I am just getting back from the first mini summer vacation; this one was 11 days. Not actually so mini.Our summer vacation started off with 7 days in Nashville, Tennessee and capped off with 4 days in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina with great friends (I’ll write you some great travel posts about that over the next few weeks but today we’re focusing on how hard it is to come back to reality.) I have to be honest, it was exhilarating but reentry is HARD! Really hard. Like I feel like I’m moving through molasses hard.
I barely looked at my social media except for sharing a couple of photos on Instagram (because my phone was out of actual storage space) and I went a little overboard on Periscope (@DeborahCruz you have to watch the video about the drive thru safari. There is nothing quite so funny/frightening as a Bison sticking his head into your car trying to eat your tiny people.) This vacation gave me a chance to decompress and look at things a little softer and less cynical. I saw the beauty instead of the time consumption.
I’ve been back from summer vacation for 24 hours and I just can’t get back into the swing of things. I miss exploring a strange town, hanging with great people and being unplugged. Coming home and back to my reality of cleaning house, obligations and deadlines is hard. Reentry into the real world and the summer vacation blues are real.
You know, getting caught up in the grind is what keeps us going. Every day we get up, do our thing and power on to the next. It becomes old hat and we do it because we are supposed to. We never step back and deeply inhale, enjoy the moment. We can’t because every moment precedes another moment. There is always something else pressing to be done; whether it be meeting with a neighbor, checking a status, writing a post or just getting dinner done. Life is full of obligations.
The problem is when you actually do take those moments to enjoy your life, the minutes, the days the people that surround you; then you realize what you are missing and this is what is causing my raging case of summer vacation blues. We left our bubble.
We were outside enjoying the summer weather, noticing all of the new sights and sounds around us. Trying new foods, talking to new people and doing new things. We were completely out of our comfort zone and I loved every moment of it. The girls were enthralled, in the moment and never stopped exploring and engaging. The truth is that if you stop to enjoy every moment of life, it goes slower and it is actually so good that you can’t help but want it to last forever. It usually is, we just never notice because we are stuck in the minutia.
My husband and I have had the conversation that when you are in your teens and twenties, you spend your life looking for someone to love and spend your life with. You just want that all consuming, never ending happiness but you never realize (until you have it) that THAT kind of love has a price. When you truly love and enjoy something so much, it can be your undoing. The same way slowing down and going on vacation can be your undoing. You change your perspective and you change your expectations and your limitations.
I married the man I love and I have my daughters but with that I learned that the price of that happiness, that gift, is that if I lose them, it’s not something I am sure I can bounce back from because once you’ve gone there, you can’t go back. Once you’ve seen the world in living color, it’s impossible to go back to black and white.
When you go on vacation and really enjoy it, it makes it glaringly obvious how unmagical your reality is. I know the purpose of vacation is to rest and relax but it makes the price of not resting and never relaxing almost too much to bear. I came home and it’s been raining since we returned, there are no new and exciting anything, there are no old friends to love and consort with and there are bills, responsibilities. Life seems less bright. Maybe we are gypsies but we all agree on this point.
The time with old friends was amazing, however now I am left feeling more than a little deflated because it reminded me of just how much I miss them. The places we stayed on our summer vacation were beautiful, vibrant and ethereal because we were in a dream. Reality is like a room filled with fluorescent light, it gets the job done but it is severely lacking the magic factor.
I have the summer vacation blues but there are some things I can do to cure them.
- Take more time to enjoy the moments. Consciously, make the effort.
- Explore your own town. There are a million places that I’ve never been or eaten or explored within 2 hours driving distance but I will.
- Go out of your comfort zone. Obviously what is comfortable is good but it makes us complacent. I am sick of complacency.
- Try something new. Introduce yourself to the new neighbor, visit a local gallery or the new Ethiopian restaurant that just opened. Go to see the live bands play in the park.
- Do it all while taking it all in. Don’t power through life, soak it in. Bask in it like the warmth of the summer sun.
Life might feel ordinary and boring after an exciting summer vacation but if you look, if you stop and breathe for a moment, you can always find the extraordinary right beneath the surface of the ordinary people, places and things.