Vacation brain in real life

I haven’t posted anything on this blog in four months. I swore I’d never let that happen. For almost four years, it didn’t.

It’s not that I didn’t have things to write about in those four months. A lot happened.

I became an aunt and am completely smitten by my sweet baby niece. Even three months in, I see the sacredness of the niece/aunt relationship.

I’ve read a few books that I can’t stop talking about, books that have made me examine my habits and relationships.

I just wrapped up a work project that consumed every part of me and stretched me in surprising ways.

I could’ve written about these things and more. It would’ve been so good for me to explore these topics in a blog post, and maybe they would’ve been helpful for other people too.

But I just couldn’t open the laptop to write about them. Though I did start a few posts, I convinced myself they were self-serving or boring or that I had no right writing about these things. Sometimes the feelings were too much to put to words. Sometimes I felt completely insecure about what people would think, especially about things that felt really raw to me.

So I distracted myself. I became a consumer instead of a creator. It was easier for so many reasons.

I did all the things I could do instead of writing, all the things I’ve said I shouldn’t do on this very blog. I watched TV, I scrolled through social media. I went to the gym, put in extra hours at work, and met up with friends.

But then I hit pause.

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I went to Cuba. Where the internet sucks and the TV sucks. And I couldn’t go to the gym or work, and the friends I was with were busy reading or people-watching or napping to constantly entertain and distract me.

So I read a lot. And I underlined and took photos of phrases and concepts and sections that made my eyes linger. I typed notes on my phone, my fingers trying to catch up to the thoughts in my brain.

I took away all the distractions, and the desire to create, to write, tapped me on the shoulder and said “remember me?”. I let myself get inspired and my brain began processing through story and blog posts.

I like my brain when I’m on vacation. Apparently my creativity sweet spot is when there are no obligations, no reasons to rush, no schedules. No distractions.

But that’s the opposite of my non-Cuba reality (though, for the record, I could definitely live that reality long-term).

So how do I replicate that in my Canadian, distraction-filled reality? How do I train vacation brain to activate in real life?

I think I go back to all the things I wrote about a few years ago – that I have to be disciplined and find a writing routine. That I have to be louder than the (incredibly loud) voices in my head that tell me I’m terrible at this and that this is self-serving and that I have no right to write publicly.

And I need accountability. So I’m posting this for that reason too. I’ve put it out there, now I need to do it.

Here’s to making room for vacation brain in a real-life world.

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