Why I Hated My Vacation (It's My Fault)

Sometimes I feel like I have nothing left to give.

Do you ever feel like that?

Sometimes I sit down to write and I feel like I have nothing valuable to say. I'm having that moment right now...

Or sometimes when I'm talking with my wife and she's sharing something deep and intimate with me...sometimes I feel like I have no words to offer. No encouragement. No response. 

Sometimes when I ponder how I'm contributing to the world, I often get discouraged at the impact I feel like I'm NOT making. 

Do you ever feel like that?

It's excruciatingly painful to think that what I'm doing doesn't matter. That what I say doesn't matter. That what I write...doesn't...matter.

But it's not true. It does matter.

I recently got back from a two week vacation to the Pacific Northwest to visit my wife's family. I've always enjoyed spending time up there with her parents and brother. 

But this time...I stayed pretty discouraged. For one, as soon as I landed in Seattle, my throat started to itch. It got worse every day: itching, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, sinus headache, fever, achey....it was the worst. And it lasted almost the entire trip. I was mildly miserable.

At the same time, I had major mismanaged expectations. Every time we've visited before, I've always gotten (usually, accidentally) a decent amount of time to myself. I'm an introvert, so I'm refreshed and revitalized by spending time alone. Just me and a book, or journal, or piano/guitar. Then, as I look out over the Puget Sound or the Columbia River Gorge at Mt. Hood, I reflect. I pray. I write. I sing. I replenish. 

And that didn't happen this trip. 

Don't get me wrong, we had fun. We relaxed. We explored.

I just didn't get what I expected. (Those blasted expectations...RUTHLESS)

In many scenarios, I can be pretty go-with-the-flow. It can drive my wife crazy when she wants decision-making-Derek to be present, and I'm wanting to be float-down-the-lazy-river-Derek. We're working on it. But this trip, I stayed pretty go-with-the-flow.

What a mistake that was.

I know myself too well. And I know that for me to recharge, I need alone time. And I didn't get that. 

Every other trip we've taken up there it happened by accident. For some reason, I expected the same. But things change when you have a toddler. 

I didn't fight for time to myself. I didn't fight for time to reflect. I didn't fight to be recharged. I came back frustrated that I didn't feel refreshed. And it's no one's fault but my own. 

And here’s what I know about myself: 

When I don’t regularly recharge, I feel empty and useless

So my goal, starting now, is to carve out time once a week to do things that replenish me. 

It’s just like being a passenger on an airplane. In case of emergency, you have to put YOUR oxygen mask on first before helping others.

Because you’re no good to others if you can’t take care of yourself.

So here's my advice to you today:

  1. Take care of yourself! Only you know what you need to be refreshed. It could be a bike ride, a walk around town, an afternoon at a coffee shop by yourself, or a friend's birthday party. Only you know. Fight to be recharged. We're no good to anyone else when we are depleted.
  2. You DO matter. What you do matters. You could be feeling down simply because you're depleted. Don’t give up! Get recharged and refreshed.

How do you replenish yourself? What adjustments have you made in your life in order to overcome mistakes like the one I made on vacation? Leave a comment and share your story!

Derek HarveyComment