I just got back last night from spending three days with my family, about two hours from my own home. I stayed with my aunt and grandpa (she moved back in with him to care for him when my grandma died). It's what my family has done every year the days after Christmas. Drive down and stay a few days. There have been years when I dreaded it and didn't want to be there, and years when I loved it. Typically that depended on my age at the time and what was going on in my life. This year I loved it -- much more than I expected to.
Since my boyfriend had to work, he stayed home. So it was just me, my two younger sisters (both single right now), and my parents. I also brought Betty (my little shih-tzu I recently adopted).
It felt like old times. The days when you don't have any responsibilities, not a care in the world, and you just enjoy hanging out.
I spent my hours doing crossword puzzles, playing Risk with my sisters, eating, drinking, reading, writing, talking. It was all very laid back and peaceful. I actually didn't really want to come home. But as with any vacation, it can't last forever. It's just not sustainable long-term. It got me thinking though, what can I do at home to make my daily life more like my vacation life?
On vacation I enjoy simplicity. You typically have very few possessions with you. The necessities, plus a few "fun" things. So I am going to go through my house today and purge as much unnecessary stuff as I possibly can bear to part with. I'm hoping it's a boat load!
Also on vacation there's usually nothing you "have" to do. Very few, if any, obligations or responsibilities. While responsibilities are a part of being an adult, that doesn't mean everything is a "have-to." Or at the very least, most things aren't as urgent as we tend to feel that they are.
For some reason when I'm home I feel like there's all these things I need to do, have to do, or should be doing. I feel the pressure of them pushing down on me. It makes me tense and anxious. There's no reason for this! The most important things will get done. The non-important things can be let go.
When I was on vacation I was still productive. I still wrote and blogged. I still read, which as a writer, I consider part of my "work." But I felt much more relaxed doing so. Why?
For one, on vacation I don't feel like I have to keep to a certain schedule. At home I feel like I "have to" do things as a certain time. I'm constantly looking at the clock, seeing if I'm "on schedule." Is it time to eat yet? Is it the right time to walk the dogs? Is it time to go to bed? It's my own schedule I set for myself! Why do I feel so locked in to doing things on a "set" time?
And two, when I'm home I often sit on the couch in my living room. I eat there, and often work from there too. However, the TV is staring at me from across the room. I have show after show recorded on my DVR. It's silly, but I feel a pressure to watch them. To then be able to delete them. Check something off the "to-do" list. But they're TV shows! Why do I feel so obligated to watch or keep up with them?
I don't know the answer to either of those questions. But it's something I'm now more aware of that I do. Now that I know, I can do something about it. I can be the peace I felt on vacation.
On vacation it's just me. Yes, I was around several other people, almost all of the time. But I was still "just me." At home, with my boyfriend and other pets (two other dogs and three cats), it's not "just me."
I noticed it as soon as I walked into my house. My two other dogs, who stayed home with my boyfriend, were super excited I was home. As dogs are, they're always excited when I come home. They're also excited when it's meal time. And walk time. And just lots of other "times" during the day. I love dogs. I'm passionate about animals in general, and especially dogs. But I realize that I don't have to live in a constant state of excitement with them.
I had grown accustomed to their excitement and high energy. But after being away for three days, I realized how much I appreciated the peace and calmness. As soon as I got home, the excitement was almost too much. I knew I had to make a change. Focus more on the peace and calmness that I felt on vacation. I can have more of that at home too! I told my boyfriend when he got home from work that I intend to work harder at teaching the dogs to be calmer and not get so worked up. I know this is possible. Dogs feed off of our energy. I was feeding them excited, anxious energy. It all starts with me.
With my new committment to living a more peaceful, centered life at home, like I do on vacation, I'm feeling better about being home. It truly is my life to create as I wish. I don't have to live in the overly excited, anxious, sometimes chaotic environment I have allowed for too long.
It's time to de-clutter, rid myself of the excess, turn my attention inward, focus on peace, and emanate that peace in everything I do.
Ahhhh.... I'm feeling better already!
*I'd love to hear what parts of vacation you could bring to your home life. Feel free to share your comments below!*
Quote of the Day:
"To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him." (Buddha)