Maybe this has happened to you. You long for a vacation, a getaway, even just a day away somewhere other than what you are muddling through at the moment, so you book it, you reserve it, you plan to do just that, but upon arriving, one thing or many things cause more stress and discomfort making you long to be right back at home in your everyday.
It is in just such unwanted moments that disappoint our hopes that we realize something invaluable: What we truly need, and perhaps already have but didn’t appreciate it is already present in our everyday lives.
On a recent short getaway, to give my brain a break from the construction in the house, as well as from the smoke and the heat, the boys and I trekked to a new destination on the coast – a small town that came fairly well recommended, and I charged myself to try something different from my usual coastal preferred town.
To make a long story short, more discomfort was found than the comfort I had envisioned which made me long to be home (after the walks on the beach of course – those were lovely!). At first, I was disheartened, but then I stopped and took a beat to assess what I had learned: (1) the everyday life routine I have cultivated is pretty awesome, and in many ways a daily vacation right in my very own home as it equally welcomes respite alongside work and productivity. Comfort abounds which provides routine rest enabling me to work well when I do.
I was reminded how quickly our creative energy can be depleted when our attention is consumed with solving problems we had not foreseen nor know initially how to solve. (2) Yet another reason to cultivate beneficial habits as they indeed do free up the mind to explore, wander and ‘stumble’ upon wonderful possibilities.
Lastly, as I brought my boys along with me, they reminded me how each of us will respond differently to the same ‘new’ experiences. For each of us, (3) our comfort zones are unique to not only our life experiences, but our temperament. If we have HSP tendencies for example, too many ‘new’ anythings will prompt over-arousal and we will not be able to participate fully as all of what is ‘new’ is just too much, but for someone who is not HSP, the more ‘new’ the better may be more likely. Simply because a particular situation sits well with one person, doesn’t mean something is wrong with the other or they are not perceiving the experiences correctly. The truth is, each of your responses to the situation are valid because each person is different with different levels of reaching over-arousal (not in a sexual sense, but a sensory basis – what we see, what we hear, what we feel – literally, etc..).
The topic of comfort sits at the foundation of living simply luxuriously. British interior designer Nina Campbell recently shared on The English Home podcast the importance of comfort in our homes. Before she begins planning any project, she requires her clients to thoughtfully examine how they live, and in determining clearly how they live, they then begin to make décor decisions that will complement and support that life.
So that is the question to ponder today: What or how does your life need to function in order for you to feel comfort?
In episode #130 I shared the guiding life truth that Comfort Begets Confidence, and how we arrive at comfort is living intentionally, having patience in the pursuit of what we know will bring comfort after taking the time to get to know ourselves. When we have finally attained such comfort, we are, as I share in Chapter One of #tsll2ndbook more likely going to be more appreciative of what we’ve attained because it didn’t come easily, as we arrived at such a point with conscious clarity, and thus we have cultivated a life of true luxury.
And even after knowing all of this, sometimes we need a gentle reminder to wake us up wide to the wonderful life we have thoughtfully and patiently built for ourselves, so that when we step back into it after returning from my ill-conceived getaway, our gratitude will be heightened and our lulls and quandaries diminished if not evaporated and we sink into the everyday life we love living.
Wishing you a lovely start to a brand new week, and may your everydays hold much to savor.
19 thoughts on “Unwanted Moments Reveal What Is Needed”
Refreshing to read about an experience that was not all wonderful. Many blogs only write about life as though every moment is perfect and life is a mix.
The mood we bring to the experience determines its quality, and as Byron Katie teaches, everything is happening FOR us, not TO us, we just need to see the opportunity. Thank you for stopping by Nora. Have a great week no what happens outside of your control.
Nora, you are so correct. I have long ago sorted out those blogs that “sparkle” too much. While we seek the type of life for ourselves and our loved ones that Shannon illustrates; honesty, sensitivity, and reality outshine all that “perfect life scenario.” We most certainly can live luxurious lives and having a guidebook, like this blog, makes that possible for us.
