Every year for the last fifteen years, we spend the week of July 4th at the beach with family. We, along with my husband’s parents, sisters and their families, all meet at the beach. There are 15 of us now. There is something nice about the continuity. My son was a year old when we first started this tradition. My daughter was two months old the first time she joined us. This is the only way we have ever celebrated the 4th of July as a family.
For me, this week marks an end to one school year and the beginning of the next. I feel like I am in limbo as I reflect on the old and begin to think about the new. I try to take time during our vacation to slow down and relax. It is always difficult for me to “turn everything off” and get into relax mode, but I do my best. For me, relax mode is working on my own self-care. During the school year, I usually work at 110%. That is a combination of personal and family activities, my work at school, and my side projects.
As women, I fear that we don’t give ourselves enough permission. Permission to take care of ourselves. Permission to prioritize what is important to us. Permission to just be. I started by giving myself permission to not work out this week. That allowed me to sleep in. I was able to get a massage when we arrived, and that helped me to relax a little at the beginning of the week. I spent every morning at the beach, reading, and listening to the waves crash. That, to me, is the best form of relaxation. The four of us spent time together as a family, playing miniature golf and driving go-carts. Harell and I went out to a nice dinner to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary, after we spent the day shopping with the kids.
Each year, we lament that our time here is not enough. The week seems to fly by and just as soon as we are settled into a routine, it’s time to pack up and head home. I think this is the first year that I am leaving with a heart full of memories and an aura of relaxation. I’m feeling energized to begin to dig into the new school year. I’m ready to set goals for myself both personally and professionally. I’m ready to work on the best version of myself I can be for the next 12 months. Until next year at this time, when I will reflect all over again.
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