What I Learned on My Vacation

I'm back to my blog after about two weeks off. Two weeks away from social media. No blogging, no tweeting, no pinning, barely any commenting on other blogs. I needed a break. Things were getting to me. I was tired, physically and mentally.

I wrote this post, and then went on vacation to San Diego with my family. The perfect time to step away.

In my absence, I received all manner of comments ranging from empathy and understanding to speculation that I am depressed, still grieving, or really ill.

Well, it's nice to know people care.

The truth of the matter is that I am probably all of those things. I am a busy mom, trying to do too much and not taking care of myself.

The truth is that I am depressed - about Joey, about family "stuff", about myself and feeling like I'm in a sinking boat while my only oar floats away.

The truth is that I grieve for Joey every day, but so much harder some days than others.

The truth is my well-being is ill because it hasn't been attended to in a long time. My treadmill broke. I eat like crap. I'm tired, but I won't go to bed because of everything that's weighing on me.

I slept a lot on vacation. As I sat in our bungalow each night waiting for the boys to fall asleep, I'm sure Hubby was sitting outside with a glass of wine waiting for me to join him and look at the stars over the bay and listen to the water lapping against the sand.

But I was sleeping. Because I needed it.

I took two naps, too. Because I needed them.

I didn't bring my laptop, and I deleted a lot of blog posts that were e-mailed to me (I did read the ones from all my most favorite friends - AnnMarie, Steph, Meredith, Kimberly, JD, and a handful of others, but I just didn't comment). I didn't look at Twitter, and I barely checked Facebook.

And you know what?

Life went on.

Bloggers blogged, Tweeters tweeted, Pinners Pinned, Facebookers updated statuses.

And honestly, I really don't think I missed much.

What I didn't miss was having fun with my family at Legoland, watching the sheer exuberance of three little boys who ran screaming through the Mini-Land display to all of their favorite Star Wars scenes.

Or the fascination that all my boys - big and little - had with the fish pond at the resort.

Or watching all four boys have a total blast simply playing in the wet sand getting completely filthy.
Allowing myself to allow them to get completely filthy.
My mistake was thinking that things would change once I arrived back home. Thinking that I would have this magic change of heart or profound inspiration or strong motivation to eat tofu and run 6 miles every day.
Monday morning greeted me with two appointments and no babysitter, and Monday afternoon slapped me with two activities and one little boy who didn't want to do either.
My treadmill was still broken, I had vacation laundry to do, I had a post to write for HVFH, and I fell back into my old pattern of staying up way too late at night and noshing on too many unhealthy foods.
I realized that there were things to be learned from a week away . . . and they weren't necessarily things I wanted to admit.
  • No matter how much sleep I get or how many naps I take, I will always be tired.
  • I like junk food; and if it's here, I will eat it.
  • I am a night owl. I always have been. Old habits die hard.
  • There is no laundry or toy fairy who visits your house when you are gone (oh, wait a minute . . . yes, there is. Her name is MOM!! Thanks Mom!).
  • I logically cannot spend all of my time on social media. It is not my job. That's great that some people treat it like their job, but I just can't right now. And I can't let myself get upset about certain things not happening because I am not trying as hard as someone else.
  • That pile of crap on my desk and all that junk in the "Lego" room is not going anywhere. I will get to it eventually.
Please tell me you have a room like this in your house, too.

I once heard that if you've crossed everything off your to-do list, that means you're dead. I think I am going to be around for a while.
As far as my writing goes . . .well, I'm not sure where it's going. What I do know, is that I need to take my own advice.
A young person whom I love very much and who has been very important to my family the past seven years, came to me for some advice. I told her one of my favorite pieces of life advice from one of my favorite people from my past.
My speech teacher in high school was Mary Kay Mueller. Today, she is an author, a motivational speaker, and life coach. She always had a smile on her face as she repeated to snotty, bored high school girls, "Happy people take risks."
Happy people take risks.
For 25 years I have been carrying this saying around - and telling other people this, too.
But not really living it.
You see, I'm scared of risk. With risk comes loss, and I've already lost too much. Loss hurts.
But without risk, you may never find happiness. No one was ever happy simply standing still. Content? Perhaps. But happy? No.
So yeah, I've got to take some risks. Recently, I applied for a paid blogger job and found out I was a finalist for the position. Wow, 'cause last year when I applied for this same job, I wasn't even considered.
I didn't end up getting the job; but I took a risk, and it made me happy.
So, going forward, I'm following the old school advice that Kit gave Vivian in Pretty Woman: Take care of you.
It seems so simple. Don't worry about anything else. If you take care of yourself, the rest will come. No comparisons, no beating myself up for something I am not. No gimmicks, no trying too hard. I am me, and I am unique. I am not anyone else and shouldn't try to be. I should just be the best me I am capable of being.
Without totally exhausting myself again, that is. ;)
What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten? Did you follow it? How did it turn out?
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