The suitcases are coming out! Time to shake out last season’s sand and load them up with shorts and bathing suits. The very sight of luggage littering the bedrooms gives me a thrill of anticipation. It signals the start of the vacation state of mind.
Vacation! A period of liberation when we leave stress and responsibilities behind and devote ourselves to enjoyment. We forget our schedules, break routine and lose track of time. For a short duration, the only concern is our pleasure. Although this means many things to others, for me it means my freshly pedicured toes are in warm sand. I am content to watch the tide rise and fall, mesmerized by the endless waves slapping against the shore. The ocean has a heartbeat which lulls my soul to rest. When I am not sitting serenely on the sand, I am hiking beach or trail in awe of nature’s beauty, inhaling the salty, fresh air blown in from the sea.
Here, in my element, I find my true self. The person I am obligated to be in my responsible, everyday life gets stripped off like the clothing over a bathing suit. I am reunited with my childish self and I remember how to feel and dream and play. My own children particularly like this and we make memories that glue our family together. If only for a short while, I get to be the best version of myself.
And so as I fill the suitcases, it isn’t what I put in them that matters. Their importance lies in what they promise is to come: a chance to be reacquainted with myself and a freeing of the child within.