I think it’s safe to say that I had a really interesting vacation. I saw a lot of stuff. I did a lot of things. Sure, I could have done more. There were a lot of museums I never made it to, because they were closed for renos or because I just didn’t make it there. I could have done more arts/culture stuff. I could have done more night life. I could have done it differently.

But I didn’t, because I went with the theory that it was a vacation, and that I didn’t have to always be doing something. I’m what you would call a fairly tense person. I like to be places on time, or early. I like to get stuff done quickly. I like things to be nice and tidy but am usually so busy that my stuff gets everywhere. I have goals and dreams and aspirations.

For a month, I had vague plans. If I had a ticket to something, that was my one concrete thing for the day. Otherwise, I was flexible. If I got up and it was rainy, I might do nothing. If the forecast was for dazzling sunlight, then I’d go to a park, or walk around a neighbourhood. I didn’t have to be anywhere at any time. I ate when I was hungry. I slept when I was tired. If I did one major activity and then had a nap, that was okay, because I wasn’t in a mad rush to see everything I could possibly see while in NY.

I didn’t think about work. I didn’t really mull over my personal problems. I didn’t do a whole lot other than walk and see stuff and experience life as a New Yorker. Or not really as a New Yorker, because if I actually lived in New York, I probably never would have done all the stuff I did, because I’d be too busy working and surviving in the jungle.

When you’re on vacation, you know you’re going to spend a lot of money and do a lot of things and you’re okay with it. But what if you dedicated a certain amount of money and time in your own town and did those things there? For instance, the only times I’ve been to see an orchestra in Ottawa were for the Messiah, and that’s a family tradition. I’ve been to exactly three plays in 11 years, two of them with someone who did the legwork, bought the tickets, and told me I was going. I’ve never been to a hockey game, either NHL or OHL, here in Ottawa. I’ve never seen a pro soccer game, or even a university basketball game. Of the six major museums in Ottawa, I’ve only been to two. I’ve been to exactly one non-Originals craft show, and that was right before I went to NYC.

I discussed this with my BFF who mentioned a really key point about why I don’t do that stuff when I’m at home: I’m too tired. I’m not a night person. I’m solidly a middle of the day person, and frankly, a lot of cool stuff happens at night. And for so many years, I was on call for work practically 24/7 that I didn’t have the energy to have a life.

But, that’s not really an excuse anymore. I’ve pretty much put my career on hold for a while. My current position lets me work a regular schedule. I think if the cool events are at night and on the weekend, I can work around the late by having a pre-emptive nap. I can make a commitment to do stuff differently.

Speaking of doing stuff differently, here’s one thing I did in NY that I don’t do at home: eat at a table. Here, I eat in a recliner while watching TV. I blame this on my ipod. Really. I used to eat at the table when I had a radio in the kitchen. I’d listen to CBC radio and read. But when I got rid of my clunky CD player/radio, I got rid of that habit and switched over to the other area of the house with noise – the living room/TV. I know that all the research out there says that eating while doing something else makes your eating experience more mindless. I totally agree when it comes to eating while watching TV. Eating while listening to public radio? Not so much.

Also, because my laptop was on a table, I used it there. Which meant that I had a couple of intense computer periods each day, and then nothing. No being on the laptop all day long. No wrist pain. No wondering what’s going on in the world. I was too busy living in it instead.

So. Changes are underway. While in NYC, I bought nice placemats, napkins, and napkin rings. My mum gave me a plant on Sunday and I now have a small, green eating area set up at my large dining room table. Monday, I went to Ikea and purchased a very small table for my laptop, and an equally small chair, both of which are now assembled and tucked in next to my fireplace. In fact, I’m using them right now. Next steps include buying a radio for the kitchen/dining room (I’m so old school, it hurts) and a more powerful wireless router so that I have better connectivity for the laptop in its new location.

I’m going to spend the next week buying tickets for the National Arts Centre. They have great subscription rates, and dammit, I’m going to take advantage of that. I’m going to live my life. I’m going to live the life I want to have. Because I can. I’m blessed with the funds to be able to do these things – I just need to reallocate from where they’re currently distributed to live a little differently. Embrace the artistic side of my life and I’ll be hopefully a more relaxed, happier person who feels great about sitting at her dining room table and eating yummy food that she made herself.

It’s a weird takeaway from a vacation, isn’t it? But I think it’s going to work for me. Hopefully, with the support of my peeps here and in my in person life, I’m going to sustain this attitude through the return to work and the rest of my real life. Because I really want this. I want to be chill. I want to be creative. I want to be alive.

Who’s with me?