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I am suffering from a bad case of PVL: Post Vacation Letdown. I’m back from vacation, and I’m like a crabby grisly bear awakened too early from hibernation. Stand back, folks.

In my opinion, PVL should be in the DSM-IV right next to PTSD. It’s that bad.

My family just returned from a wonderful trip to Fripp Island, a lovely place full of unspoiled nature. Wide spanses of marshland and beautiful white sand beaches surrounded us. Families of deer wandered around languidly. We spent our days at the pool, the beach, or lazing around the beach house watching movies.

In the mornings, I drank my coffee ever so slowly, reading my book and listening to the bubbly, blissful sounds of the marsh around me. I watched seven gorgeous sunsets from our back porch, the sun descending into the horizon and the marsh basking in the heavenly light.

I rarely cleaned, and I did not make a bed for seven glorious days. I embraced the sand on the floors and the shoes, clothes, and towels littered everywhere. The extent of my cooking involving shoving frozen pizzas in the oven or microwaving a (delicious) hotdog. Showering was optional, as was makeup.

I was lazy. I was present. I was so relaxed. No schedule, no expectations. Just time to read, be with family, eat (delicious) hotdogs and be still.

Of course, I knew vacation had to end. On the way home, I vowed to take this blissful, relaxed feeling back into real life. I’d keep those porch sunsets in my back pocket, pulling them out when the vacation vibe started to fade.

Once we were home, reality smacked us in the face. One kid fell ill, succumbing to none other than pneumonia. The other one revisited the long-departed terrible two’s and had a shockingly loud meltdown.

Likewise, I had my own meltdown, rushing to leave the house within two hours of our arrival home. Like a crazed maniac, I went to Home Goods, Pier One, and Target, desperate to appease my dissipating vacation vibe with an adrenaline-soaked purchase of something fabulous.

It was PVL in full effect.

I returned home from my shopping spree with nothing, except a mounting sense of anxiety and dread about returning to work on Monday. This was well-placed anxiety, as Monday involved a rigorous effort to make my brain work again. I didn’t find the “on” switch until sometime mid-Wednesday.

Now, I just want to figure out a way to thread that decadently-relaxed vacation energy into my real life, even if it’s just a smidge. Of course, in real life, floors have to be cleaned, showers reluctantly taken, and more than frozen pizzas need to be on the menu.

But maybe, a few times a week, we can summon up the vacation vibe and just melt into whatever moment we’re in the middle of. We can loosen the reigns on the to-do list and leave the beds unmade. We can let go of the schedule and see where a Saturday takes us. We can allow ourselves to just relax and sit quietly. We can slow down for just a moment and really watch a sunset.

In fact, I’m going to pull one of my vacation sunsets out of my pocket right now. I might even go unmake my bed and eat a hot dog for breakfast. Peace out, PVL.











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