A new mantra

During our recent trip to Mexico, 90% of our awake time was spent outdoors: laying poolside, playing on the beach, hiking, exploring the town, eating at local street meat and taco stands, dining al fresco. Even our hotel room had an entire wall of sliding doors that were open to an outside balcony. Everything about this scenario day in and day out was divine. Needless to say, the transition back into real life has been difficult (understatement of the century).

But another caveat that we’ve been reflecting on more since getting back home is how little screen time of any kind we experienced while on vacation, thanks to being busy doing other things, but also the lack of phone service and wifi most everywhere we went. And it wasn’t in a holier-than-thou, conscious-decision-to-be-present kind of way—none of us even thought about it. It was such a wonderful reflection to realize that not one of us missed or needed our phones; we were too busy living. And even going to bed at night, the thought would never have crossed our minds to turn on the TV in our room.

Upon returning home, Jon and I sort of leveled with ourselves that it feels way too normal having so much screen time at home. Even though we’ve never considered ourselves big couch potatoes or TV watchers, priding ourselves on not really watching primetime TV, we realized that Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go have made us under-the-radar couch potatoes, in which there is much less guilt about TV-watching because great writing and educational documentaries are just a click away. But it’s still screen time! And it’s where most of our nights wind up, and we’ve become way, way too comfortable with that.

We’ve sort of vowed to change that and try to live by a new mantra of sorts: less screen time, more living. In Mexico we felt the need to explore everything around us that was unchartered and foreign—to soak up all of the feels of Mexico. And it gave us all such a sense of fulfillment, wonder, and appreciation, in addition to the bonds that came along with experiencing it all together. But why not carry this same push for living into our lives at home? There is still so much around to explore and experience and see, even though it may just feel more familiar on a superficial level. New experiences are new experiences, even if they’re in a place that’s less shiny and new feeling than Puerto Vallarta (or insert other foreign city). And the sense of connection and rejuvenation that comes from this, versus lying side by side watching a movie, is unparalleled.

Our new plan is to hop out more often, here and there. Instead of a weekly date night of drinks and dinner and falling asleep to a movie on the couch, why not skip out a few times a week for happy hour at a new place, appetizers at another, or trying out a new activity or attraction? It’s not much more expensive, but it feels so much more exciting than our typical routine of going to the places we know (and love) all too well, or the alternative of just staying home.

We compiled a list of all the places we’ve never been and want to try. Surprisingly, as two people who feel we’ve been all over Rochester, the list is huge and continues to grow as we drive around and recall other places that had escaped us before. Each night feels like an adventure and a true weeknight treat—so much so that we could maybe even convince ourselves for a minute that we’re in a different city. I’m loving living by our new mantra and the proof that we don’t need to live by our phones, TVs, and computers.  There’s just something about being with your person, talking and conversing about anything and everything, surrounded by new things and new people and a new environment. It beats out having that same conversation on the couch while we’re both trolling Instagram any day.