What a difference a vacation makes.

For the first time in my working adult life, I went on a real vacation that didn’t require any work. It’s an absolute crime that I never valued time away from a life on automatic fast forward. I don’t understand why no one ever grabbed my shoulders, shook me and said, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? GO ON A REAL VACATION and DON’T WORK WHILE YOU’RE ON IT!”

We booked our Disney Cruise family vacation a year ago. I was reluctant. How much fun could I possibly have on a Disney Cruise as a single woman with no kids? I think even some of my friends thought it was a bit ridiculous but didn’t have the heart to tell me so. I can’t say I was even that excited until a couple of weeks before. I knew it would be a good break but I had no idea that it would have such an impact on my life.

The first day and 1/2 I felt a little strange and even a little sad. I watched families dancing, swimming and playing and thought, “What am I doing here? Why did I let my Mom and Sister talk me into this?”. Not only did I feel like I didn’t belong but I had the sense that this is the way life is supposed to be yet I didn’t seem to be a part of it. Happy couples with children. Except for me. Life seemed to have taken me in a very different direction than what I was ‘supposed’ to be.

I made the choice to shake it off. I desperately needed to enjoy this time away from the stresses of work and the obligations of life. Not to mention that I paid good money for it. I decided that I would do what I needed to do for the rest of the trip to relax and have a good time. As soon as I made that choice, the weight of the world fell from my shoulders. I didn’t care that I wasn’t in the most appropriate spot for my ‘status’. I wasn’t worried about what I was going to do next. I didn’t hardly give a thought to what I had left at home. Now I could just be.

I was more myself the next 7 days than I have been in many many years.
I laughed and laughed and laughed.
I ate 3 desserts in one sitting.
I danced.
I sang.
I lived.
I just was, without expectation or obligation.

What real difference did my vacation make?

I came back with a different kind of contentment that I have never felt before. Let’s just hope it sticks!

It also cemented the realization that for me, the most important part of life is the people I get to share it with. Wherever I am. Whoever that may be. Maybe family, or maybe just some hilarious people I meet along the way.

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