live your

  • Rebecca P. Cohen

Say 'Yes' Every Day

Reprinted from The Vail Daily

Think of your best vacations. What if you could bring the feeling of those moments into your every day life? Open to adventure, smiling, laughing, the sun on your face, the time with people you love. Having just returned to the Vail Valley from vacation with my family, I am reminded that there are little ways to create those meaningful moments every day in this beautiful place we call home.

One day on vacation, I was nudged awake at 5am by my ten year old when my jet lagged body wanted to sleep. “Mom, will you watch the sunrise with me?” I willed myself out of bed in a slight panic when I noticed that it was already light outside. The night before, my son negotiated the wake up call with me after our family had just visited the impressive Great Wall of China, a portion of which was 30-minute hike straight up a mountain from our hotel. He wanted to go again the next morning to watch the sunrise. Now noticing daylight, I felt like I might have let my son down. We got ready quickly and asked my husband and thirteen year old if they wanted to join us (to no response).

Walking as fast as we could, I started to notice the birdcalls and my son hopping with ease from rock to rock, up and up along the meandering path shaded by trees. I noticed I was not hiking up so easily, although faster than the day before when I casually took in the scenery and snapped countless pictures with my phone. We could see the brightest, golden sunshine hitting the tops of the mountains and we were motivated to keep a quick pace, hoping we wouldn’t be too late.

At the very top of the path, my son turned the corner first and with a smile said, “Hand me your phone.” Catching up to him, I took in the stunning sight. The scene, still incredible with the seemingly endless Wall along the jagged peaks of green mountains, had changed to even more magnificent while bathed in the golden light of the sunrise. The two of us felt as if we had the whole Great Wall of China to ourselves. We made the moment on the Wall last an hour, and it is a moment neither one of us will ever forgot.

How can we be more present to the beauty around us every day? What can we say ‘Yes’ to more of and bring back those feelings of vacation and precious time with the important people in our lives? Watch the sunrise, take a walk by the creek or river, stay up and watch the stars, take a moment to notice the sounds and sights of nature around us.

For me, I need to listen more to my kids and really hear what they are saying and suggesting. I certainly didn’t have the great idea to hike the Great Wall at sunrise. Three days later, while I was busy taking photos at The Forbidden City, my thirteen year old put his hand gently on my arm, looked into my eyes and said, “Mom, just be present in the moment.” Children have wise advice for busy adults.

The magical feelings of vacation are available to us in our every day lives if we stop to notice what could be different and make a choice to listen.

Rebecca P. Cohen is author of PJ’s Backyard Adventures, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, and creator of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards. Her website is

#greatwallofchina #familyvacation #familytravel #sunrise #togetherness #meaningfulmoments #15minutesoutside #pjsbackyardadventures #wherewillyoutakepj #beoutsideandgrow