Vacating the regular

by Kristin on July 10, 2011

in Love, family & community

I vacated my blog last week, without any real preparation or plan for what would happen here while I was away. At first I was feeling guilty about the abandonment (because guilt is often my first impulse), but then, as the vacation week progressed, I began to think more about what it really means to vacate your regular life for a while.

Sure, vacation involves a lot of packing and planning, but it also means leaving behind all kinds of baggage—well-worn routines, the clouds of obligation and responsibility that hang over you, the “regular” way of looking at the people and scenes in your life. Letting go of the blog for a week—not just taking the week off, but also relieving myself of the uber-responsibility involved in planning ahead—was an important part of the vacating. I feel ready to dive in again, even if I don’t feel exactly rested.

Because I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty worn out. That’s the irony—many of the most refreshing vacations aren’t at all restful. Our vacation this year was an adventure into a more simple way of life, yet the very things that are more “simple” (like a rustic cabin with no running water, or sleeping on the ground in a tent) also make vacation more exhausting. I’ve given up on the grand expectation that vacation will be restful in traditional ways (ie: more sleep), and have decided that the rejuvenation comes from the process of vacating our “normal” lives in ways that make us see, appreciate, and experience the world anew.

For my family last week, our process of vacating included working together without the help of modern conveniences like dishwashers or running water…

Donning special gear to explore a new terrain…

Being refreshed by nature and unstructured play…

Remembering what it’s like to feel small and quiet…

Making a home together in a new place and a different way…

Appreciating small comforts in the great outdoors…

Contemplating life from different angles, by virtue of being in a different setting…

There isn’t one best way to vacate—it depends on who you are and what your day-to-day life involves. So what does vacating look like for you? Or how might it look if you could make it happen?

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  • http://www.orangeshirtguy.com Dave Thurston

    Nice.

    Love to vacate a day by running. Shoes on with a good brainfood podcast on the iphone and my day goes to the 8s, 9s, or 10. So many possibilities – that simply getting away for just a little while allows me to see.

    An analogy would be that I briefly run away from the trees so that as I run back, I can see the woods again.

    Glad you paid you and yours some time; glad you’re back.

  • bookhouseboy

    So true.

    In a couple weeks, I’ll be headed off to the mountains to be a camp counselor. I don’t really enjoy living in a small cabin full of big stinky boys for a week, nor suffering the sketchy bathrooms and showers thirty yards away. The preparation is time-consuming when I wish I could be reading, sleeping, or working out instead, and then when we get there it’s 16-hour days of managing games, discussions, hikes, crafts, and teen drama.

    But there’s NO Internet or cell phone access, the scenery is breathtaking, and the kids are fun, funny, open, and inspiring. There are songs, campfires, hearty food after intense play, lessons learned, and lots of new friends.

    I’ve often contemplated the magic of camp — how life is different, more vivid, there — but I have never considered that it’s because I have VACATED my regular life for that span of time. Thanks for the new perspective.

  • http://shawnsmucker.com Shawn Smucker

    Amazing pictures, Kristin. I’m still trying to decide what to do with my blog during the week I am away later this summer. This has given me something to chew on.

  • http://katieleigh.wordpress.com Katie

    I love the idea of “vacating the regular” to rejuvenate. For me it means stepping away from the computer and the demands of my job, to focus on my loved ones, the natural world, and just enjoying the simple things.

    Great photos and perspective – so glad you had a chance to rejuvenate.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Dave, I’m glad you brought up the idea of shorter vacate moments—even just a day or a couple of hours carved out of a day. I hadn’t really made that connection, but I need more moments like that in my “regular” life. I think it would help me frame them—rejuvenating moments of vacating rather than just “taking a walk” or a break.

    bookhouseboy, first of all, wow you are brave! And you are doing such an important thing, giving your time to those teens! Knowing people like you are doing things like that gives me a lot of hope. But back to the idea of vacating and what you get out of the experience—this is a perfect example of what I was trying to communicate! Thank you for sharing it. (And blessings on your camp experience!)

    Shawn, it’s possible that I’m just making excuses—justifying my lack of foresight and planning. :) In that case, maybe you shouldn’t follow my example. But as writers, we’re good at spinning tales as we go, right? And I do think this one fits—in retrospect, completely letting go of my blog for a week what just what I needed this summer.

    Katie, your description of what “vacating the regular” looks like for you makes me think of the Love List project. It seems like you know yourself and what makes you feel most like you. I’m glad you’re able to discern and make space in your days for what you love.

  • Carmen

    What beautiful images! I always love to see your family out in the wide, wide world. I only wish the net would draw you closer. (Brooklyn. Brooklyn.)

  • http://takingtheyoke.blogspot.com Ray Hollenbach

    I’m SO GLAD you guys love camping, so I can benefit from the pictures of your vacation. It’s as close to camping as I’ll ever get. (Well, there was that one time I tried to camp in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia, but Security figured out what I was up to and showed me the door.) Welcome back, Kristin!

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com ed cyzewski

    It has been good for me to let my blog go for a week when I’m on vacation. It reminds me that the world can live without my little perspective, which sort of helps fight the vanity that comes with writing. I usually like to disconnect from the world by relaxing with a book and swimming. If I write, I try to limit it to fiction or some ideas in a notebook.

    I’m so glad you had a fun week away.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Carmen, but we were in Michigan at the same time! So close, and yet so far…

    Ray, and I thought you were going to say our shared love for camping was just one more reason to feel a kindred connection to us! :) I’m glad we could experience the rugged vacation so you don’t have to.

    ed, that’s so true—everyone seemed to be fine last week without me. :)

  • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

    I love the idea of letting everything go while on vacation — I really enjoyed our 10 days of honeymooning with no contact with my regular life (well, that’s not true, it was hard to go that long without talking to my family and closest friends). Still, returning to reality was tough because it took several days to re-establish our normal routines and get back to reality. I wish vacation life and reality could co-exist a little bit easier, but I guess that would defeat the purpose!