The Ramblings of an Active Mind ………………………………..by: Elizabeth Tobolski Dudak

Ten Days of Self-Discovery

These past ten days I was afforded a Staycation…all by myself.    My daughter left for college and my husband and son went on a camping trip on the east coast.  It was just me, my mutt and the assortment of other critters living under my roof.  I knew this time was coming for a few months and I understood I had to spend it wisely.  This doesn’t happen too often so I wanted to do some self-reflection, some inner perspective of who I am, where I am going, what I wanted to do… without interruption.  I am unemployed, which granted me even more time to figure out what I needed, no wanted, my next move to be in life.  Maybe I would get my sequel to my novel done or at least make a dent.  Maybe I would finally have ‘oh-yeah’ moments as what it was I really want to do for a day job until the money came in from my writing and I wouldn’t need a day job.  Yes, I had high expectations.  Yes, I put pressure upon myself.  Yes, I was a little nuts…or nuttier.

The first day of my Staycation for one, I did some dancing, some cranking of the music, some shouting of “woo-hoo”s and some eating of stuff nobody else liked.  The first day was a great day and without reflection, just plain fun and okay, maybe gluttony.   After that, I settled into a routine – – a boring, dull, I-miss-my-family routine.  I cleaned the house.  I took care of the garden.  I fed the mutt and the critters. I filed unemployment and searched for jobs (you have to do one to get the other).  I washed windows.  I went on walks (which I love, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t different enough for my Self-discovery Staycation.)  I was in a big-deal-I-have-these-days type of mood.  The only way I was going to exit this mood was by putting more of myself into my Staycation.  And so, on the fourth day, I decided to do something crazy…okay, different.

On the fourth day, I devoted the entire day to writing…after my walk, of course.  I spent nine hours writing and rewriting.  I did nothing else.  I mean, literally for nine hours – – nothing but my fingertips pounding on my laptop’s keyboard.  I’m telling you, I think I found the key to dieting because I didn’t eat nor did I care.  I know!   It was my Nirvana.  I was in this zone…this world outside myself that I wanted to stay in.  I only stopped after nine hours for two reasons.  One, to feed the mutt (can’t let him suffer from my all consuming passion) and two, I promised a friend I would go to her get-together.   After I fed the dog, I went back to writing until I realized I was almost two hours late for my friend’s soiree.  I hopped into the shower, did what I had to do to get ready and went.  I was in a daze for a while at my friend’s house.  My mind was still writing the sequel.   In the end, I had a great time and when I left, some three hours later and I left happy.

In the days that followed, I met friends for one thing or another – breakfast, wine, lunch, hors d’ouevres, iced tea.  I spent some time just staring out my front window, much to the annoyance of my mutt, who I knew wanted my attention by his constant yawns.  I read.  I did a bit more writing.  And, I watched documentaries on cable.  (Hey, the life of an ex-model really is interesting.)   I had one eureka moment after another.  (Okay, maybe the model documentary didn’t offer me too much.) I learned about myself, about my friends – old, new and in between friends – and about my family.

And so my boys – as I like to call them – are coming home today.   I think I will have accomplished much of what I set out to accomplish.  Even though you didn’t ask I will present to you …  

Ten things that I learned in ten days of my Self-Discovery Staycation.

  1. Being a mother and a wife are two things I will never take for granted. It is a gift and one to reopen with new awe every moment given.
  2. The definition of passion is being swallowed up by time.
  3. Food actually tastes better when eaten with family…around a table…talking.
  4. A friend, a true one, will find the positives in you, even the slightest ones, because they are looking for it when you need it the most.
  5. Laughter is truly the best feeling in the world and it is good to do it often…even if you are alone…or with a mutt.
  6. Everything really does come down to you and you’d be surprised how much you can handle.
  7. If you listen, answers will come, lessons will be learned, new questions will arise and growth will happen within.
  8. It is never a good idea to give into a twelve and a half year old dog’s excitement about going for a walk.  Yes, the chasing of the tail in circles to express joy at the prospect is very cute, BUT the many, many, many stops made out of fear he won’t make it home are cumbersome and stretches a forty minute walk into an hour.
  9. Never really figuring out what your day job should be is okay because learning to trust it will happen in time is better.
  10. Feeling like your single again, if just for 10 days, is great.  Knowing the family will be home soon is even greater.
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