It’s officially the 6th day of my vacation, and I have come to the realization that I simply do not vacation well. I am excellent at planning vacations, booking fun excursions (Brookfield zoo on Saturday, fun!!) and finding just the right souvenir, but when it comes to being on vacation, that’s another story. I am not served well by deviating from my routine too much, especially once I get back home. I always like to leave a day or two after a trip to be at home and catch up on some chores and rest up so that I can actually be somewhat useful at work once I do go back. That’s exactly where I find myself now, among a pile of laundry. I just don’t quite know what to do with myself, even though technically, I’m still on vacation! It really is a complete catch-22 because since I am still on a break, I don’t really want to do many of the things that I feel like I need to do now that I am back home like finishing up all this laundry and cooking dinner. At the same time, I crave being back in my normal routine: working out, writing, getting up and having coffee on the front porch. Nothing is essentially stopping me from doing those things now that I am back home and indeed I am doing some of them like writing on here and in my journal. Yet, I also have this feeling of wanting to milk every single truly obligation free second before I really have to go back to being an adult, running my life. I daydream of lying in a hammock for hours on a breezy afternoon or taking a super long nap and then just waking up and eating chocolate and then some more chocolate for dessert. But even though I can essentially do all of that, I don’t because it feels so foreign to me to not be doing something from my typical schedule. It’s a crimp in my creative, vacation flow.
This is the problematic thing about being busy. Even if you’re like me and shun being busy for the sake of it, you may still be doing many things that are meaningful or that you find personally rewarding. You too might be doing the ‘good’ kind of busy, like volunteering or writing. Being on vacation makes me feel like I have to go cold turkey on those types of activities that normally occupy a lot of my regular time so that I can focus on pure blissful relaxation. The irony is that most of those things are things I actually enjoy doing like training for my 5K. It may sound obnoxious but it’s the truth. I feel that for the sake of relaxation I need to just commit myself to unwinding, except I don’t really know how to unwind besides doing the things I feel like I shouldn’t be doing on vacation because I’m doing them in my normal non-vacationing life. Does this sound as crazy to you as it feels to me?
I guess if you’re used to a very fast-paced lifestyle of good, desirable activities, you can find yourself feeling anxious when all of a sudden you feel like you should trade that in for the sake of true relaxation and re-invigoration. It feels that this just causes a bigger headache than if you incorporated some of those things in your vacation downtime. I think it’s ingrained that a vacation should be a complete unplugging, a chance to leave all worries at home and immerse yourself in something else for a few days, coming back recharged. Who is going to argue with that? The problem is if you don’t pay attention to the types of things that already are doing some of the recharging for you on a regular basis, then you might be left feeling more anxious after your vacation than before. This has been quite eye opening and I now realize that my mistake was subscribing to the above notion of what a vacation ‘should’ look like, rather than taking the time to do what makes me happy without the added stress of having to wake up at a certain time or spend time commuting to work. You might just have to bring a little bit of your regular life on your next vacation to truly get the most out of your well-deserved time off.