Planning for time off is always a production, because of the many tasks that need to be completed before the departure date. Besides making sure that the tasks from your job are up to date and your email indicates your absence; there are the many responsibilities that need to be taken care of at home. Like remembering to stop the mail, to stock the refrigerator for the house-sitter, to make sure the animals have what they need, to pack appropriately, etc., etc. And if you have small children—well; that preparation can take days. Since we have an assortment of furred, feathered and shelled family members—and most everybody we know already has their own life to carry on with—finding pet and house sitters is a challenge. I quickly find myself asking, why do we even bother. ..
Someone asked me how can these types of things overwhelm me. “Your day job requires organization and coordination of a multitude of deadlines; your painting style involves numerous options that would make a person go crazy, why does making sure all is taken care of at home take you to the point of ruining your vacation?” Why indeed.
So, taking this as an opportunity to be rid of a self-defeating habit that I picked up somewhere over the years—mainly that I have to get all of this done before I can enjoy myself and that I have to finish everything and then I can be happy and ready to go—I decided to practice what I preach: find the sparkles.
I looked for and found sparkles with every task on The List. I asked for and accepted help. I lived in the moment. I took the time to enjoy the challenge of pre-vacation preparations. I stopped to acknowledge gratitudes: grateful because I am lucky enough to get away for a few days to travel and reconnect with family and friends, grateful because I have a home that I need to find a sitter for, grateful for our unique group of pets that require their own set of preparation tasks and grateful for my job that I have to be accountable for before I leave. And although the tasks were still there; their ability to push me to the brink of not wanting to bother seemed to weaken. I was actually enjoying myself before they were done. I allowed myself to feel that way even though The List was not completed. I had to let my past behavior not take hold this time. I will give myself an 8; not completely rid of a bad habit but well on my way.
And there were plenty of sparkles to find; from making a wonderful new friend who didn’t mind a puppy that was not 100% house-trained, discovering new painting inspirations at the grocery store and finding a lost gift card from the holidays while I was cleaning for the house-sitter.
Taking the time to find sparkles and acknowledge gratitudes took me away from my traditional behavior. I plan to do it more often. 🙂
Packed and sparkled—and ready to go.