Vacations: Free yourself to live in the moment

I am back from an extremely relaxing five days on vacation. We left a few days early to escape the path of Hurricane Hanna but didn’t leave without taking my oldest son in the ocean to ride the waves. There is nothing better than listening to him squeal with joy as we get hit by wave after wave. As I allowed my hair to get wet so that I could enjoy the moment, I began to reflect on all the things that I do on vacation in order to live in the moment. There are two rituals that I tend to live by. I skip the makeup (I cheat occasionally with eyeliner) and I keep my hair in a ponytail or a similar no hassle hairdo. You would be surprised at how much time this frees up to engage in other pursuits. Here are a few others that I love.

  • Downsize. Eliminate everything that is time consuming. No high-maintenance hairstyle, or long make-up ritual and definitely do not pack any clothes that will require ironing.
  • Shop at stores unique to your vacation destination. You can always visit the Gap and Target when you return home.
  • Try a new restaurant or a new cuisine. Save the trip to the Cheesecake Factory or Red Lobster until you return home.
  • Break the rules. Sleep late, let the kids stay up an extra hour, partake of that dessert you wouldn’t dream of eating back home.
  • Toss the car keys. Walk, bike, jog and meet a few new people along the way.
  • Risk embarrassment. Limbo dancing or karaoke anyone?
  • Break a habit. Stay away from the cell phone, laptop, CNN, blackberry and focus on your travel companions, new friends or new venture.
  • Experience something new. Always wanted to play golf, scuba dive, finally learn how to swim? Go for it!

It is often difficult to free ourselves from the walls that are built around us or those we build ourselves, but a week or two away is a fine time to try. A few years ago, I would have admired the ocean from afar because I told myself that I couldn’t go into water where I couldn’t see my toes, or I wouldn’t get in because I didn’t want to get my hair wet. Over the years, I have learned that vacations aren’t just “same thing, different city” but a chance to relax, release and sometimes even reinvent ourselves.