I love taking vacations with my family (comprised of my husband and daughter), but vacations are also a source of stress for me. I want Terrence to have an opportunity to relax and play golf, and I want Isabella to have fun and be a kid. We recently returned from Isabella’s spring break vacation. It wasn’t until this trip that I realized that I never think about myself—what do I want out of our vacations?
We spend so much time trying to please others that we forget to please ourselves. I know Terrence wanted Isabella and I to have a great time, but we failed to communicate our desires and when we tried, I could tell we were unnecessarily feeling selfish. Isabella wanted to go to amusement parks or the pool, Terrence wanted to play golf, and I just tried to figure out when things opened and closed, made reservations, and reminded people when we had to be up in the morning.
Why don’t families speak frankly about what they want to do, about how to spend quality time together so that both adults and children are in conversation and are included in making the plans? I’m not suggesting we let a 6 or a 15 year old dictate the day, but plan a day for the kid(s), a day for each parent, etc. Or better yet, break up the day’s activities so that it’s not so exhausting on everyone.
But this brings me back to me. When I think about what I want to do, I get stuck. The things that jump to my mind are the things that I think I should say, like “go to the gym,” “get a massage,” “go for a nature walk.” Yes, those things sound good, but do I really want to do them? Maybe a little. But what I really want is to feel alive, learn new things, dance and move my body, laugh out loud, explore something or somewhere new.
My health can stagnate my life. I feel like I am using the excuse that I am a chronically ill person to stop myself from trying new things or following my interests. Taking medicine every day throughout the day and dealing with multiple medical problems is what consumes most of my life (please see the rest of the website). I am often exhausted from a routine day’s activities, so the idea of traveling is daunting. Plus, traveling can be a nightmare because I have to call both the pharmacy and my health insurance carriers to get prior approval to obtain my medicines early, so I travel as little as possible.
So how can a vacation help get me out of this funk? Vacations are a perfect place to start exploring and seeking those adventures, plus they help break my daily routine. First, I will have be honest with myself about what I want to do (self-exploration), and secondly, I must convey those wishes to my family (good communication).
Are you putting yourself first? What does that mean for you? Are you communicating those wishes to your loved ones?