I recently took a weeklong vacation to Sedona, Arizona and it was so completely wonderful that I’ve had the worst time re-adjusting back to my non-vacation life. For example, I planned to write this immediately upon my return (I’ve been back for over a week) and to have it posted a week ago. I wrote it in my head but just haven’t been able to summon the energy to sit down and put it on paper.
I felt like I was floating in a vacation fog for, like, 5 days after I returned. I was going full speed with work until the moment I left town and then sort of just happily collapsed into a vacation mode and, after a week of lingering over yummy breakfasts, hiking and biking through the Arizona dessert and laughing with some of my favorite people, it’s been slow going trying to get back to full speed. And I’m starting to think maybe that’s not the worst thing ever.
It’s easy to be too busy to make it to happy hour with the ladies or to take the time to go for a run after work. It’s easy to feel guilty when I do leave the office early—or even just on time—once or twice a week. It’s easy for me to submerse myself in work and to forget that it’s not the most important thing. It’s a little more difficult to find balance. This trip reminded me that work is not the most important thing, a lesson I have to practice and I have to learn over and over.
I almost didn’t go on the trip. I wavered about whether or not to go right up until I actually pulled out of the parking space outside of my apartment. All of my friends who went on the trip are couples and I wasn’t sure I could handle being the token single on the trip. I know, I know that sounds so silly and almost a little pathetic. I knew I wouldn’t feel left out or even uncomfortable with these couples—we’ve all been friends for a long time—it’s just that it can be really hard to be around people who have something you feel like you’re missing in your life.
I’ve been single for a long time and I went through a bit of a lonely spell this winter. I was afraid that the week would just make me feel worse. But I went anyway, and I’m not really sure why, I just felt like I would regret not doing so and I knew I needed a break. And then a funny thing happened.
Almost instantly, I felt less lonely than I have in months. And that relief let me really confront my fear of being alone for the first time in a long time. I let my fears and my pain fill my head without judgment and just asked that I could find a way to release them, and that I could be open to whatever I need to learn right now.
It rained for the first two-and-a-half days straight of the trip—not ideal for camping and certainly unexpected in the desert—and when the storms finally started to clear we went for a hike. We marveled at the rocks, giggled as we posed for photos and then we sat near the top of the trail and just took it all in for a little bit. And somewhere in the silence of that moment, I realized that I would be OK. That whatever happens, whether I meet someone tomorrow or get my heart broken in a year or stay single forever, I’m going to be OK. Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep making a life that means a lot to you, and you’ll be OK, a quiet voice inside me whispered.
This trip reminded me how important it is to slow myself down enough so that I can hear those quiet reminders. It reminded me how important it is to put myself in situations where I feel vulnerable so that I can grow. It reminded me how very blessed I am to have a family of friends who make me feel way less alone in this world. I really am the luckiest.
Here are a few of my favorite moments from the trip:
We camped here (the campground is very well-kept and the outhouse facilities are extremely clean but the sites are a little small and the campground is a tad too close to the highway for my liking), hiked here (stunning views, see photos above) rode bikes on some of these trails (SO much fun, can’t wait to return and ride Sedona again), and ate here (I wish I could have Sunday–or any day–brunch here every week, definitely give the local, on-tap kombucha a try), here (this place is cheap, yummy and saved us more than once by providing a warm haven during a downpour), and here (dine on the rooftop patio for the best views in downtown Sedona).