Apryl shares how she was holding herself back until one unforgettable trip with family put it all in perspective.
For eight days I had a view of the Atlantic Ocean from a rented home in Prince Edward Island. The sun would set, making the sky gorgeous pink. The bald eagles were flying around. The waves could be heard from the spot we were sitting.
Sounds amazing right? Well, I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t come.
My sister booked a house in PEI and encouraged the entire family to come and celebrate as she renewed her vows with her husband, to commemorate their 10 year anniversary.
Of course, I love my sister and I wanted to be part of her day, but I said no the first few times she asked.
A-hole move, Apryl!!
It’s true. I was consumed with anxiety over so many things: The 17-hour drive, the whole week in a house with 14 other people, being out of routine, the money it would cost, and of course, work!
Translation: I need to be in control all of the time.
Result: missing out on a lot of things.
It took a while, but I realized these were all excuses and they were holding me back from so much. Not just from a trip of a lifetime, but from other things.
In my day-to-day life, I would turn down plans all the time because I felt like I had to keep the balls in the air that I was juggling between home and work.
Things that give me joy were turned down so I could keep my anxiety in check by making sure no balls dropped.
The balls were labeled: clean house, stay on top of work, proper bed time, proper routine.
But guess what? Not all balls are glass. Some are rubber, and they bounce.
This year I’ve pushed myself to find more joy outside of the regular scheduled programming, because that’s where real life lives. Drinks with friends on a patio. An ice cream date with a friend and her kid. Wonderland with a group. Or just sitting with a neighbour by the fire.
Any time I got invited, I did my best to say yes.
Guess what? I had fun. The house was still clean. My kid was still fed. I still got my work done.
The balls continued to bounce. And I survived! In fact, I felt alive!
That brings me back to the PEI trip. I went, and I decided that week I would make no decisions and go with the flow.
I’m glad my sister didn’t give in to my excuses. I’m glad she kept talking to me and gently pushing me toward the trip. I’m super happy to have my entire family (aunts, uncles, grandfather, parents, cousins and their kids) exploring an island we’ve never been to before.
I spent time watching my kid jump off a bridge into the ocean, and scoop up crabs with his bare hands with my cousin. I got to spend days with my cousin and her family. Because she lives on the East Coast, I don’t get to see her very often.
I loved every minute of it.
The even bigger thing is this: it was the final days of my grandfather’s life. For eight days he was surrounded by family. Sure, the drive was hard on him, but I know he was grateful for that final trip.
He passed a few days after we got home. My final memories of him are in the kitchen making us fish and chips. Of sitting by the fire talking. Of him officiating my sister’s vow renewal.
If I had said no, I wouldn’t have these amazing memories.
If I had said no, I would be denying myself and my son of some pretty amazing experiences. For what? Because we think we can’t afford it? Because I’m afraid that something will suffer at home if I’m not there?
Here’s the thing, as women we juggle too much, when we really should just be bouncing those balls to keep them moving down the court.
Find the joy or things that will give you memories you’ll always remember. Talk to someone about anything outside of your kids and work. It’s a great distraction.
For God’s sake, take the trip. Do the drive. Find a way to go on a wild adventure with the people you love most in the world.
Do it for you, and for the people around you. Do it to feel alive. And do it before the opportunity is lost.