Did you get away for some vacation time this summer? I was fortunate enough to go on two holidays with my family this year, and Iíve got to say the time away did me some good.
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life for me is a chance to take stock, look at things from a distance, get some clarity and maybe chart a new direction.
Although we live on the slower Coast, I find Iím usually running from one thing to the next, keeping busy with whatís right in front of me, but perhaps not dedicating enough time to whatís really important.
If you were to ask, I would say my family holds the most importance, but if you were to watch my actions, sometimes you might not believe it.
Thatís because I get so busy. I get busy with work, busy with volunteering, busy fundraising, busy, busy, busy.
So when I took a trip back to Alberta with my sister and my kids last week, I made a conscious effort to slow down.
We drove back in my Ford Focus and made sure to stop at every weird attraction we saw to get some photos. We climbed up on a huge Amish chair, stuck our heads in wacky cowboy cutouts, got gumballs from a three-metre-tall machine and posed with various murals, sometimes pretending to cower from giant butterflies or pet animals in the paintings.
The kids thought it was fun, and I love those kind of crazy pictures. It reminds me not to be so serious and just enjoy life.
The drive itself was surprisingly relaxing, chatting with my sister the entire way about everything from silly costume ideas to much more heavy topics that are meant to stay between sisters.
The kids were fabulous on the trip, and we wanted to reward them, so we planned to stop at the waterslides in Salmon Arm on the way home and let them play there. Neither of my kids, aged 9 and 5, had ever been to a waterslide park, so the anticipation was intense.
We left Calgary that morning at 7 a.m. to get to the waterpark in time to spend the afternoon there.
We got a hotel right next door, dropped off our stuff, got changed and walked over. I took a picture of the kids outside the waterpark, their faces beaming, clutching their towels with excitement.
Then came the voice of the maintenance guy from behind the gate: ďWe closed yesterday.Ē
I looked at my children, preparing myself for tears and tantrums, but instead heard my daughter take a deep breath and say, ďWell, we canít do anything about it.Ē My son agreed, and soon I wanted to cry from an overwhelming feeling of pride.
We went to the hotelís indoor pool instead and spent an hour playing together before my sister found a nearby jungle gym and mini-golf course to go to.
My kids never shed a tear or talked about the disappointment again and we had a good time together. It reminded me that hanging out with my kids can be a lot of fun. I think I forgot that in the hustle and bustle of this last year.
So with two vacations under my belt and a new perspective on things, I now plan to schedule more time for fun with my family each week. They are the most important thing to me and I need to show them.