fireworks-of-various-colors-bu-19160972Barbecues, friends, chilaxin’ all day, followed up by an impressive fireworks show at the end of the night. Ahh. I love the 4th of July. Plus, the next day is my husband’s birthday, so we always try to take a long weekend to celebrate.

How was your holiday? Were you able to relax and let loose last week?

This year my husband and I decided to take the whole week and spend it as a family. This is the first time since we got married (almost 7 years) that we’ve taken a long vacation. We’ve had several two or three day stints here and there, and times when we’ve been off work for different obligations, but never just to vacation for several days.

We talked about going somewhere, but our kids are 3,5, and 12 and finding activities that suit all 3 for an extended period of time is tough. Plus, we are committed to financial independence, and reinvesting in Lansing Hoops, which means that we don’t use credit, and are actively paying down our debt.

Stay-CationUltimately we opted for the “stay-cation”. At first I was a little disappointed in the prospect. Having quit my corporate job two years ago to start my first entrepreneurial business, I am familiar with the raw desire to get-away, while lacking the financial and other means to accomplish it.

So after a quick chat with my husband about actively planning our stay-cation and not just waiting to see what panned out (and ending up doing the same ‘ol things), we mapped out a basic idea of what we would do this week.

Just the small act of deciding helped me let loose and get into vacation mode. The weird thing is, halfway through the week we abandoned a part of our plan. Everyone was tired, semi-cranky, and irritable and it just didn’t sound fun. At first I was frustrated because I wanted so badly for our vacation to be special and it felt like spending a day at home was giving up on that ideal.

Luckily, taking a break from our plan to focus on what we needed (instead of what we thought we wanted), had the opposite effect. I was able to spend a leisurely morning on a date with my oldest daughter, followed up by an afternoon of hardcore hanging out with the littles, and ending with personal manicures for the whole family. That definitely felt a lot more special than running around after the kids, desperately trying not to lose my patience with their lack of desire to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of our time together.

It made me realize that vacation isn’t about what you do, or where you go, or how much time you have, It’s about who you do it with. You don’t have to go anywhere to let loose on vacation. You don’t need money or vacation days or anything other than the company of a good friend, and the love of your family.

By that definition, for me, every day is a vacation.

And now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear about what you do to relax in the comments.