Today I have been going through vacation re-entry. Did you know that is a real thing? I just thought it was a catch phrase, like so many other things we say in our day to day world. However, vacation re-entry is actually the subject of Huffington Post articles and New York Times articles and even WebMD has something to say about vacation re-entry.
My vacation was four days in the Dominican Republic with a group of 10 girls. My two highschool girlfriends and I have those big birthdays this year, so that’s a wonderful excuse for a trip. I’ve written about spending time with these two girls before in Those Old Friends. One of these girls has a sister and more girl cousins than I can ever remember! So, there were two of us that were unrelated surrounded by a wonderful group of sisters and cousins, all from South Georgia. Our beautiful resort was a perfect place for some sun, pool time, good food, spa services, workouts and other antics that let folks know that “the Georgia girls” were around.
Since I did not know all of the girls before the trip and hadn’t seen a couple of others in years, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I might not have known all these girls, or been around some in forever, I’ve grown up knowing their mothers, grandparents and family my whole life. In the South, that’s just as good as being neighbors. Since I’ve always wanted a sister and always wanted a huge, big family I was thrilled that my other friend and I were officially adopted as cousins from here on out.
While I was away I realized just how much I love a vacation! I guess we all do though, right? I do love being able to get away, ignore emails, not worry about laundry and schedules, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, work outside or inside the home. It is just a wonderful thing. When I was at the airport waiting for our flight home I made the mistake of opening my email. There it was. Proof of real life at home. I felt the churn of the stomach as I read emails from the boys’ school, an email from the accountant, emails about client meetings, re-arranging teaching schedules, reminders of doctor appointments, need I go on? I finally threw the phone back in my bag and turned it off. I figured I could relish in the vacation a couple more hours and deal with it all at re-entry.
So here I am. Sitting in front of my computer responding to emails, re-working my calendar, paying bills, churning out the laundry non-stop and actually posting to this blog after days and days away . . .
If you are interested, I found this list about the actual stages of vacation re-entry.
Stage One: Denial: refusing to think about the fact that I will have to return to work faster than it emotionally feels like I should.
Stage Two: Depression: the low-level blue mood that precedes the actually reentry. The resentment about having to conform to a schedule other than of my own making again.
Stage Three: Disorientation: the mental pauses and temporary space outs that occur when I can’t quite shift into a work pattern/task as easily as I did before I left. Probably because I’ve lost the rhythm.
Stage Four: Decompensation: feeling overloaded by the accumulate mail, email, and deferred meetings that all were scheduled for the week of my return.
Stage Five: Digging In: starting to make some headway at getting through the accumulated stuff, a sense of hope returns
Stage Six: Dedicated: Back in my stride, feeling motivated to accomplish good things.
Who knew there were actually stages? I think coming home we get thrown back so quickly into our schedules we don’t have time to think about stages – or the fact that we actually just had a vacation! If you want tips on post vacation re-entry, check out THIS post in the New York Times.
Before I left I did the most I could to make things easier when I got home. I cleaned all the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. That likely lasted about three hours after I left. I caught up on all the laundry in the house. Judging from the over flowing piles in the baskets, that did not last long either. I paid bills. I printed out the boys’ schedules for The Husband and made arrangements for the dogs. Unfortunately for The Husband, he still had some work to do taking over for me with carpool, sports, meetings and just plain keeping watch.
Along with all the mundane, boring things you do when you come home, I’m also doing something a little extra. I am trying to practice my New Year’s Word. I’m being thankful. I had a great time at a great place with some great women. That in itself is a gift. I have two dear, lifelong friends that are like sisters to me. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for The Husband for keeping it all together, for wanting to hear all the details about “the Georgia girls” and our resort. I am thankful my boys had a great time while I was away and am so thankful for my sweet dogs meeting me at the door like only your own dogs will do!
What wonderful gifts all of these things are! Sometimes it takes going away, taking a step back, relaxing, being with other people who are different, but also alike, to make being in our own life and home and routine be seen as the gift that it is. I’m so happy I was away with these girls, am included now as family, and that we now have some fun stories! Cheers to you Georgia girls!
Enjoy Your Day!