A couple of years ago, I wrote about that lovely and elusive feeing we get when we’re on vacation – that sheer enjoyment that comes with relaxing at the resort or the campground or inn. It is the simple pleasure of living in the moment in a lovely place; experiencing newness and purposeful refreshment of the body and soul. I wanted to figure out how to maintain that feeling and… as luck would have it, moved to Hawai‘i.
I know that’s sounds like helluva way to live – everyone would like it, but few can attain such an existence. Well, I’m certainly not complaining about any part of it. I do love my life like crazy AND I want to explore all that goes into that right now (as I am in a car, riding from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Knoxville, Tennessee, after already being in South Bend, Indiana and St. Joseph and New Buffalo, Michigan, because that is where I could spend time with family and friends during one of my brief and few visits back to the mainland – my vacations).
For me that “newness” is exciting and awakening. I am still an adrenaline junkie, loving the rush that comes from stepping into the unknown and reaching for new experiences that push my limits a bit. I mean seriously, there are a lot of things I dream about doing, but I don’t really want to do any of them over and over again, day in and day out for the rest of my life.
What I find is that the moving and learning everything new, including names and local restaurants, is like being on vacation. It can be a lot of “work,” but look at what we do on vacations, right? We set a schedule to go see this, eat there and do that. We have to get souvenirs, get our nails done and try the hike or cruise or pasta that so-and-so recommended, after the walking tour and show. Unless you go on vacation to do nothing but sleep and read, you’re putting some effort and decisions into it – the same things we do at work.
The difference here may be only that we think of it differently – we think of it all as what we want to do. Hey, I’m on vacation, I’m going to do what I want… and that means I want to go through great effort to get tickets to the hottest show in town, or I’m going to shop until my ankles swell.
Now, there’s another aspect to all of this I know I’m neglecting here – doing all of the above a significant other, family and/or friends, rather than our co-workers, employees and bosses. And that is what I’m almost doing now… I say almost because I’m with family and friends, but we’re not going to spas or big shows.
We’re not at the beach, on a boat or on skis. We’re hanging out. We’re making dinner, then eating it. We’re entertaining the kids, going to the grocery store and playing board games at night – and we’re taking a lot of pictures together.
I love seeing these people and I miss actual physical contact with them. I only get to see them once or twice a year now that I’m living “on vacation.”
It was an ironic twist to I realize that, because I am living in such a vacation place – 5000 miles away from my previous existence – my actual vacations have become frantic jaunts between loved-ones. And there is no time for anything else.
So, while living in paradise and visiting my beautiful Midwest family and friends, I’m living my vacation, but never taking one. My relaxation happens on weekends at home and planes and cars on the mainland. My rejuvenation comes from the knowledge that life is full of choices and these are the ones I have made.