Escaping Annual Escapes

 

There were days that I would crave vacations so deeply.  It was almost as if It were on a cellular level.  At times, looking forward to my next vacation was all that kept me sane as I was in the grind.  I once even had a friend tell me that I was looking forward to vacations a little too much.  I wrote his comment off, almost immediately.  How can you look forward to vacations too much? 

Once I got on vacation, It would take me a few days to actually relax.  I would also need to scramble my work email password, so that I wouldn’t live on email and stay connected to my job.  I would then disconnect so deeply, but not just from work, but from life.  I would get so wildly out of routine while I was away, and this was the only way that I feel as though I would be able to stay in flow once I returned.  It was a vicious cycle.  

As vicious as It was, though, I felt as though this was totally normal.  I truly believed everyone experienced these same feelings and cycles when they went on vacation.  

It wasn’t until 2015, when I was away for a girls’ weekend, that I realized I wasn’t in the same cycle I once was.  I was having an amazing time in Woodstock, NY, but I was also craving to be back home at it’s completion.  There was no more feeling of dread to return back home.  I even made time to do some of my normal routine while away.

When I returned home, there was no feeling of vacation hangover.  I was able to integrate back in to my life with ease.  The following month, I went away for a longer trip to Puerto Rico and Florida.  Once again, I surprised myself at the absence of this feeling of lack.  Re-integrating was seamless.   In fact, It didn’t feel like a reintegration, but more of just flow.  

I simply chalked this up to the inner work I had been doing.  (Early 2015 is the year I say I “woke up.”)  However, three years later, I am realizing that It is more than this.  Yes, the inner work was the catalyst, but the why and what behind It was bigger.

Work no longer dominated my life in 2015, and It doesn’t know.  To be honest, in 2015, I may have been a little bit on the side of being angry about the fact I had to work at all.  But now, I have a bit more balance, and I trust that work is not the top priority, but It is absolutely a high priority, and It deserves attention.  At the same time, I am able to now look at life holistically, and work from there.  There is a sense of freedom in this.  

At the same time, vacations bring me significantly more joy.  And surprisingly, I’ve found that staycations can bring as much joy as going away on a big trip.  The balance has been massive.  (And I don’t need to scramble my password anymore.)  

Here is the biggest realization, though - vacations are no longer an escape from my life.  They fuel me in different ways now.  Sometimes they are a true break.  Other times they are an opportunity to explore a new place.  Most times it’s a mix of the two. 

If you feel like vacations and time off are just an escape from work and/or life, instead of a period of rest, this a sure sign that you need some balance.  And It may feel scary in just accepting that fact.  But imagine not having a huge build up before vacation, of spending days prepping.  And imagine not feeling that 36 hour wind down period when you start your vacation.  What if you actually stayed on some routines during your time off?  Picture maybe even having to stay in contact with your job a few times here and there, and not being overwhelmed with resentment.  And here’s the kicker, what if you didn’t have anxiety the night before you returned?  There was once a time that this all seemed like a dream to me, but now, as I type this on vacation, I can assure you it’s all possible, and some curiosity and a lot of willingness to do the work will get you there.  

 
 
Sarah Senan