What do you need to get away from?

Recently, I got away.

Away from meetings, from major responsibilities, the local news, the national news, the social media posts about the news, the videos of cats, kids, cats & kids, the leftovers, the drawer in my fridge that really needs to be cleaned out, but continues to hold onto a mess of onion skin, old pieces of parsley, and an unidentifiable sticky substance that might or might not be the goop from a rotted potato. Or piece of garlic. Yuck to both.

I got away from all of that.

I went to a place where I focused on two things: Me and a Project that’s Super Important to Me.

It was….
Fantastic. Amazing. Relaxing. Productive for my Super Important Project.

And really freaking hard.

It was hard because getting away comes with it’s own bundle of emotions and concerns. Have you ever tried to get away and had any of these thoughts?

  • I want to go…but I can’t take a break from work right now.
  • My kids will miss me.
  • I’ll miss my kids.
  • My partner/husband/babysitter/parents-who-lovingly-help-me-out can’t handle everything the kids need.
  • I can’t afford to take a break.
  • I should save my vacation time for when we can all take a break together.

I have some version of every one of these thoughts whenever I consider getting away.

The two that are hardest for me are spending the money and leaving the kids. Which are the most difficult for you? The ones you feel like you can’t get around?

For leaving the kids, I’ve noticed that it’s easier for me to leave them with my husband, aka, Dad. I trust them with him and I know they are home and safe and doing their normal routine.

This makes getting away with my husband and leaving the kids at home particularly tricky, but that’s another blog post.

For the money piece, I do a deep dive into self worth and acceptance. I ask myself if getting away is something I truly value. Is it an experience that will improve, or even make a difference in my life? When the answer is yes, or perhaps it’s when I so badly need a break I can hardly see straight, spending the money isn’t hard. Not because I have oodles of money, but because I value the experience so much that it’s worth re-budgeting another area of my life in order to afford a trip.

Every single one of us finds the resources for the things we value. This is something to pay attention to. We might say we can’t pay for coaching, but we can find the money – or the credit – for a brand new TV. Maybe we can’t afford the gym membership, but we can go out to eat three nights a week.

What does it take for us to value getting away?

With a deep sigh, I’ll admit that age might have something to do with it. Getting a smidgen older year by year creates the lens of experience. I like this lens. I like being able to see things perhaps more clearly than I used to. Or maybe with more compassion and understanding.

In the spirit of being more compassionate and understanding to ourselves, the question becomes what can getting away do for you?

  • Time…blessed, wonderful time. Time to be in a space with just you. Time to not worry about the laundry. Time to walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Celebrate. Cry. Time for whatever the hell you need.
  • Realignment…to our commitments. Projects. Businesses. Families. Doing a reality check to confirm what really matters to us and maybe come up with one or two projects or even relationships, that no longer serve us. Align with what matters.
  • Soak…tired muscles in the tub. Soak up the sun. The cold – or heat!. The fresh air. Nature in the bones. Quiet.
  • Progress…if your getaway is focused on a specific project, what progress will you make on it? What feels good to dive into? What have you been resisting that you are willing to face given the time and space to face it? Deep shit can happen when we get away. We just have to be willing to pay attention and soak in the lessons.
  • Elation…certainly during your time away, you may feel elated. Euphoric. Overwhelmed by gratitude for your life and opportunities. Or not. A sense of elation can also happen when you return. Yes, you may have missed your family, and you’re so happy to see them when you come home. Elated.
  • Better…stepping away from life makes us more able to dive into it when we get back. A shift in perspective happens that might translate into a new habit. Maybe you dance in the morning. Or write for 50 minutes without stopping more often. Perhaps you feel like a better parent because you took the time to get away.

Think about it. What could you gain from stepping away from your responsibilities, even for just a few minutes? What difference would that make in your life?

Sara Marchessault is a writer, publisher, teacher, and mom who is on a mission to increase joy on the planet. Through the practice of self-reflection, we become aware of what brings us joy and what does not, and we make choices to move forward or stand still. Journal writing is a powerful reflection tool that can help any of us move forward, even in the darkest of times. For ideas on how you can get the benefits of journal writing without always keeping a traditional journal, check out Sara’s book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling.

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