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LifeBalance Blog

Summer Vacation: A (Short) Window of Simple Opportunity

Spring has finally sprung. As I look at my family and begin to make summer plans, I have to admit, yet again, that I am a slow learner. The older I get, and especially since breast cancer and melanoma, the faster time slips away. Beyond clutter control and home organizing, simple living is about living your priorities rather than getting pulled down by your stuff. Choose to focus on vacation or travel—to see new places, have new experiences, and make memories rather than acquiring and maintaining stuff. Here are my thoughts.

Our family often gets bogged down with other stuff. Travel plans get pushed back again and again—stuck back behind a furniture purchase or a home improvement project, or a desire to save money for college or retirement. Back, back, back, until “later” or “next year” just doesn’t happen. Begin by being consciously aware of this danger.

The reality is that vacations float within a very short window of opportunity. I want to travel with my friends and with my family. American workers have some of the smallest amount of available vacation days in the world. We work. We work. And, we work. This means we then have a very small seven-day window of opportunity to untie the knots in ourselves that we have spent months creating. Simplify! Take that vacation!

We only go around once. It is a morbid thought, but ask yourself what you would regret if you or someone in your family were to die suddenly. Especially, as a two-time cancer survivor, one of my regrets would be not having traveled and vacationed more. I wouldn’t be wishing for furniture or clothes. Since I can’t take my stuff with me when my number is called, the priority boils down to relationships and life experiences, which include seeing the sights that this world has to offer and sharing that experience with friends and family while I am here to do it.

It is sad to think that sometimes people move or switch jobs or change marital partners, when all they really may have needed was a vacation—a break, a refreshed perspective on life. Some of the self-help books out there specifically advise people take a vacation before making a major life change. Think about that!

If I am going to be true to my simple living priorities, then my family and my husband and I can make travel plans now. My kids still sometimes travel with us. My window of opportunity is today. Am I going to think about it and talk about it, or am I going to do it? When are you going to take that vacation? Some memories are better made sooner rather than later and you can do this!

Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life (O Books, 2010), a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips that readers can pick and choose from to fit their personal style and needs. She also is a breast cancer and melanoma survivor.

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