A Week Outside Reality

My family’s annual trip to Ormond Beach, Florida exists on its own plane.

The weeks and months before and after it are filled with responsibilities. We mind calendars and lists and activities, and they dictate where we need to be and for how long, and what we need to do while we’re there. We attend to work and school deadlines, try to keep up with household maintenance, and try to make healthy choices.

We sleep and we rise, and then we do it again.

But for this one week a year, none of those schedules or lists matter. We’re 800 miles away from all that. Our phones may occasionally ding with a reminder of something that we’d be doing if we were back home, and they are promptly ignored. When we go down to swim in the water or sit on the sand, we stay according to how we feel rather than consult a clock or planner.

I confess that I haven’t always been good about this. I used to take my calendar with me just in case. Last year the UCC’s General Synod overlapped with our time there, so I had to take my work computer with me. Sometimes I’ve asked myself how much longer I can stay in the ocean before I should go do something else. What was there to do? I don’t know. It’s just how I’m used to thinking the rest of the year.

I think this year’s vacation was one of my more successful and restful “outside of reality” stays. The kids are older and more independent now, which helps with such things. My only contact with anything back home was to deal a little with my ongoing shoulder injury saga. But for the most part, I floated for as long as I wanted to float and I sat for as long as I wanted to sit and I read for as long as I wanted to read.

I kept reality at bay for a week. I wonder, though, how such a relaxed mentality less beholden to the hours could be integrated into the other 51 weeks of the year.

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