This week Isaac and I are staying on the beautiful Kiawah Island in South Carolina to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Located about 30 miles outside Charleston, this slice of heaven is one of the most serene, peaceful places I’ve ever been. We first came here about 5 years ago for one of his work conferences, and have come back on our own every year since. The island is bursting with wildlife, stunning ocean views, nature trails, and hot pink sunsets that guarantee a perfect ending to each day.
Sometimes late February/early March can be surprisingly warm, so I was excited at the thought of sunbathing like the resident alligators, and going for runs around the island. Except mother nature had other plans. The morning we were supposed to leave, this was the situation at hand. We only live 4 hours from the beach, so I knew sunbathing and mid-day jogs were not going to be an option.
So I mentally shifted my hopes and expectations for our beach trip. It was not so much going to be a beach trip, but a relaxing getaway to a beautiful, beach-themed condo that just so happened to be by the ocean. See? It’s all about perspective. I couldn’t wait for our cold beach getaway.
As I sit here wrapped in my purple snuggie, watching the torrential downpour over the lake behind our condo, I find myself feeling so thankful for this cleansing trip. I cannot remember the last time I felt so relaxed. Every morning, Isaac and I wake up slowly and grin at each other as our sleepy eyes make contact. The realization sets in that once again we have absolutely nothing to do.
So here is what I’ve learned/remembered about myself so far while on this cooped-up-in-the-house vacation.
1. My husband’s addiction to expensive, strange instruments is definitely worth it. He always brings at least one of his “babies” to the beach with us. This is his newest addition, called a “Handpan”, and it has a mesmerizing, hypnotic effect. While I am wearing sweatpants and layered long-sleeved shirts, still shivering from the freezing temperatures outside, listening to him play the Handpan brings me somewhere else. It puts a cold drink in my hand, warm sand between my toes, and I swear I can feel the sunburn starting to form, tightening my pink cheeks.
2. It’s not drinking alone if you pour two glasses. It has been almost five years since I have had an alcoholic drink. No, I’m not in AA, I have allergy problems with alcohol. I enjoyed the “drinking experience” in college a bit and spent my 21st birthday puking my brains out from the top deck of my house like every 21-year old birthday girl should, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Of course I’d love to have a glass of wine or a vodka cranberry every now and then, but the lip swelling and throat itching doesn’t quite seem worth it. What I do feel bad about about is constantly making Isaac drink alone. The poor guy. Nobody to share a beer or cheers to our anniversary with. But in his adorableness, he surprised me with my very own glass of champagne our first night here, and then proceeded to down both of them. That’s love.
3. Going along with number two and missed experiences, if you’re tired enough, you can both feel and act completely intoxicated. Bonus: no hangover the next morning. I’m one of those strange people commonly referred to as a “morning person.” I wake up feeling energized and ready to hit the ground running. I thrive between the hours of 8 AM and 1 PM. By 10:30 PM, every ounce of cheerfulness and optimism I once possessed is long gone. I am cranky and miserable and will exhibit an impressive amount of stink eye and snark to anybody who gets between me and a bed. So this vacation has been good for me because I’m sleeping in (9 AM), taking a nap around noon, and really trying to stay up past 10:30 PM.
Last night, we watched a movie until 11:30 or so and then I read on the couch until I passed out. Around 12:45 I went upstairs to get ready for bed and would have sworn that I was under the influence of case of beer or a handle of vodka. I even stared at myself in the mirror and laughed at my reflection for absolutely no reason before making my way to the shower.
In the shower, I swayed left and right. I lost my balance and slammed into the shower door, laughing as I uprighted myself. I mindlessly shampooed my hair for what felt like 10 minutes, then started giggling because I couldn’t remember what I had been doing for the last 10 minutes. I felt like I was blacking out.
Somehow I ended up in bed, Isaac was in the room by this point. I don’t remember what I was saying or doing, but I know it was weird. He laughed at my disposition and accused me of being drunk. See how convenient this is? No alcohol necessary. I can get a great buzz rendering me delirious just by staying up past my bedtime.
4. My normal vacation mode is best described by this Louis CK quote: “the meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” Except normally I don’t eat “meals” on vacation, I just kind of eat constantly for 7 days straight. There is no rhyme or reason to what I’m putting in my body. If it’s in front of me and I’m not allergic to eat, I eat it. If that means annihilating a sleeve of Oreos before 10 AM, so be it.
This vacation, I decided to try something different. I wanted to see how it would feel to not wake up in physical pain due to overeating. I wanted to experience putting on a pair of jeans four days into a trip and not feel the need to immediately drown my bloated, quivering body in the Atlantic Ocean.
Turns out, eating clean, healthy foods on vacation is a lot easier than I thought it would be. It gets easier every day because of how good it has made me feel. It has made me feel more energized, happier, and not as terrified to put on “real” clothes for outings– those made with materials other than spandex. Cheers to this discovery.
5. It may be abnormal how much we miss and talk about our dog. It’s sweet, right? Not creepy or pathetic? Most people with pets talk about them constantly and wonder what they are doing back home? Most people discuss “object permanence” and wonder if their dog has enough object permanence to miss us too, or if she only thinks about us when we are with her? Most people randomly say their pet’s name throughout the day, and yell it loudly when driving past strangers walking their dogs. It’s totally normal to talk about what our dog would be doing if she were here. Right?
6. I don’t think it’s possible for me to get bored. Seriously. I can’t remember the last time I felt bored. I think it had to have been in elementary school or something. Everyone was bored in elementary school, that was just the norm. But as an adult? Oh, I relish the moments where I have nothing to do. I know for a fact that I could sit in this condo for the remainder of our trip and feel completely satisfied and happy. I would go home thinking, “ahhh what a great vacation”, not having actually completed anything at all. Having an entire day to read, write, sleep, and contemplate the wall color has been…wonderful.
7. The south is wonderful and weird. I love the south, I’ve considered it my home for 10 years now. It is beautiful and full of character and culture. But sometimes it still gives me the heebie-jeebie’s.
8. Disconnecting feels good, and it’s hard. I definitely haven’t disconnected from social media during this trip, obviously, but I’ve been making an effort to be on my phone a lot less. I keep it in the guest room and don’t sleep with it next to my head. I don’t check it first thing in the morning, and try not to throughout the day. Instead of browsing Reddit for hours, I’ve been reading. Actual books. It worries me that it takes such a conscious effort to be away from my phone, but it’s something I’m going to practice more now.
9. There’s nothing cuter than watching the intensity that a thirty year old man exhibits while making star wars origami. A cold beach trip calls for a plethora of indoor activities. This was his choice, and it’s dorky and adorable.
10. I think I’m still a newborn. Is it possible to not grow out of the need to sleep 15 hours per day? Because I think I really operate on a much better level when I sleep in, take multiple naps per day, and go to bed early. Throw in some eating, tummy time, and pooping and I’m one happy girl.