I just got back from vacation. Before that, I spent many hours cleaning up the yard — grass, old branches, building materials, etc, and even more hours finishing projects — replanting my garden, putting chicken wire over some of the chicken runs so the person who was house sitting would have an easier time with my darlings. I spent another several hours making motel reservations, reserving activities, and making a check list for the many pets we have acquired and need specific individual care that might be overlooked by the house sitter if not well organized. I was grouchy.
I was really ready for the vacation, if only to take a vacation from my vacation planning! It was a relief to step into the car, and not be able to do another thing around the house until I got back from vacation. It was a relief to walk into a motel room at the end of a day of driving, and not have to straighten anything up. And it was a relief to not have to plan a meal, make it, have the kids not like it, and then clean up after it, and have to ask for help cleaning up. Normally, this wouldn’t be my perspective, but my glass was half empty at that point. Or maybe almost empty.
It was fun to play the alphabet game, looking for signs as we drove. It was fun seeing the countryside green up as we drove through Kansas and into Missouri. It was fun to see my kids’ faces when they saw the fire and water show in Branson, or the Shepherd of the Hills play. It was especially fun to water ski on Table Rock Lake, a place I’d been as a child. It was fun to have fun with my kids after weeks of focusing on all the things I had to do. My glass was getting full.
Then we got to my parents for my mom’s 80th birthday celebration. I loved seeing my mom and dad. I loved seeing every one of my siblings and their spouses and children. We’re spread out all over the country. We reconnected through hugs, memories and cooking. You can’t do that on Skype! Well, memories you could. My glass was overflowing. My waistline was too.
When I got back home, I wasn’t grouchy anymore. Instead, I am infused with energy. I have a different perspective, influenced by the scenery, my family and new activities. I am not the same person I was before the vacation — not stuck in the rut that I was before.
When you’re going through life changes, things can start to look pretty bleak sometimes, and your glass can seem quite empty. Take a vacation from the hard stuff every once in a while. You don’t need to physically go on vacation if that isn’t possible. But lose yourself in a book, a movie, or a day at the water park with your kids. For a period of time, don’t inhabit the place that is getting you down. When you come back to that place, you’ll have renewed energy to deal with it.