Monday, January 28, 2008

getting back in the swing and/or living the vacation-life

here i sit after a week of ridiculous fun filled with boot-buying, overeating, girl-talking wonderfulness. back to my own life. jeesh. since moving to vancity, our ontarian friends, family, and people we barely knew want to visit us. all. year. round. mostly i love it. wait for it. (re)schedule my life around it. but the part i hate. the part i dread. is the end. after you get to have a pretend vacation, put on a few pounds, neglect your everyday friends, and generally have a merry ole time, you have to face what was always in the background. your life. all unshiny. and not new. not like holiday time at all. just dishwashing. and cat feeding. and general life chores. sad really. unless you spin it. maybe i can go on permanent vacation. and pretend like life is just part of the adventure.

now just bear with me here. i am not suggesting denial or other deceptions of the self. i am suggesting a new view. a new paradigm with which one can refocus one's life in the positive. we all have stresses. annoyances. everyday trials and tribulations. and most often we look at the lot of others and think, "i wish that was all i had to worry about." as though life's trials are a matter of kind and not degree. as if we only had to worry about ourselves. our upcoming paper. our upcoming presentation at work. but if we only had to worry about going into an office. doing manual labour. raising a child. then we could function properly in the world. we wouldn't worry. we wouldn't fret. but that is our real self-delusion. we would. plain and simple. we would worry. fret. stress. not matter what. because if you are going to tie yourself up in knots for a paper. a work presentation. a promotion. then you will always and forever tie yourself up in knots. it is who you are. what your worldview consists of. you are programmed to fret. but this is not the only answer.

so what would everyday vacation-life look like? well, for one thing, you must take into consideration your surroundings. if so many people want to visit us out here, it must be pretty kickass, no? so the first requirement is easy. live in a kickass place. check. the next requirement might be a little more existential. love what you do. as monotonous as everyday life can be, vacation-life requires us to see the "bigger picture." the reason you do it at all. and not for the money. for the beauty of doing a good job in a field of your choice. and maybe vacation-life requires us to give, as my wonderful colleague and dear friend S. explains, our entire, 75%. this might sound odd but i think it might be the key to vacation-life. trying to do everything 100% when our 75% is not only good, but great, might ease off some pressure. at least a smidge.

i think the final, and perhaps most important part of living your best vacation-life everyday is a heady combination of taking risks and diversifying the portfolio of your everyday activities. move outside your comfort zone. take up hobbies. volunteer. engage with a world outside your own four tiny (if you live in a vancity condo) walls. i think we act our confident best when we go on vacation. we wear clothes that make us happy. we do different things with our hair. we buy things that make us feel good. we eat without counting calories and grams of fat. we live. and we are happy. perhaps it is as easy as following a passion that we find when we are away. or as simple as being the you that takes chances, risks, and leaps of faith that compel you to travel in the first place. vacation-life, here i come.

this post was brought to you by the tony robbins in all of us.

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