Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An intermission

The summer season is in full effect and for many that means time for family vacation. I have vacation on the brain because my family and I took our annual trip to the beach last week.  Post vacation has me reflecting on my time away or as Merriam Webster defines vacation as a respite or a time of respite from something: Intermission.  In my typical Type A fashion I was involved with the planning of my family’s summer vacation. As the days (weeks) came close to our actual day of departure I tediously made shopping lists, packing lists, driving directions, and things to do on vacation lists.  As fate would have it, a wrench was thrown into my tidy little plan when I was forced to have emergency surgery the night before we planned to leave town.  I tried hard to conceal the panic I was feeling inside as I dished out instructions to my husband and sister before leaving for the hospital.

I spent the day after surgery (our departure day) out of it or what I lovingly refer to as “still under anesthesia.” We continued with our original plan of departure and instead of orchestrating every hour, every turn, or pit stop, I slept. I took a vacation from my role as planner, director, and controller and became a participant.  My husband drove with intent to get as far as he could which meant no actual destination in site and no hotel reservation. Instead of my typical protest or last minute web surfing or reservation making, I slept.  When we finally reached our final destination where we were greeted by loving friends whom we shared the vacation week with, I silently stood by as our car was unpacked and our children were cared for and dinner was planned.

Several days into our trip I sat in a comfy chair in my pajamas and drank my second and then third uninterrupted cup of coffee. I watched my children play and I watched the beautiful ocean scenery outside our window and then I had an epiphany.  I was relaxed and the trip was going great even though it wasn’t exactly what I planned.  It was almost noon and we weren’t dressed and I didn’t care and it didn’t matter. We didn’t have a plan for the day and we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere and it was glorious. My vacation was exactly what the dictionary defined, an intermission.  It was about more than getting a suntan, building a sandcastle, or eating fresh seafood.  My vacation was not only a respite from work; it was a break from my normal roles, duties, and routine.  I call it Divine Intervention because I physically needed a break. Having emergency surgery gave me no choice but to step out of my comfort zone. I was forced to let someone else take control and plan. I was also forced to rest and relax.

I returned home from vacation feeling recovered, refreshed and ready to go back to work.  I also appreciate the fact that although my daughter said she could stay at the beach forever, she was extremely excited to go back to school and see her friends. That’s another great thing about vacation; it gives you just enough time away to truly appreciate what you have.  As I drove to work yesterday I reflected on our recent vacation.  I have cherished memories of the quality time I spent with my family and friends but I also gained a new outlook on life. Our vacation was what I truly needed, a respite which gave me time to heal and accept the fact that I cannot control or plan everything all of the time and that is okay.

Mindy Seals works in the information technology division at Texas Health Resources and is balancing work, married life and raising two kids.

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