Things I Learned on Vacation

Pier at the beach

We just returned home from a week long vacation that included some much needed rest and recuperation on the beach. Vacations, like all things in life, can be learning experiences. Here are three things I learned while we were away.

Fear might not be rational but it is real

I know this is true because I am afraid of heights. There is no real reason to be afraid of being 40 feet in the air. There just isn’t any. I hate that I freeze when I’m not on the ground. There are many fun and safe things that I have not done because of this fear. But the nature of fear is this, instead of enjoying the activity your mind focuses on everything that could go wrong.

I had a great reminder of this on our vacation. Each day split time between the beach and the pool. Day one started at the beach after breakfast. I was surprised to see Brooklyn and J run into the breakers without any encouragement. Water is not their favorite place to play. Swimming lessons included tears. So running into the ocean surprised me. Seeing J and Brooklyn in chest high water jumping and getting knocked over by the waves was so much fun.

Later that day we went to the pool before dinner. Neither Brooklyn nor J would move out of the 12 inch deep wading pool. I offered to take them into the water with me and they declined with panic in their voices and panic on their faces. Their fear might not have been rational but it was real, because the two 5 year old children felt safer in the sea than they did in the pool. They were safe where they felt safe.

Control is the goal

This is really an extension of the previous point because safety and trust are the basis of needing to control all situations. If you don’t trust you want to have control. If you don’t feel safe you want to have control. That’s why Brooklyn and J wanted to control where they went in the pool. They didn’t feel safe in pool…a controlled environment. They didn’t trust that everything was going to be OK. They were not afraid in the ocean because they felt safe in what is ironically an extremely uncontrollable environment.

Resting is hard work

We rented a condo for our time away and one of the realities of the condo was that it had no internet access. I literally felt my body tense up when Kayla told me about the lack of connectivity. I like most have convinced myself that I need to be constantly connected to the rest of the world.

We decided that instead of watching TV and doing all of the things we do online we would sit on the balcony, stare at the ocean and enjoy each other’s company. Which sounded really great when we discussed it, but reality was a whole different matter. It was hard to disconnect. As much as we enjoy each other’s company and long for some quality time alone it was hard to not have our digital distractions. Maybe it wasn’t hard to disconnect. Maybe we were going through digital detox.

We are back home and trying to get back into our regular routine which is proving to be difficult in and of itself. I am thankful for time away as a family to rest and bond. Back to life, back to reality.

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