I strolled up and down each aisle, methodically examining every item that I so desired. As I surmised I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing when I desired to be doing it, it dawned on me...I must be on vacation...and I was! The hubs and I took a much-needed three-day sabbatical away from work and the dreaded "P" subject (politics) to have some you-and-me time. What is you-and-me time? To do whatever WE choose to do, whenever WE choose to do it -- WE, not having to answer to anyone else. Do we want to have breakfast at noon? Better still, do we want to sleep till noon? How about dinner at midnight? Falling asleep in a king-sized bed with the TV on? There are no rules for daily living when you're on vacation. That is the beauty of it.
Recently I realized that we hadn't had a getaway as a couple since January. For me, that is a very long time because I enjoy travel so much and travel is one of my main sources of inspiration. Sometimes I think we underestimate the power of "change in scenery" as the great catalyst it is for bringing us from our current state of affairs to our "hopeful" state of affairs. I want to be more inspired. I want to feel more energetic. I want to get more done. Do you ever have these thoughts? I know I do and, when I start feeling this way, I count back to see how long it's been since I've had a getaway. Hmmm...May (for me) to October? You do the math. On my getaway calculator that falls deep into the alert(!) zone, signaling me that it's been way too long since I've explored a place other than my usual 100 square miles that surround me on a daily basis. As I've stated many times, fall getaways to the mountains are one of our favorite ways to de-stress, change up the scenery, and take in so much beauty that my inspiration factor goes from 0 to 10 almost immediately.
I'll have to be honest. The day we left, I almost backed out; I was somewhat irritable that day. Before we could even head north, we had to check "in" on our responsibilities and check "off" a few to-dos. That's one of the downsides of being self-employed and also being a human being. There is never -- well, I won't say never, but hardly ever -- a time when you are completely 100% free from the duties of work and obligations. You have things that have to be attended to, people and places and jobs to check on and those things don't go away just because you decide to take a trip. So by the time we crossed all our t's and dotted all our i's, it was late in the day before we had even headed out... and I was a grouchy greta because of it (no offense if your name is Greta). What is the use, I thought, since we're getting such a late start? But because I knew deep down how much we needed it, I pushed forward in the hope that the stresses and irritations of daily life would ease as we got farther down the road. I was right. By the time we got to the North Georgia foothills, I could literally feel the stress falling away and a soothing sense of peace and calm taking over. It is a good feeling indeed. But because we got such a late start, we decided to spend the night in a town which was not our final destination and tackle the 35-mile trek over the mountains the next day. The sun was dropping low in the sky and, as it slipped behind the horizon, I could tell the shrubs lining the highway were a deep russet in the shadows and, for that reason alone, I needed another day in the area to breathe in the colors of autumn.
So what does one talk about with their mate when they work with their mate and the discussion of work is off-limits? That's a very good question! If 50 percent of what you talk about is work, 10 percent about the current news (or less for me if it's politics!) and the final 40 percent is about family, that leaves family since the other two topics are off limits! I remember when our children were young and we counted the days until we could have a date night and dinner alone. We got dressed, got a sitter, settled down in a nice restaurant for a stress-free dinner and what did we talk about? Our kids! I've heard the same stories from other parents but if, like us, your life is centered around family, you have nothing in common more important than family. Family was, still is today, and forever will be the foundation that grounds our lives, brings us great joy, and ends up being our first and foremost topic of conversation. If your children are in elementary school, middle school, or high school, you may be finding more and more time to do things with your spouse. Take advantage of those times the kids have their own activities as opportunities to find common interests for the future. Because I promise you, before you know it, the children will be off and you may be sitting across the table from your better half one night wondering what in the world you have in common with this stranger. It's a sad place to be.
So much to my own relief, I have found that couples CAN have common interests after the children are up and out of the house, even if those little troublemakers have been your sole focus for most of your adult life. I think that is the great fear of couples as they approach the empty-nest time of life when their full and devoted attention has been on rearing children for 18 years. Some of our common interests are newfound since becoming empty-nesters, but I do believe they were waiting to surface. We were just too busy to notice and I just wish we'd discovered them sooner. We love going to movies. We love hunting for bargains and frequenting our favorite discount/junk emporiums. We love long walks and hiking in the woods, going to the beach, and eating dinner in front of the TV, something I never allowed when the kids were coming up. We love eating ice cream together, but I won't even go there. At the top of the list? Taking impromptu trips in the fall to revel in the glories that only the North Carolina mountains in autumn can produce. Of course, on those trips our main conversation topic is how much we think our kids would love it all...the sights, the sounds, the smells...and we talk about maybe -- just maybe...we'll bring them along next time.
In retrospect, I have the stinking suspicion that hubby slipped off in the wee hours of the morning to the hotel lobby to get some work in, while I snoozed the morning away. He best be glad I didn't catch him working in the no-work zone. I mean...really?
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
- George Eliot
Posted by CC
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