THE BLOG
09/07/2012 01:55 pm ET Updated Nov 07, 2012

Vacation's All I Ever Wanted... Until It Isn't

My husband and I just returned from five glorious days in Bermuda. All we did was sleep, eat, lounge by the pool, nap (him), and spa (me). We just luxuriated in the self-centeredness of being childless for an entire work-week.

Amidst all the resting and relaxing, I found myself noticing our fellow vacationers. The curious thing was that it didn't seem like they were on vacation. I mean, they were tan and wearing bathing suits, but there seemed to be an incredible -- what's the word -- dedication to their vacationing. At breakfast, people created mountains of eggs Benedict, muffins, sausage, bacon, cheese, Danish, fruit, and bagels. Everyone drank sweet rum drinks as soon as the poolside bar opened. At 10 a.m. The stores were teeming with shoppers buying trinkets and tchotchkes and T-shirts. Everyone's actions seemed to scream: "I'M ON VACATION AND I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME! YOU SEE ME? I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME. DOESN'T IT LOOK LIKE I'M SQUEEZING EVERY BIT OF RELAXATION OUT OF THIS VACATION?! HA HA HA HA HA... HA."

And now that it's September and we're back to "reality," reality looks something like a shame spiral about vacation behavior: losing the vacation weight gain, paying off the vacation credit card bill, catching up on sleep. How many of us have come back from vacation saying: "I need a vacation from my vacation"?

To be absolutely crystal clear: I'm not judging this behavior. I am completely guilty of doing the same. Historically, during my vacations my phone is always on, and I'm on top of all my emails. I shop like a Real Housewife at a Louis Vuitton outlet, and I usually eat so much that American Airlines can count my bloated stomach as extra baggage on the return flight.

What are we all getting from vacationing if it's like work? If we're committed to resting and restoring ourselves, what's getting in the way? Vacationing with such oomph that we're exhausted by all the "relaxing" is not really a vacation. It's "real" life -- moved to a tropical locale.

So, what would a truly relaxing vacation look like for you? What would you do (or not do) if your well-being was truly at the forefront? And here's the real brain-twisty question: What would your life look like if you incorporated vacation into "real life"?

I invite you to consider the possibilities.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.