August 8, 2020.
I could have stayed a week longer on vacation – on holiday – by the lake. But I have learned one lesson through my fifty plus years of life – the best of a vacation trip comes from the ending of the trip – the homecoming with days to be home.
I learned something else this vacation. (Ok, quite a few ‘something elses’) First, I will always pack seven pairs of shoes for four days. Always! Unnecessary, I know, but I cannot eliminate any of the one pair golf tennies – black, everyday white tennies, birkies, water shoes, flip flops with bling, leopard print walking sandals, and my new taupe color, suede booties.
A packing hack: I am sick of the weekly pill counter which is supposed to organize medications while you vacation. I am fortunate in that I do not need medications but I do consume a boatload of vitamins and supplements. And, because I sometimes have the mental attention span of a five year old, I take as many of them as I can in gummy form. (I include the calories in my daily diet journal – another of my habits gained in my fifty-plus years). My hack is this: Use plastic baggies. Seems like a pretty obvious solution but I think I have been conditioned that in order to be medically responsible, you must use the weekly pill containers.
Nope. Not true. Not true at all.
I recently started writing again (please see http://www.thebrickdandelion, if interested). Vacation seemed to reawaken interests of mine. Days before I left, I found myself in the habit I once had. I was writing in my head. I had stopped because it seemed all a useless struggle. I have a limited vocabulary and what I feel is a limited style of writing. Why was I writing at all?
But I missed the struggle. A piece of me needs to work in a way that only writing provides. I had a vacation that was, to me, an over-the-top, made-for-Stephie vacation. Lake Michigan was rough most of the time I stayed there. Each night, I was lulled to sleep by the waves which crashed against limestone boulder breakwaters. The hotelkeeper proudly revealed she had reserved my room for me – two floors above and less than twenty feet away from those crashing waves. (And, with a sight of dawn over the piers. Divine.)
I biked – I biked! I perched on the piers to watch a Sturgeon Bay salvage company’s fleet of tugboats and dredging equipment scour the harbor bottom. Fish tugs worked in and out of the rivers. I golfed in an outing (in my first official -great looking -golf outfit). I ate breakfasts of asparagus spinach omlettes and grapefruit juice.
I wrote. I swam. I created. I rested.
Coming home, I decided to incorporate these new habits or at least make them new habits. Obvious isnt it? But how many of us busy ourselves, leaving self-care behind?
How do I begin? Well, first I gave myself time. I would like to say I brilliantly planned it that way and to a point, it is true. But no, I would have to give credit to pure, dumb luck. I took the vacation time.
Wear the Dress. Or capris. Or….
There is wisdom in the advice to “wear the dress“. Although it is a literal truth for me, we all should adopt our own style. For me, returning home to errands, cleaning and organizing, I unpacked my vacation clothes to realize that I stll had sundresses to wear. Day one at home, I wore my red sundress with an oversized white shirt, switching to my “Yellow Submarine” hoodie later in the day.
Wear.the.dress. or the shorts. Or the capris. Whatever new outfit – wear it for you. Now, had I been doing construction work or hauling bricks, I might have dressed differently. But for housework, paperwork and errands? And fetching my dog Wally from Doggy Camp? Wear the dress!
Next piece of lake vacation wisdom: Give yourself the time and tools to organize. As I began tackling laundry, I remembered a pre-vacation vow. I need to weed through my closet. Purge time. I think hotel rooms are perfect examples of how little room is needed to live and how little I really need. (Except for shoes and blankets!) While I pack, my wardrobe choices revealed how little of my total closet I actually wear much less how little of the selections I actually adore.
Dress your body like you love it. Obvious isnt it? But not so obviously done. Plus, there is nothing quite like coming home, showering, then blanketing oneself in favorite sweats. But the following day, I return to the love of my summer dresses for everyday wear. And I begin to tackle projects I have left undone.
During the remodel home project, I had left artwork leaning against a wall. I would only stub my toe once or twice a day on the edges of their frames. They are a lovely mix of a wintery landscape painted by my late mother-in-law, a print of an antique photo of Two Rivers harbor given to me by my son and a framed 1920’s ad for a French bicycle company (it’s a lovely European nude, ornately framed). Tonight I finally framed the harbor print, then hung the four. Vacation lesson: Give yourself the time and the tools. Sometimes “tools” are not only the hammer and nails from the workbench, but includes your own attention. Give yourself the permission to give the attention to those seemingly insignificant matters.
Last – fuel yourself properly and consistently. And, given the chance, eat el fresco.
Vacation lessons. Listen to them.
Give yourself time, tools, attention, love, organization, and fuel.
“Wear that dress.” (or capris or whatever is your ‘look’).
Lots of love to you on whatever adventure awaits you (even if its post vacation laundry and hanging artwork!)