After the most brutal year of my life, my husband and I were finally able to take a long and critically needed vacation. Now normally we aren’t the type to count down the days to vacation but after losing my father to cancer, losing our son in miscarriage and an enduring a painful surgery all in a matter of 6 months, we were practically counting down nanoseconds until we could finally get away and relax.
In the past I would always look forward to vacations but then they would seem to just fly by so quickly and I always felt kinda empty when I got home. Even though we would do fun things throughout the trips, if I’m being honest I often wasted more time than I would ever like to admit. I would spend my previous vacations doing work (that could wait), thinking about doing work (if I wasn’t doing it), scrolling endlessly on social media, working to take the best pictures I possibly could (for my future social media posts), figuring out what I was going to wear for the next vacation event, thinking about what we were going to do next, etc. Always moving but never really taking the time to enjoy it along the way. And I would often get home from the trip feeling as stressed out as I was when I left for it.
But when we finally embarked on our long awaited trip, I instantly recognized something was very different this time. Although this vacation was logistically similar to ones we’ve taken in the past (we traveled to some of our favorite spots in Florida), this one was profoundly different in many ways. I couldn’t quite figure out why at first, but it didn’t take me long to put my finger on it.
See life changes after experiencing loss. We survivors are forever changed in every way after going through the loss of a loved one (or of multiple loved ones). We experience joy and sadness much differently than we did before. We can easily decipher what’s important to us in life and what’s not. We understand in a very real way that our moments on this earth are finite. We recognize that whether we like it or not, we will never be who we were before the loss. It just is what it is. And this takes me to our recent summer vacation…
Like a message straight from the universe, I realized this vacation was more unique than I had ever experienced before because I was completely and totally present in each moment. Probably for the first time ever, my husband and I spent time together completely focused on each other in the moment and nothing else. I wasn’t worried about scrolling and keeping up on social media happenings. I wasn’t worried about answering emails as soon as they came in. I wasn’t worried about what crazy thing this or that “celebrity” was doing that was “newsworthy”. I just wasn’t worried about the distractions that far too often in life take us away from the moment. I even realized that for the very first time in our relationship, I didn’t concern myself about making an anniversary social media post to my husband as I always would have in the past (it happened to be our third in marriage and fifth of our engagement, both of which usually occur during our summer vacation). Honestly this was our vacation, our time together, and after our year of hell none of that stuff mattered.
Despite all of this hell I have been through, I have been blessed by the gift of this lesson learned. To not waste a single additional moment of my life (and vacations) giving precious time away. Being truly present in our moments add up to a life well lived. My husband and I got home from our vacation more connected together, more relaxed, more refreshed and ready for the future ahead. And this is how I plan to spend every vacation from now on.
Through my immense loss in life, I have gained so incredibly much and changed in every way possible. In addition, I have taken back my time and my vacations. And for all of those things I will forever be grateful.