The little things matter, but often not the ones we’re most obsessed with

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Zen frogs in the town of Duck, NC (in the Outer Banks). I have to learn to be peaceful like that.

I’m back from my vacation. I was gone to the Outer Banks of North Carolina all last week. It was quite pleasant to get away and relax at the beach. I love taking my kids out (though my son is quite the grump and was too cool for the beach, most days).

However, one of the things I realized while I was there was that the little things matter. I mentioned last week that I had a goal of 1,000 words a day. I didn’t do that on vacation. I thought I could, but the truth of the matter was, it was a vacation. If I was under pressure to write a thousand words a day, how relaxing could it really be? So, I bailed on that after two days of pulling out my Chromebook and having it sit in my lap or on an end table while we played Rook or Bananagrams or went to the beach.   For the week of vacation, the joy of family was a little thing that mattered more than trying to get a thousand words a day.

I did end up writing a little, but it was when I had time and felt like I had a down moment when the kids were occupied with their cousins.  The truth is, we all need a break sometimes, and we all need to make reasonable goals. A thousand words a day is a reasonable goal. Just not while you’re on vacation. The things that mattered most were having a great time with the family. So building a sand mermaid (even if a tad deformed) was more fun than trying to eke out a thousand words.

I also had a minor snafu with my Four Mothers short story collection while I was away.  I needed to add a page with some legal text. Unfortunately,  I couldn’t fix it until I got back because I only brought my Chromebook with me. I had to let that one go, even though when I first realized the problem, it felt like it mattered. A lot. But, when there’s nothing you can do about it, you have to let it go and enjoy your vacation.

I had to focus on other things, like that the first Amazon review for the collection was 5 stars, making me very happy. 🙂 ( A second review, also 5 stars!!, appeared later.)

In life, it’s the little things that matter, but it’s often the little things (like forgetting a copyright page) that don’t matter that we focus on. Instead we should focus on the little things, like making waffles with the kids. I’m sure if I focus on the right little things, I’ll be much happier. So, in addition to the thousand words a day challenge, I’m going to try to focus on the most important little things, not the least important.

I’m dropping a couple more shots from our vacation below.  In case you missed it, I was over at Indies Unlimited yesterday discussing how to create a short story collection. Hope everyone has a fabulous week.  (And yes, I added the page when I got back.)

footprints in the sand

My daughter left this trail of footprints in the sand. We were here!

sand mermaid

This was the mermaid we tried to make out of sand. My daughter made the face, and I was trying to forge arms when we had to go, as my wonderful father-in-law had made reservations for lunch. I’d lost track of time and realized we had to get back immediately. Despite having only half of one arm, she was a happy mermaid.

Son with Life First

Isn’t that convenient? My son with Life First on the pier. :)

Lifefirst_hammock

Hammock time for Life First

rook_hand

My Rook hand. I didn’t win the bid, but the person who did picked Green for trumps. If you play Rook, I’m sure you’ll realize I set him.

gardenandgun

I discovered a new magazine in the Outer Banks. I don’t normally think of guns and gardening together, but many people must.

Life_first_beach

Hanging out all by itself on the pier.

kittyana_beach

Kittyana, my daughter’s doll, joined us at the table.

myfavoritecola

The best-named cola on the planet: RC!

banagrams

My son’s bananagrams. Thanks to JK Rowling for teaching him “git,” a British insult. He also used “dag,” which he assured me was a word because it appears in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at http://rjcrayton.com/subscribe.
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8 Responses to The little things matter, but often not the ones we’re most obsessed with

  1. Julie OBX says:

    Thanks for sharing the post. Hope you enjoyed the trip!

  2. Dale Furse says:

    Sounds like a great holiday and yes, enjoy the time you have to relax with your family, one day your holidays won’t have them there. Life First’s pics were neat.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Thanks, Dale. My son had fun doing the Life First pics. I have a few more that I need to upload to my Pinterest page, but I’ve been too busy. I hope to get it done before the weekend ends.

  3. Keeping perspective on our priorities is an ever-shifting balancing act. Looks like you made the right decisions this time. And she’s a lovely mermaid. 🙂

  4. DV Berkom says:

    Great post, RJ! I hear ya about not being able to write much while on holiday. I’ve given up trying. Like you said, you’re on vacation….so glad you were able to enjoy family time! And congrats on the 5* reviews 😀

    I think a lot of people are finding it difficult to push through all the noise to what really matters. My go to is meditation and yoga. Every day. Both my husband and I feel too scattered if we don’t. Another good source of focus for me is nature. Taking the time to just observe the natural world calms me like nothing else. Other folks I’ve talked to have different ways of decompressing, but the point is to take a little time each day to do it. Kind of like writing 1k/day 🙂

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Thanks, DV. Yoga sounds great. I keep saying I should take a class, but haven’t done it yet. Maybe I’ll turn to YouTube. But definitely, a way to decompress each day is a must.

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