If you follow me on social media, Facebook or Instagram specifically, you probably saw the slew of photos I posted while away with my family. (Sorry for the over-posting btw.) Between the clean salt air, the soothing ocean waters, warm sand, sun and time with my family, I arrived home after 10 days completely rejuvenated. I’ve vacationed before but never have I come back to reality feeling this recharged.
So why now? Why this vacation?
My family has a home on the water in Westerly, Rhode Island and I’ve been lucky enough to vacation there every August for the past 33 years. My grandparents built the home with the hopes they could have a central location for the children, grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren to gather.
Their goal has been achieved…and then some.
While I’ve gone there every summer, it wasn’t until this particular vacation that I truly appreciated the spiritual and physical benefits of taking a break. Maybe it’s because I needed the vacation more than I have in the past. Perhaps it’s my age or my kid’s ages? You know how it is when you go on “vacation” with your kids when they’re little. It’s not a vacation, it’s just geography.
Now, however, my boys are old enough to fend for themselves. I don’t have to chase them down the beach or get up at the ass-crack of dawn to get the four of them breakfast. I don’t have tiny bodies and multiple feet kicking me in the back at 3 a.m. There’s no worry that they’ll wander off alone and lost. (Let’s be honest, if they’re teenagers, you kind of don’t mind when they wander off on their own.) But my sons have been at the self-sufficient stage for a while, so I know that wasn’t the reason that this vacation provided a true recharge of my internal batteries.
After some thoughtful reflection, I believe it was my mindset and intention that made the difference.
Over the past year, I’ve done a lot of soul searching. Both personally and professionally. It’s been a transformative year and anyone who’s been through phases like this, knows that they aren’t easy. These segments of life are uncomfortable but necessary if we want to continue growing and learning.
I went into this vacation with the mindset and intention of getting the most out of it that I could. I left my worries at the door and kept my focus on the moment at hand. It can be challenging not to dwell on past mistakes or worry about what might happen in the future. Unfortunately, this past year I did a lot of both.
However, during my 10 days in Rhode Island I did neither. Okay. That’s not completely truthful. I would catch myself falling into that trap and then force myself to remain focused on the moment at hand because that’s all we really have, anyway.
The here and now is what’s real.
What I discovered is that I’m far happier and less stressed if I simply keep my focus on living in the moment. We can’t rewrite history and we have little control over the future. The only time we can control is the moment we are living in right now.
When I got back to New York and set foot inside our house, I was thrilled to be home. Grateful for the crooked little house on the crooked little street filled with testosterone and barking dogs. The organized chaos of our home is familiar and oddly reassuring. In spite of being greeted by a stampede of pups, I felt remarkably refreshed, at ease and at peace. More so than I have in a long time.
LIfe’s challenges remain but my mindset has shifted and I believe that is what’s made all the difference.