Day 5 of vacation. One introvert among several families chock full of loud, sarcastic, bossy extroverts. I thought I was going to die.
I love vacation. It makes me crave insanely right decisions I normally balk at -- like exercising, early morning devotions, and going to bed on time. It's freeing -- a blank canvas on which to draft a new schedule based on my body and soul, not on work's demands.
I also dread vacation. Vacation means cramming our large immediate and extended family into a couple houses. We went on a Bergmann-only vacation twice. For almost every summer in my life, we hosted or visited our extended family. My family is hilarious, caring, and close. I love catching up with them, eating their good cooking, and soaking up their life.
And all that good stuff drains every drop of energy right out of me.
When I was younger, too old to play with the younger kids and too young to hang with the older women, I spent family vacation curled up on a couch reading whatever book looked interesting on a relative's bookshelf. My family teased me for my incessant reading and anti-social behavior. I felt guilty, left out, and bored out of my mind.
Now I pack a couple books of my own, plan some private projects (hello, blogging!), and shrug off the teasing. Instead of squelching my introversion, I work around it to make the most of family time.
01. I established a hideaway spot ASAP. Instead of sleeping with all the girls in the rental house basement with little kids running through every other second, I specifically requested the blue room in my grammy's house. I didn't spend much of my time in it, but I loved placing my backpack and tennis shoes in my room. It grounded me. It gave me an option to retreat when I wanted to be alone.
02. I started my day slow and spent the bulk of the afternoon wrapped up in solitude -- reading, writing, thinking, and working long-distance. After the main hike or event of the day, everyone usually settled down for a lazy afternoon, anyway. I charged up for the evening. . . .
03. . . .which I dedicated to family time. I left behind my books, iPhone, and laptop from dinner onward, and threw myself into conversations, games, and impromptu worship.
Basically, I established normalcy. I mean, who actually in real life spends their 24/7 time catering to anybody's needs...besides babysitters? Real life involves breathing space and alone time, or at least other life things to do besides playing Scattergories all day, every day. I see family vacation as a chance to invite extended family into my everyday life and vice versa. This requires living a life in the first place -- a real life with things to do and thoughts to share.
Bring on the introverted reading time.
How do you survive family vacation?