24 Nov Four lessons to living a life you never have to take a vacation from
As I write this, I’m poolside on vacation.
This is our eleventh day here and I’ve learned quite a few key lessons that have shifted my thinking.
Lesson 1: Get in the pool mama
I’ve always had the thought, until recently, that I didn’t want to be seen in a bathing suit. But it’s the “by who” that really counts.
After putting cellulite on my gratitude many times I have come to embrace all of me unconditionally. It hasn’t been easy because I needed to drag myself here, and it didn’t take five minutes but I’m here.
My kids used to watch me holding myself prisoner by the opinions of others. I didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t set myself free until I saw them always grabbing Daddy’s hand when they wanted to have fun and it hurt my heart.
Your children will reach for your hand for a limited number of days. This time in their lives is finite. I don’t care what size you are – whether is 00 or 100 – get in the pool as many times as you can. Your fear of what other people think will never fix the regret of never having your hand pulled by tiny fingers.
Lesson 2: Reconnect, reconnect, reconnect
When is the last time you had your family in a room and you just played without distraction. No phones, no tvs, no devices. Nothing. Just you, them, maybe some games, a pool.
If you haven’t done it, I’m giving you permission right this second to schedule something. Yes, I said schedule something because the speed at which our lives move it is so easy to forget the things we need to do. So, grab your phone and open up your calendar then set a date.
Reconnecting with our children was magical, not because we’re at Disney but because we have truly left everything else behind and we are allowing ourselves to just be.
Imagine what our lives would look like and feel like if we dialled back the clock a little bit and didn’t have cellphones and tablets. Would we connect more to each other?
Not gonna lie, I am totally guilty of spending too much time on my phone because it’s how I run my business but since feeling what it’s like to completely disconnect I can now detach from it and reserve time for us, just us, without the distraction of the millions of people in that little device.
Lesson 3: Adopt new habits
What would it look like if we acted like we were on vacation all the time? As most couples, my husband and I bicker sometimes about the most stupid things like why do you not flip the lid closed on the toothpaste kind of stupid. But on vacation we’re holding hands more, hugging more, being more conscious of how we’re speaking to each other and the kids.
It feels really good. If it does, then why can’t we put more effort to making this our permanent state? Ha, I’m the first one to say “it’s because real life kicks in…” But vacation is real life too, just geographically different. And sure, we don’t have dishes and vacuuming to do but we’re still with the same people day in and day out.
How can we choose to live like we’re always on vacation?
It’s all in the way we think. First off, why do we have a life we need to take a vacation from? That one hits me in the gut every time I say it. Usually it’s because we’re financially overextended, our schedules rival any major airport, and it’s all too much for us to juggle.
Then don’t you think it’s time to release some stuff? But what?! Yup, I can hear you asking that because I’m hearing myself ask the same thing.
Instead of looking at quantity of life, with all of the extracurricular stuff we’re slotting into tiny little windows of time, let’s downsize.
This is an exercise that’s pretty cool. Write down all of the things you do every day. Getting ready for work, driving to work, working, driving home, getting dinner ready, doing groceries, getting little Sally to soccer, dressing Billy up for his football practice, driving to the events, doing homework, having coffee with a friend (as if that happens), doing laundry, housecleaning, downtime for you (as if that happens either), sleeping. Make a whole list.
Then, look at how many hours you think that adds up to. Now take a look at what that time actually is. It’s not just driving to work, it’s the putting on the boots, losing your keys, running back into the office because you forgot something, running into the pharmacy, shovelling the walkway… all the extras add up to you never feeling like you ever have enough time to be doing all the things you think you need to do.
So how can you possibly fix time?
If you’re going to create new habits it’s going to take some creative thinking.
Find a neighbour who can carpool to the activities with you.
Take turns doing grocery shopping.
Hire someone to do your taxes.
Hire someone to mow the lawn and clear the snow.
Get creative in looking for solutions – you can post in a local mom group, brainstorm with friends. Guaranteed there are answers for you out there.
Lastly, you can eliminate some of the things that you just don’t want to do or tolerate anymore and forgive yourself for giving them up. Your peace of mind will be your reward.
Lesson 4: Take all the pictures
I look like my mother. This isn’t something I am especially proud of given the history we have. Soooo in photos I’m silently critiquing how I look, what my posture is like, the clothes I’m wearing and how much I do not want to look like her.
It’s a work in progress but here’s the thing, never once did I say “no, I don’t want to be in the photo.” Again, no matter what size I am, who I look like, or how frumpy my clothes look in a pictures after I’ve gotten drenched on the Kali River Rapids ride I’m going to be in the damn picture.
Before we planned this trip my husband and I both said “the next time we get to Disney, we are going to be amazing shape. We’ll be able to walk all the miles and we’ll have the stamina of 20 year olds.” Guess what didn’t happen. We didn’t lose a pound, we are actually in worse shape than we were the first time we were here and we didn’t even care. Best part, the kids didn’t notice or care either.
Instead, we’re all keeping up to each other and enjoying every single moment. Together.
So if there’s anything I wish you would take from this, it’s this – be present in your life. Appreciate who you chose to be with, to create your family with, and love on those little people as much as you possibly can while loving and accepting exactly who you are in this moment, because you are worthy of a life you never need to take a vacation from.