The highlight: exploring underground caves topped with stalactites near Cozumel. What’s more, the caves were filled with water. So our group swam in the crystal clear, frigid water to explore the caves. Surreal and breathtaking.
We’ll never forget this vacation. Isn’t that the point of taking a break from day-to-day life and doing something special? To create lasting memories and have unique bonding experiences.
Every spring, when Connor and I start planning our vacation, I worry about the cost. How can we afford to take a cruise? How can we afford to visit Washington DC and New York City (last summer)? How can we afford to travel to Yellowstone (two summers ago)?
How can we afford not to? Each vacation has produced unique moments, snapshots in time, that are infinitely more valuable than possessions. I take a ton of pictures on our vacations. Throughout the year, as I look back at them, I often tear up when I recall the places we visited, the things we did and the conversations we had.
If we didn’t take annual vacations, I could afford to make some improvements around the house. I could buy a nicer vehicle. I could get Connor a better computer, a newer TV, more clothes. He’d like all those things. But in the long run, he’ll forget possessions I buy him. I don’t think he’ll forget the experiences we’ve shared on vacation. I know I won’t.
Recently, I saw an article in the Atlantic titled “Buy Experiences, Not Things.” It said:
Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions. … It’s kind of counter to the logic that if you pay for an experience, like a vacation, it will be over and gone; but if you buy a tangible thing, like a couch, at least you’ll have it for a long time.
As Connor prepares to enter high school this fall, I’m starting to grow melancholy. He won’t be at home forever — this reality grips me constantly. I want to slow … down … time. I want to savor memories and make new ones — before it’s too late. I can see the finish line on my parenting duties — but I don’t to get there.
How can you maximize the years you have with your child at home? I would suggest taking regular trips. Where you go is less important than just going. Hang out with your son or daughter — away from the call of work, Facebook, email and phone calls.
Time tends to slow down on vacation. Life happens when mundane activity stops.