Friday, March 29, 2013

Your vacation is what you make of it

It was a comment that Peter, the taxi driver made as he was driving me to Fort Myers airport after a wonderful one-week break, that made me realize that my attitude this trip had been different. 

He was telling me about a twenty-something who had come to Florida for some sun, and was sorely disappointed because while the sun was shining, the wind was blowing hard, making it chilly.  Consequently she hadn’t spent the time on the beach that she’d planned, and totally bent out of shape, she whined all the way to the airport.

Now it is true the weather wasn’t its usual glorious self, but hey, compared to the winter we’ve had this year, anything over 12 C, seems balmy to me.   Vacations, like anything else in life, are what you make of them and this year I went south with a changed mindset.

1.              The weather is immaterial.  In the past, I would have been like our young friend, and totally bummed out if I didn’t get my share of rays on the beach. But this year, my focus was on the break, getting away from work and most importantly, visiting with my cousin.

2.              Switching off from email is essential.  I had decided at the outset that I wouldn’t check email and I am proud to report I didn’t.   And you know what, it wasn’t as hard as I thought, all of which speaks to the need to take a break, because without the reminders of work, you can more easily unwind. 

3.              Urgent is a matter of interpretation.  Usually I would leave an out-of-office message giving a forwarding email so that if a matter was urgent, someone could be contacted. But I’ve found in the past that people make contact because they want an immediate answer, not because it is urgent.  So for seven days, Company of Women was offline and to my knowledge, nothing disastrous happened.

4.              Selective shopping.  OK.  I will fess up – I love to shop and normally that is one of our fun activities when I am down south.  However, my cousin had hurt her leg, which made walking distances difficult and so we couldn’t shop as much as usual.  But that was fine, as instead of wandering aimlessly at the stores, I was much more discerning on what I wanted to buy and where we went to shop.

5.              Budget.  Because I can see (and buy) lots of treasures and “have-to-haves,” I set myself a firm budget this year, and as my father would say, “when in doubt, out.”  So I stuck to what was practical, would be put to good use rather than some of my more frivolous purchases of previous years.

6.              Buy local.  Because I don’t take time to shop much when I am at home, I saw stuff that I liked and could easily get in Canada, so I decided to wait and get it locally, rather than carry it back in my luggage.

7.              Relax and read.  Now this isn’t a new direction, but for me the measure of a good holiday is how many books I manage to read – this year 4.5.  Not bad.

I don’t know about you but I am often a tad tetchy before I go, that’s actually my clue that it is time to get away.  So folks should be pleased that I have returned in a better frame of mind.  I am back, all mellow and chilled out, and not so willing to get into the fray once again, but it will come.  

But maybe the 24/7 ability to stay in touch with my business has to go, otherwise my business owns me, rather than the other way around.  What about you?  Who owns who?

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