Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vacation's End

It is the end of vacation in our home. With a high-school student and a middle school teacher comprising two-thirds of our home, school vacations define the ebb and flow of our lives. I am fortunate enough to have the flexibility in my job to take my vacations when they have vacations. Although I did have some hours of work to finish up during the week, it was still vacation. I still slept late every day, and we went for a walk in the middle of the afternoon every day. And it was relaxing.

And then yesterday, it suddenly dawned on all three of us at the same moment that our vacation was about to end. Isn’t it strange how Saturday morning can be the most amazing stretch of glorious possibilities when it signals the start of your weekend; and yet can feel like the abysmal end of the world when it dawns your vacation is almost over?

Saturday dawned with a backache for me, and a vacation-is-almost-over hole in the heart of my partner. We were feeling all kinds of self-pity, stuck-in-the-house blahs, when I read the Tweet of a friend:

If misery loves company, it also responds to an inspiring kick-in-the-butt. And so we picked our sorry selves up from our sad sack palace of wallowing and headed out into the daylight. A walk in the woods was definitely called for. We headed to a part of the bike path that we had first explored last spring and trekked through six miles of brilliant winter sunshine! We walked through the local park and alongside a river, stopping to admire crests of ice caked around a waterfall. It was a magnificent day for a walk.

It would have been so easy to stay on the couch, buried in the anger and sadness that our vacation was over. But it turned out to be just as easy – and a whole lot more rewarding – to celebrate what a great vacation it has been by continuing the vacation feeling for as long as possible. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself when life gets difficult or sad or scary. But it is important to remember that we are in control of how we feel about our lives. We can be sad and scared; or we can get out, find the sunshine and look for something special in our days.

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