I am back at home after my week at the Jersey shore with my family. While family trips are never 100 percent relaxing, we had a lot of good experiences. I enjoyed visiting the beer garden in Asbury Park, getting some solid time in the waves, and finishing Middlemarch (much read while drinking chardonnay on the balcony with a view of the sea!)
Last week I was also running a Daily Vacation Challenge. This was based on an exercise I discuss in Off the Clock (chapter 4) on how to strengthen the savoring muscles. I aimed to do something small each day that I knew I would enjoy. During the experience, I tried to really pay attention, and then I recorded the experience here afterwards. I invited others to do the same — and got a lot of great responses! If you haven’t read the last few days’ comments sections, please go do so.
(In general, comments on this blog are awesome — even when people don’t agree with me, they are thoughtful. I so hope to keep that going.)
Anyway, I’ve been pondering the ramifications of this challenge. I track my time, so I already have a fairly holistic perspective on my life. I know that a day where my 3-year-old decides to start pushing the furniture in our rental house around (why? why?) can also feature a lovely quiet hour on the porch later.
But I do know that this focus on savoring made one small experience seem longer. On Friday morning, I went for a short run in the rain. Then I came back and had a cup of coffee in the (quiet!) kitchen. I listened to the rain on the windows and enjoyed my nice hot freshly brewed cup (with cream!)
I sat there and lingered in the moment, and now I remember it. I hesitate to think how many thousands of cups of coffee I’ve had in my life (pretty much every day since age 15 – talk about a streak!) Most aren’t particularly memorable. But now this one cup is etched in my brain, and I remember those five or so minutes. Being able to remember a certain five minutes makes those five minutes expand. This is the point of stretching the savoring muscles: developing the ability to make good moments pass as slowly as the clock-watching bad ones.
If you participated in the Daily Vacation Challenge last week, did you notice that anything shifted in your perception of time?
In other news: I took the 3-year-old to his first day of day camp this morning. He wore his little backpack so proudly. And he tromped onto the playground like a champ. I said goodbye but I don’t think he even noticed. He may not notice I left until I go pick him up!
6 thoughts on “The Daily Vacation Challenge wrap-up discussion”
We had a strange week at our house and towards the end of the week, I got lazy about tracking my time (even though I’ve been pretty good about it for a month or so) and it was hard to find a few moments to really savor anything just because there was a lot going on. Despite that, I did find myself really enjoying an ice cream out with my family Saturday evening and purposely went outside on my deck for a bit yesterday with the intention to just breathe and enjoy some peace and quiet. The week wasn’t what I expected it to be because car trouble took up a lot of time that I wasn’t planning on, but I love the fact that I am trying to really pay attention to how I spend my time, even when it’s hectic.
I had a much harder time with this than I expected. Though I felt better that you were on vacation and also had a hard time some days 🙂
I think the intention to think about worked so that I did either notice or take advantage of things that I wouldn’t have normally noticed. For example, one day after a long day at work and running errands, I noticed when I got into bed that night to read that I was very relaxed and looking forward to reading (even though I do this nearly every night). Also, conversations with my kids (who are older teenagers) about things that are important to them.
The most interesting thing I learned last week was that I’m good at scheduling the small simple pleasures during the day, but I rush through them without really savoring them. I have a really great life, and I’m not grateful enough for it, so I’m working on changing that. I wrote a short post on my blog wrapping up the week: http://www.catchinghappiness.com/2018/07/what-i-learned-from-daily-vacation.html.
@Kathy – thanks for sharing the blog post! Yes, it’s maddening to have something pleasant and still feel like we’re rushing to the next thing because…why? I’m working on this too.
I have loved these daily vacation posts and have read them now while I am also on vacation and reading your latest book. I really enjoyed the book and left you a review on Amazon.
@Sarah K – I appreciate the review, thank you!