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Summer Vacation…Stress

July 24, 2009

Have you ever wished your life away waiting for summer, and then wished your summer away waiting for vacation? You do the countdown beginning a month out, and finally the day arrives, and so does the stress. Over the last era, I’ve mused over and tried to eliminate the stressors of summer vacation, as they’ve  changed over the years. When I was a child, the stress was wondering when Dad would blow his top when he got lost (since he refused to ask for directions).  Or in my husband’s family, the stress came from enduring the 14 hour annual family reunion trip to rural Alabama in an un-airconditioned car, with a mayonnaise jar to pee in (only for boys, girls got to pee at a gas station).

As an adult, the stress  was finding an amazing and educational vacation. Then with marriage and young children, stress came with  searching for a vacation that wouldn’t be pressure-filled to find things to amuse the kids while we came back more exhausted than ever. Then there were the arguments between me and my husband, because I got tired of being the vacation planner, recreational organizer and one to get us packed, and remember before we left what we had left. While my husband was always appreciative, I was a nut case by the time we left the house. And the children still remind me of my knack for planning hikes in the rain, kayaking in stormy weather, and rainy day trips to the beach.

But I wised up. I decided that since I got to decide, we’d vacation at the same place every year. It was predictable, we knew what was fun, and we had more time for the fun routines we were too busy to do at home–pancakes and bacon for breakfast, after dinner badminton, hikes and dips in the lake. Each day was a collaboration of what each of us wanted to do…separately or together. Everyone was responsible for his own fun. I gave up the title of vacation czar. As we look forward to this year’s vacation, my only request is…ask for directions, and hold the mayonnaise.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2009 5:27 pm

    We do even better. We’ve made our home a vacation land. We have horses to ride, a pond to fish in, a pool to swim in and lovely hikes nearby with our dogs. Going away became too stressful with our farm and its care so we vacation here. I still envy those with exciting getaways, and feel that tug, but this is so much less stressful.

    • July 24, 2009 5:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment Cathy. I think your solution, a “staycation” is the best.

  2. Sherie Winston permalink
    July 24, 2009 5:27 pm

    Great advice for anyone going on vacation any time of the year whether with family or friends!

    • July 24, 2009 5:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment Sherie. I’m trying to take my own advice. Best, B.

  3. Jane permalink
    July 24, 2009 6:06 pm

    We didn’t have a mayo jar, but Dad would blow his lid when we would start shoving each other and goofing off….about 10 minutes into the vacation. We did go to the same place every year and loved it….a cottage in Nags Head, NC.

  4. Deanna permalink
    July 24, 2009 6:11 pm

    I am the main vacation planner. I don’t like the title and I’d give it up in a minute. However, the one time my husband was in charge of “making sure the bathing suits bag” is packed he, of course, forgot. We were at a lake in a very rural area and my daughters and I went bathing suit shopping at the only place in the area….Walmart. You should have seen the bright, gaudy pair of trunks we picked for my husband, telling him they were all that was left. Bathing suits are now the first things that go into the car.

    • July 24, 2009 6:32 pm

      We had one vacation like that too…but there wasn’t a Walmart then! Thanks for your memory, and vacation tip…bathing suits first!

  5. July 24, 2009 6:30 pm

    To quote Tolstoy, “Happy families are all alike,” Dads blowing lids, kids goofing around in the car, all trying to get away on vacation!

  6. July 25, 2009 5:02 pm

    I remember years ago, while on vacation, having a conversation with myself about how I wanted to do several activities at the same time. Upon realizing that it was causing me to not feel satisfied with what I was actually doing, I decided to, instead, focus on what I was doing and check in with myself about how satisfied I was with that rather than how unsatisfied I was with what I wasn’t doing.

  7. July 25, 2009 5:21 pm

    Jane, thanks for reminding us to be present in the moment, rather than try to “achieve” fun by comparing the present moment to the possible future moments. Best, B.

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