Driving away the vacation lament…

The good thing about a vacation is that you can’t wait to get home again. That’s because vacation ends with the need to pack, travel, and then unpack when you finally reach your destination. And that tedium is enough to make you long for the home sweet home you couldn’t wait to leave a mere week ago.

Add packing the vehicle in the heat and humidity of a south Florida summer, the perpetual construction that is Florida’s highways, the visibility-blinding thunderstorms while enduring break-neck speeds with imbeciles weaving in and out of the winding, uneven lanes, and it’s almost strategic, actually. Having just returned from my vacation, I am happy to be home. (Having just returned via the interstate highway, I am happy to be alive.)

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The thermometer in my kitchen reads close to 90 degrees when the AC isn’t running on a summer day.

So happy. Now I just have to adjust to the 10-degree increase our AC’s thermostat is recording compared to the vacation condo (since the electric bill is now on our dime) and the workout-a-day/workaday world that returns as my reality on Monday.

Ah! Home sweet home.

I must not fail to consider, however, the inevitable look back on the vacation that was vs. the vacation I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the gorgeous villa at the beach resort, the nightly gourmet dinners and the accompanying price tag that assured we oohed and ahhed appreciatively, and especially the extended family who graced our table at the pool and restaurant and villa each night. I enjoyed the long walks to Tiger Tail Beach with my niece, the yoga, the aquacise, the cool of the pool and the shady protection of the umbrella, the shopping spree, the occasional nap, the sea breeze, and the Bingo games (even though I never won).

It was a vacation about place and people, about resorts and relationships, about dining and dilly dallying. It was a perfect vacation for accomplishing the “rest, relax, not think about work, regroup… ” that I suggested as my goal for vacation in my previous post.

But I discovered something about myself: I do not relax well. An early riser despite later nights, I walked the beach each morning — more than an hour with my philosophical, deep-thinking, question-pondering, 20-something niece. We followed the walk with breakfast in the villa, some water exercises, and conversation by the pool as we awaited the later risers.

I felt we were doing, not dilly dallying, and I preferred it to lolling in a lounge chair while too-plump jet setters flaunted their fluffy front-sides and bumpy backsides in bikinis as they wandered to and from the pool snack bar. But even so we did too much sitting, too much staying up late, too much socializing to refresh myself spiritually, physically and mentally. I talked but didn’t think. I read but didn’t write. I exercised but conquered no new territory. I did no craft. I produced nothing of significance.

Numerous times while lazing about the pool my mind accused me using the last stanza of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life“:

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.

I was itching to do something I considered significant. (My legs were itching from my sensitivity to chlorine.)

Five days later…

That was a week ago. In fact, the last time my mind convicted me using Longfellow’s poem was a week and 400 miles or so ago. My workout-a-day/workaday world began Monday, and the post I had begun over the weekend had yet to find it’s happy ending or it’s vacation lament.

As I reflect now on my vacation, I realize that it was good and it is over and all is well. I’m back at work, making the world a better place. I’m back at home, making my home a better place. (I hope. I’m certainly sweating enough while attempting to do so.) I’m back at the gym, making my body a better place — to hang my clothes. I’m driving back and forth to work, fighting traffic but not on the interstate, and I’m happy I’m home. There truly is no place like home.

And the packing, driving, and unpacking tedium made it so much sweeter to be at home sweet home. It is good to be back in the routine (and off the highway!). Any lament I may have had over my vacation’s end has been driven away. Literally.



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