When I arrived home from a week’s vacation in Hilton Head on Sunday, I unloaded my car and dumped everything on my kitchen floor. For a couple of hours I did absolutely nothing except look at a few Facebook messages, lay on my bed and listened to the thunderstorm (I really can’t nap, but I was tired and I just keep hoping I develop napping ability), and read a book.
My friend (and fellow vacationer) Marina approached her homecoming a little differently. Here is what she said she did in that same time period, “I have done 3 loads of laundry, cleaned up house/swept/ checked mail, paid bills, cleaned up cat puke, litter boxes x4, read all papers, babied dogs who can’t stand it when mom is away, & now have to clean up dog poop in yard, plus lots of limbs which were result of bad storm on Fri.” Yes, we have been friends for a very long time, but we approach life from different energy levels.
Sometimes I wish I was the type who could come home from vacation that energized. I wish I was the type of person whose feet hit the floor in the morning and I jumped out of bed to greet the world and ACCOMPLISH! I wish when people described me they used the word “motivated.” But it just isn’t me usually. It rarely has been me. And at this point I suspect it will seldom ever be me.
Home to me is a place of rest. Coming back from vacation, I especially don’t care to disrupt that. I want to stretch out vacation bliss as long as possible. If I can figure out a way to do that, I will. I don’t like coming back to crazy activity. Especially at home. I like resuming life slowly. I like reading and daydreaming and catching up with what is going on with other people. My mail may sit on the counter for a week…..or a month. Online banking and billing were designed for people like me.
You may have noticed I like doing things I really want to do, and then taking time to savor. There are lots of things I don’t want to do (such as cleaning house, taking care of my yard, cleaning out my closet, going through the boxes of papers that have accumulated, and putting up that ceiling fan that is still dangling in my bedroom after probably 6 weeks.) I have never seen the reason for obsessing over them. I may start them, but I don’t finish. I drift off to do something I like to do. The important things get done eventually. I am responsible and it doesn’t get in the way of that. But if it’s not required and/or there is no impending deadline? It probably isn’t getting done.
Yeah, I know about all the planning professionals who say if I am organized enough it will only take 15 minutes a day to do all these things I don’t want to do. I’ve had courses from the Franklin Planner people, the Covey people, and several others I don’t care to remember. None were by my choice. All were my employer’s idea. I sometimes enjoy listening to these highly organized people. I find them to be entertaining. They are quite…enthusiastic! But when it gets down to it, I don’t really want to be them. Regardless of what they say, I think their lives seem chaotic….and quite honestly, dull. Yeah….they cram a lot more into their days than me. They probably accomplish a lot more than I do. But I still think I come out ahead doing it my way. I take a few moments to review and enjoy what I have just done. I try to remember to take time to be thankful for it. Rushing to the next thing spoils that for me. Having time for reflection and recovery is important.
Now I do not throw off the responsibilities of an adult and live the life of a child. I am a believer that when you make commitments, you accept the responsibilities that come with them. Like Marina, I had mail to go through. Bills to pay. My house needed vacuuming. My kitchen floor needed to be mopped. I just cancelled my newspaper because I as so far behind that I couldn’t get caught up and I thought they just may put me on Hoarders if I didn’t do something about the paper stacks (and I love reading the paper. I plan to move to the online edition…..when that comes up on my list!) I don’t have the animals she does. I am spoiled with my yard…..my dad keeps it mowed and Ethan Galliher (the adorable friend of my nephew Brennan…my nieces and nephews have some great friends) came by when I was away and chopped down the crazy brush that keeps growing up where I lost a tree a couple of years ago. Maybe there are limbs down in my yard….. hmmmm…… I’ll check that out sometime. But it will take me a while to notice. It’s not at the top of my “to do” list. The important things will get done. In time. Sometimes purely because of the assistance of others. The other stuff is a perpetual maybe.
I don’t feel the urgency to get things done that Marina does. I can sit and look at the things that need to be done and relax. She can’t. There is no right or wrong. Well, maybe there is…..but it differs between people. I admire her work ethic…. all she gets accomplished in a day. But she wears me out! (Note: She did not do all of this activity while we were on vacation. Instead she was the one laying out at the pool with me all day reading. She can relax….on occasion! Her brother Marty hasn’t mastered that, however. He kept up that pace through most of our whole vacation. But it was to our benefit. He brought us frozen drinks to the pool and cooked our meals at night. We appreciate his crazy vacation pace!)
Marina has never expected me to work at the same pace that she does. Her activity level does shame me into movement on occasion. And maybe I get her to slow down sometimes and join my slugfest. As in most things, we need balance. And we need to celebrate how others walk….or run…..through life. Some of us are Marys, and some of us are Marthas.. (Grab your Bible and look at Luke 10 if you want to visit this story or if you are confused with the reference.) Some of us are a blend of both, and some just plain lazy!
I guess it is all like a glass of lemonade. Some stand at the sink and drink it quickly, consider that refreshment, and then move on to do something else. But then there are the rest of us….for whom a glass of lemonade means it is time to sit out on the porch, sip slowly, breathe, and reflect on our day.
It is now Wednesday. I have gone through some of my mail, done a couple of loads of laundry. My suitcase still sits open in my bedroom. I still haven’t checked out my yard for limbs. The workouts I was supposed to start back haven’t happened yet. But nevertheless, I am accomplishing a bit. And I am still feeling pretty relaxed. The vacation bliss has faded, but isn’t completely gone yet. I think I can at least stretch it out through the weekend…..