As a gift to my sons for their high school graduation, we took a vacation with our extended family to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. As a recent widow, with three soon-to-be college freshmen, and another one in high school, I knew that the trip was a bit of a stretch financially. But, in choosing to take some time out for my family, I made lasting memories with my sons and learned a great lesson along the way. Sometimes it is in giving that we, ourselves, receive the biggest gift.
Why You Need to Take a Family Vacation
In a world filled with schedules and to-do lists, (and with four children, holy crap!) I’ve come to realize that vacations are not a luxury but a necessity. There aren’t any distractions or responsibilities when on vacation. Vacations aren’t about where you are, they’re about where you aren’t. Being at home means responsibilities and routine.
Sometimes we get lost in the patterns of the mundane duties that our daily lives demand, making it difficult to live in the moment because we are always trying to stay ahead of everything we NEED to do and ignoring what we WANT to do. We are constantly on autopilot and we don’t even realize it.
Vacation helps to break the cycle of living in that semi-unconscious state.
Vacations make it possible to recharge our minds, bodies, and souls and present us with unlimited opportunities to learn and breathe new life into our routines. It’s a process of discovery. Vacation makes it possible for us to dwell in the now just a little bit longer. When we have no worries, no fears, and no pressing concerns, it’s a lot easier to live in the present and live for the moment.
Being present is about slowing things down enough to feel and experience what is happening in the moment, not what happened in the past and not what will happen in the future. Vacation has a way of pulling us out of the busy and guiding us into the present.
Through my journey becoming a life coach, and losing my husband, the lens through which I see the world, has changed. I now appreciate that there isn’t always time to wait. Life is happening now.
Some of us keep waiting for the right time to live the life we desire. We want to work more, save more, wait for the mortgage to be paid off, the kids to graduate from college. The list goes on and on but guess what? There will always be something else. We always think that tomorrow is better than today. Today is the tomorrow you planned for yesterday. The only time is NOW. Take the vacation and enjoy the moment. Emily Dickinson says it best, “forever is composed of nows.”
I know this to be true because I have lived a life where I was constantly focused on all the wonderful things that were going to happen in the future, a month or a year from now. I was always living in the “soon,”never in the “now.” I used to live in a world where the future holds success and happiness and the present was never enough. I was always trying to get to the destination, never realizing the journey is actually the destination.
The precious souvenir I took home from my vacation was learning how to slow down and stay happy in the moment. The best part is that you can practice slowing down and enjoying the present moment anywhere. Where you are doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you stop for a few weeks, a few days, or even a few hours, and recharge. Take time to pause life and get aligned with who you are and what is most important. Shift out of autopilot and realign with your deeper desires.
You will be amazed at what you find not only in the outside world, but even more so, within yourself.
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Laurice Duffy is a recent widow, mother of 4 boys and a loving golden retriever puppy, Fenway. She is a life coach, blogger and owner of A Mindful Journey. She lives in Kinnelon, NJ where she grew up. Her interests include decorating, long walks up to the park and spending time with family and friends. In honor of her husband, a man whose heart was always filled with love and compassion, her mission is to spread kindness. She truly believes that the benefits of kindness are contagious and has a ripple effect that spreads outward. For a daily dose of inspiration, follow her on Instagram (amindfuljourney.ld) and/or on Facebook (amindfuljourney).