In the past few weeks I’ve traveled to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Philadelphia, New York City (many times), and Maine (for college visits). While all my travels were amazing and inspiring, and I have no horror stories from the road (other than the strange fact that I constantly seemed just a few short steps away from people with Ebola), I found myself in a state a good friend of mine with a professional background (aka my therapist) calls “depleted.” Symptoms of depletion for me are slight depression, a tendency to cry more than usual, hopelessness, crabbiness, and in general, walking a thin line between being able to hold it together and…not.
So yesterday, when I pulled into my driveway (pictured above) knowing I’d be home for a while, I felt like—I just felt AWESOME. I was eager to go through the rituals of homecoming to get to that place where I could truly rest, recover, and replenish my depleted self.
Here are my coming home rituals:
• First, I have to take a shower or bath—wash the road from my skin. Peel off the layers of traveling dirt and grime and get back to my true self.
• Third, I have to cook something, something easy and delicious. Last night, I threw some potatoes and frozen sausage and carrots into a cast-iron pan with some olive oil and rested on the couch while the aroma of yumminess filled the air.
• Fourth, I have to just hang out with my kids and pets. Snuggle with them. You might think this would be farther up on the list, but the truth is, when I come home from traveling, it takes all of us a bit of time to warm up to each other and feel reunited. In other words, it takes a meal. Not a snack, but a meal. And sometimes a game of Solitaire or watching a fútbol game or playing Catan, a game I always call “Prisoners of Catan,” which annoys my kids, but I can’t seem to stop it.
• Fifth, we all need to go to bed early, without fanfare or drama.
• And last, we wake up and get on with our lives—school, work, writing blogs (because I am almost always super behind on that).
Why am I sharing this? Other than the fact that I’m behind on my blogs? Because sometimes people tell me that they don’t know how I do what I do, or I must be “so busy.” Sometimes we all think we’re not doing enough or that other people are doing so much more than us. But something all we need is to just COME HOME. And that means not doing so much. Allowing ourselves to truly rest and replenish. Allowing ourselves to just be our true selves, our family selves, our home selves. This time of year (Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter holidays), there will hopefully be a lot of homecomings for everyone. My hope is that you all enjoy and appreciate them.
I’d love to know what your coming home rituals are, too! Maybe I’ll add a few steps to mine. In the meantime…my seventh and final step: I’m going food shopping. Because when I get home from travels, my refrigerator needs to be replenished, too.
I’ll see some of you at the supermarket!