Project Ocean Seattle – The Art of Staying Present

We’re Tired

It was day 11 on the road, our last day of West Coast Project Ocean production. We awoke with five hours of sleep after a 22-hour day to film with our seventh and final nonprofit of the trip. We had crossed the country to film the first six organizations with five flights, seven hotel changes and who knows how many hours in the rental car. 

I am not a parent, but many of my friends are, and I seemed to have crossed an important milestone in relating to my mom friends on a whole new level. I was so tired I truly thought I was going to burst into tears. 

Nothing was wrong. I was so happy to be on the West Coast. It was some of the most beautiful landscape I’d ever seen. The people were warm and welcoming. Our filming was going surprisingly hitch-free. But I was getting my breakfast and suddenly realized I may just start sobbing in public from pure exhaustion. They weren’t going to be happy tears or sad tears. It was the strangest feeling that I quickly processed on the phone with a mom friend, and she essentially welcomed me to the other side as though I had just received a sneak peek initiation into this exclusive sleep deprivation club. 

Unexpected Embrace

When we hopped out of our rental onto the hill overlooking a shiny Bellingham Bay, I was greeted with a hug from long-lost friends. 

The sun. The 60s. 

I always tell people that summer is my favorite time of year because nothing beats the sensation of walking outside and having it be hotter than it was inside. It feels like the Earth is hugging you. I have yet to meet anyone who exactly follows my logic. If you can relate, please let me know and we can be friends. 

The warm bliss immediately drew us toward the water. It was stunning. Our interviewee from RE Sources, Jay, said that “this area is as advertised in the postcards.” And he was right. 

Sloping mountains rose gracefully out of the watery horizon, caretakers of all life below. Uninhibited afternoon sunlight danced across the aquatic playground amongst the paddleboarders, kayakers, sailors, pedestrian bridge onlookers and carefree teenagers cannonballing off said bridge. Every clumping of trees beckoned with a seemingly secret peek into its own unique landscape vantage point. Everyone was moving a little slowly. It was as if the realization that – even if they had somewhere they needed to be, it wasn’t going to be better than here – evaporated any instinct to rush. To be in a crowd where everyone acts as though they’ve already arrived is unique. 

Stay Present

“Yesterday, we were there. Today, we wish we were there.” 

Rod said this on our red eye return to the East Coast later that night. We were ready for a break, but we were not ready to leave. We marveled the entire trip at the beauty around us, and we knew we would miss it.

While his statement was directly addressing our feelings about our California/Washington experience, his words struck me as such a dynamic life lesson, as reinforced by our interview with Jody. 

The fact that we are in the midst of our stories inherently means we don’t know the full story yet. It’s hard to wholly grasp what today with all its complexities mean to us until we step out of the picture and today becomes yesterday. That’s just our human reality. 

But I’d like to live in a way that mitigates that reality as much as possible, that takes in as much as possible. I’d like to live today knowing that there’s something here I will miss tomorrow, that there’s something here that probably will one day make me think I had already arrived wherever it was I was trying to go. 

Stay present.

P.S. I also learned on this trip that I actually quite like the “chill electronic” music genre. Don’t tell anyone. 

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