Transition from Vacation Back to Regular Life

As my month-long vacation in Prague comes to an end, I am thinking about the transition from vacation to regular life.

the Charles Bridge in Prague
Prague, summer 2011

The transition from vacation back to regular life is something that historically I am not good at. 

Actually, I am not good at transitions in general. 

Transitions are:
  • awkward
  • irregular
  • annoying.

I am impatient with them.  Just hurry up and be done with this already so I can get on to the next thing!

My yoga teachers are always reminding us to be mindful of the transitions between poses and that how we are on our yoga mats is how we are in life.

I used to think that was just hippie crap, but I must admit I am seeing the wisdom in it.

So here goes:  An Inquiry Into the Transition Between Vacation and Home 
What would it be like to pretend I am on vacation while at home?  That is, what are the aspects that make vacation so great?
  • freedom to go have fun whenever I feel like it (free from responsibilities and deadlines)
  • treat my time and experiences as special
  • take care of myself better … naps, “luxuries”
  • less TV   (that one surprised me)
  • “errands” are leisurely and somewhat of an adventure or experience in and of themselves
  • the mundane is anything but mundane

What aspects of home do I miss on vacation?
  • regular yoga and working out
  • drinking enough water and having regular meals
  • time with other people
  • easy access to whatever I need at the moment (e.g. the stuff I have at home but don’t take on vacation)

Perhaps I can eventually explore how to add some vacation back into home life.
Additional thoughts...

Transitions are awkward.  Especially at first.

I think that they can become smoother with practice.   It is hard, though, when the two things that you are transitioning between don’t happen very often.

Like from vacation back to work.

To me, a transition is just the thing that fills the space between two ‘unrelated’ things.   I say unrelated in quotes because they actually *are* related in that *you* are doing both of them.  Maybe you don’t see how they fit together yet, but they probably do.

Anyway, a transition is just a way of getting from Situation A to Situation B.  People vary in how they want to travel that distance.
  • as fast as possible
  • as enjoyably as possible
  • in an adventuresome way
  • other

I am typically of the “as fast as possible” variety of people. Transition, schmansition. Just get me where I want to be.

In the past few months I’ve been entertaining the possibility that there is some value in the process itself, not just the end product.  

Duh, of course there is value in the process itself.  It is just that finally I am ready to really explore that idea and almost believe that it is true for me personally.

At first I was playing with a bridge metaphor for the transition between two situations.  But bridge metaphors kind of make me want to gag.

The transition vehicle can be whatever works for you.  I don’t know yet what that is for me.

What *do* I know?

Well, more specifically, for me, what are the elements of a smooth exit from vacation?  (And this of course will vary for the type and length of vacation in question – today it is about my current exit from a lengthy vacation)
  • Pack the day before I leave so there is plenty of time for last minute whatevers.  Also, don’t make packing the last thing I do at night before the day I leave.
  • Relax on the last day of vacation.  It is not the day to cram a thousand things into.
  • Get enough sleep on the last night.  (this is harder if you have an early departure)
  • Buy some plane-friendly snacks in the days before departure.  Granola bars work well for me.
At the airport / on the plane / ground transportation:
Yuck. I am finding myself resistant to the fact that I could even hope to entertain the possibility of making this part any better.  Wallowing in self-pity! Poor me who complains about the luxury of flying! I will attempt to think of 2 things I can do and then I will move on for now.
  • Drink lots of water, even if it means I have to get up and use the icky plane bathroom more frequently.
  • Stretch out a little in the morning.  Or, if I can shove my ego aside at the time, do a little yoga at the airport. (What!?!?  Yoga at the airport?  You’ll look like a freak!)
Okay, what about home?   
My husband touts the benefits of a “buffer” day.  The day between vacation and going back to regular life. What would my buffer day look like?
  • Keep the email turned off.
  • Do something nice/special so I don’t fall directly into my old routines. (go out to dinner?)
  • Take a nap.
  • Get some exercise, yoga if possible.
  • Notice the little things that I have missed at home. (fluffy bathrobe, full-size closet, several rooms to choose to be in)