Friday, August 20, 2010

Vacations: Is it just me?

Vacations seem to be a lot like Christmas for me. So much preparation goes into them and they are anticipated with excitement bordering on giddiness. They are surrounded with high expectations. Then, when they finally arrive, I am so exhausted from getting ready for them that I want to sleep and sleep and sleep. And then there’s the melancholy that accompanies both Christmases and vacations. What’s that about?

When I vacation it feels like my life comes to a grinding halt and I’m suddenly uprooted and plopped down into a strange place doing things that I don’t normally do with people I don’t normally do them with. It’s more than just a change of scenery. In some ways I feel stripped of my day-to-day identity. No one calls me “pastor.” I’m away from my own bed and my pets and the people I usually share my days with. And I start asking myself questions like, “Who the heck am I?” “What am I doing with my life?” “Am I really happy with my life?” “Where am I going to live when I retire?”-- the really big questions that I’m too preoccupied to ponder for long when I’m busy mowing the lawn and walking the dog and writing sermons. It seems that when I’ve divested myself of the outside distractions of my life, I’ve no place left to go but inside. My frantic doing is replaced with a time of introspective being. Scary!

Even when I'm still quite busy on my vacation, I’m busy with different stuff and that takes my spirit to a different place. I always find myself in some way transformed by a vacation, and transformation is hard work. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons why I’ve spent the better part of a year avoiding my vacation time.

And then there’s something unsettling about returning to my old life once again after my vacation is over. How can I feel renewed and transformed and then slip back into my old life? The transition is always difficult for me. It’s like realizing that the shoes I’ve been wearing no longer fit me and I have to break them in all over again.

Am I the only one who feels this way about vacations?


Pamela Czarnota said...
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Pamela Czarnota said...

Nancy... this may sound too simple. However, I have found it to be true.... When I truly accept the transformation of mind, emotion, body and soul that is provided by the "away time", it is possible for me to see my routine life (ie, the job, the homefront, etc) through a clarified lens. As I return from vacation I pray that I may be able to "see" with the same kind of openness and curiousity that was given as I viewed the foreign or unntrodden paths of my vacation spots. Another thing that I try to "tranpose" to my ordinary life is that wonderful feeling of "this is the only time in my life I will have this day".... so how can I absorb as much of what God is giving as possible?
Those are some of thoughts prompted by your posting.... thanks! Pamela

khaag said...

Plenty of people don't take vacations and one big reason is that they like the normalcy of their everyday life. When I go on vacation, I have time to confront every decision I've ever made in my life... should I have left my hometown, should have I become a teacher, why didn't I..., why does she..., the list goes on. It makes my mind crazy! My response is to self-talk and tell myself that I made the decision at the time with the information I had. Then I journal how my life will be different when I get back if some changes need to be made. In my best moments, I make those changes happen.
No. I think you're spot on with this posting.