Since I got back from my vacation, everyone, and I mean everyone, has been commenting on how relaxed and well I look, to the point that I believe I must have looked pretty haggard before I went, because a week off isn't that life changing.
Or is it?
As a small business owner, my life is jam-packed and I never seem to get through my to-do list. And then there is this problem I have... I can never say "no" and so I take on projects and volunteer my time with local organizations, which means that even my "spare" time is spoken for and allocated.
Do you ever question why we fill our lives so full? When you are raising your children, your time is inevitably filled with meeting everyone's needs -- driving kids here and there, shopping, laundry... and so on. And as for the homework... let's just say I was flunking at grade 5.
But my children are grown and gone, so it seems as if I have just automatically filled the time I used to devote to them, to "good deeds" in the community. If I step back and analyze this, part of it I believe is my need to be needed.
Not that my children don't need me any more, but the demands are different. As adults they seem to come home to grocery shop, do their laundry and if money is tight, get fed a good meal and of course, visit with us.
So it's not surprising that the first two days I was gone, all I did was sleep. Normally up at 5 am, I didn't wake until 8. Unheard of. And I didn't stay up late either.
I usually measure the success of a vacation by the number of books I have read. Five in eight days, so that tells you what I was doing -- just lounging around with my head in a book -- and not a business book I might add.
Life on the fast lane takes its toll. I am so used to going at high speed, that to amble along in the slow lane is challenging. But as you whiz along, you miss out. You miss seeing the natural beauty around you. You miss socializing with friends, or just being on your own, with time to reflect and catch your breath.
But what you miss the most is time just to be. To sit and do nothing is foreign to me. I start to feel guilty and mentally go through my to-do list, to make sure that I shouldn't be doing something, going somewhere.
Part of it I know is guilt. Guilt for taking time to do nothing, at taking time for myself. Certainly at this stage in my life, I no longer have anything to prove to myself, or others for that matter.
No, what I need to do is take myself in hand. I've been back a week now, and I am still pretty mellow from the holiday. As a friend said, I look softer, less strained and I'd like to stay that way.
Maybe with my constant to-do lists, I need to add one more item and book an appointment with myself -so that I don't fill the day with endless tasks, but actually sit down and do something that feeds my soul and recharges my batteries.
Who knows, maybe I will give meditation another try. It's such a tranquil oasis for many, but I have never been able to shut my mind off. What I do know for sure is I need to bottle this feeling of calm, because it feels good. Really good.
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