Being on vacation is awesome. There is no other way to describe it. Whether the choice is enjoying nature in the mountains or by the sea, alone or with others, basic or luxury; nothing beats the feeling of getting away from the routine of daily life. Or maybe not. What if a vacation type of life is already possible at home? What would it take to realize that level of relaxation, calm and serenity in familiar surroundings?
For about a year I’ve been exploring what circumstances I need in order to make my daily life feel more like a vacation. I want to feel cared for, but not necessarily in the typical way of having somebody serve me a cocktail at all hours of the day and night. I want to feel relaxed, but not by taking a full body massage every day. I would love to feel at peace at any moment I choose. These requirements and many others, make up a vacation state of mind for me. It is all a question of balance and perspective. Each person and every day is a little unique and requires shifts and adjustments in order to maximize the experience.
What I know for sure is that enjoying a typical vacation is not always as easy as one would assume. There can be a great disconnect between expectations and reality. There is always better weather somewhere else in the world, at another time of year. Somebody else has cornered the market for the best living arrangements, no matter how much money you have spent. It is not possible to see every one of the top tourist attractions or get a ticket to the hottest venues in town. The best restaurant to someone else is not your favourite, for some reason.
When expectations are not met, bad feelings are the result. The disappointment can be crushing, even while you stand with your feet in the sand and sunshine kissing your shoulders. Something was not what you had imagined and that feeling of being less than perfect can be ruinous to that moment, they day or even the whole trip. This is such a pity.
What can be equally as problematic is that the vacation is fantastic, but upon returning home the realization of the daily grind sets in and life feels horrible. No amount of 3-week stints away can make up for the difference of ‘away-fun’ versus ‘home-work’. In this scenario, the countdown begins towards the next break. Patiently counting time until the next holiday, is not a great way to live.
So, what is the answer? How can life be different, without quitting your job and becoming a full-time vacationer? Is that even a thing? I don’t think so. Full time travel, even without a budget is still a regular life. Even though many of us might dream and buy lottery tickets in order to try and achieve that level of freedom, we don’t often think through what that would really be like.
Each and every person on the planet has the power to enjoy or suffer in every moment, no matter what is going on around them. There are good and bad things to credit or blame. The glass is half full or empty. Which kind of life do you want to live? It is as easy and as difficult as that.
The trick is to choose how to use your mind, for good or evil. It really comes down to a concept as simple as that. When push comes to shove, are you able to choose joy over sadness? Just like in the cute characters of the Disney movie, both joy and sadness live within us. When experienced in appropriate proportion to each other, a beautiful balance emerges. The resulting symmetry cannot be bought with an expensive vacation, it can only be conjured in our mind.
“Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.” —Tim Cook
Start the journey now. Take the trip towards having more joy in your life. It is not difficult or expensive. All it costs is the exercise of a few facial muscles. Whatever is happening in this very moment is not an obstacle to joy, no matter what. SMILE and hold it for as long as you can. Then when you feel it fading, start again. That’s it, simple. Easy, peasy. Try this for as long as you can, and then try again.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” —Nhat Hanh
As I enjoy a family vacation in the sun, it occurs to me that I can help make this experience better for others while I am taking care of myself. I am responsible for my joy and in so doing, that simple act of smiling is a generous gift to be spread to everyone I see. It costs nothing but provides so much. Not only that, most of the time, a smile comes right back at you.
“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.” —Robert Murray McCheyne
It may not seem very creative to just smile, but give it a go and notice the run on effect. Your mood and every encounter with another person is transformed. Then in quiet moments of thought and contemplation, creativity bubbles up, however that shows up for you. That is the power of a smile. Use it excessively.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on creativity. Each day, I hope to get a little closer to understanding how to design a lifestyle I don’t need a vacation from. I believe that focusing on the importance of creativity in our daily lives is an important aspect of happiness and ultimately wellness.
There are a couple of interesting projects on the horizon in 2019. The travel book will be digitally published by the summer. A creativity retreat is on the docket for the Fall.
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See you on the internet! Or IRL, the next time we meet. Thank-you for the support and helping me get the word out to our fellow creatives.