I've been very busy with work and social life lately.
Last weekend, E and I took a much needed weekend away. Although I had to work on Saturday and we both had life-chores to tend to, thanks to the 3-day weekend, we managed to handle the necessaries and get away on Saturday afternoon for two full days of relaxation, good food, biking, hiking, and re-connecting to one another.
I slept in 'til double digits in a luxurious bed on both Sunday and Monday. Both mornings I spent about half an hour waking, making myself coffee, making E tea, and slowly joining the living while meandering about in my robe. Sunday morning, after we woke, we hit the hot tub by the crashing surf. Our day was approximately that stressful for the rest of the sunlight, and then, Sunday night, after reading some Intellectual Property literature for pleasure (I know. I know.), I hit the sauna and steam room before a delicious dinner.
We returned rejuvinated, rested, and re-connected. I, for one, laughed more in 2 days than I usually do in a week. All of it with my best friend, E. Why we don't do this more often was a topic of discussion on a couple of occasions.
The final evening of our short vacation, and upon our return, I spent quite a bit of time thinking and talking with R and lucky_girl about (a) why we don't do it more often (it's expensive, and we're too busy to regularly take an entire weekend off away from friends, family, and life), and (b) why it is that our life is structured such that we had to leave our home to completely relax and reconnect.
At home, there is always something to do on the to-do list. I cannot completely relax because there is always something I should be doing. But, when we leave, I've committed to relaxing. I can't even consider doing most of the stuff on the todo list, because it's at home. Where I am not.
Plus, when we travel, there are usually fun things like good food, gorgeous scenery, and friends upon which I can focus my energies. I can be committed to enjoying life because I decided that was the goal for the day and the distance makes it hard to reconsider the goal. Plus, the things we seek in our travels tend to make me happy and I find it easier to relax when I am happy.
The odd thing is, however, I know some people can relax in their homes. In fact, I think I used to be able to do so. I'm not totally sure when it changed, or, if I'm honest with myself, whether I was ever able to relax at home like I can when I'm traveling. Regardless, one thing I know is that my ability to relax at home has decreased over time. Most people I know who are good at relaxing in their own homes have significantly less life stress than we do, and, often, significantly less career and financial details to tend to.
This weekend I found myself spending quite a bit of time thinking about how our expensive weekend away was something I once would have found ridiculously extravagant. And now, I find it refreshing, and oddly, almost necessary.
E and I have chosen our life, with its lifestyle, and the overwhelming constant barrage of details and choice, and the benefits with which it comes. Sometimes, when you don't like things about your life, it is hard to accept that you have no one to blame but yourself.
But it's true. This is the choice I'm making right now. I am choosing to live a life that I can't balance well enough to relax completely at home. I spent much of this weekend struggling with that reality. Part of me wants to have it all and find a way to force myself to relax at home. But, that's a bit of denial. I may not want it to be true, but it is. My current life means I am always slightly anxious at home. I could make different decisions and make relaxing at home more of a priority, but I'd have to give up things that are important to me right now.
So, yes, while living the lawyer lifestyle and earning the lawyer pay hasn't changed me into a more materialistic person (yet), and I don't feel compelled to buy *things,* it has increased my ability to justify spending in areas where I already thought money was well spent, such as travel, food, relaxation-related services (spa services, massages, etc.) and lodging. For a formerly ridiculously frugal person, this change is difficult. But, it's happening. And to pretend it's not would be yet another struggle.
In other news, in keeping with Lucky_girl's continuation of Arvay's animal photos, I present yet another member of our Animal Planet, who stopped by after boys' night the other night to say hello.
Update: Flickr and I have resolved our differences. Click the photo for 2 more, if you need more.