My husband and I recently returned from our first extended vacation in 11 years. Embarrassing to admit because if you’ve been to one of my workshops, you know how strongly I advocate for and teach the importance of making time for regular mini and extended vacation breaks. I remind all clients and seminar audiences that with a bit of creativity and planning, we don’t have to bust our budgets to get away from it all. In addition, the world really won’t end if we are absent for a while from our regular personal and professional routines. I also teach about the value of planning as far ahead as we can so that we leave things in good order for our co-workers, leave with more peace of mind and so that OUR interruptions are kept to a minimum while on vacation. Well worth our efforts for all these reasons and more.
With all that said, my husband and I do pretty good at making room for mini-breaks in our lives even if only for a fleeting few minutes or hours. Still, we allowed too many years to slip by before we took our an extended break from the world. We tried to get away in 2008 but our house sitter fell through at the last minute (which meant a painful vacation rental deposit forfeiture in addition to the disappointment of it all…Grrrrrr).
Back to our recent “escape” from reality…. for 11 days, it was just the two of us…no work travels, no client calls, no horses, donkeys, dogs, cats to feed, tend to, no tense or toxic communications to survive…in other words, none of the normal twists and turns of our busy lives (Okay..I admit I did a little bit of twittering and email replying but it was truly a very little for me!). And our vacation was truly wonderful from start to finish…perhaps the vacation life style we lived would be boring to many people as we didn’t run ourselves to death trying to see the sights, try out new restaurants or other typical vacation activities for many……we just stayed put as “they” say. With the ocean as our backdrop, we hunkered down with plenty of food, books, good music, rocking chairs and movies. TV was an option but was rarely turned on. Ditto re my laptop. It was quiet, restful, healing, uplifting and basically like one long, slow 11-day deep breath! Excuse the redundancy, but it truly was a rare and greatly appreciated “time off for good behavior” for both of us.
My wish for you — If you’re like us, you have a zillion excuses of why you can’t take an extended vacation. I encourage you to re-ponder this one. I admit it can be a pain in the ol’ wazoo making all the decisions regarding just HOW you’ll pull it off, where and when to go, finding a way to do it within tight budgets, coordinating house sitters, if needed, for indoor pets, (and barn sitters for horse and donkey nuts like us), planning ahead work-wise, packing,loading, unpacking, unloading, etc., etc….but as we again learned, it is SO worth the effort.
For 11 blissful days, we were able to reacquaint and renew our bonds with ourselves and each other without the normal interruptions and diversions of our busy lives…. we had un-rushed moments to better reflect upon this wonderful journey on earth called life, the good and not-so-good people relationships in our lives, important decisions-t0-be-made that were on our plate….to read books some of which had been in our to-be-read piles for years….to talk and walk together in conversation or silence…..to just be still.
One of my recent posts about the potential consequence of health care procrastination coupled with this one reflects my personal efforts during 2009 at ending at least some of my unwise procrastination habits. Most of us are experts when it comes to procrastination from years of honing our delay tactic skills. By the way, a great book on this subject was written many years ago by Dr. Linda Sapadin…while I haven’t read any of her newer books (again, procrastination’s my only excuse), I suspect they are as worthwhile to read as her first book, It’s About Time
The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them. To this day, I recommend this book to my clients and seminar groups. It is well written and as an aside, I decided I was guilty of practicing all 6 style of procrastination as described by Dr. Sapadin…I read it initially merely as an additional resource for my clients and workshop groups…and as many of these folks would tell you how it did indeed help them…however, it ended up being a very wise book for me to read for personal reasons and I highly recommend it to you.
I encourage you to do a private self-audit of any areas of your professional and personal life where your delayed health, relationship and/or stress management procrastination may be playing with fire so to speak. We know when we are about to hit bottom or are in the midst of burnout whether we admit it to others or not or worse, we try to deny it ourselves. And we know when we are flirting dangerously with ignored health matters and/or vacation deprivation. I love being with family and friends, I am blessed with a career and business nurtured from my passions, I find peace and comfort from the outside world within the loving arms of family and the joys of living on a small ranch with our sweet herd of 4-legged family members …BUT…still my husband and I needed a break – big time! We all do…..breaks from all the good things in our lives and certainly from the not-s0-good …. time to de-stress, be still, play …. time to renew ourselves, our attitudes and our souls.
If this is an area of your life that might need more attention and less procrastination, then I wish you all the best as you make “it” happen.
With wishes for plenty of “rocking chair” moments,