Last week I took a “staycation” before we get super busy at work because I’m in the vacation business. It’s May and the temperatures were unseasonably cool and it drizzled rain all week…but I didn’t mind. I love “do nothing” days. I tend to accomplish much more when I can approach tasks at my leisure. I try to avoid stress in my life anymore if at all possible. I don’t like being over committed or feeling like I need to be “on” all of the time. I’ve had my fair share of that as I started working when I was sixteen years old; sometimes two jobs at a time! College was not an option for me then. I’ve been a single mom for 28 years, raised two great kids almost single handedly, accomplished a lot in my career and I’m tired! I heard a saying recently that goes “at the end of the rat race, you’ll still be a rat”. I don’t think I’m a rat but the saying is certainly true. Is what we’re spending our time on now going to matter tomorrow, next week or in five years from now? Time is so much more precious to me than it used to be and quality of life is a valuable commodity that I try to hold onto.
I didn’t tell many people that I was taking the week off and around Wednesday I started feeling guilty and telling little white lies. I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to accomplish certain things during my time off and I tend to be easily distracted. I didn’t want to return to work with regrets of wasted PTO. I needed to feel refreshed, accomplished and recharged. It’s not that I consider being with people a “waste of time” because I don’t. It’s just extremely difficult for me to sit around and make small talk when there are so many other wonderful things that I’d like to be doing. A lot of my family and friends are retired now and they don’t quite know what to do with themselves now that they’ve quit working. They tend to sit around and wait….wait for someone to stop by or call, wait for something to happen, wait for an invitation, wait for time to pass. I’ve always felt this internal pressure to respond to the people in my life who are this way and I feel guilty when I don’t. I guess that’s why I’ve flown solo so much of my life. I have the personality traits of an empath and if I’m not careful, certain types of people can zap a lot of energy out of me. They’re called “energy vampires” and the only way that I know how to protect myself from them is to limit my time with them or to avoid them altogether. Many retirees I know however are so busy that they can’t figure out how they ever found time to work! I really enjoy spending time alone and I’m rarely lonely. I guess I’m lucky that I enjoy my own company and have arrived at this place of peace in my life.
So what did I do on my staycation? The first morning I walked a few blocks in the drizzling rain under an umbrella with my mom and brother to celebrate his late birthday and her early Mother’s Day. We were headed to brunch and decided it would be more fun to walk in the rain than driving the car. Later my daughter came to visit and we had plans of going shopping but I locked our car keys in the house and we had to wait for someone to come and let us in. The time we spent locked out however in the drizzling rain was probably the highlight of our day as we laughed and brainstormed about what to do and how to get in. The remainder of my staycation consisted of waking up slow, taking naps and staying up late, reading a couple of my favorite magazines cover to cover and sorting through piles of paper that had been accumulating for weeks. I cleaned out drawers and closets to simplify and donate to charity. I cooked comfort food and delivered some to my daughter who is a busy single mom and has just moved into a new place for a fresh start. I was able to phone catch up with an old friend and our conversations always leave me feeling energized. I wrote one of the most popular blogs to date on bullying. I enjoyed some of my favorite daytime TV shows. I reached out to a friend who is battling brain cancer and offered to be there in any way that I can. I rented and watched a couple of movies and indulged in chips and dip and nachos too! I hunted seaglass at the bay. I worked on some of my personal goals like getting into shape for that classy dress that I want to wear to my son’s wedding this fall. My spare bedroom has the word “respite” over the door. My goal is to eventually host deserving women who need to get away and cannot afford it a “free” weekend at the beach. I’m also working on my “side yard sanctuary” where friends and family can gather together, relax and watch the world pass by.
I’ve been in the vacation rental business for over six years now. The two questions that I get asked the most frequently is “are there TVs in every room and is there Wi-Fi?” I don’t know about you but I go on vacation to get outside, unplug, disconnect and to recharge a battery other than my cell phone. Have you ever taken a “staycation”? If not, you should try it sometime. There are so many great things that you can enjoy and do right in your own backyard!