Most of the time, by the time you finish a long vacation, you are sad to see it go but also secretly happy to return to home. Because let's be honest, vacation can be exhausting most of the time. A good kind, but still exhausting, and distance makes your heart grow fond of the little things that make up your boring regular life. There is a little piece inside of you that sighs a happy sigh once you set your suitcase down in your bedroom and you can say, Ah, yes. This is my life. That is my bed. And I am glad.
However, this last vacation to the East Coast Kathy and I just returned from was so awesome that I haven't felt that feeling to the extent that I normally do. I, in fact, literally did not want to leave and felt ambivalent at best about returning to Portland. I am fully aware of my ability to over-sentimentalize things immediately once they're gone, but still, I want to take the time to let things from this vacation really settle in to my head. This vacation was so big that I really want to say big dramatic things about it like, "This trip changed everything." But that would be dramatic!
In any case, I have been dealing with my return to Oregon life in somewhat manic-depressive fits and starts since we've been back. But I think a lot of it follows a pretty normal post-vacation pattern for me. And hence, I thought I would share:
Jill's Guide to Awesome-Vacation-Withdrawal*
* This just means I'm going to tell you about my week.
- You have been spending so much money while on vacation on eating out that you actually feel excited to make food for yourself at home. You then realize that you have no food. You then realize that you have no money to go to the grocery store because you spent all of it on eating out when you were on vacation. Damnit.
- So excited to be with your animals! Although half of them are acting kind of stand-off-ish. Give them time, they'll come around. I mean what did you expect? You left them for nine days, AND you just moved around some furniture and moved their litter box, all at once, you asshole. Also, Toby is an old man and just woke up from what was probably a ten hour nap when you walked in the door, so he's a little confused, okay.
- All of the bills you need to pay and pretty much all of the money for everything that you need, which you don't have, which you have been ignoring for nine days, comes crashing down on you. This feels crappy. In fact crappy really doesn't even begin to cover it, let's be honest here.
- HOWEVER, in the time away from home, and during all that time you were stuck in that airplane, you have had some serious time to get back to who you are and who you want to be. You have made resolutions in your head of things you want to do with your life and how you're going to be better at certain things and really just BE BETTER. RAH RAH YAY!
- The utmost most important thing in life is uploading pictures from your camera onto your computer and then onto Facebook. This is a kind of big task, since you took almost 500 pictures, but going through them is important because it makes you feel like you are still on vacation.
- While you feel somewhat discombobulated as you get around your new/old town, the first ten seconds of driving your own car feels AWESOME, and you feel like your car is better than all the other cars. The first ten seconds of riding your bike again also feels as fun as a carnival ride.
- You return to work. You feel kind of pumped about stuff for the first few hours, because you have not been there in nine days. After four hours, however, you remember that work in fact just makes you tired. You attempt to tell some excited-about-my-vacation stories to co-workers, before you realize that they don't really care.
- After those first four hours, you start having a slight existential crisis about why you're not further professionally in your life when all of the friends and family you just saw on the East Coast all seem to have their shit together more than you do and are all doing cool things and making way more money while they do the cool things. Why are you not more motivated to be a real person? Let's be honest, you know you should be trying harder in the education sphere than you are. Are you just scared? I mean, you are actually pretty content doing what you're doing, but in your heart of hearts you know what you really want to be doing is somehow working with books. Why are you not working with books?
- You unpack most of your suitcase but don't have the energy to take all the crap out of the closet to fit it back in there again. Don't worry, it'll sit in your bedroom for at least a week. Feel depressed about all the laundry you suddenly have to do.
- Realize that after nine days of being together at all times, you and your girlfriend are back to working opposite schedules and hardly ever seeing each other. Feel that this is really, really stupid.
- People comment funny things on your funny Facebook photos! Haha, it's like we're still there.
- Girlfriend reads a local newspaper while waiting to get her hair cut and alerts you to an awesome-looking Gay & Lesbian Film Festival coming up soon, among other awesome things that are happening in town, and you start to remember, hey, we do live in a pretty cool place. Start to think about going to Seattle soon. Start moving more towards living in the near future instead of the near past. Slowly, slowly start to feel more Pacific Northwest-y.
- And anyway, the beer is cheaper here.
- One full day of productivity has suddenly exhausted you. In the morning, before you have to go to work in the afternoon, you have a whole bunch of work to do. (Oh! I should maybe explain that I currently have three or four jobs, whatever.) You have deadlines. But you feel sleepy and weird and out-of-it, and after sitting at the computer for awhile, you simply can't do it. You lay down. You cuddle with your cats. You read a book. You feel better. But only better in the laying-motionless-in-bed kind of way, which is never really the best kind of better. You normally feel better when you actually get up. When you do get up, all you want to do is eat a box of mac & cheese, which you do.
- You think about how you wish you had time to blog because there are lots of things you want to blog about. Feel depressed that you will probably only ever blog about a quarter of them.
- You then take a shower, which actually does help you feel better.
- Work is busy and goes fast. Your existential crisis has subsided a little. Calm down, man: you are doing fine.
- All those resolutions you made for yourself on the plane are already starting to fade away, to be replaced by mundane things that are already starting to pile up in your brain like wanting to just clip all those dead roses off your rose bush and finally finish the book you've been reading for two months. RAH RAH--eh.
- Also, all of a sudden, it is fall. It is gray and rainy and chilly outside, people are busting out cute sweaters and feeling excited about pumpkin-related stuff. You feel slightly bitter about this because it makes you want to cuddle but you do not have time to cuddle. Okay, so you cuddled with your cats just this morning, but that was actually really irresponsible. Fall is your favorite season but you haven't had time to adjust to it and really feel it yet but everyone else apparently has and you feel kind of pissed off about it.
- You feel excited about TV shows coming back even though you don't really have time to watch any of them.
- Stop feeling one way or the other about work. It's just like, you're there. Whatever.
- However, you work with a co-worker who is rather fun and who knows some stuff about the East Coast and at least appears to want to hear some of your stories. So you tell a whole bunch of them, even though you feel slightly annoying as you always do when you start talking a lot!
- You remember how much you like the radio stations here.
- You have been staying up late and working pretty much all hours of the day and are feeling really exhausted and pretty awful and sometimes it feels like your brain stops working. But you know you have a few days off coming up and things will be better then.
- You feel happy that you still have more pictures to post on Facebook. And did you already mention you get to go to Seattle soon?
- Instead of working on a thing that has a deadline of like really soon, you make a weird blog post that was meant to be funny in your head, but instead just came out kind of weird. You blame it on the copious amounts of Adele you listened to at the beginning of writing it.
Better posts about fun things, not written while exhausted and drinking beer, will hopefully be written soon! Love to all the people we got to see on our vacation, and love to the people we didn't. I hope to see ALL of you again, soon.