Vacation, the aftermath

Back in 2010, you'll recall, I wrote about an amazing family vacation in Emerald Isle, NC, where we saw dolphins and had cocktails and went swimming and ate Pop-Tarts. Big emphasis on the Pop-Tarts. Well, just last week we did it again. Same house. An even bigger crew (meaning even more socializing, and hands on deck to help out with the kids) and more Pop-Tarts.


The trip was, once again, amazing, and perhaps even more than it was the first time around, badly needed. While I'm still spending a fair deal of time at home these days, I'm also doing a fair deal of freelance writing. So I've been busy from sun-up (or, to be more exact, first-child-up) to sundown (which is, let's be honest, when I put on my pajama pants and call it a day) and I was truly ready for a break.

Because of that, I was lamenting the trip's end before it even began. So when it did end, I had a bit of a comedic breakdown. Every song seemed meaningful. Every piece of bacon seemed like my last. It was time to get organized again (or, maybe organized for the first time is more like it). It was time to stop eating everything in sight. It was time to return to what sometimes feels like a taxing work schedule. Hey, I'll take working over not working, but after a few months of regular output, professional stress has become less of a novel and welcome feeling to me. Now it just manifests as plain old, regular stress.

That's ok, though, because I've always felt that stressful situations are good impetus to change your life for the better. Maybe you need a new daily schedule! Or to clean out your desk! Maybe you need a new fitness regime! I love the promise of those ideas.

And that's usually how I've dealt with the end of great vacations. I've switched it up a bit, or planned something exciting. I think that's part of a vacation does: it energizes you for something new.

The difference at this stage of me and J's life is that we're on the brink of a LOT of new things, at least potentially. As he finishes up his post-doc, we will be thinking about what's next. Including new jobs and a whole new place to live, maybe. It's both scary and exciting, but most of all - for me at least - it's unsettling. I'm constantly on guard regarding my emotions; if I'm feeling in love with New Haven, I'm careful not to love it too much. When I talk to people about places they've lived, I'm overwhelmed with the details - the places, colors, pros and cons - in their stories.

So what I'm trying to do is convince myself that not knowing what's next is good. That we're on the brink of a million exciting things, whether that means new things here, or new things somewhere else. Our vacation was a chance to stop worrying about the routine parts of our life, and also to stop worrying about these bigger issues.

Now that we're back, it's game on. It feels better to admit that there's a lot to think about rather than utter my normal refrain, "Well, we'll see what happens." So, people: there's a lot to think about. Thanks to the beach, and our family and eating shameful amounts of refined sugar without guilt, I am rested and ready to plan.