555493_10151747311379269_115996695_nWherever I travel, I encounter Aussies or Europeans on their annual month-long vacations who question the American live-to-work ethic. I totally agree with them.

Time away is necessary. Everyone needs a break from the routine and a chance to quit working. Our bodies, minds, and spirits were created to require rest. But often the actual vacation falls short of our anticipation for it. Sky-high expectations are rarely met. It’s not always the relaxing retreat we hoped for.

Have you ever returned even more tired? Feel like you could use a vacation to rest from your vacation? Maybe that’s because of jet lag due to visiting an exotic foreign locale; maybe from lack of sleep because you had so much fun. Or sometimes you simply come home just plain weary.

My vacation didn’t refresh me. But I’d do it all over again if I had the chance.

I pushed the limits of endurance for my aging self. Sleep-wise, I worked up until we left and went back to work immediately after we returned; I’d also just completed my first Masters-level course. During the trip, we had five frightfully early morning travel connections and we stayed in obscenely-priced housing that left a lot to be desired in terms of quiet and comfort. To make matters worse, I had to borrow against my entire yearly supply of vacation days — before they were even accrued, and all that to spend time on a sparsely-populated resort island with my husband’s ex-in-laws. Not exactly the refreshing getaway I craved and still crave. 1010881_10151747295119269_1584743027_n

But some things are worth any price. The disappointing realities of life quickly melted away, leaving gratitude for the precious time we had.

Some people make it easy to forget all the less-than-ideal things. Our little granddaughters are two of them.

Our one day alone with my two favorite girls, Lucy and Emmy, reminded me why we took this trip. It was priceless! We relished hearing their little voices say, “Nana, can you do that again?” and “Watch me, Pops!” One evening of their good-bye hugs and kisses (on lips smeared sticky with strawberry gloss we’d given them) made it all worthwhile. Every sleepless night … Every dollar spent … Priceless!

Lucy's drawing shows a heart on my cheek. She said she sees my heart when I look at her and her sister.  I love that!

Lucy’s drawing shows a heart on my cheek. She said she sees my heart when I look at her and her sister. I love that!

The vacation is over but the memories will live on. As soon as we arrived home, I pulled out Lucy’s drawing of all of us and proudly displayed it on our refrigerator. And already, we’re eagerly counting down the days until the next time.1001017_10151579627050292_1467292694_n

After all, you can sleep when you’re dead. Now’s the time to live.


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