Enter adulthood: summer is hot and sunny, but gone is the magic pull of anticipation and excitement.
Did you know that in European countries, the norm is taking at least a one month-long vacation? It’s true because I read about it on the internet.
Before this summer, my reaction to the idea of a month long vacation was “yeah, right. (scoffing noise.)”
Now…I am actually entertaining the idea. One major reason why is that I now have a son who is school-age and who has a summer vacation. Kids summer vacations are great for the kids, but for the kids’ guardians, especially those of us trying to raise socially conscious, smart, and well-balanced children, it’s stressful if you are working. “what is little Johnny going to do all day while I’m working?” If you’re not careful, little Johnny is going to play video games all summer.
I imagine most people’s barrier to taking a month-long summer vacay is financial. Plus, there’s only so much time you can leave from work before people start to resent that. I still say “Let’s start a new work place trend.”
We work too hard! We are stressed out and that is leading to too many health problems. It’s not worth it.
So why are we working so hard? And where is all this hard-earned money going? Time to take the red pill. Time for some truth serum.
I had to ask myself (and spent a good, long afternoon contemplating this) what do I really want in life? Do I want a new pair of shoes / handbag / dress / car payment or do I want to save up for this amazing vacation? Obvious choice.
The hard part now is, like with most things like eating healthy and exercising, making the habit and committing to it. It’s easier said than done, especially because most purchases are made from an emotional perspective, not based on actual needs. Do you need a new iPhone? Of course not. People have existed for millions of years without them; it’s a temptation and a want.
So – let’s figure out what we REALLY want. A real want that leads to real pleasure. Real pleasure feels good now and a year from now it still feels good.
Here’s an action step for yourself: take a moment to envision what you would like for yourself in the next year or in a few years.
- Where do you see yourself living? What do you want your living situation to offer like walkability or lots of light? Do you see less clutter? Do you see something new or more appreciation and use for what you already have?
- What do you want to be eating? Do you find yourself saying “I would like to eat healthy, but…”? Do you want to take cooking classes but “haven’t found the time” / made it a priority? Do you eat in a hurry but really would like to slow down?
- What do you want to wear? Are you in need of new clothes but unwilling to buy them because you are “waiting for the weight” or because you feel it’s frivolous? Is your closet full of stuff you rarely wear? Do you have an amazing wardrobe but always feel the need for more?
- How do you want to be spending your time? Do you want more time to exercise? Do you want more time with your family? Do you want to commute less?
Our Heart in Chinese medicine is ruled by the element fire and the Summertime. It represents joy. Wood, the element of Springtime and the Liver, allows us to move freely like a tree branch in the wind. Once we accomplish that, the Wood generates Fire which makes us happy.
This is not a frivolous practice, but one where you learn to cultivate true happiness. For more information on how to find your happy place, check out Relaxation Camp. Like the exercise above, we dive deep into what your true pleasures are. The more you focus on what you want out of life, the less time you have for negative thoughts and bad mojo. You don’t need pills to find happiness, you need to give yourself time and space to figure out what happiness means to you.
With much love,