During a standard 40-hour work week, one might accrue a couple of hours of vacation time. I’d typically store up these precious hours like little gems to splurge on an adventurous international trip or a much needed, and sometimes spontaneous, long weekend. It got to the point where I didn’t really think twice about asking my boss for time off. I knew when and how to ask for vacation time and, hey, I deserved it, right?
Now that I’ve switched careers, I don’t accrue vacation time anymore. And to be honest, I’m not sure who my boss is either. I don’t have annual reviews, I don’t get raises, and I don’t get promoted. And? I’m okay with that. I wouldn’t trade being a mommy for a million vacation days. I’m serious. I’ve yearned and dreamt of this moment for years. And, here I am.
But, it’s still hard to adjust my thinking that life isn’t all about me or that I deserve x, y, z. I can’t just pack my bag and run off to the airport at a moments notice. I’m in a new season. I’m actually tired of calling it that, but it’s true, even when it doesn’t provide me much assurance.
This “season” came to the forefront of my mind again last week when I received the invite for my dear friend’s wedding on the east coast. I was doing mental gymnastics trying to figure out how I could go. It wasn’t a matter of accrued vacation time, it was a matter of juggling all of my new responsibilities and a little someone who depends on me during the day. The wedding falls during a difficult time of year for Carl to take time off, so he was out, and traveling with a toddler on my own on a cross-country flight sounds like as much fun as pulling out each leg hair individually with a pair of tweezers. I ventured down the path of figuring out a trip solo, like I used to do for so many years. But when it all came down to it, I’d only be on the east coast for about 24 hours, and that sounded like crazy-pants.
So, after a good pep-talk from my Mom (as she kindly reminded me of all of the amazing trips I’ve been able to take without hesitation over the years), and after a few tears, I wrote the hard email to my friend, telling her that I could only be at her wedding in spirit. My friend was full of grace and understanding. Now, I just need to offer myself some grace, take a deep breath, exhale, embrace this new season and realize that with each season of life there are disappointments but also great joys.