I have found what can most disappoint me during a getaway is low-quality or bad food and uncomfortable bedding and seating. I do not feel like a snob when I say these things because I have put a lot of hard work, trial and error, into finding and cooking great food for myself and I’ve been through many bedding combinations (pillows, sheets, etc), not willing to settle for anything less than what beings me total rest and comfort (we’re so worth it!). It is perhaps unfair to expect this elsewhere but my point is that I do have a tendency to miss my routine I’ve so carefully crafted at home. Too bad I have to cook, clean and make my own bed there, though!! 😉
This is not to minimize or trivialize new places and experiences. What those bring to my life are truly irreplaceable. The “question to ponder” just made me think of my daily physical comfort.
Melissa, thank you for sharing that upon discovering what gives you comfort, you know what works for you! I have been giving this much pondering lately, and it is no fault of any place we stay or eat to live up to our expectations, in fact, we shouldn’t have any. It is when a direct promise or statement is made either on the website or menu that we can inquire. Other than that, we chalk it up to experience and a deepening appreciation of knowing what works. And on that note to always keep stretching, trying new things and exploring, we just not explore any further with our bedding for example if we know we enjoy a deep, restorative sleep, why change it? 🙂
Oh, and Shannon, what are your favorite coast towns? I have many happy childhood memories on the beautifully rugged Oregon Coast, specifically the Newport/Depoe Bay area. Was just wondering, thanks!
I will keep my favorites to myself, but needless to say they are quiet, small and tranquil. 🙂
I am comforted by your remarks. Prior to this year, I found a way to take my world with me, via a motorhome. I created a mirror image of my home for travel. My dogs were happy to travel as long as they returned to a familiar setting. It was the best of both worlds. My own bed and bathroom, my kitchen to my preference, a window on the world from the self-created comfort that I require. However, driving a full-size class A motorhome is not for the faint of heart, particularly during road construction season. With my vision changing it became a game-changer, I had to let it go. (I mourn daily I might add!) Because the pandemic has totally changed our travel I have not yet experienced what you describe. As an HSP, I am not sure how that will work. A work in progress here!
Lucy, first of all, I am in deep admiration of you – driving a motorhome! That is awesome! That is no small feat. 🙂 But no doubt, it sounds like the perfect way for you to travel in comfort while still exploring and stretching and trying new experiences. Thank you for sharing.
shannon, today’s post was music to my ears. i just got home from a much anticipated getaway. It was less than relaxing and made me question so many things…..It was a lot of money, weather not great, trip to urgent care, and i missed my dog (no dogs allowed here). At each disappointment i tried to take a big deep breath and remind myself that it is good for me and my brain to do new things, breathe new air, meet new people. I am happy to be home, but will continue to push the boundries of my comfort zone here in my happy cozy little nest. Thank you for always bringing a touch of sunshine into my days.
Karin, First I hope the trip to urgent care was not dire and all is healing. Any time our health flares up for whatever reason, that really does filter out any other attempts at peace or calm. Your determination to try and be mindful during all that occurred is applaudable and speaks to your strength of mind. Certainly glad you are home and back with your dog and in your sanctuary which clearly brings you much calm. I find through similar travel experiences, I permit myself to invest in more ‘knows’ – the same of something – in order to feel more comfortable exploring. For me, that is going to the same location, but then visiting new shops or restaurants. There always now for me must be an anchoring significant ‘something’, and on this particular trip, it was the ocean. Such a balm of calm – that made it worth it and it is what I will remember.
The timing of this post is perfect as we just returned from vacation spent at an old inn we have visited almost every summer for the last few years. Upon arrival, we were, among other things, given a room with a very odd “updated” shower setup in the bathroom that was uncomfortable to say the least. Although an HSP, I’m pretty adaptable with the quirks of historic buildings, but this time some of the discomforts were too much and impacted the peace of vacation that I so needed. If we are able to travel next year, we’re going to look for a new place to stay. I’m happy to explore and experience new things, but I do like the basics of bed and bath to be as reasonably comfortable as possible.
