I recently had a visit from the relatives. I don’t know how it’s for you, but I find it exhausting. It was fun, but it’s like eating too much–after awhile you start to feel sick. They left on Monday. It’s Thursday and I’m still recovering. There’s something wrong when a person has to recover from a holiday. We took our kids to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo this year. We did it in seven days. It was busy. All along the way, we were dazzled by creativity and enchanted by the magic of make believe. We made some happy memories and I’m glad we took the trip, but I noticed the attractions begin to repel quickly. The noise-level, flashing lights, bright colors, and crowds of sweaty tourists are over-stimulating and that’s an understatement. There’s a lot of standing in line, straining to see, listening to whining and crying (I couldn’t help myself), interspersed with snippets of glee, spontaneous “oohs” and “ahhs”, and a year’s supply of french fries. We waited two hours to find Nemo and my daughter said when she found him, she would slap him. The cheery attendant standing nearby was horrified. Three days at the Magic Kingdom and we were sprinting for the drawbridge. We started using it as a disciplinary tool.
“I told you to stop it. Don’t make me take you back there.”
By the time we hit Sea World, we were so glad they had animals to look at. Our insides were scrambled. What is it with the ride thing, anyway? Are our lives so boring that we need to fly around at top speed in the equivalent of a gigantic blender to feel something? As an aside, don’t you find that many tourist attractions fail to live up to their advertising? Those listed above are certainly the exceptions. We went to a corn maze once. The write up said it would be “fun for the whole family”. It seemed overpriced and the cashier gave us a discount, saying it wasn’t quite finished and she didn’t feel right about charging us the full amount. The maze was covered in jagged wood chips that stuck to my kid’s socks and gave them splinters. The train ride lasted about a minute as we chugged around a smelly slew. The budget ghost town was populated by what looked like corpses, dried-up, rotten, apple core faces with naked, bony hands and feet. Maggots would have been appropriate. Some of the scenes were so gruesome, I had to shield my children’s eyes. Talk about your creepy rip-off!
My favorite part of our California adventure was visiting the beach. We took the whole day. We chose a lonely stretch of ocean. The weather was mild and the sun was shining. The water was cold, but it was so blue it almost blended with the sky. The sound of the waves keeping time caressed my bombed-out senses from their catatonic state. We spread out the towels. We set up the snacks. We laughed at my husband for once again buying yet another bag of inedible, chile and lime styrofoam that no one would help him eat. My oldest daughter shrieked and giggled as she chased the water in and out. My son dug deep, covering himself in the warm, wet sand. My youngest girlie collected shells with her daddy. I walked along the shore, relishing a few moments alone. We talked and rested. We could have used a few more days like that–the kind of day that makes your heart ache in a good way.
When we take a vacation, is it not because we’ve worked hard and need a break? Why do we work at our play and rest? Are we doomed to toil in everything we do? I believe part of the reason is the “get all you can out of life” mentality that’s so prevalent in our society today. There’s an urgency to this way of thinking that keeps us running. A person must see and do everything before she dies even if she ends up in a hospital with her left eye twitching, half her hair pulled out, and a draft whistling up her tuchus. All this go, go, going is enough to make us all sick, sick, sick.
I’m determined to put off the drab hospital gown indefinitely. There is wisdom in knowing your limits and they’re different for everyone. My life may not be as exciting as a travel blogger’s, but it’s a good one and I want to live it with a healthy mind and body. I’m thinking the key is to slow down in my down time so that when I return to work, I’m refreshed and ready to pick up where I left off.
I’m dreaming of the ideal holiday. Visit an interesting place. No racing from one attraction to another. No schedule. Discover as you go. Stop when you’re curiosity is aroused, not when the tour book tells you to. No guilt if you decide to take a pass. Have fun, but remember that too much tickling can be tiring. Eat good food. Take naps and walks. Be with the ones you love. Leave the work at work.
Author’s note: This piece was written when my children were small. It seemed appropriate to post it as I embark on a holiday. There is no post scheduled for next week. I hope to see you back here on July 9. Grace and peace, friends! 🙂
Complete the experience. Listen to Stephen Curtis Chapman’s Land of Opportunity.
Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