Those long days at work.
Fourteen hours? I need a recovery day after that, but today was also an early day. And a busy one. Good busy. Spent it with my son. At the zoo. I can't help but think of the James Taylor song.
Just knocking around the zoo on a Thursday afternoon.
I slip into joy just thinking about it. One of my favorites.
I love the zoo. My son and I spent a lot of time there when he was a little guy. There was a tiny zoo in Brandywine Park, the Brandywine Zoo, near where we lived in Delaware. We spent so much time there with the tigers and the otters. Today at the Philadelphia Zoo, the tigers were nowhere to be found and the otters were napping in the sunshine. Most of the animals were sleeping. All the big cats were, except for the cougar. She was sitting in the shade panting. It was hot and muggy.
But our zoo is well designed, with a lot of shade and buildings along the walking route that get you out of the sun and the heat and into the air conditioning.
The zebras, giraffes, hippos, and rhinos were loving the weather. And the new baby giraffe was frolicking all around. Made me smile.
I ended up buying a membership.
They make it easy to decide. An individual membership includes free parking and a guest. It's only about $20 more than a single visit, a no-brainer. I think my son realizes that we're going to be going there several times during the year. And if my daughter comes to visit from Chicago, we'll go too. I may even put out an invitation to friends when I go. Who wouldn't want to go to the zoo?
I've given myself the gift of a couple of memberships. The Philadelphia Art Museum. I went a few years ago with a group of friends. I'd lived here for for about thirteen years and had never gone. It was amazing. I joined that day. They also make it easy to decide. You can apply your entrance fee to the membership. There's a discount on parking and guests. Not quite as generous in their terms as the zoo is. It's a small art museum and it's easy to see the whole thing in a few hours. It has a wonderful collection and tremendous visiting exhibits. I may even have written about seeing one in June.
Immersing in art is restorative, and helps me to recover my energy and joy.
But I was stubborn around visiting both the art museum and the zoo here. I grew up in Washington with the Smithsonian Institution and never paid an entrance fee to the National Zoo or the National Museum of Art or any of the other marvelous museums on the Mall. It seemed ludicrous to me that one would have to pay an admission.
It's funny how we cling to the ways we are shaped and have such a hard time shifting.
And what we can lose by being unwilling to shift our perspective and our behaviors.
And what we gain when we finally do.
The Summer of Self-Love is a daily writing practice created to harness three months for thriving. The goal at the end is to host a dinner party. Sounds like an odd Hero's Journey, doesn't it? Most of them usually are.