The common phrase is “stop to smell the roses,” but when my sister Mandie and I were traveling around Australia and SE Asia we decided to change it to “watch the sunsets.” We made sure to pause every evening and wait for the sun to set. We shared libations with new friends, propped ourselves on rocks, strolled down the beach, and just stared in silence at the beauty of nature. The clouds ignited with firey yellows and reds as the sky burned a hot orange. Or we witnessed the sky melt like rainbow sherbet swirling purple, blue, pink, and red across the cotton candy clouds. Sometimes, heavy dark clouds smothered the sky with black smoke and left only a sliver of yellow across the horizon. Each sunset was unique.
I wrote a book in 2014 about our trip and titled it “Sisters, Sunsets, and Self Discovery.” The sunsets meant something to us. Whether it was the insane beauty of the sky exploding before us or the actual act of taking a moment in our busy day to sit down and enjoy the simplicity of a setting sun, we appreciated all of those sunsets. Even now that I’ve returned to the U.S. and life is way busier, I try my best to stop and enjoy a sunset. It is so easy to forget these simple acts of meditation in the midst of a crazy schedule or life for that matter. We get so caught up in our routines and our plans.
Right now, I’m in the midst of planning a wedding and possibly a really long trip afterwards. We have to book a photographer, figure out what bakery we like for the cupcakes, make and send ‘Save the Dates’, find a wedding dress and suits, send invitations, etc. etc. etc. My mind wants to explode each night when I think through our list of to-dos. I can’t remember the last time I actually watched a sunset. This makes me sad. We forget to take a breath sometimes and just stop. Stop and watch a sunset. Stop and smell the roses. Just stop. Breathe. I’ve forgotten and I even wrote a book about it. It is easier though when you are traveling and your days consist of decisions like what mountain will I climb, what streets will I explore, where will I eat my next tasty dessert? Then it is easy to remember to sit down and enjoy the sunset. Now, when you are busy planning your future and working full time and being social, it is hard to make time for simple things like watching sunsets.
We need to remember to watch the sunsets. We need to remember that all that stuff we are thinking about will be there when we get back. I have a year ahead of me full of planning, but if I don’t stop every once in a while to just watch a sunset or take a walk, I might lose my mind. If my fiance and I don’t stop to enjoy the simple pleasures of life we will miss out on this year before our wedding. I hate when it feels like months are chugging by me and I’m oblivious. Time doesn’t just go fast or slow. Time is a reflection of us. We either plan, plan, plan and focus on the future and let the days slip out from under us, or we live in the moment and cherish each passing wind and each setting sun and really witness the days ticking by. How many months have gone by without you noticing?
For me, 5 or 6 months have flown by. I’m too busy living in the next month or the month after to enjoy the current one. That means I’ve missed countless sunsets without even noticing. I want to make a vow though to watch at least on sunset per week. I want to stop and smell some roses. I want to stop thinking about my next step and enjoy the feeling of my feet planted into the ground and the wind in my hair and the sun on my skin. Yes, I have great big things on the horizon, but waking up each morning is also a great blessing. Appreciating the small things. Reveling in each day. Not letting the months pass so quickly. These are all important. Enjoy those sunsets!