So hey, it’s been a while.
I’ve been busy. It’s summer, and for once in a really long time I’m actually taking the time to have a summer.
See, for as long as I can remember during my working life I’ve been one of those people who doesn’t really take time off. I didn’t see the point because the things that stressed me out would still be there when I got back, only there’d be more of them because they would pile up while I was gone and I’d be more stressed because I was catching up on the stress I missed while I was on vacation.
And really, who needs that?
It turns out I was wrong.
Yes, Mom, write it down. I admitted it.
I WAS WRONG. You’re welcome.
It turns out that taking the time to unplug on a regular basis makes the stress a lot easier to take.
Before my dad died I was a stressed out hot mess clutching brand-new Xanax and Buspar prescriptions and questioning whether I was starting early menopause, what with the mood swings and the shakes and the heart palpitations. And the tears. Oh the tears.
I am generally not someone who goes through these things outside of being preggers, and I can assure that is most definitely not the case, so it was kind of a shock to deal with ALL of it all of a sudden.
Then I went to Arkansas to be with my dad when he died, and things changed somewhat in my head. At first when I got home I was even more of a mess with the crying at inopportune times and not being able to decide what I wanted to eat for dinner let alone make big decisions. Gradually, though, I’ve made adjustments in my thinking because I realized some important things.
Enjoy your life now.
That whole work hard now so you can enjoy retirement mentality is bullshit. My dad was a mere year into retirement when he died. Judging by his health when I got there, there wasn’t a whole lot of retirement enjoyment going on there.
I think it’s a false promise we make to ourselves that if we sacrifice now we’ll be rewarded in our golden years with travels and endless free time. There’s a big difference between financially planning so that you don’t have to eat cat food when you retire, or worse, not get to retire at all, and putting all of your “this is when I will enjoy my life” eggs in the retirement basket.
So instead of plugging away in the office all summer while everyone else takes a vacation, and then resenting that they’re gone and I’m not (how weird is that – no one said I couldn’t go but me) I’ve been leaving work at work and taking time off.
We bought an RV and headed to the mountains for a weekend. We broke the shit out of it, but no one got seriously hurt, and we had a lot of beers and laughs and good times with family and met a whole bunch of new potential friends.
The stress was still there when I got back, but it was a little easier to take.
I went to a blogging conference and didn’t camp out in the hotel room the whole time like I thought I might, I actually hung out with my friends. I soaked up the healing energy of girlfriend time. I loved up on my “esteem team” as one friend called it and I put faces on people I previously only knew as Twitter handles. I came home refreshed and energized in a way that only girlfriend time can do.
The stress was still here when I got home, but it was yet a little more easy to take.
We took the RV to the coast. We camped at the beach and visited a brewery and drank great beers and ate the most wonderful clam chowder. We walked on the beach and made camping ice cream and my marshmallow fell into the fire. Even though Google maps tried to kill us by sending us down a logging road that isn’t even on regular maps it’s that steep and narrow and OMG WTF does California have against guardrails we didn’t actually die and our brakes didn’t catch on fire even though they smelled like flames were shooting out of them. And at the end? We got to see this.
And when I got back the stress was still there, but it was a lot easier to take.
We’re already planning our next getaway.