Now, I earn my bread in academia, which means I had a break coming up. Usually, I don’t take much of a break – perhaps a day or two and I work less-than-usual during the rest of the time – but I was determined to make this break my “Golden Ticket.” I was helped out by the fact that my husband is completely supportive of my self care efforts (the proverb of “happy wife, happy life” has a great deal of truth to it, my friends!) and I also had my college roommate coming into town for a short visit with her youngest, who is beginning the college search. Viewed from my perspective, this was the Perfect Nudge to take the Golden Ticket plunge!
Just as the shorter restorative 12-Hour Vacation takes planning, so does the Golden Ticket. LOTS of planning! So we set to it, getting the guest room established for our first overnight houseguests since our move and (on my part) working hard to complete end-of-term tasks so I could walk away from my usual routine of checking email multiple times per day and so on. Finally, we were ready – I put an “out of office” message on my email and, with a little trepidation, I closed the office door for nine days. (Note – one of the best things I did was take my office email and move it off the main screen on my phone. Out of sight, out of mind. Honestly, we come from a culture that practically worships overwork and burnout. There’s no room for that on the Golden Ticket.)
With our planning done and our guests in town, the Golden Ticket began.
It was an unseasonably warm, sunny weekend, which helped, of course. But good food, the swapping of many tales – most funny, a few melancholy – communal meals, cutthroat card games, lazy mornings in pajamas and coffee . . . all of this was a good start. But the real fun was a day spent playing tourist in my own hometown. This is something most of us rarely do and it’s an easy, inexpensive way to live luxuriously, at least for a few hours. Check out the local farmer’s market. Go have brunch at that small bakery that always smells like cinnamon. Walk downtown, pausing to stop in any shop that has an interesting window. Walk all the way down to the bookstore that also sells used records and has a dazzling display of crystals. Plunk yourself down on a remnant of shag carpeting and really look at the books on the bottom shelf. Let your best friend who has known you since before you had wisdom teeth or wisdom buy you a few records (you’ll think about her later when you’re listening to Tony Bennett sing jazz duets with Lady Gaga). Visit the best consignment shop in town and browse the new spring clothes. Maybe buy a new scarf in spring colors. Marvel at the daffodils in the front yards. Just enjoy being.
And for goodness sake, take down the top on the car.
With a few days of that under my belt, my roommate and her lovely daughter continued onward and I was ready to “level up.” Come back for Part 3!