I’d been looking forward to this vacation since we booked it 8 months ago. A week in Cancun, Mexico, at an all inclusive timeshare without any connection to the outside world. After all the drama that had been going on in my life, I was counting the days. If you follow me on Instamatic, I’m sure you’ve seen the photos depicting the countdown.
And a lot of stuff happened on this vacation. Mostly nothing, but at the same time everything. I spent a lot of time laying in the sunshine by a pool, sipping on completely fattening mudslides and Chunky Monkey frozen drinks, listening to music and just relaxing…and it was during that time that I learned some new things about myself and my life.
I came back from vacation 3 pounds heavier, with a few new recipes I’m going to test out, relaxed and a few new ideas for the future.
I learned that I can’t do everything by myself. Trying to do everything by myself is the one way to set myself up for failure and disaster. Whether it’s work related, life related, wife related, or running related – everyone needs help from time to time, and it’s time for me to remember that. It’s not a bad thing to ask for help from time to time, and to lean on the support being offered by those around me. I can’t do everything by myself, and I’m a much stronger and happier person when I do ask for help.
I learned that I sometimes need to take a leap of faith.On Monday, Dreamboat and I went on a snorkel tour. Three beautiful locations in freezing water. And by freezing I mean like upper 60s temperature wise. It was so cold. But I wanted to go into the crystal clear water and see the Blue Catfish, the Fan Coral and others. So I just… jumped in. And it was cold and uncomfortable for a bit, but soon I got used to the water and was able to take full advantage of the beauty in the sinkhole that we were in. And then, when we went to the cavern, I did it again and was able to swim with fruit bats flying overhead. I did it a third time and was able to swim with sting rays and flounders. It was incredible. So that made me think – if this is what I saw when I jumped into freezing cold water while snorkeling … what if I took that even broader and did it in everything I do in my world? It’s a leap of faith, and I just need to suck it up and jump. I could fall, or I could swim with sting rays.
I learned that stress and I don’t get along very well, and it’s time to break up. I had two massages on this trip: One two days after I got to Cancun, and one the day before I left. The first one was nice, but I couldn’t shut my head off. I had rapid fire thoughts going through my head that kept me distracted and unable to relax completely. It was a short 30 minute back massage but still; it bothered me that I couldn’t fully let go. Then, on Tuesday – I damn near fell asleep while I was on the table. I noticed that my body had just relaxed on it’s own. The relaxing scent of lavender, the gentle but persistent pressure on my sore muscles, the calm that came with the soft music and dim lights… it was lovely. And that’s when I realized that I was clinging to stress like it was an old lover and that just needed to end. I’m not enjoying much of my life because of stress, and what’s the point of that? So, it’s over. It’s not me, Stress. It’s most certainly you.
I learned that sometimes it really isn’t me. Dreamboat and I fought a little on the trip. Both times were due to lack of communication with each other. We just weren’t in synch and sometimes that happens. But one of the times we fought, he said a few things that really got me thinking and once I was able to push past the hurt and the “now what did I do?” kind of mentality, I realized – it’s NOT always me. And sometimes it REALLY isn’t me. It’s him. Or it’s my mom. Or it’s his mom. Either way, it’s not always me that causes the drama, and it’s not always my fault that there is miscommunications or issues. Sometimes it’s other people getting in the way, or not fulfilling their part. And that’s okay. I just need to realize that sometimes it really isn’t me, or all about me.
I learned that I really, really miss my hobbies. I used to write a lot more than I do now. I used to read a lot too. I used to run just about every day. Lately it’s been a chore to do any of the things I loved before, and it made me miserable. Then I read this article in Runner’s World and it really touched my heart. I started reading it while in the sunshine, and then when the clouds rolled in, I headed to my room and finished it while listening to the piano playlist on Spotify and drinking a vodka sprite with lime. And I was touched. My heart hurt for the poor writer and his mother who was fighting a losing battle to cancer, and I my heart yearned for the focus the interviewee had been speaking about, how despite everything you should keep doing what you love as a way to find relief and focus and release. It made me realize that I need that kind of peace in my life. I want that kind of peace in my life. I’m making it a point to purchase her book and find some of the peace that she has as well. (NOTE: I tweeted Runner’s World for a link to the story since I couldn’t find it online and I don’t have my copy with me as I am writing this while at work, and they said that it was print only. I urge everyone to go find a copy at their local store or even the library. You have to read this incredibly touching article.)
I learned that life is too short to be dealing with that which makes you unhappy. My Dad is not a healthy guy, and you have heard me talk about it before. He hurt himself a couple of times on this trip. My Mom did too. It reminded me that time is precious and it’s pointless to waste it on things that don’t matter. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go on a vacation like this with my parents again, and I refused to let the little things that caused slight problems to interfere with the joy we found. Find your peace, find your joy, and dismiss that which makes you miserable.
I learned that I really need to meditate more. And do yoga. Before our couple’s massage on Tuesday, we were going to spend some time in the sauna. The sauna in the ladies locker room was down, and the steam room was far to hot for me to handle. So while Brian was in the sauna in the mens locker room, I spent some time in the relaxation area. There was soft peaceful music, ambient light behind amber colored glass, a water fountain and candle light. I had a hot compress around my neck and I sat in a chair where I had my legs up and it was lovely. I sat there with my eyes closed, and listened to the soft music and the moving water (until another couple came in and complained about God knows what) and found myself relaxing in a way that I hadn’t in years. Then, during the massage, she stretched out my upper bod; pulling my limbs and lengthening my muscles, applying heat where necessary and during the massage finding spots that were tight. I need to add meditation, massage, and yoga to my normal regime in life. I found it peaceful, and uplifting.
It sounds like all of this is obvious and it’s true: it’s very obvious. It’s something that I have always known, but when you are so focused on stress and so overwhelmed then those things seem hard to accept or even possible to believe. A week away from everything and anything helped me realize that I am letting too many outside forces control my life and it’s time to regain that control.
I also learned how to make green tea water, and am looking up the recipe for the pineapple water I had in Cancun. That stuff was amazing. Oh, and chlorophyll water? I need that too. These things need to happen in my diet more. In fact, I’m making green tea water tonight. I also ate a ton of fruit, specifically cantaloupe. I had a lot of wheat, but only had issues one night. The food there is healthier than it is here, since most of it is fresh and not processed. (So where did those three extra pounds come from, you ask? I did drink A LOT of frozen drinks. Specifically mudslides, which is basically a chocolate milkshake with lots of Kaluha. So there is three pounds easy.)
The bottom line is I left for Cancun feeling defeated, stressed out and miserable. I came home feeling significantly less stressed out, more focused, and with a distinct plan on how I want to fix things that are ‘wrong’ in my life. I am laughing easier, I’m smiling more, and I am already working on a good workout/diet regime so I can get those three pounds (plus) off my frame. I’m ready to get back to where I was: better.