Staycation: Enjoy the Every-day

Preface: A couple of years ago I planned a staycation over the Christmas holiday and did nothing more than suffer with the flu. There was a path worn between bed and sofa. No visits to friends, no writing (it was intended to be an at-home writing retreat), no delicious dinners. Prior to that, I started taking one day off per quarter to do things like get the oil changed and knock out a couple of doctor appointments without having to scramble around and quickly get back to work. Somewhere along the way (perhaps in the midst of the cancer diagnosis and treatment), I forgot about my quarterly days off.

At any rate, here I am (or rather, was) with over a week off and not much planned for the first 7 days. My time off began mid-day last Friday (over a week ago–where has the time gone?). A few years ago I would have been apprehensive about not having a schedule whilst out of the office for a term. Not the case today, my friends! This week has been casual, spontaneous, and dare I say, the most luxurious week ever? It’s not so much what I did, but what I was able to do on a normal time schedule, without feeling rushed, that has made this week both relaxing and energizing.

I watched hot air balloons launch from a country field while chatting with a friend; saw the same hot air balloons glow in the night at a park while chatting with another friend; made dinner for a couple of friends on a couple of nights; drank beer and sipped wine; attended a fundraiser for a rural animal shelter; went to a dinner party and enjoyed unhurried conversation; enjoyed a day of shopping with a friend and a day of shopping solo; took my dog on longer walks than usual; took her to the pet store; took her to get ice cream; woke each morning to the coolness of Grace’s damp nose on my face and not the jarring intrusion of an alarm clock; volunteered at the animal shelter; handed my foster dog to his wonderful new family; read a book; enjoyed sitting on my deck (and fell asleep); had dinner on my deck; did some writing on my deck; got a massage; napped nearly every day; cooked meals before nightfall; helped a neighbor who locked herself out; went to morning yoga classes (plural); took my first Pilates class, which precipitated one of the naps; grocery shopped at 11:00 a.m. on a Thursday and IT WAS GOOD; installed a wire rack on my pantry; called my Mom mid-day on a Tuesday; called two of my sisters; attended a book club dinner and actually read the book; met some intelligent, hilarious women and laughed until my stomach hurt; had dinner at a restaurant I had never been to; and I savored every moment.

Hot air balloons in flight
Hot air balloon launch at the Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon, NC
Hot air balloon glowing after sunset
Hot air balloon glow at Spring Forest Road Park in Raleigh, NC
Trees line the paved greenway path
A long walk on the Greenway
Smiling dog!
One of the sweeties I got to photograph at the Wake County Animal Center
Ice cream treat with dog biscuit
Grace’s ice cream doggie treat

I do these things during normal weeks, but not typically all in the same week, and sadly, usually with my shoulders hunched, neck tense, rushing to get to the next thing. I am blessed to have a full-time job and work with fantastic people. This post is not to lament the 9-to-5, but to shine a light on the beauty of using vacation time to enjoy what you already have. You simply may not have the time to appreciate it on a daily basis.

It is wonderful to travel–I love it and hope I will always be going somewhere, but I also hope I’ll remember this staycation next year and do it again. It’s been good for my mind, body, and soul. I feel not only recharged, but restored like never before.

And now, my recharged self is off to Chicago to walk a 5K with some very special ladies. Another state to check off my 5K-in-every-state list. More on that later…after the vacation that followed the staycation is complete!