It was a great vacation. Check that - it was an epic vacation. Even though I snuck in a week and a half of work days in between Harry Potter World (Universal Studios in Orlando, FL) and a week off to clean my house. I consider that, and a week long road trip to various places which included a work related conference, in its entirety - my vacation. It was exactly the way I wanted to spend the past month in my life.
[I just edited, "the last month of my life" - after leaving this page to tuck in the kids, I came back to the paragraph and though it read more like an epitaph]
My life. I waste so much of it worrying about stupid, self-absorbed.... things. I let myself sweat over the small stuff. No matter how many folks post those silly little inspirational cartoons on Facebook, I did not heed their message. Amused by the generosity multiple shares of George Takei's "words of inspiration" cartoons, I allowed only a chuckle. I did not head their wisdom.
The house cleaning was a cathartic exercise of removing the clutter that blocked my serenity. The purging of stuff to find the surfaces in which to spray a lemony scented cleaner. To find satisfaction in a house that smelled of the clean standard of Mad Men decree, is to realize that I'm a sucker for commercial credibility.
I've may have mentioned that my tuck in routine with the kids ends with a question instead of a prayer, "What was your favorite part of the day?" It's great to hear how simple their responses sometimes. They are just that honest.
In thinking about my favorite parts of the vacation, I think a few of the awarenesses from simply giving myself time alone were the best. Even though I hate lists, here they are:
1. The importance of not working. Not doing anything remotely linked to work. Or even trying to make a work connection. No guilt required.
2. Seeing people for a face to face visit. Social media has opened new worlds of people and layers of relationships that I never would have encountered without. But making the time for a conversation without the distraction of dings, alerts, prompts, or the luxury of internet timing; challenging memory and wit - sheer joy.
3. Driving wearies me from the anxiety of traffic, bridges, and tunnels. Funny that I don't trust bridges, even though I work in a nationally recognized engineering university - (I work in a university that also has liberal arts, business, and education colleges; but our provenance is engineering).
4. Long distance driving brought me back to audio books. I used to listen to books when I was a gigging musician. There were times I couldn't wait for rehearsal to end so that I could run back to the car to hear more of the story. Even though I was done with driving an hour before I got home, the story was getting to an epic battle (Clash of Swords, Red Wedding - no spoilers, please). It was close to an NPR moment - but I usually have those in the parking lot at work on Fridays during Story Core.
I went back to work today. After dropping the kids off at their summer program, I happily went back to my office. No butterfly stomach; just happy to see Susan again, and to crank up the air conditioner in my stuffy 3rd floor sanctuary. After a long look, I started to get a little overwhelmed at the thought of the move I'll be doing end of next week. I quickly pushed that aside, unpacked my briefcase and got to business. The email was a large snow drift of messages that could only be taken down one shovel at a time. And that's OK.
Got the kids home and cooked them the first home cooked meal in about a week. Lovely and generous as Steve is, his cooking energy last week was more about dialing the phone than presenting a four-square meal. Lucky for me, there's left overs in convenient take-away boxes for my lunch.
I had a chance to swing by the last Tunes at Twilight for 2012 with a 3 liter box of Shiraz to share with my twitter friends. Got home in time to read to the kids and tuck them in.
I'm still on vacation.