Last weekend, my toddler was finally slightly better and we decided that we were going to brave the cold and the wind and just plan to go out that weekend. I was seriously starting to get tired being indoors, entertaining my child with almost the same games and watching TV. So, Saturday morning, we had an early breakfast and although, it was a crazy struggle to get the toddler ready and out of the house, all three of us, including the toddler, persevered and we went to see St Alban’s Cathedral in St Albans. It is a 20 minute drive from Hatfield, and we had a bit of a trouble finding parking, but we made it eventually. All three of us loved the Cathedral and it was a morning spent well.
My daughter got to run in the gardens, listen to the Church bells chime and delight in it, and walk up and down the stairs inside the huge Cathedral. My husband and I got to experience some amazing architecture and mural paintings, enjoy meeting a lot of dog walkers and other friendly parents with toddlers, and see a new place. I’ve mentioned many times that I’m not a religious person, but something about places of worship, just makes me feel at peace and bow down my head in humility and thank someone out there for blessing me and fold my hands in prayer- it just happens automatically. Does that happen with anyone else too? So anyway, we wrapped up the afternoon with some cakes and hot chocolate at a French cafe right in front of the Cathedral and two good things happened on our way back- 1) We made it on time before the rains started and 2) My daughter went for her afternoon nap immediately!
Then on Sunday evening, we went out for dinner – just the three of us, to a nearby Indian restaurant and even that turned out to be a great decision! My daughter made friends with one of the guys serving us and because it wasn’t that busy, she was able to run around, while my husband and I got to enjoy our meal and have a drink- after a long time! As a rule of thumb, I like to have one outing per day, even if we’re traveling, because I think an entire day of being out tires us all and there are bound to be many more mood swings from the kid.
Now, that brings me to the subject of this blog, which is better? Being outdoors or being indoors? Since the time I can remember, my parents were very particular about spending time outdoors, and socializing. So we had a healthy mix of everything when we grew up- we even had designated TV watching hours. And I think that has stuck to me over the years as well. The times have changed a lot now though. Technology, work and to-do lists have started dominating our lives and without realizing, I’ve noticed me and most of my friends have become more stressed out and have less real fun over the years.
Given a choice, I would always prefer being outdoors, and I think childre love being outdoors too. Even if we’re socializing in a cafe or a restaurant or have gone to watch a movie in a theatre and they are all indoor- type situations, I put them in my outdoor list, since we still have to get dressed and go out of the four walls we live in, experience something new in a different place. I’ve noticed if I’ve been cooped up inside my own home for even a day- even if I have nothing to do other than watch tv, cook and read a book maybe, I start getting very jittery on the second day and I just have to do any or all of this in a different place! When I was in college and was broke, I used to go to my friend’s place and read or watch TV there! And every time I step outside my home for a few hours, even if it is for an errand or for a walk, I return home feeling fresh and finding a new found love for my home.
I would put indoor activities on my list only if the weather is really bad or if someone in the family is ill. And trust me, when this goes on for more than 3 days- I start losing my marbles. I think it is the same with my daughter and husband- which is why the three of us get so cranky if we’re cooped up together for too long! lol
This world of ours is so beautiful and there is so much to see and experience, even in our own neighborhood- maybe a new coffee shop, maybe a new movie playing at the same old theatre, maybe a new house where you’ve made friends with the dog- that sitting indoors watching TV or Netflix or even playing the same games indoors with your family feels dull in comparison:) It also makes me afraid of a future mentioned in a book I recently read- Fahrenheit 451, where people were more stuck to their screens in their ‘parlors’ instead of going out for a walk on a summer evening and appreciating the fragrance of a dandelion. I don’t want that to be my reality or any child’s reality:) Again, I’m not anti-TV or anti-screen at all- we are in a digital age after all and there is some very good entertainment available that very creative people put in so much effort to create so we can be entertained. We should watch and appreciate a bit of screen entertainment too. However, like all things that numb our brains- chocolate, alcohol, TV, fatty food maybe, – you get the idea, this should be under control and done in moderation. The trick is to always dominate everything we do in our lives, rather than let them dominate us:)
On that note, I hope everyone else had a great weekend outdoors!