I’m kicking around here in Saugatuck, MI this week. The husband and I are alone. We shipped the kids off to grandma and grandpas’. It feels good but I’m always struck by how long it takes me to really hit relaxation mode. It’s taking even longer this go round. I seem to have one button these days and it’s ON, ON, ON. I don’t think this is so unusual for women of my life stage and age, but it sure is a shame.
I slept through breakfast, which stressed me out, and the hubs suggested we go to The Southerner for an early lunch. I LOVE this place so I agreed, but felt my anxiety rising the minute I committed. By choosing lunch out, I was closing the door on spending the next couple of hours drinking coffee and coloring or writing on the deck. This was the cool part of the day, should I be wasting it going inside and eating when I could be kayaking before the sun reaches blaze mode? Then, if we ate lunch at The Southerner, we would be ruling out having dinner there tonight and we’ve never even seen their dinner menu! On and on my brain whirred, whipping me into an internal frenzy. By the time my husband sat across from me at our table I felt miserable and, frankly, clueless as to why.
Now my good friend Sarah M has declared that the Fried Chicken Honey Butter Biscuit Sandwich at The Southerner is the best sandwich in the world. That’s a big statement, but I have to agree with her. The only other thing that comes close is the Veggie Dagwood at M. Henry in Edgewater, but that’s a different genre of sandwich. So I order it up and my husband does his own thing and I’m just sitting there…whirring and worrying and whirring and worrying. The hubs tells me I’m starting to get on his nerves and this is vacation, GDI. He’s right! He’s right! I know he’s right, but I just can’t get a grip on it.
I rudely text Sarah to show her I ordered the sandwich. I sip on my diet coke. I notice the female members of the waitstaff have really cute Southerner T-shirts. And then the sandwich comes and I unwrap it from the tinfoil and I take a bite and savor it. This is a savoring sandwich. It’s not that big, so you need to appreciate every single bite. And the act of savoring does something. It’s just the shift that I need. There’s nothing here to worry about except this sandwich right here right now. The thing that I am doing in this moment is one thing of many that I could be doing, but damn it’s good. So I enjoyed it and let the pleasure of that sandwich just wash over me.
And I was able to do that not because I had some kind of mystical zen realization or my husband talked me down or because I did some kind of breathing exercise. No. It happened because the sandwich was so good that it overran my senses and that sensation of pleasure was stronger than my anxiety, at least in that moment. The pleasure hit. My thoughts changed. Voila, I’m in vacation mode.
I can’t say that this experience is some kind of long-term fix for anxiety. But it worked for me today. And after lunch we went and bought a bunch of fresh picked Michigan fruit at the farm stand so I’ve got a chance of more sensual short circuiting for any anxiety that crops up this afternoon. I’m sitting here writing this post, which feels good. And I’ve got a pitcher of gel pens and colored pencils in front of me, along with a coloring book. The river is outside and it looks good too. All options now feel wonderful and like a treat. God bless that chicken sandwich.