Vacation Made Me Realize What I Want in Life, More Vacation

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

WI sunsetLast week, I returned from a two-week vacation to my native Wisconsin and it made me realize that what I really want out of life is more vacation. I can’t even remember the last time I took a trip for the sake of taking a trip. My vacations have never lasted more than a week and so I almost felt guilty taking off two weeks. Almost.

I know when you go on vacation you’re supposed to recharge and return to your daily life feeling all invigorated with a new perspective on life and perhaps a new addition to your daily routine that you acquired like eating smoked bacon with every meal or doing awkward yoga poses on the edge of mountain at sunset, but I’d like to maintain the vacation lifestyle forever.

photo-33I’d love to live in a cabin in Northern Wisconsin and spend my days hiking through the woods and my evenings sipping cognac by the fire, staring at the constellations and trying to remember the name of that damn king constellation located next to Cassiopeia the Queen or remembering if Orion is even visible in the sky this time of year. (Note to self: I really need to brush up on my constellations. My 2nd grade science teacher would be ashamed of me.) Or marveling that the universe is enormous beyond what my brain can comprehend and we as humans are incredibly tiny and insignificant, so throw another log on the fire and let’s have another round of s’mores!

photo-34It would be nice to enjoy a $2 brat here and there and sip a $5 cocktail out of a pint glass from time-to-time at the local watering hole where the bartender knows my name and plays my favorite song without me even having to ask. I would love if the only worries I had in my day were that I forgot to apply bug spray and there’s too much sand in my tennis shoes from the impromptu dip in the lake. I hope the rain comes after I finish this round of mini golf. Hey, we’re out of cognac!

photo-35And how about all that free time to use devouring a good book? To me, no vacation is complete without spending quality time in the comfy chair in the corner of the living room by the window, or in the back yard under the patio table umbrella, or on the front porch in the rocking chair amongst the pages of a really good read. Sometimes with a beer in hand.

Can’t this be my real life? Can’t I be a professional vacationer and in return I’ll report back to you all on my travels? I promise it will be interesting!

The responsible adult in me knows that I have to return real life (at least physically), but I learned what my vacation had to teach me and I’m keeping that with me. Although I’ve returned my daily grind in the Big Apple, I’m approaching it with my enlightened vacation mind. I’m making the time for things I enjoy doing most and not feeling guilty about it.

long live passion

Get to The Next Tree

ImageLife is crazy. We all know this. I know I’m not the only person in the world who’s spread too thin, working two jobs to make ends meet, not striking the perfect work-life balance, lamenting that time passes too quickly. I haven’t even written a blog post since April! (Though, in my defense, I’m convinced time passes faster in New York City  than in the rest of the country and that New York is actually on another planet, in a different dimension, but that’s a whole different story.)

Anyway, amidst the craziness that is adult life, I find myself easily caught in the trap of thinking about all the things I haven’t done or wish I had time to do. I haven’t even made it to a baseball game this summer (one summer I went to 11), I haven’t been to a Broadway show in months, there’s a stack of New Yorkers on my kitchen table that are unread, I haven’t even put away my clean laundry! I don’t even want to think about the pile of dishes in the sink or the fact the recycling needed to go out last week. Not to mention since moving to New York over a year ago, I still haven’t found a local doctor to call my own or a budget that works! I can’t remember the last time I had a lazy Saturday where I laid in bed watching Netflix and eating chips and salsa. Vacation, what’s that?

When I’m feeling bogged down with too many tasks and not enough time, it’s easy to justify doing nothing. I don’t have the perfect, well-crafted idea for a blog post, so I’m just not going to write one. Ever.

I don’t have the perfect closet organizer to maximize the space of my closet and I really don’t even wear half my clothes any more but I’m too tired to separate out all of the clothes into bags to give away, so I’m just going to chuck all of my clothes into the corner of my closet, on top of my shoes instead of bothering to put them away neatly.

I used to get to the gym and train five days a week, sometimes with a personal trainer,  but I’m too tired to get up in the morning so I’m just going to go to the gym never.

I have dinner plans, but I’m so tired and have to work early in the morning, so i’m just going to go to bed as soon as I get home from work and not even eat at all.

This kind of thinking, while seemingly logical, gets me nowhere. And is nonsense. Life doesn’t need to be in such absolutes!

In situations like these, I’m reminded of the advice imparted by my old swim coach. He used to tell us the story of the marathon runner running his first marathon. Instead of thinking about all 26.2 miles ahead of him, he just focused on making it to the first tree in his line of vision. Once he arrived at the first tree, he looked to the next tree, then focused on getting to the next tree after that. And then the tree after that. Until finally, he made it through all 26.2 miles.

I don’t need to accomplish every major task in one sitting, I just need to do something that will get me to that next tree. I don’t need to write a masterpiece every time I sit to write a blog post, but I need to put something on my blog, especially if I’m going to call myself a blogger. Your next piece of writing doesn’t have to be the next Great American Novel, but you still need to be writing if consider yourself a writer.

It’s so much easier to justify inaction, especially when feeling overwhelmed by wanting to do more than time will allow, but you do have to do something that puts you in the direction you want to go in. Remember, as Lao- tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Just get to the next tree!