I am back. One week of vacationing in Orange Beach, AL is behind me. Wooh-hoo! My mom, Amanda, and the kids were all with me as we enjoyed most everything that the sun, surf, and city had to offer. I needed a rest day after returning home, but I am ready to attack this Monday, head-on.
I have been on plenty of vacations before, but never anything quite like this. I was excited to go on vacation, be on vacation, come back from vacation, and I’m equally as excited to get back in my daily routine. Most of my previous vacations have been either escapes or obligations. In the past, I have either gone on vacation and pumped myself so full of booze, pills, and food that I block out my reality that is waiting on me back home, or I go and simply count down the days to when I can get back to my familiar environment. Either way, I have not ever enjoyed the act of vacationing the way that I did on this particular week. I have certainly never enjoyed coming BACK from vacation…and been excited about transitioning back to the work week.
I spent a great deal of time in reflection, regarding how good my life is, and how many changes I have made to get it to this point. I was reminded that my happiness is very much a choice, and very much dependent upon my attitude. I was able to see this vacation as simply shifting scenery from one paradise to the other. I love my weekends, my vacations, and my work week. I have found a balance within the universe that allows me to enjoy most things that I am afforded the opportunity to be a part of.
This past week I spent a lot of time in the water. I watched the waves as they came and went. Some days the waves were rough and tough, but some days they were calm and smooth. Seldom did the waves crash exactly how and where I wanted them, but I was able to position myself wherever I chose to better enjoy the waters I was longing to experience, at that particular time. If I wanted excitement and adventure, I was free to stay in the shallow waters, closer to the sand, where the waves crashed the hardest. If I chose to enjoy the slow and steady rise and fall of the ocean waves, I could walk a little further out. I could even go past most of the waves and just relax, float on my back, and watch it all move past. There are dangers at all areas of the sea, some on the surface and some less visible, but there is no escaping them. Being aware of the environment, taking inventory, and making a conscious decision of where I want to play in the ocean is what helped me to maximize the pleasure that I took from it.
I feel that where I position myself in the ocean is no different than my life. There are dangers at every level, but there is also different degrees of pleasure. I want to be mindful of exactly what it is that I am looking to achieve, and then go to the appropriate places to find my fulfillment and my path. It is hard to float on my back while surrounded by the excitement of crashing waves. Just the same, the smoother, deeper seas are no place for body surfing. The fact that some things might not be working in my life might very well have nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my environment. Failure, risk, excitement, and pleasure are viewed differently in different parts of the ocean. Determine what you are looking for in life and re-evaluate it everyday. Whatever you decide you want that day, go play in that part of the ocean. You don’t have to stay there forever. You are not contractually obligated to be anything or anybody. Every day that you wake up, decide who you want to be, starting now, and be that person. Put on whatever cheezy-looking bathing suit you want to wear, and go play in whatever part of the ocean you choose. It is your ocean, and no one can tell you where or how to play. Just remember…it is impossible to look cool standing at the edge of the ocean with a pair of floaties on. Jump in. Make waves. Splash around. Enjoy your day. The worst of your week is behind you.
Also, I learned a number of valuable lessons this week. I want to share them with you:
1. Vacationing with kids is an endurance sport. It is all about surviving, keeping your heart rate down, sustaining energy, and not going out too fast. At some point you will break, put one foot in front of the other.
2. Never go to an outlet mall with a woman who runs 50-mile races and expect for her to “get tired” of shopping.
3. Dipping Dots will attack your face and suck the skin right off of your lips. My first ever experience with dipping dots was like the movies Stone Cold, Aliens, A Christmas Story all rolled into one. They were awesome, but sucked onto your face, and left you yelling like Flick, with his tongue stuck to the flagpole.
4. Your mom, wife, and kids will all turn their back on you, if it means winning a hand of cards.
5. Running sucks just as bad on vacation as it does at home.
6. If you have never contemplated throwing your kid off a balcony while applying suntan lotion…you have never applied suntan lotion to your kid while on a balcony. I don’t know exactly how many times I said, “stay still” and “come here”, but it was an awful lot.
7. If it touches together, it’s gonna chaffe. There just ain’t no two ways bout it.
8. When your wife breaks the daily high score for hitting the punching bag….you find a way to avoid hitting the punching bag. Run out of quarters, use the restroom, or say that your table is ready, but do not, for any reason, step-up and hit the bag.
9. If you play a game of cards with a sack of Otter Pops in front of you…you will eat a sack of Otter Pops.
10. In my family, not buying airbrush stuff is not an option. Airbrush will reign forever. Spuds Mckenzie/ Spring Break ’86.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,