Well I’m a runnin’ down the road
Tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me
Two that wanna stone me
One says she’s a friend of mine
Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
Drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy
– The Eagles
At the end of June, Momma, Dad, Mace, Stasya (Mace’s BFF), Bubba, Mr. Big, Mimmie, and I spent a week at a beach house in Garden City, South Carolina.
Our family of five has been going to the South Carolina coast every summer for many years now. Family vacation week is a week we talk about and look forward to all year long – even Dad gets excited for Baker Beach Week! And this year was no different. We kept the same ol’ traditions: we laid on the beach all day, went out to dinner one night, played a round of putt-putt, watched the fireworks from our same ol’ spot at Broadway at the Beach, ate lots of Hot Ones NOW, boiled peanuts every other night, and hit up the mall when we got a chance. Really, there were only three things different about this year’s beach trip: Mimmie and Mr. Big actually joined us, we stayed in a different house, and Sonny spent his vacation in North Carolina with his Nona B (Big’s Momma).
So, why was this year’s family vacation an entirely different experience for me? Why did it feel so different? Why did it finally – for once – actually feel like a vacation?
Usually when I get back from vacation I feel like I’ve had my ass kicked. I am exhausted, broke, and mentally drained. But after we got back from this vacation I felt fine. I actually felt like my life had been on pause for a week. And although I still had a hard time getting up for work (but what is new), I didn’t feel like I had been hit by a bus.
It was odd.
It was like I was – refreshed?
I tried to trace back through my steps. What had I done differently? I hadn’t slept any better. Had someone roofied me? Although a roofie was always a good possibility, it was highly unlikely someone would roofie me on a Sunday night. Then it dawned on me… I think I had actually relaxed on vacation.
If this year’s family vacation did anything, it showed me that as you get older your priorities change – a lot. How, you wonder? Well, just take a little look-see at some of the evidence I collected (the evidence I collected after I was sure there were no traces of Roofalin in my system…):
Usually, while on vacation, I try and schedule as much as I can into the time I have (thanks, Dad). I am so worried about going, seeing, and doing everything that I possibly can that I over-exert myself. Typically, the last couple of days are the worst. I get headaches, and pitch fits, and get frustrated, and become forgetful.
This time, however, I planned to do nothing. Bubba wanted to go to a country western store. Whatevs. My schedule was free. So we went, man. Big mentioned wanting to go see the new Brad-Pitt-end of-the-world-zombie-killing movie. “Why not,” I thought, “I’ve got nothing better to do.” So we went to the movies. Momma wanted to stop by Huntington Beach State Park on our way to Charleston to drop Mimmie off at home. Cool. I like parks and shit.
My point here is – I didn’t rush. I let life lead me and I still had a good time. I don’t feel as if I missed out on anything. I don’t feel like my time was wasted or my vacation was uneventful. It was nice.
I have spent my entire life on some South Carolina beach. I have spent entire summers running around without a smudge of sunscreen on, a hat covering my head, or sun glasses shielding my eyes. My European blood has gifted me with an olive tint to my complexion. My skin keeps a sun-kissed glow long after the summer months have been blown away with the autumn leaves.
But lately, I’ve been busy.
I’ve been busy, and inside, and hardly primed and ready for bikini season.
So this year, I was hot, and burnt, and sweaty, and sore from the sun. My temples were hurting from my sun glasses, my head was sweating from my sun hat, and my skin was blistered from seeing the sun for the first time in a full year.
I looked for refuge under Mr. Big’s beach tent.
For the first summer in 25 years, I spent nearly an entire week at the beach – under a tent. And I loved it. I raved about that tent. I talked about how great it was that we had it. And when Big left early on Friday, I panicked, and then kicked Bubba out from under his spot in the umbrella shade.
You know how kids hate naps? Yeah, well, they’re freakin’ crazy. Pissh, kids… they’re nuts.
Naps are like having cake for breakfast. Naps are better than Christmas – wait, naps are like Christmas except for you can take naps everyday. Naps are so freakin’ great, I would rather take a nap sometimes than eat a meal. Actually, I wake up most mornings just so I can take a nap later on in the day.
So, you can probably kinda tell where I’m going with this…
On this family vacation, I took a lot of naps. Like elevendy-hundred naps. I napped on the couch, I napped on the love seat, I napped in my room, I napped on the beach, I napped under Big’s tent, I napped on a towel, I napped on a chair, and I napped under an umbrella. I was basically a nap-a-freakin’-holic.
And there wasn’t one bit of shame in my game, Ballas.
This year, every time I closed my eyes, or pulled my chair up from the edge of the water, or let a day pass without so much as washing my hair – I refused to let myself go into angy-OCD-vacation-whore overdrive. I just merely shrugged my shoulders and said, “It’s my vacation. I can do whatever the hell I want.”
If I didn’t want to go to Walmart for the 34th time that week, I didn’t have to… just because I could not go wherever the hell I wanted.
If I wanted to wear two bathing suits in one day because I had an aquarium worth of sand in my who-ha, I changed… just because I could wear whatever the hell I wanted.
If I was tired on the beach and only had a sweaty/sandy boy’s T-shirt to cover-up in, I forced myself to sleep anyway… just because I could sleep however the hell I wanted.
It was my vacation. My time away from my real life. Away from work, and bills, and the new house, and even time away from my little nugget (who is doing his best to adjust to his ever-changing environment… but driving me insane in the interim). I forced myself to take advantage of my time and my surroundings…
Thus, you have the new and improved Vacation Clariss.
She’s well-slept, well-fed, not-so-well-kept, but fantastic at Taboo, and a lot easier to get along with. She doesn’t keep itineraries, or force people to pet exotic animals, or rush around like a mad woman. She is cool, and calm, and friggin’ collected, man. She goes with the flow and flows with the go. You up for a spontaneous trip to a country western store for a bull riding hat… and you aren’t even a bull rider? Hey, she’s down. She can be spontaneous. She can be quirky. She can get over the fact that a hat of that nature seems sorta impractical… she’s on vacation, yo.
Y’all better watch out now…
Vacation Clariss might just be comin’ on a vacation near you.
PS: Vacation Clariss also eats about a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts… by herself.