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Challenge: Summer Fun

Post-vacation depression is real

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I am currently curled-up in the fetal position fantasizing about quitting my job and moving down south because life on-vacation was simply perfect. After five quickly-passing days in Paradise (the recently renovated Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island), I am currently questioning everything from the meaning of life to “do I really need to make dinner every single night?”

There is something about vacation—about being anywhere but home (and work) with zero responsibilities, when everyone is simply the best versions of themselves surrounded by beautiful beaches, fun, sun and relaxation— that makes the real, mundane life seem oh-so boring and kind-of hard, too. Why can’t everyday life be more like vacation-life? There has to be a way to bring that, best-version-of-myself, vacation-mom (or ‘Ritz mom’ as my kids are calling her) home to everyday life in Suburbia, CT, right?

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While I can’t bring the 83-degree water and palm trees home with me, I can, perhaps, capture the essence of the mom I was on vacation and incorporate her into my everyday life. So, I made a plan to do just that. Here’s what I strive to do:

Just Say Yes

You know what made me a great mom while on vacation? I said yes a lot. I am not sure if I said no at all, really (other than to anchovies on my Caesar Salad). I said yes to surfing and staying up late; I said yes to late-night hot tub trips and milkshakes for lunch. I said yes to buying Amelia Island merchandise and beach pictures in my bathing suit. It is easy to say yes on vacation because you are relaxed and in-the-moment. And guess what? Saying yes made me feel young, adventurous and alive. Maybe even a tad bit cool. I have become so accustomed to saying no as a mother that it just rolls off of my tongue; today, however, that changes. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure, why not! Let’s make it a mini-vacation at home, do the unthinkable and live on the edge! Do I want to be in a Tik-Tok, you ask? Hell, yes, Emmet, I would love to dance on camera with you! Go on a bike ride instead of do the dishes in the sink? Vacation-mom says yes—yes, yes, yes!

Look For the Good

When the weather is warm and the living is easy, you tend to see the good all around you. I simply fell in love with the staff at the Ritz-Carlton and so-appreciated their consistently friendly demeanor and attention to detail. They were husting and bustling in the sweltering sun while fully-masked all day long. I couldn’t see their smiles, but I knew they were hiding behind their masks because I could hear it in their words and see it in their eyes. I noticed the little things (literally and figuratively) like the tiny, one-use only Tabasco bottles that adorned the breakfast buffet. I couldn’t help but wonder who invented these adorable yet convenient things (as the need unexpectedly arose amidst a pandemic). The music was fantastic and the sand was the softest I had ever felt. I was so full of appreciation and relaxation that all I saw was good everywhere I turned. It is easy to be annoyed by co-workers when you don’t want to go to work. Or to experience road rage when the grandma in front of you stops at a yellow light. But we must combat that and look for the good – especially when it is hard to find— because positivity is a mindset, not a destination. Maybe that grandma’s slower pace can teach me to stop rushing or that annoying co-worker is the same one who made me feel welcomed on my first day in the office. The good is always there, but I am not always willing to look for it—but vacation-mom sure was!

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Let Go of Worry

Seriously, when am I going to learn that worry is a wasted emotion? So many moments are tainted by anxiety and worry over things that never come to fruition. That plane crash I thought we were going to get into on the way to Florida? Didn’t happen. The constant fear of not having enough money and getting evicted? Hasn’t happened yet. The fear of my kids getting eaten by a bear on their walk home from school? Guess what? They made it home safe and sound for years! All of those sleepless nights wondering when and how my adorable toddler would ever give up her binky because oh-my-god she will be the only kid in high school with a pacifier? She hasn’t used a binky once as a teenager!

I know better— yet these fears take hold of my mind and keep me from enjoying life and its precious moments over and over again. Vacation-mom had some fears, but they were much less intense because good was all around and I had faith that all would be well with the world. I wouldn’t dare ruin my vacation with something as silly as needless worrying! I need to let go completely and gracefully of that which I can’t control. Breathe, pray, trust, and put my irrational anxieties to the side so that I can enjoy each moment fully before it passes. 99.89% of my fears have not come true, so it’s time to stop feeding those thoughts once and for all. And that’s it for now! I don’t want to overwhelm myself, after all. These three simple things will help me bring a little bit of cool, fun, relaxed, vacation-mom home to life in Connecticut. I know I won’t do these things perfectly, but I will strive to be better each day and when the going gets tough, because I know it will, I will visualize my feet in the sand, the waves crashing before me and palm trees all-around.

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