My family has been gone for the past 10 days on a trip that we’ve been planning for nearly a year. During the course of our trip, I had no email access and very limited social media. And I’m not going to lie…not being constantly connected was kind of amazing. I was more or less forced to “stop and smell the roses” and that turned out to be a good thing.
And thankfully, I had time to reflect on a lot of things during the time we were away. There’s something about finally having down time plus the ocean to put me into a reflective mood.
And as is often the case, I wasn’t too happy with what I figured out.
It all started with a video my husband took of me and our youngest racing each other on the cruise ship’s water slides. I snapped a few screenshots of the video (because I figured no one would ever want to see the video but I might get a couple of good photos from it) and one of them startled me.
Abby and I had just hit the end of the racing water slides and we were laughing.
When I saw that photo, it hit me that I haven’t laughed like that in a while. A long while.
And it also hit me that “vacation Annalisa” is really the best version of me that there is. And that maybe, even in regular old non-vacation life, that is the “me” that needs to be present, at least sometimes!
The vacation version of me laughs a lot. So much so that my abs are sore from 10 days of laughter. Vacation Annalisa also takes time to enjoy the simple things: a good cup of coffee, sunshine, a breeze. Not to mention the fact that on vacation, I’m way more fully present with my family than I am the rest of the time—thanks in part to the aforementioned lack of Wi-Fi, but also because I’m actively choosing to spend time with them instead of doing other things.
And now that I’m back home, I realize that my priorities have been out of whack for a while. It seems that I’m kind of the queen of biting off more than I can chew, and in the past I’ve always somehow managed to get everything done even if it meant making a lot of sacrifices. I think that was way easier when I was single! When I married Johnny 5 years ago, his kids were 8, 16, and 17. A lot has changed since then—for one, I no longer think of them as “his” kids but as ours. And that means I have a lot more responsibility than I did back then.
While I realize I can’t be in vacation mode all the time, I do think there are changes that have to be made. I met Abby when she was 7 and became her stepmom when she was 8. Now she’s 13. I know these next years are going to zoom past. I don’t want her memories of me to be mainly of me being stressed out over work and writing.
Which means I have to figure out some ways to simplify my life. I have to figure out how to get rid of some of my stress and how to manage my time and responsibilities so that I have more time for my family. Because these years are precious and fleeting.
Anyone have any tips on time management? I’d love to hear!
And as a side note, to those of you who are waiting for the release of A Reservation for Romance, I apologize. It’s not quite ready, but I’m back at it this week, trying to get it done. Thanks for your patience with me as you wait—I’m doing the best I can to get it to you quickly. Sign up for my newsletter to receive a notice when it releases!