Vacation was great yet somehow it already feels like a lifetime ago since we returned back home. It has been a few weeks since I have written (for quite a few reasons) and in a way the time away left me with a lot of things to consider and think about before I started posting again. Being back home is even better because I missed my boys terribly and seeing their faces when we returned was just awesome. There is something to be said for going away on vacation now that we are parents because while I used to cry on our last day of a vacation and be sad about leaving, now I have something way better to look forward to in going back home and it makes the end of vacation just as good as the beginning…but I digress.
My husband and I enjoyed an extremely relaxing, chill, fun and wonderful vacation in Jamaica. Days were spent on the beach, napping, swimming in the ocean, kayaking and of course enjoying the many fruity cocktails on hand. It was a much needed break from our hectic lifestyle and a chance for us to “just be” with no expectations, deadlines or needs to be met. We missed the boys a lot and talked about them or looked at pictures often because no matter how far away we may have been, our boys are a part of who we are and nothing will change that. I considered writing while we were away but decided that it was best to leave the computer at home and just take the time to unwind and recharge which was exactly what I did.
On vacation in Jamaica I of course noticed that everyone is content, peaceful, relaxed. “Ya mon, no worries, anything you need” was the standard response to whatever we asked for at any time. No one was rushed or worried or stressed – things just rolled along and everyone was happy. The airports have reggae music and bars outside, the rest stops are an outdoor party, the overall feeling is peaceful and positive. On our third day my husband headed out to play golf and I was spending my time on the beach with a good book. As I was taking in the beach view and turquoise ocean it occurred to me that being happy here was very easy. Anytime someone at the resort asked me how I was, I always responded with an “I’m great, how could I not be in a place like this.”
This got me thinking about happiness and the impact of our environment and mind set on our daily lives. I have read many times that happiness is a choice and I try hard to remind myself of this when the kids don’t want to get dressed, when my coffee machine breaks, when it is raining or snowing, when I oversleep or when life is just annoying in general. I want to believe it in my core – that I can choose every single day to just be happy or not but for me, this is easier said than done and sometimes the pressure of being happy can actually cause more stress. As I relaxed that morning on the beach I tried to tap into what I was feeling and it became apparent that while yes I was happy, the stronger feeling was one of being content and at peace. I was not bouncing off walls and smiling ear to ear but I was taking in the moment and aware that while life isn’t perfect (did I mention that day it was cloudy with some rain) I was content and at peace with my place in it.
I guess that everyone struggles with particular areas in their own lives and for me being content or at peace is probably one of my own biggest challenges. For as long back as I can remember simply being content was always difficult for me and while much of this is attributable to my ADHD or my natural personality, the older I get the more I have learned that just as happiness can be a choice the same can be said of being content in the present moment. On one hand, my tendency to always feel a sense of discontentment has propelled success in my career, pushed me to try new activities and enhanced my life in certain ways. On the flip side, the never-ending search for more (whatever more is at a given time whether it be a new career path, a new house, a new hobby, a new purpose) has often left me feeling unhappy and disappointed in myself or my life. My tendency to focus more on the future than on the present actually corrodes my feeling of joy and happiness and I am becoming more aware that the more content and at peace I feel in my current situation the more happy I feel on a day to day basis. Of course, I will not give up on pursuing new ideas, goals and dreams and planning for the future because it is a practical and exciting part of living our lives.
Our vacation taught me many things about myself and my family. I learned that everyone can survive just fine while we are away and that my husband and I can spend hours talking or not talking and we still have that same connection as we did 15 years ago when we met. I learned that it is important to make time to have discussions that do not revolve around the kids or the logistics of our lives. I learned that I actually have to make an effort to relax all day long on a beach (okay, I already knew this one about myself). But the most important thing I brought back with me was the mindset of our week – no worries, it’s all good, anything you need. Is that a realistic expectation in everyday life – probably not. Am I letting go of all my worries -doubtful. But I did realize that letting go is not giving up; rather it is surrendering a little bit, still showing up every day to be my best self and not obsessively stressing out with expecting life to go a certain way (because it rarely does). A quote from one of my favorite blogs sums it up perfectly
“The energy of someone aspiring to create their dreams, teamed with surrender, is far more powerful and creative than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate “must-have” mentality. Surrender brings inner peace and joy and lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being.”
So here is to surrendering to the everyday moments, whether good or bad and recapturing some of that vacation vibe as often as possible (and maybe perfecting the rum runner recipe while we are at it)!