I’ve got the back-from-vacation blues.
Even after being home for a week, all I want to do is go back to the beach.
Life is great at the beach. No responsibilities. Very little clothing. Quiet waves rolling in and out. Throw in a cocktail and good book, and it’s just about perfect. Why would anyone want to leave?
But the resistance to returning to my real life feels as if it’s rooted deeper than the vacation itself. Truth be told, I didn’t want to come back from our trip to Europe a few months ago.
Sure, I miss my bed. But if I had Oprah’s money and could take my bed along, there would be nothing pulling me back to Georgia.
I don’t have anything against Georgia. Living here has taught me to appreciate nature in ways I never imagined. Now I seek out nature the same way I look for cute boutiques. And while I still get my shopping in, I feel an unexplainable thrill when I experience the beauty of creation. I thank Georgia’s numerous trees, rolling hills, and waterfalls for that.
So, what is it about this place that makes me not want to come back? Is it the place? Or could it be what the place represents?
I used to think it was our house. The first time I saw it, I cried. Though it looked similar to the house we left in Naperville, it didn’t feel like home. But the timing and location worked, so we bought it. For many years, it served us well as our three children, friends and family floated in and out. There were lots of parties, laughing and deep conversations after dinner at the kitchen table. It started to feel like home. But then we lost Matt. And what was a huge active family home now feels empty even when it’s full of people. It’s a huge reminder of the past. And though my husband and I have decided to sell it after our daughter graduates from college, I doubt a new house is going to fix my resistance to resuming my real life after vacation.
The thing about vacation is we get a break from reality. Also, we can change how we see ourselves. At the beach, I am laidback and calm. Traveling around Europe, I was adventurous and cosmopolitan. It’s a bit like playing dress up. You get to try on different ways of being. But what happens when you don’t want to return to the real you?
That’s exactly where I am. I don’t want to wear the-Kim-who-lives-in-Georgia anymore, and I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with my house or the town I live in.
Is this a fresh face of grief?
At home, I come face to face with my disappointments, failings and let’s face it –mourning. On vacation, I don’t have to think about my life. I don’t spend so much time alone, trying to make the best of my sorrow and loss. I’m not reminded of all that was.
No wonder I’d rather be on vacation.
The beach feels hopeful. Europe feels carefree. But the truth is I don’t need another trip. I need to figure out how to make my life work as it is here.
So, how do I do that?
Perhaps the first place to start is by getting out of my comfort zone. Too often we do the things the way we’ve always done them and wonder why we feel uninspired.
What would happen if I approached my time at home with same sense of adventure I have when I’m vacationing. What if I tried new places? Or took a cool class? Explored a new side of town?
Another key to being content where I am is accepting who I am. And if I don’t like who that is, I have to be willing to change it. We are never too old to be the person we’ve always longed to be.
We may not be able to change the reality of our life, but we can change how we experience it.