Life Lessons from Chasing Sunsets
If you've followed my Instagram or my blog, or any of the other various digital channels I entertain, for little over a week, you already know this fact to be true: I'm obsessed with chasing sunsets. Honestly. I've never known an addiction quite so gripping, not even my several-month-spurts of smoking cigarettes or my seemingly endless cravings for travel and macarons (sometimes simultaneously). To be totally frank, I can't even quite recall when or where this obsession started. I know there was a particular time in my life when a sunset meant nothing more than another day passing, and I probably never actually sat to purposely and intently watch a sun go down in its entirety until my earliest of adult years.
But, somehow, watching the last of today's light fall gracefully beyond the horizon just got me. I was hooked.
There's something innately romantic and moving about a sunset. And aside from the million epic photographs and the countless breathless moments I've stolen from my various sunsets, I've gotten a lot more out of them, too.
Here are my top life lessons from chasing sunsets.
The best things occur when you're least expecting them.
I'm standing at the shoreline of the ocean for 30 minutes snapping a million pictures. The sunset is closing in, and I think to myself, I've got it. I pack my things up and walk 150 feet back to wherever I came from, when a quick glance over my shoulder back in the direction of the sunset makes me jump. Suddenly the sky has turned all kinds of vibrant pinks and oranges, and there I go, running back to the shoreline in an excited panic. Life lesson: even when you think you've got it, there might just be something better around the corner.
Luck is the combination of preparedness and paying attention.
I'm always alert for sunsets. Not because I'm ultra-smart or ecstatic to be carrying around my bulky DSLR with me everywhere I go, but because I've learned that the best sunsets arise when I'm least prepared. So, I figure, if it's a clear day and I'm heading outdoors in the afternoon, I'll bring my camera and stay alert for any changes up above that might signal an epic sunset. Life lesson: turns out Oprah was right, as always, and luck is nothing more than the meeting point of preparedness and paying attention.
The rush makes it so, so worth it.
I always get this huge rush when I see an amazing sunset. Even just thinking of this causes a rush (pun intended) of memories invading my senses. I remember when I was living in Budapest, I had returned for a quick getaway to Greece, and I was just approaching my favorite bridge (and sunset-watching spot) when I began to notice the most incredible sunset of my life ensuing. I got such a rush of, dopamine I'm guessing, just running up and down the bridge capturing this incredible moment from all different angles.
People were lined up the bridge like never before, and everyone had their iPhone or DSLR out. People were excitedly exclaiming to one another (in Hungarian) about (I'm sure) what they were seeing. The sky was just lit on fire with pink and orange. Life lesson: the rush makes life so, so worth it, and the rush means you'll never forget that moment. Look for the rush. Live for the rush.
When you get that intuitive "jump now" feeling, you just have to.
Because I love sunset so much, my mammal brain must have at some point decided that watching sunset is good for my survival. And then somewhere along the line, my intuition linked up with my mammal brain, and now I get these intuitive flashes to get outside, like now, with my DSLR. It's weird, but I swear it happens frequently, and the feeling is always correct. I rarely miss a great sunset in Vancouver now. Though I'm sure living right at the beach definitely helps me here, too. Life lesson: always listen to your intuitive flashes and act on them immediately.
Reflecting on life is a must. Seriously.
I've always been a big thinker. Or perhaps more accurately, a big reflector. Not that I reflect things like a stop sign on a beaming day, but that I really like to sit back and reflect on my life. Or my past. Or just life in general. I feel it's cathartic and necessary for inner growth. Chasing sunsets, or more accurately, watching sunsets, has been my biggest helper when it comes to gaining insight by reflecting on whatever it is that's on my mind. I have about a hundred sunsets to thank for my evolution as a human being. Life lesson: don't sweep your past under the rug, turn a cold shoulder to your own broken heart, or "forget" to say I'm sorry to someone you love. Reflect on your past, your heart, your soul, your memories, your dreams, and even what has yet to occur.
There are so many life lessons you can learn from just simply enjoying sunset every night. Or at least every dry night, if you're a Vancouver dweller. Rising in the morning just for sunset while visiting the east coast? Absolutely life changing!
What I'm wearing: