Being Present: San Antonio
December has been a bit of a whirlwind.
The train took off from the station at 12:01am on November 25th and now we’re hurtling towards Hannukah, Christmas, and New Years with little more than the blur of sequined dresses, knit sweaters, hors d’oeuvres platters, wrapping paper, and twinkling lights in the rear view mirror.
Dan and I have had a rather jam-packed month so far. Thanksgiving weekend was busy, I was out in CA for business, he picked up a new project at work, and somewhere in between all that we had to maintain our normal activities (day to day work, submitting school applications, dance lessons, time with friends, chores, etc.) PLUS write holiday cards, set up the Christmas Tree, buy gifts, cook/bake, and reflect on the transition from ’11 to ’12.
We have both been caught up in the swirl of year-end madness, and as such we decided to spend half of last weekend (the weekend before Christmas weekend) in San Antonio.
Being that we live in Austin, San Antonio is a doable 1.5 hour drive away, and is distinctly different from Austin making it feel as though we are truly “getting away.”
We stayed at the Beckmann Inn and Carriage House on Guenther St., which was quaint and just what we needed for an overnight. The house itself is a historic landmark, and beautiful in a Victorian/turn-of-the-Century era way. The neighborhood was quiet and walkable which was a bonus.
We took in some of the major sites:
- We looked at historical artifacts at the Alamo (the grounds are quite beautiful with lots of natural greenery too, if you’re not a history buff)
- Snapped photos during a riverboat tour of the Riverwalk (recently a new Mexican art museum was built along the river- looked very classy)
- Ventured around the Market Square (Mi Tierra for the hungry night owl, okay food but the bakery is worth it)
- Ate some delicious Mexican food (check out Cascabel on St. Mary’s near the King William Park area- delicious, and where else could you find goat soup!)
On the way home, we stopped in the New Braunfels area to check out some of the vintage shops in the town of Gruene. We saw one of the oldest dance halls in Texas, and perused an antique shop, some clothing stores and a music store. Each of these were true out-of-town adventures, things we could not have done at home.
Though, perhaps not surprisingly, what I enjoyed the most was all the uninterrupted time Dan and I spent together.
Honestly, every moment I spend with Dan feels like a tiny sprinkle of holiday magic. Some readers might think “oh lovers in love always say such things” but I’ve loved before, and never felt anything like I do with Dan. He is simply incredible.
With those feelings though, the realities of the everyday do impact us. Which is why our time in San Antonio, where neither of us had emails to answer, work to finish, a dance class to get to, or chores to complete- allowed us to simply be present in the moment with each other and experience new and different things together. We could reconnect after having been pulled in 90 directions and rediscover why we care about each other and enjoy being together.
That, to me, is what the holidays are really about.
Along that vein, I think back to my two visits to the Post Office last week, and the harried ball of stress that was both the postal workers and the patrons in line balancing their boxes and asking “is this the right form for customs?” and “what’s the different between priority and first class?” Though these are typical pre-holiday observations, and I know there are many out there that shop and ship gifts early, love entertaining, and enjoy their families, there are also some (or at least me, if I can only speak for myself) who just want some time and space rediscovering their love for their partner and their feelings about life.
I mention this because, on our way to San Antonio, someone mentioned “you’re so lucky you can just drop everything and go away for a night right before the holidays.” And I had two thoughts on that:
1) yes, we’re extremely “lucky” – because we have each other and somewhat flexible lifestyles
2) anyone else could be just as “lucky” too; it’s about focusing on what matters most to you.
#2 is a tough one this time of year. I fully appreciate familial, work and friend obligations. This party here, these gifts for so and so, etc. And I admit that I am still learning how to set boundaries with friends and family and make sure that I put self-care as high on the list as the needs of others. But, I’m also making self-care a priority now, both because I need to for my own health (chronic injuries have a way of teaching that lesson very directly), but also because I can only give to others what I have cultivated within myself. If I have been working too hard on making everyone else in my life happy, while their happiness is great, it alone will not nourish and re-build my inner self.
So I’m taking steps towards better self-care: my friend Rochelle and I are going to yoga most every weekend, I’m preparing salad materials for easy snacks so that I don’t resort to lots of holiday-induced sugar, Dan and I went to San Antonio the weekend before Christmas, and although my folks are relatively nearby, Dan and I decided to spend Christmas Eve together – just us- to have our own time, and to then spend Christmas day with my family.
This year Dan and I are trying to give ourselves the gift of being fully present for each other, and I think that is one of the greatest gifts of all.
May you all find true inner-peace and joy as the holidays approach, and always.
Thanks for reading,