The waves swish rhythmically against the shore, small and frequent. A steady breeze from the north keeps the bugs away – mostly – and the sun is blunted by layers of tree leaves. I sit here in my beach chair, writing this, as Mary bobs in the water near the shore. As I watch, she slowly travels down the coastline, becoming smaller and smaller. She motors away to explore new lands; her relentless sense of adventure has followed us into vacation.
Suddenly, a series of louder and bigger waves break against the shore. One, two, three, four and then the familiar rhythm returns. A thousand feet away or more, boats motor back and forth. Far enough away that the sound of their motors isn’t irritating, close enough to see all the different types of boats putting by. It is amazing to me that such a distant thing – a small boat traveling through the water – can have a specific and notable effect on the shore a third of a mile away. Thirty or forty seconds pass, maybe a minute, before each boat’s wake hits. The boat is gone before it’s waves wash against our shore.
Mary and I are experiencing an excellent staycation over this elongated Fourth of July weekend. We, who live year round in a summer destination, have made a point of enjoying the local beauty and beaches this year. It is in our budget, too, which helps this time feel relaxing.
Now I can barely see Mary, she is so far away. She stops periodically and waves to me, just so I know everything is okay. I wave back, to reassure her I see her and that all is well here, too.
I could have joined her on her adventure, but in truth our water interests aren’t quite balanced. I can take her anywhere and if there is water to be swam in, sat by, or touched, she is happy. Me, I like water, I like swimming, but I like other things too. I can’t stay in the water all day bobbing around or poking along the shore as Mary can. So, instead, I sit in the shade and write this blog post.
I haven’t taken a vacation in a long time.
As I write the word vacation, part of me protests. Dude, you can’t take a vacation! You don’t work. Every day is a vacation for you! And really, if I am always doing less than average, less than a normal person, how can I take a vacation? I’m not meeting general life accomplishment goals, how can I stop when I’m failing and do even less?
As I catch that thought, those feelings, I stop them in their tracks. There is no room for that belief in my world. Disabled people – impaired people like me – deserve and need vacations too. Even though I am performing below cultural expectations, I need to stop trying to accomplish or succeed for a little while and just enjoy myself. I don’t have a boss telling me when I can or should take a break, so I have to tell myself, figure it out myself like so much of this healing journey.
To vacation, one must take time away from one’s daily activities. Period. If those daily activities are working for money, great. If those daily activities are feeding myself, weeding the garden a bit, and petting cats, great. The routine still needs to be broken. And desperately.
Last week, it was all write write write. I thought about writing, I read other people’s writing, I went to a writing group and talked about writing. Then I did more of my own writing – I was hoping to start building up a reserve of blog posts so that I can feel a little less pressure every week to produce. And you know what? Without even knowing it, without being aware of it, I overreached myself. I became tapped out, used up, out of ideas and passion. Done.
So it was time for a vacation. And, incidentally, Mary was off at the same time I realized I needed a break. She has an extended 6 day weekend, and we have been beaching and swimming it up every day.
Vacation is a time to recharge. Nothing has to be accomplished. There is no intent, no focus required. The whole point is just to be, to relax, to think of nothing and just enjoy. And that is what I have been doing.
And so, I am on this beach, watching this woman, and enjoying our time.
True, since it is a staycation, we could do this beach stuff any old time. But here’s the thing – here’s the bonus of it all. Our area is in the middle of a heat wave – a really unpleasant one. High temperatures and high humidity make Charlie a tired, foggy, and grumpy girl – without swimming intervention anyway. No AC in our main living area. Sweltering.
Mary and I – both go getters, both task oriented – are so overheated and tired out from the heat that – ding – we aren’t doing anything. We are just relaxing. Sitting outside, staring into space. I’ve been watching my bees. Mary has been getting a lot of sun. Lots and lots and lots of swimming to keep cool and stay sane. So much heat, that I don’t even have the urge to do any tasks. It’s that hot. And so, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I am on vacation. Really. For sure.
And I’m loving it.
So adieu my friends. This is an extended status update. I am not allowing my vacation to be broken up by a task so heavy as finishing a blog post. So you’ll get this writing just as it is. Blessed be.