Previously published in the Hughson Chronicle-Denair Dispatch.
Ah, vacation. Time to put aside our tasks, rest, relax, sight-see and love life. Like searching for that light shining in the darkness while I navigate the ocean, giving us direction, I was ready.
And I was no fool, I went in prepared, as the previous Sunday posts shared. By and large, between children and medical supplies, we were covered, they were entertained. We had the natural first night back madness, but other than that, we were good.
I walked away from our vacation feeling something was lacking. I felt sluggish. Was it the margaritas? The lack of exercise? The lack of reading time?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
The vacation itself is not self-care.
The light itself is not enough.
I wanted to go on vacation to throw away all my tasks, my to-do lists, the endless list of things I must keep in mind.
I left behind the dishes and the meals (not that I succeed so well at cooking anyway).
But there are a few tasks on my to-do list that must remain, like showering.
Other things are less obvious: exercise, morning prayer, time alone for reading or reflection. I already know, an evening cocktail makes deep reading impossible for me, so choosing to imbibe throughout vacation means I miss out on many a good thing.
The cocktail is there, pleasant and sociable.
But there is the price.
Vacation often means less space for the little exercise I do at home. Heat and humidity meant walks were less than perfectly pleasant…but not impossible.
I forgot my breviary and bible, the sole source of regular prayer for me. We had our rosaries…we could have prayed the rosary.
Afternoons became lazy.
I thought that by being lazy, we were still engaging in self-care.
That is not self-care.
Rather, self-care are those activities that fill the cup, not just stop the overflow.
Now vacation takes a different turn.
A complex array of glass and gadgets illuminates the light so the navigator can see it.
Rather than a time to escape life’s demands, perhaps vacation is the time to meet them, as a family, because for me, family is my life’s demand.
Instead of housekeeping, meal planning and work…we could read together, sing together, play together.
Separating the glass and light make little sense.
I am still learning what my needs are and what my family’s needs are. A day away is a good thing for me, to escape the schedules.
A day with them, away from the world, is a good thing for me, to escape the distraction.
Some things only make work together. Even away from home, even with family and not alone, I must keep filling my cup.
I will add this to my list…for next time.