Have you ever noticed that we seem to have a “vacation self” and an “every day self”? What happens to us when we go on vacation?
I remember my surprise as a child watching my responsible and serious father turn into a happy and relaxed human being when he was on vacation. I have one photo from the early 80’s in which he is doing a somersault in the backyard of a cottage in England we vacationed in. Up until today I am stunned by his transformation back then.
Just having returned from vacation myself, I noticed how I too, seemed to have a “vacation self”. My vacation self is not one that is doing somersaults—I would probably break my neck-–but certainly is one that is different. I am more adventurous. I am also more generous with my finances and with my time. On vacation it always feels like we have plenty. The day stretches out wide open in front of us to do with it whatever we feel like.
I also noticed how I am drawn to things I used to do. I found myself looking at Ravensburger puzzles. I haven’t puzzled in years. I remember fondly how it always felt like the world around me was just fading away when doing a puzzle. I didn’t end up buying a puzzle but I noticed that I long for some “puzzle time,” time to myself in which I can just let the world fade away.
And we carry souvenirs home with us, seashells or pictures or other knickknacks to bring back a bit of that feeling of being away on vacation. We bring all those mementos home in our suitcase in order to remember who we were able to be when we were away.
Most of us find it a bit hard to go back to work—no matter how much we love what we do—and to our everyday life. Some sort of grieving seems to be going on, grieving that the vacation is over. Yet, I wonder if we are also grieving for the person we are on vacation, the person we could be.
I wonder what would happen if we gave ourselves permission to be more like that vacation self every day, be more present in the moment and enjoy the gift each day is.
What if we asked, “what makes my heart sing” on a daily basis?
What if we found time to do all the things we love, just as if every day was a vacation day?
What if we allowed ourselves to be generous, relaxed and happy all the time?
I found this quote in a little café when on vacation:
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery and
Today is a gift
That’s why we call it present.