When my husband and I bought our home in LOW in 2008 as weekenders, our plan was to commute from Northern Virginia for several years before becoming full-timers. However, after realizing that we had made it to the lake 51 of those first 52 weekends, our plans–and status–changed. The allure of the lake was simply too great for us to resist! I naturally anticipated a huge life change. Like many residents who moved here under similar circumstances, I imagined a substantially slower-paced life, a more “selfish” life, a life of lazy, relaxed, carefree days void of long agendas and to-do lists so long that they could never be accomplished in three days, much less one. Two-and-a-half years later, some things have changed, and some haven’t.
I am a creature of habit. Each morning, I am up by 5am and off to begin my daily routine in my pajamas, uninterrupted, cell phone free! I exit LOW through the front gate in focused, hot pursuit of my first shot of caffeine. I am known at McDonald’s by my order: large, unsweet iced tea with lemon and light ice. After catching up with the early morning crew, I then drive up Route 20 and enter the lake through the back gate…where that 25 mph speed limit I initially despised is welcomed. I immediately look straight ahead to see if I will be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of wildlife near Turtle Island. As I turn right to head around the lake to prolong my solitude (instead of turning left toward my home), I take everything in. I breathe. I
observe. I think. I discover. I feel. I reflect. I relax before beginning my over-the-top crazy-busy day that I thought would no longer exist as a full-timer.
There isn’t any one event in particular that occurs on my early morning jaunts that allows me to feel so fortunate to live in LOW. It can be a traffic jam caused by stopping in the middle of the road to allow my nemesis (the squirrels) or chipmunks to cross the road without looking both ways, or spotting a swan glide across the lake through the trees, or following a hawk in the sky as far as possible with my eyes (without going over the speed limit or going off of the road), or witnessing a dad, with 2 children and a tail-wagging dog on a leash in tow, attempting to help his struggling son put the umbrella down (while getting drenched) prior to getting on the bus, or seeing those residents participating in lake life by walking, jogging, bike riding, fishing, or playing golf.
What has changed is that I thoroughly appreciate the 25 mph speed limit that demands I slow down and enables me to decompress! I don’t live the “selfish” life I thought I wanted because I’ve changed my mind; I do not want it. The LOW community has inspired me to live the life I DO want; I have found my passion. Please…don’t simply enter or exit the lake en route to somewhere else. Life is a journey, so enjoy it. Partake in the beautiful sights, people, and experiences offered to you within the gates right here at LOW–just patiently waiting for you to discover them.
Until next time…it’s another beautiful day at the lake!
Photo courtesy of John Stuart Edwards