Turns out, the key to a great vacation is managing expectations. Not for other people, but for myself. The only bit of happiness which is under my control is mine. This little fact may seem second nature to some people, but never has been the case for me.
I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, which is not really a good thing when it comes to relaxing. Vacation is a time when things will not go as planned. People will not behave as you think they should. Arrangements, so meticulously thought through will go astray. Intellectually, I know all these things, yet when they happen I have often become a little sad. One thing piles on the next and then I’m wondering why we left home at all?
I can’t seem to step back and analyze how most of the vacation was quite nice and was happening just as I hoped it would. I fixate on what is not working or on the small details that should not be bothered with. Makes me think of this quote, which I love:
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” -George Eliot
On recent vacations I have dedicated myself to planning a whole bunch of things I could do in the weather that is being forecasted. My list is long and varied. I read a bunch of different materials, history, food reviews, travel books, etc. I study maps, trying to get a lay of the land. I pack a bunch of things to do on long plane or car trips.
Then I kick back and let it all happen as it will. I live in the moment and embrace everything good about it.
As I think about this visit to Mexico as the sun starts to set, I am happy. I’m not sad to leave, although I could easily create a life here. But that is for another day. Tomorrow, I dive back into my current life with a renewed sense of purpose.