Debby, Funny you should share your experience after I just shared with karin that choosing the main ‘anchoring’ knowns is key for a relaxing stay even if everything else is unknown or maybe goes a bit wonky. I am so sorry to hear this. Perhaps it strengthens the positive memories of the before stays, and I do hope you can find a relaxing future accommodation to make this excursion a continued favorite. If nothing else it confirms what you know the accommodations and what they offer have to meet certain objectives, and to invest in this choice is worth it. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.
Shannon I appreciate your sharing of a not so happy getaway .For most of us our home is our sanctuary and when we go away we tend to choose a similar environment where we will feel equally at ease. I experienced similar last year when we managed to fit a quick trip away to see a friend near Bordeaux. There was a hiatus in the Covid restrictions and we booked a hotel at very short notice different the one we normally use as it was closed. It looked extremely pleasant but on arrival it was a disaster. It had rained torrentially and on arrival we found a flooded hotel car park and so was our room! We negotiated another room with a very grumpy owner!
After seeing our friend the first evening we returned to the hotel to find the main gate locked. We did manage after several phone calls to get an entry code again from a very grumpy manager. I just wanted to jump into the car and head straight home. But as the sole purpose of the visit was to spend time with our friend we persevered. But couldn’t wait to return home to the peace and tranquility of our home with even much more appreciation Needless to say the establishment did not receive a favourable review from us . xx
Thank you for this wonderful share. It certainly brings back the reminder of how much we have and love about our surroundings when we have taken the time to identify what really is important to each of us.
Diana, So true. 🙂 So much to appreciate and savor. How fortunate are we. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by today.
So sorry to hear your getaway wasn’t the delight you’d anticipated, Shannon. It’s so disappointing. We had a similar experience earlier this year when we booked a 3-day stay at a small resort up the coast where we have stayed numerous times over the years. Staying there has always been a treat & we were SO looking forward to being by ourselves for a few days without business & family issues needing our attention. We knew it had sold to new owners but still had high expectations. It’s in a small community with a small employment base, so we figured even though the ownership had changed most of the staff — & consequently the level of service — would be the same. Nope. The new owner gave us a long tale of woe about how all the old staff had abandoned ship, leaving them to staff the place with family members. It quickly became clear that no one had any experience in the hospitality industry. Service was bad, amenities had been downgraded to the cheapest possible, small luxuries like extra bath towels in the room had been discontinued, staff were inexperienced, poorly trained and, when approached, sullen, defensive & rude. To top it off, when we went out for dinner the first night, our wait-person turned out to be the former head housekeeper, who told us a different story: that the new owners had fired everyone the instant the sale had finalized in order to hire family. We did stay the 3 days we had booked — the beach, trails & sunsets were the same — but we’ll never be back. I could have put the poor service down to inexperience, but not the lies. The whole thing was a learning exercise in what we want, what we need & what we’ll tolerate to get the first two (not a lot, it turns out!). It also told me that I’m becoming increasingly unhappy with change, which does not please me as the one thing we can count on is that nothing stays the same & I do NOT want to become one of those grumpy old retirees complaining about how things were in “my day” 🙂 One Good Thing: the ex-head housekeeper told us she & a couple of the other fired staff (all of whom we knew) were thinking of opening a B&B & we encouraged her & promised to become their first customers should they make their dream come true. All in all we’ve had better vacations, but, like you, decided to learn what we could from it & move on.
Oh Shannon, so sorry to hear an anticipated trip was not as expected. I had the same experience last September. I was so looking forward to it as my first COVID getaway. But it was the total opposite of relaxing, and every vision I had was dashed. But like you I made the best of it and realized that not every description/picture on the internet of a town is accurate so lesson learned.
What a positive view to take on – what could be – a negative experience. I will remember this next time something doesn’t go quite as I planned it. Thank you Shannon