This is the moment. It will be fleeting, and Monday will be here in about 10 minutes. I savor the moment when vacation stretches before me like an oasis. Plans and rest and relaxation are visions in my future promising a beautiful new world with a changed attitude. What promise a vacation – one still in the future – brings! And in a flash, it will be Monday and gone like the passing of a sweet dessert on the tongue. After the pleasure is in the past, the memory will be tainted with regrets and coulda, woulda, shoulda. Ahhh … but the moment of vacation anticipation is sweet, sweet, sweet.
The other day I listened to Gary Gulman’s interview on the Hilarious World of Depression. This podcast features comedians who struggle with depression. It may seem to be a contradiction, but they say that 80% of comedians suffer depression. Robin Williams, my favorite comedian of all time, suffered to the extent of suicide. Does depression make comics? Or does a life of commenting on life make comics depressed? Or does 80% of the population suffer from it, and comedians are just one subset? I don’t know! Why are you asking me? It’s fun to listen to the podcast to understand how this contradiction fits together.
“The thing they don’t tell you growing up about life is this, ‘Life… hmmm … it’s EVERY…. SINGLE…. DAY. ‘”
– Gary Gulman
My friend Jessica, and sister from another mother, talk all the time about the nonstop onslaught of life. And I know there are others of you reeling out there, or this joke would fall flat on an audience. Jess and I text and moan about the exhausting treadmill of being single and having to handle work, a house, pets, relationships, a spiritual practice, an exercise routine (because we have to be healthy to keep this show going, right), car repairs, financial insecurity, cooking and the various surprises that life inevitably brings. It is tough having to handle it all alone, but I also know that if you have a partner and family, there’s even more complexity to it and even more to do. And, Gulman is right… there is no vacation from it. There’s no anticipation to a vacation from life. It’s EVERY …. DAMN … DAY. Even Nike gets it….
This treadmill – or is it a dreadmill – never stops. Today I woke up and the cats started meowing and Ashok stood over me as if to say, “When are you getting up?” I roll over and say out loud, “I’m on vacation today. I’m going back to sleep.” I close my eyes and roll over. A few seconds later, I open one eye, and she is staring me down eye-to-eye, standing on the bed. “Oh, alright. I’ll get up,” I say as all three animals fly off the bed and start yowling as if they are starving to death. It’s the Start button of every damn day for me. I let her out, go downstairs for pet food, feed them, drink a glass of water, take my antibiotic because I have a tooth infection, fix a cup of kefir, make some almond milk and tea, listen to the late night talk shows from last night, plan my day, journal, practice yoga so I can have 45 minutes of downtime, and today I even had time to blog. On a normal day I’d head to the office and work for 9 or so hours before coming home to exercise, cook dinner and maybe, hopefully, get a chance to check in on social media, read or take a walk to the lake.
And this is just the baseline. There are weekly chores. There are emergencies that come up. Yesterday, I had to go the dentist because I have an infection in my tooth. My car needs some work today, and I have to go get some eyeglasses. I set up an acupuncture appointment because I have a problem with my knee that won’t go away. Oh yeah, and I have Christmas shopping and making time to make new friends and build community hanging over my head. The leaves just fell of my tree in the backyard, so I have to make sure the lawn service can come out to clean that up. And, there’s no “Honey, can you take care of this?” for me. So I have to make more money so I can pay for services that I don’t have time to do because I’m busy trying to make more money.
So, I say all this to remind myself that the next five days are a vacation. Yes, I still have to feed the animals. The only thing missing from the daily grind is the next 27 hours or so of work that I usually have on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. So, what can I do in those 27 hours of free time that frees me up to relax? Hmmmm … blogging for one is a good brain dump. The extra time with friends will help me feel the love and support and camaraderie from others on their own dreadmill EVERY… DAMN… DAY. Oh yeah… I’ll also make my own eggnog lattes and eat some extra comfort food that’ll loosen restrictions on myself to be perfect. I’ll still exercise, but tomorrow I get to do it socially in a Thanksgiving Day 5K.
The schedule for the next few days will be THE change of scenery for vacation. The pace of my life will change. There will be more moments of downtime, and I can choose to add some heart opening activities to my daily drama. I know the Monday morning meeting is quickly approaching, but I’m going to let that go for now in anticipation of a break from the daily dreadmill. And I’ll be grateful that I’m healthy enough, wealthy enough, wise enough and connected enough to survive the daily grind with some grace and an intermittent good attitude.
Now, those of you who have to get to work, you’d better get going. As for me, I think I’ll have another eggnog latte.