Observations from a Summer Vacation

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It’s vacation season and many of us will be traveling this summer. It is indeed a time to relax, unwind and reconnect with family and friends. But it can also be a time for reflection. On my recent vacation, I jotted down 15 observations that have become much clearer as I’ve gotten older. I hope you enjoy the list and that it provides a source of reflection on your next vacation.

  1. The beauty and diversity of people. As I walked the beach I not only saw some pretty interesting people, I noticed how beautiful the human race really is. Young people, middle aged people and very old people holding hands, laughing and simply enjoying life. We all have the same basic need to be happy.
  2. The importance of family. As beautiful as the location might be, it’s not the same without family to enjoy it. We’ve all probably attended conferences or meetings at exotic locations without our family and it just wasn’t the same. Vacations provide a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with family. And even if it’s a simple trip to a water park just a few hours down the road, or the roadside parks of yester year, the experience and memories are priceless!
  3. The chance to be a kid again. On our recent vacation, we rented bikes. My wife and I rode for hours. We played in the sand, splashed in the water and took long walks. My grandparents were old at 50. My wife’s uncle Jim was the complete opposite. Jim vowed to water ski every year until he died. I can still see him wobbling up on those water skis and that white hair waving in the wind. Be Jim!
  4. The richness of local history, sites, attractions. Just taking time to read the back of the menu at your favorite vacation restaurant can be a lesson in vision, purpose, perseverance, entrepreneurism and following one’s dreams.
  5. The opportunity to“sharpen the saw.” Vacations are wonderful opportunities to recharge your batteries. Try to leave work at home and enjoy yourself.
  6. It’s all about the memories. Disney World has it right when they say they’re in the memory creation business. Most likely your kids won’t remember the actual location of the vacation as much as the family simply being together for an entire week with your undivided attention.
  7. Don’t forget while you’re on vacation, others are working. As my wife and I rode our bikes one morning, I couldn’t help but notice all the people responsible for keeping our vacation spot pristine. The waitresses and waiters who busted their buns in making sure my family and I were having a good meal deserved a pat on the back. I’m ashamed that I didn’t thank them enough. More than a good tip, actually pulling that waitress aside and say, “Thank you for creating a beautiful memory for my family and me tonight!”
  8. Everyone’s friendly on vacation. Why can’t we take that positive attitude back home with us and exhibit everyday? I’m going to try!
  9. The need to be extra careful. We’re not as young as we used to be. Falls hurt more and last longer. A friend of ours had a nasty bike wreck on vacation a few weeks ago and is still recuperating. Sunburns can make a vacation miserable, especially on day one at the beach.
  10. Reflect and plan for the future. I find I’m a little more ambitious, more of a dreamer while on vacation. This might be the perfect opportunity to set goals for the future and commit to start that business or take that risk you’ve been contemplating.
  11. Simplicity. That small space my family and I stay in while on vacation is always enough space to live comfortably. These realizations always reinforce the need and importance to simplify, to downsize.
  12. Be here now. The importance of living in the present. Not thinking of having to leave on Saturday while on the beach on Tuesday. To give your family undivided attention and be that happy person when you return like you were on vacation.
  13. Naps. Vacations are wonderful opportunities to get caught up on sleep. Some cultures actually take naps everyday. It works for them, maybe it could for us!
  14. Ice Cream. I’m convinced world peace could be achieved if factions would simply stop fighting and have an ice cream cone together. A friend of mine tells the story of his boss taking everyone in the office out for ice cream a few times a year. The local McDonalds in my hometown sends ice cream cones to the local nursing home on a regular basis. The employees and residents go crazy!
  15. Last but certainly not least, seeing first hand the wonders of God. The ocean, the mountains, the beauty of the outdoors. Your family, the love you share, laughter, happiness, sunrises and sunsets. As the late Louis Armstrong sang so beautifully, What a Wonderful World!

Enjoy your summer vacation!