It’s been almost a month since my week-long vacation in Scotland. I left my husband at home with the caregiver and traveled with my neighbors and assorted sons and nieces, theirs and mine. We visited ruins in St. Andrews, caught a glimpse of the Highlands as we drove by Loch Lomond, rode a ferry to Islay and sampled six whiskey distilleries, then toured castles and museums in Edinburgh. In between were plenty of shared meals filled with laughter and whiskey.
It has taken weeks for my sleep cycle to return to normal and to get back into the rhythm of work, caregiving and exercise. This weekend, our workout session seemed especially hard, maybe due to the excessive heat Los Angeles has been experiencing or maybe due to the lassitude and sluggishness that always follows a good vacation. I struggled, especially during the 16th or 17th rep of concentration curls or pullovers, trying to get to 20. My body felt weak and my brain cried out, “I can’t do this! Just stop!” But there was Coach egging me on, helping me count to 20. I knew I would feel better after the session but how do I get through the here and now?
I surveyed the weeds and patches of brown in my lawn from my mat while I did 30 karate kicks on each leg. Thirty seemed like an impossible number so I thought about the green grassy fields in Scotland, a deep green rarely seen in the southern California, to keep my mind off my aching body. Sweat dripped from my forehead as I rolled out the ab wheel and I was starting to feel woozy. Then I remembered the sensation of lashing rain on my face as the wind whipped around us when we walked from the Ardbeg distillery to Lagavulin, not the least bit bothered by the wetness as reveled in the cool air.
And that is the value of vacations – to sustain you and keep you going during those times when you want to give up and say, “I can’t do this!” It provides the welcome relief from heat or tedium or weariness of everyday tasks and can transport you again, if only for a few moments, to a time when all that mattered was laughter and whiskey.