How I Knew I Needed a Vacation


In 2009 we featured Dr. Carol Orsborn on a Virtual Book Tour   right here on the blog. We’ve known each other for years through our work online. But since Carol moved back to L.A. from New York, it’s been a treat to have lunch–no computers or iphones–just old fashioned face to face.

We’re delighted that Carol is our guest blogger today. With many of us about to travel before summer’s end, here are Carol’s recent reflections on her much needed vacation:

My husband Dan and I have been working much harder than we’d ever anticipated to be doing at age 64. And normally, I’m fine with this. But as the vision of a dream retirement–work and stress-free–fades with every down tick of the stock market, I paid heed to my spirit crying out for at least a moment’s taste of freedom. So a week ago, we headed 2 hours east of Los Angeles into the mountains of Big Bear.

As is my habit, I grabbed a spiritual book off my shelf to bring with me, eyes closed. So imagine my delight when it turned out to be poet May Sarton’s “Journal of a Solitude.” Our first morning there, in the summer camp air, it was as if May were writing the words in my own heart, each word a deliverance to sanity just to know that I was not alone in my yearning.

She writes: “For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision. I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation. But the deep collision is and has been with my unregenerate, tormenting, and tormented self. I have written every poem, every novel, for the same purpose—to find out what I think, to know where I stand. I am unable to become what I see. I feel like an inadequate machine, a machine that breaks down at crucial moments, grinds to a dreadful halt, ‘won’t go,’ or, even worse, explodes in some innocent person’s face.”

It was only a 3-day trip, but halfway through day 2, I could already feel my spirit responding to the sight of a mother duck paddling along with her 6 babies, my resilience as well as the meaning of life restored. My encounters with others were delightful. I started journaling again.

I’ve been back a couple of days now, and I’m still walking around with a silly grin on my face, having remembered why it is I do what I do, and having forgiven myself for the gap between vision and reality.

So that’s how I knew how badly I’d needed a vacation. Life transformed from a collision to a celebration. Thanks, Big Bear, for helping me to remember what life is really about.

Readers, if you’ve been able to get away this summer, send a photo and description of your most meaningful moments We’d love to hear from you.

And thanks Carol, for reminding us of the benefits that can result from making a change. Carol is the founder of Fierce with Age, the Online Center for Spirituality and Aging. I’ve just completed her first virtual online retreat and I want to recommend it to you. Here’s how Carol describes it:

Passing beyond midlife initiates a new life stage. Knowing how determined you are to make the next stage of your life as vital as the decades that have come before, I recommend that you join in beginning August 6 for interactive, self-paced lessons delivered every weekday for three weeks directly to your inbox.

Learn more about the next retreat here. Carol, a wise and sensitive guide, is exploring uncharted territory in the field of aging. She also provides spiritual counseling to those who strive to stop being afraid of age, to instead become fierce with age.

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