Preston and I went away for a fun, little holiday last week without Austin.
We have both been away without him, separately and together, for several days at a time, several times, since he was born. Every single one of those times has involved staying with friends.
This was the first time we have been together without him, and anyone else, for 2 years.
We needed it. I needed it.
Yet, it wasn’t an easy decision. It wasn’t necessarily hard either. Let me explain.
1. Preston and I are both self-employed so when we don’t work we don’t get paid. We have some big, one-off bills this month due to the way we pay our taxes. As I was thinking about getting away, I found myself ruminating on whether or not I’m being responsible booking this trip. Could this money be better spent? Should I be putting it towards the bills? What about the money we won’t earn by being gone? I wasn’t overwhelmed by these questions, but I definitely exerted energy considering them. I ultimately felt that our relationship was worthy of an investment. When I came to that conclusion, it didn’t feel like an excuse to just “go for it,” like I have in the past as a way to justify irresponsible spending. It felt like an important statement. I marveled at how far I have come with my money stories.
2. I had to find the courage to ask my Mum and Dad to look after Austin. They went back to France on Sunday and I wanted to take advantage of free babysitting, that felt completely worry-free and easy, so that we could get away. They have helped us so much over the last couple of months that they have been here and I didn’t want to overstep by asking. I also wondered if they would judge my decision to spend my money in this way. They know our family scenario up close and personal and the way we choose to spend our money is a very personal thing.
3. I probably spent 2-3 hours looking through AirBnB considering all our options. Here’s a little peak of where I chose. This area, that area? 1 night or 2 nights? If we go for 1 night we could go for real luxury. If we go for 2, I need to be a little more conservative. Maybe we should go all out for both nights because we deserve it? I dismissed that thought quickly because I knew I would be spending out of my means and my stress about it would defeat the object of getting away in the first place.
4. I spent 45 minutes trying to book the place because there were several unexpected steps I had to take with the AirBnB booking system.
5. I had planned this as a surprise for Preston. I worried a little about telling him because I knew he would be excited and I also thought he might be worried about the time off, which equals less money earned. I made sure that when I told him, I didn’t have any expectation of how he would react or what I assumed he was thinking. A little self-talk required leading up to that moment.
6. Lastly, I had to pack, organize a few things around the house, and get us ready to leave. Preston had to ready himself by taking care of appointments and paperwork.
That’s a lot of thinking and planning. Phew-wee!
At this point you might be thinking, “Wow, Sarah, I think you’re making it too complicated and over-thinking the whole thing.”
Maybe so. I don’t feel this way at all.
Having fun can be easy and spontaneous. And women like us allow fun in our lives all the time. Catching dinner on a whim, cooking a great dinner because we feel inspired, laughing with a friend over the phone, breaking out into song in the car.
As Preston and I were driving, I said, “It seems as though having fun should be so easy, but sometimes it requires effort.” I proceeded to tell him all the thoughts and feelings I shared with you above.
I marveled at that statement because it felt so true. Fun is marketed as effortless and that hadn’t been my experience of planning this get-away.
It definitely didn’t feel hard or overwhelming either. I had definitely butted up against my own thinking as everyday life will have us do, even when trying to plan fun, if we live courageously and consciously.
It’s no wonder we sometimes feel exhausted for what seems like no reason at all. Being open-hearted gives us a lot of room to consider and evolve.
I’m so happy that I came to this belief: “I’m doing this for us. We are worthy of the experience and it’s important for our marriage.” That seems obvious and, yet, so many people’s actions, mine included, will often show otherwise. That’s when I realized having fun is a skill.
Here’s to building our fun muscles and putting in the work.
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