  I had to be in Princeton by 8:30am so I had the joy of sitting in stop and go traffic for the last few miles...along the route was this place.  Since I was sitting in traffic I got to spend a good few minutes taking in this view from the road and I told myself again, "Wow...I REALLY need to check this out!"  Of course I had an appointment so I couldn't stop then so I continued on my way.

After I completed the job I headed back to my car thinking about my long task list of things that HAD to get done that day.  My plan was to go straight to the office but something clicked when I came up on that spot on the way home.  I didn't have the kids, the morning couldn't have been more perfect weather wise so I made the last second decision to turn down the road towards that spot.  I mean, I had my camera gear with me anyway....I could make it a working stop.  Yeah, because I can't just do something for ME...I had to justify the stop by tying it to work!  Ugh.

I pulled into the gravel parking lot which was full of cars.  Apparently this spot is also one of the entrances to the D&R Canal pathway which is a hotspot for runners.  I looked around and saw a few folks in their shorts and running shoes which made me very self conscience since I had a full skirt, boots, makeup and my camera.  The Sesame Street song from my childhood came flooding into my mind, "One of these things is not like the other....one of these things doesn't belong."  Ha...yeah, I am not a fan of sticking out and I had a fleeting thought to forget this and come back another time, but then I realized how stupid that was.  I was parked, had my camera and have wanted to stop here for months!

I got out of the car and started walking to the tree lined path that led to the bridge I had seen from the road countless times.  It was about a football field length away.  When I finally reached my destination I was completely absorbed by the view.  I immediately forgot about my long task list, my not fitting in, and just about everything else.  For the first few minutes I even forgot about my justification for the stop (my camera).  I just stood there taking in everything that this beautiful spot had to offer.  The dappled sunlight through the trees, the weather-worn shingles of the building, the stone work detail, the changing leaves, the stunning reflection of the building on the water, the way the ducks beautifully disrupted the glass-like texture of the river with soft ripples....even the way the air felt and smelled.  I opened up my senses and just absorbed. princeton-2wm

Time stopped.  I felt a peacefulness I hadn't felt in a very, very long time.   In just a few short minutes I was able to get in touch with my soul...all of my worries and obligations faded to nothingness and I just was.  It was amazing. enjoy life

I think I only spent about 15 minutes here.  Ten absorbing the calm and beauty of the location and five taking a handful of photos.  15 minutes....that's it.  Those 15 minutes felt like an hour and reminded me that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

My walk back to my car was more of a stroll.  I passed another runner and didn't think twice about my out-of-place wardrobe or the camera around my neck.  My drive back to the office was more pleasurable than I can remember a morning drive being in a very long time.   Best of all  this 15 minute stop that I had put off all summer long provided me with a renewed energy and a feeling of calm that allowed me to attack the rest of my day with vigor!

I wanted to share this story with you in hopes that it will encourage you to indulge in whatever your "that" is the next time you have the opportunity.  We spend so much of our time moving from one task to the next.  One obligation to the another.  Worrying about getting things done and how we are perceived by others.  We simply forget how important it is and what it truly means to feed our souls.

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” ~Michael Landon Jr.

I challenge you to take 10-15 minutes of your busy day today and pursue your "that".  Go feed YOUR soul - I promise it will be worth it!