I feel like I should write a "Part 2" to my blog from 2 nights ago concerning vacations. Please understand that I am not saying vacations are bad. In fact, some day I plan on being quite the vacation expert.
I do disagree with the expectation of hugely expensive or time consuming vacations being what everybody "needs". The honest truth is that that no one needs a vacation. Sometimes people need a break from things in life. I get that. That's not what I'm talking about.
There are many people on the face of this Earth that never, in their entire lifetime go on a vacation. But somehow in our culture and life today, vacations are assumed. I can't tell you the number of looks I get when I say that we don't do big vacations. I'm really not scarring my children for life. I understand vacations. I understand family time "away from it all". I understand leaving the cares of the world behind and relaxing. But it's not a necessity. It is a choice and a blessing.
I have found, that for me, I can't relax on vacation while feeling guilty that the money we are spending could be paying bills down so we are secure financially. There is no place on this Earth far enough away for me to escape my own thoughts and worries. I can pretend and I can forget for a moment. But, in my experience, it isn't worth it. I have pushed vacations in the past because we were "supposed" to have vacations. It was stressful for me.
We did a vacation once when we just had two tiny children. We charged the entire thing. And we had fun. We got back home and I looked at what we spent and what the bills were and felt horrible. We had worked hard. We had "earned" a vacation, right? That's the world told us. But the whole trip wasn't worth the feeling when we got back home and had to face real life again. My goal is now to build a life that doesn't need escaping from. I want to vacation knowing that we are paying cash and that the money spent on vacation is free to be used for vacations alone - that all the rest of the bills are paid and that there are reserves for anything that could go wrong.
Peace of mind is what I'm talking about in regards to vacations. My family is deciding right now on where we want to go for vacation this year. It won't be big. And it won't be long. But we'll go together. We'll make memories together. We'll use our vacation fund that we've been contributing to all year. And we'll come home relaxed, with no remorse that we were irresponsible with our money while we had our time together.
For you vacationers out there, I am happy for you! My blogs are never meant to make anyone feel bad. I have had things in my life that you haven't had in yours . . bad things that have shaped the way I am and the way I think. I am talking about my own decisions regarding vacations and the decision to be free from the pressures of vacations. Just flip thru the internet and you'll see how I "should" be vacationing, how I don't value family memories, and how I'm depriving my family of life expectations because we aren't going on a cruise or something - but it's simply not true. I don't make decisions because I "should" do something. I won't give in to pressure. And I will no longer push my family in to things because it is supposed to be a great family memory to give them.
You know what is a great family memory for me? Peace and happiness. Having my teenager pick me a flower. Having my children giggling on the patio. Watching my hubster work on projects with the kids. Peace and happiness aren't found only in a certain location. They are found in our hearts, and they can make life a vacation place everyday when cultivated.
Tonight I am thankful for (hopefully) an understanding that my motives in this blog are never cruel. I'm not here to judge. I'm just writing my own thoughts from my own experiences. And I am finding something to be thankful for . . even if the world tells me I shouldn't be thankful; that I should be miserable because I'm not leaving town for the summer.