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Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

 

August 2014

these are my doodles as I dream about bike riding in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii on my 60th birthday

 

I’ve been thinking lately about what it takes to create a memorable summer. Seems like the sort of thing Adventure Barbie might enjoy though, don’t you think?

If asked to pinpoint the best summer of my life so far, I’d be weighing carefully the summers of 1967 and 1984. Both deviated from the norm; each changed my life in important ways.

Go Lite Travel TrailerNo more than two days out of 7th grade, Mom and I packed the Go Lite camping trailer, hitched it to the back of an International Harvester pickup truck and headed for Indiana, the farm country where my mother was raised. We spent four weeks visiting my aunts, uncles, and cousins before heading back to Nebraska so that Dad could join us for the next leg of the journey.

We spent the entire month of July exploring Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. I swam in the Great Salt Lake and hiked in the Grand Canyon. I waited impatiently for Old Faithful to erupt and enjoyed playing cards with new groups of kids as we changed campgrounds nearly every night. I wrote post cards to my friends at home and learned many ways to entertain myself during the long drives between sites.

Go-Lite0002In August, Mom and I traveled alone once again. I remember visiting Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, my uncle’s candy store in northern Michigan, and my twin cousin in Minnesota. On my 13th birthday I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and I struggled to prepare for my impending demise. No, I didn’t feel THAT bad, but I was convinced it was a terminal illness and that people were just being kind by saying I would be okay.

Thirty years ago this week in 1984, I voluntarily left employment as a secretary in corporate America. After Memorial Day I officially began full-time as the owner and operator of Happy Fingers Typing Service, the first secretarial service in our city to offer cutting edge “computerized word processing.” That, too, was a summer of adventure as I took on the many challenges of self employment.

The experiences of both of those summers are important to the person I am today. In 1967, I had plenty of time to imagine what I wanted for myself as an adult. I believe many of my ambitions and dreams were planted during that summer of discovery. I’m also immensely grateful to my 29-year-old self for her determination, courage, and resourcefulness as she set out on her own. My life has been shaped time and again by the challenges and opportunities of owning my own business.

Now, as I count down the weeks to my 60th birthday in August, I’m determined to make this summer memorable, one with ample doses of discovery, challenge, and adventure. This summer I am committing to stepping outside my comfort zone; to making choices that will boost my levels of courage, compassion, and creativity; and to allowing you, my readers, to hold me accountable for Creating The Best Summer of My Life (so far). Stay tuned for Regular (dare I commit to weekly?) Progress Reports.

 

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Photo of lion sleeping on top of a 4x4

The Symbol of My Vacation (Photo from the San Diego Safari Park, March 2013)

The days after a great vacation can be pretty confusing for me. There’s the jet lag and the changes in temperature and terrain. Most of all, though, I find it difficult to prioritize and to get up to speed. For an entire week, I totally embraced LAZY, coming and going as I pleased, doing whatever interested me in the moment. Laid back. Relaxed. Non-productive. Ahhhhh … California!

I’ve been kicking up my heels in a sunny pasture for several days, and now there’s talk of a harness and plow. Really? Uh, I don’t think so! And so my rebellious nature begins to plot and plan for full RETIREMENT! Endless green pastures! No more plow! Oh, it would be heavenly!

Wouldn’t it?

I’m glad I know the answer. For me, there is no such thing as endless play. In order to really enjoy my time off, it needs to be exactly that: “time off.” It is actually the intensity of my life, of my work, that makes my play so very sweet!

So, today, as I stare down the mountains of mail, methodically work my way through pages of to-do’s, and once again juggle a demanding schedule, I do so with a smile on my face.

Why?

  1. Because I love my life and the work I do (after all, I have followed my soul’s passion for nearly three decades!)
  2. Because I have loads of great memories from this past week (more on that in my next blog), and
  3. Because I have another trip planned for July!

Life is oh, so good and FULL . . . pasture, harness, and all!

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Wide-angle shot of Bryce Canyon at Sunrise

Bryce Canyon at Sunrise – One of the many shots in vacation slide show I’m using for motivation

In just three and a half days my favorite “Twin Cousin” is coming to visit! Yea! The two of us and our husbands are going to take Amtrak to Washington, DC, and do the tourist thing. The train trip will take us through the Appalachian Mountains where we’re sure to see some beautiful fall colors. I adore anticipating a trip.

But for the next three days, I will be swamped with work. I worked 13 hours yesterday (bookkeeping, payroll, budgets, and desktop publishing), and there’s more of the same today … and tomorrow … and the next day. It happens every time I go away.

This morning I took a break at the cottage, and I asked myself, “What gives? What is this CRAZY BUSY thing you do before trips?”

As I wrote in my journal, the answer revealed itself: “Present-day me” is in the process of gifting “after-trip me” with a clean desk and completed chores when she returns to the office. My gift to her is easing the re-entry process. She will be relaxed, happy, and reveling in the afterglow of a lovely vacation. She will be smiling at the memory of hours of leisure time and the many adventures she had with those she loves the most. She won’t feel like working her ass off … not for a few days, at least.

And so, with the excitement and anticipation of that trip fueling me, I am happy to work my ass off NOW. I put a slide show on my second computer screen of scenes from a trip I took to Bryce Canyon. They are reminding me that the wonder of travel is always worth the effort, always worth the money, always worth this final push to get out the door.

This crazy busy thing … it’s just a way of taking care of my fragile, returning-from-vacation self. She will feel a little let down that it’s all over. She’ll be wondering how the time could go so fast. And she’ll be moving at a slower pace. So, my precious future self, I’m doing this for you.

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