Bringing Vacation Home

Vacation. Just that word sounds wonderful. And it was. So many good things, family and adventure and good food. Sleep and photo taking and theatre. Subways and Central Park. Lush greenness of Omega.

But then it ends. I am back at work, back at home, back smack dab in the middle of my life. House overrun with clutter, groceries needing to be bought, traveling things still to be put away. But also, a nice walk last night with my podcasts. An adorable set of flannel pajamas Chloe and I made for her new American Girl doll that came out looking quite marvelous, amazingly. Chloe and Mia curled up asleep on opposite ends of the sofa under blankets, worn out from their sleepover last night. My basil plant grown huge and lush while I was away. A slideshow put together of our vacation photos.

So there are good things, definitely. But I so much want to find a way to integrate some of that vacation feeling into my life here. Driving to work yesterday I found my stomach clenched and the stress climbing right back into my body. And with good reason apparently because the day was quite difficult. I was right back into my hunger mode too; while at Omega I barely thought about food, other than when it was time for a meal. And then, I just piled a nice mix of healthy things on my plate, enjoyed it, and was finished. No overly full feeling, no worries about if I was eating too much or how many calories I'd consumed, no screaming hunger pangs between meals. 

Then there is the clutter issue here at home. I know the answer to that one...less stuff. Time to get back working on that--systematically going through things and purging again. I feel like grocery shopping will be a good start. The fridge is pretty empty; a chance to plan the week and just buy what we will use. I opened the bottom of the freezer looking for something this morning (that I never did find) and there must be ten kinds of ice cream and frozen treats in there. Now those I didn't buy, but it's an example. Makes me crazy. Don't even get me started on Chloe's room. That one is my fault as I've contributed just as much as anyone to the volume of toys.

I long for a simpler life. I think that will be my goal for now...to find ways to simplify. Ask myself before any decision or purchase, is this complicating or simplifying? And act accordingly. I also want to spend less money as that, too, complicates things. The credit card bills to categorize and pay. The money that we need to make in order to cover it all. I read about a good exercise in Martha Beck's column. Figure out exactly how much you make an hour, after taxes, and then ask yourself before buying anything, is this worth x amount of my time? Some money has been spent on wonderful experiences, like Hawaii and New York. But how much of it has been on things that we don't even remember? How many mediocre dinners out? How many pieces of clothing that I don't even wear? How much on the phone, the cable tv, the xm radio, the onstar, the newspaper and magazine subscriptions? Which of those things do we really value?

And then, work. How to simplify that? Part of it we've already committed to and that's having a smaller, more focused agency. Taking lunch breaks would help too...just taking a blanket and eating in the park, or taking a walk. Something to get up from the desk for a bit each day. Lasering our attention on what is most important, letting some other things go. Being mindful of doing the core things first, the tasks that lead to growth, and leaving the huge list of other demands for after. I may not be able to remove the big stressors (audits come to mind!) but certainly I can attack the day to day things that drain me. 

My task, then, is to simplify. To find what really matters and excavate that and let the rest go. To spend time on things that fill my soul and that nourish all of us. To stop and smell the basil.

Central Park Loveliness



As much as I love my family and my friends, some of my favorite times are the ones I spend alone. I am so much at peace within my solitude. My whole body relaxes, I exhale. There is a sense of well being that enters and surrounds me, a lightness. It really doesn't matter what I am doing, it's just the aloneness that counts. I think it's very much about not having to be anything for anyone; not having to play any type of role; not having to worry about or please anyone but myself. Being able to turn off that outside stimulus is so nice.

This sounds a bit selfish, but it's the way I recharge, refuel, and then emerge ready to give again. Without the time to myself, my fuse shortens, my mouth tightens, my loving sense of well being disappears. And then I've got nothing positive to share with anyone. 

It's part of being Chandra. Something I need to accept and embrace and not feel guilty about. It's no different for me than air and food and water. A necessity. Like breath.

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