We just got back from our 8 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We visited San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola (and Virgin Gorda while we were there), and Nassau. I think about the islands daily. I crave the delicious food we ate and the fun we had. Ever gone on vacation and felt that icky feeling afterward that all the fun is over and you have to now put your nose back to the grindstone? I sometimes get downright depressed after a great vacation. I remember once going to Florida for Spring Break, and when I got back, I was moody and irritable for days! Why? My daily life seems so boring in contrast to what I experience on vacation.
Vacation makes me realize what a waste of time most of the rest of my life is. On vacation, you try to live every second to the fullest because you know you have a limited amount of time. You try out things you probably wouldn’t have otherwise. You barely sit down to eat and then you’re off on another adventure. Sure, there are moments of relaxation while on vacation, but I bet most of us “relax” more at home than on a journey to some other place. I sit in front of my computer or the t.v. or a book for sometimes hours on end at home. That’s relaxation. It may not be lying on a beach listening to waves crash in, but it’s still rest. The appeal of lying on the beach is resting in a place that you don’t normally do it, of seeing and hearing things you don’t normally while you lay down. And while resting at home, I’m certainly not taking some new road, seeing some new sight, tasting some new food, or trying some new activity. I go about my same old routine day in and day out, occasionally throwing in a movie or dinner with friends or a shopping trip to add in some vitality to my otherwise mundane daily existence. Because of the nature of work, I realize that I can’t go off on a daily adventure, and I certainly wouldn’t have the money to try new things if I didn’t hit the 9 to 5. I get that some routine is necessary in life. But I think that too much of the thrill is gone.
Some people say that they need a vacation from vacation and that they’re worn out by the time it’s over. But maybe it’s just that they’ve become so accustomed to NOT living to the fullest and getting lazy in their daily lives that a vacation becomes tedious to them. What if we took just some of that vitality we find on vacation and move it back into our home lives? What would our lives look like then?
Perhaps the nature of our lives (work, eat, sleep) denies the possibility of carpe diem. Maybe we can’t seize the day because it already has such a hold on us. I sound like I despise my life, but that’s not it. I guess I wonder what I can do at home to make it more like vacation. Here are some ideas that I might try:
Play – This is something we do on vacation but rarely do at home. The guys have a better approach to this than the girls, I think. Jamie has his four-wheeler, his hunting accouterments and buddies, his favorite computer games (which, by the way, can become vitality suckers if not careful), his fishing stuff. What play things do I have? I paint. I occasionally get to go camping, which I love to do. I have a bike that I ride (on a predetermined course that never changes). I run (almost always on a predetermined course that never changes and usually with health rather than play in mind). I guess that’s about it. Hmmm…Definitely room for improvement.
Cook new dishes – Once or twice a week, make something that doesn’t seem like work. Make something you want to try that you’ve never had or that you’ve never made yourself. This includes trying out new ingredients. Give coconut oil a try or couscous or veal or just some herbs you’ve never used to flavor something you usually eat.
Get dressed up – Maybe to eat those new dishes from above. This is where the girls have a better handle than the guys. Girls love to dress up, but I don’t think we do it often enough. Of course, I guess if we did it too much, it’d lose its appeal.
Spend less time on the Vitality-Suckers – The vitality-suckers are those things that take up most of your non-working time but don’t give you much positive gains, like online social networking, television, computer games, etc. How can you tell that something has slipped from quality entertainment into the vitality-sucking realm? First, there’s that feeling of VS#1 (which stands for vitality-sucker #1) becoming so time-consuming that you begin to feel a slave to it. You know that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach, right? Second, VS#1 becomes so important that the necessary stuff in our daily lives (getting enough sleep, spending time with our loved ones, exercise, learning, housework, etc.) gets pushed to the side because we are a slave to VS#1.
Will these things make you feel like you’re in paradise on a Tuesday after a hard day at work? Probably not. Nothing is perfect. Even vacation has its ugly moments. But adding some of the fun vacation moments into my daily life can’t be a bad idea. What do you think? Are there other ways to make your daily routine seem more exciting and fulfilling?