Returning to reality after any time away is tough. But after not getting more than a weekend of traveling in for the past two and a half years, returning home after vacationing for over a week is exceedingly difficult. The wanderlust is intense. I don’t want to say that I forgot how much I love traveling, but it’s as though all the emotions I feel during and after traveling- the excitement, the amazement, the longing for more- dry up after not being felt for a while. Just a brief whetting of them has me craving even more.
I also realize more than ever the importance of travel not only for the experience of visiting somewhere new, but for the necessity of taking a break from everything familiar. It’s refreshing to wake up in the morning and be surprised by the view out the front door. It’s a reminder that even when you’re stuck in a rut, there are things different, unique, better, out there.
It’s challenging, when you are in the midst of something stressful, to break out of the mindset of negativity. But just because one thing going on in your life is stressful doesn’t mean that everything else needs to have a negative air to it, too. Believe me, I have as hard a time remembering this as the next person. This is as much a reminder to myself as it is a message to everyone reading. Getting physically away was the reminder I needed of this: knowing that while things back home may not change overnight, I can still be okay; other things can still be okay.
While this was the lesson I took away from my vacation, it was not my goal, per say, going in. I very acutely was aware I needed a break from Pittsburgh- school, the city, my apartment, everything- and this trip was an opportunity to take a breath and chill out. And that was my only expectation: that I would return home calmer and with a clearer head. And I did. But I came away with a lot more: simply put, an understanding of what I need to do to not fall into the same rut again.
Simple things I’ve been neglecting, like eating breakfast, making my bed, doing the dishes, and reading, would go a long way to helping me feel stable. At lab, I could add to that list taking a proper break for lunch, being more adamant about not having lengthy conversations when I’m already busy doing something else, and working more efficiently so that I’m not there late into the night. It’s easier to write out this list than I’m sure it will be to implement everything, but at least an acknowledgement of the changes that need to be made gives me something to work towards.
As you maybe can tell by now, I had a lot of time to just think during this vacation, and I took advantage of that. And coming back, and starting work again this week, has me really evaluating how I can do better moving forward, but feeling generally okay about where I’m at.