The day has finally arrived! You’re on your way to your vacation destination! Then (ominous music) something happens! Ker-pow your tire blows out! Your flight gets delayed and you miss your connecting flight! Your hotel room isn’t as advertised: lumpy mattresses, poor water pressure or worse yet bugs!!! Someone has a stomachache or starts to run a fever. You need to take your child to an urgent care center, because that seed that wafted into his eye scratched his cornea.
As wonderful as vacations are, there are NO PERFECT VACATIONS! Routines get upset and our sleep and eating habits change. Maybe we aren’t used to spending SO much time together in such a little space. Energy levels and interests often do not sync up for everyone. There’s the traveler that can get up at dawn and go till dark and then there’s those of us that have to be choosy about what we spend our limited energy on. We cannot do everything as much as we want to. Our bodies just don’t cooperate and this can lead to frustration and feeling guilty, because we feel like we’re “slowing everyone else down.”
Just as with our regular days, we need to choose wisely. Are we going to focus on the negative events that happen and our negative feelings or are we going to make the most of the situation and focus on the good and fun events? In my experience, when I focus only on what is going wrong my mood and attitude rapidly go downhill and I enjoy nothing. When I remember to keep things in perspective and focus on what is good in a situation, I can find experiences to enjoy even though everything is not perfect.
Since no vacation or trip will ever be perfect, we need to extend grace and kindness to each other and to yourself when tempers flare or someone becomes irritable. We need to look out for each other: are we drinking enough water, eating regularly and not just junk food, getting enough rest each night. We need to be honest with each other when we need a break and try not to feel like we’re ruining the other person’s vacation. Too often everyone is trying to please the other person, when they would be happier slowing down. We should not need a vacation after our vacation to recover. So my friends, slow down and enjoy and take care of each other. I will try to remember this as well the next time. Unfortunately, I’m always smarter after the fact.