I spent a week with my family and in-laws up in New Hampshire and here’s how things went down:
0 Arguments, issues, or problems
For many men, the above formula equals disaster.
If that’s you, let’s talk about it.
Here are 5 pieces of advice I have to help you execute the stress free family vacation. I’ll write more on the topic soon, tonight I’m enjoying a peaceful night with the family in my own home and will be hitting my own bed early tonight, so top 5 is all you get:
1. Handle Your Situation Prior To Leaving
Look, if your marriage is in shambles, you’re currently arguing with your in laws, or you and your kid haven’t spoken in 3 months A VACATION WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
Getting into a new environment is not what is needed for a toxic situation.
You’re going to implode.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by writing the covert contract that somehow “getting away” will solve the issues you’re currently facing.
My family vacation went off without a hitch because we were totally fine prior to.
We weren’t trying to escape our lives by going on this trip, we’re solid at home so going to a cabin in the woods was no real change in dynamic with the exception that we saw each-other every minute of the day.
Don’t plan or go on a vacation with the expectation that your current unresolved issues will somehow disappear because I’m telling you, if anything they’ll be amplified.
2. Prepare (Expect) For The Absolute Worst
Before I left on this trip, I’d convinced myself that:
- Someone was going to break a bone snowboarding.
- Someone was going to get into an argument with someone.
- Someone was going to get sick and need to go to the hospital.
- Something was going to happen at work requiring time to be spent away from relaxation.
None of these things happened (fortunately), but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have happened.
If I didn’t mentally prepare myself to handle these expectations, two things would have happened which would have potentially ruined the entire getaway:
- I’d have been caught off guard and thus panicked or made a mistake when handling the emergency thus causing further damage.
- I’d have let it ruin the life-long memory which otherwise would have been forged.
If I didn’t think of potential mishaps, in the moment I’d have much less time to think through things. But because I assumed all the above (and more) would have happened, I played through what I would do if they did. I came up with responses, actions to take, it reminded me to bring certain items on the trip, etc.
I was already prepared to handle the assortment of issues because in my head, I’d already solved them 100 times.
You have to be looking down the road and thinking “What if?” in order to be ready when the “if” happens.
3. Let Some Things Slide
You’re on vacation, don’t worry about every little thing which doesn’t happen or does and not to perfection.
Chill man, Namaste.
There were a few days the kids didn’t make their beds or fold blankets after using them, I wasn’t riding them about it, they are squared away at home, you can loosen the leash a little.
That doesn’t mean completely lose all standards, just keep in mind that it’s OK to take breather.
If you can’t relax, you’ve got unresolved issues that you need to face head on or no vacation will ever get you truly recovered and mentally repaired.
4. Enjoy The Process, Not The Product
It’s not the final product which should bring a smile to your face, it’s going through the process with your family.
My kids took the Snowboarding lesson, they hit the little hills, and even moved up to the one which was for older beginners, but they weren’t ready to hit the big slopes. In fact, it was only 3-4 hours before they were tired of falling and decided to chill with my wife while I went to the longer courses.
Was I mad they were tired or didn’t become Shaun White?
No, it wasn’t about them becoming pros and us shredding the mountain together.
It was the process of learning together; I had more fun and more laughs watching them learn to stand on the damn board than I did thinking they’d want to do more or love it as much as I did.
Sometimes things fall short, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, sometimes things just fucking suck; so it goes man, it’s all good.
If you get rained out of your beach day, adapt and overcome.
Go find somewhere new to go or choose to run in the rain on the sand, but don’t get butt-hurt because the end goal didn’t happen; if anything your “end goal” should be the present time shared with loved ones.
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5. Maintain Frame
No matter the situation, Frame is King.
- Nobody is going to be able to provoke you into arguing or fighting.
- Nobody is going to complain their way to destroying your fun.
- Nobody is going to shake your intent of having a good time.
You’re in charge of you.
If you’re an adult, you should have developed a mental foundation which does not crumble because your friends and family are weak and want to ruin the party for everyone because they have an issue or did not get their way.
Let them bitch, you walk on by with a big ass grin on your face.
Life is good my readers, don’t let anyone rain on your parade, ever.
You be the sunshine and light, who knows, maybe you’ll show them the way to finding some fun and to stop being Debby Downers.
That’s it, 5 things to really focus on and keep in mind when planning and executing a family vacation delivered to you by a man who spent 5 days with his wife, kid, and mother/father in law under one roof dealing with online job requirements, and having a blast the entire time.
It’s possible, if you make it so.
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