Monday, February 20, 2017

Usted Esta Aqui


M and I just came back from a lovely week in Cuba.  It had been seven months since my last true vacation (a week off at home for our local theatre festival in July), and I was starting to crack a bit under the strain of constantly having to be on for other people.  A week of sun and books and more alcohol than is recommended was somewhat desperately needed.


The setup was perfect for relaxing.  We were in an all-inclusive resort, so the most strenuous thing required of us was walking from our table to the buffet to refill our overflowing plates.  And yet, despite being on vacation, I found it hard to turn off the constant chatter in my brain.  When eating, I would be thinking about the books that were waiting to be read; when reading, I'd be wondering what was going to be served at our next meal.   When on the beach, I'd be wondering if I would've been happier spending the day in Havana; when in Havana, I would dream about the beach. 


My distractible brain, my ever present companion at home, had followed me to paradise*.


I am so accustomed to my constant thoughts about what else I should be doing and what needs to be done next that it took me days to recognize how ridiculous they were in paradise.  My moment of clarity happened on the beach, when M was snorkeling in the shallow water and I was walking beside her.  I had just come out of the water myself, and I was feeling a bit chilled, and all I could think about was wanting the walk to be over so that I would be back at my beach chair and wrapped in a warm towel.


And then I paused.  And I thought "Why on Earth am I wishing this time away?"  Wanting to be back at the beach chair wasn't going to make the distance any shorter or make M swim any faster.  All it was going to do was rob a perfectly good moment of any potential for happiness.  So I stopped, and instead of feeling my usual impatience, I took a look around me.  At the people and the palm trees and the mountains all glowing in the warmth of the late day sun.  And I realized that I was literally in the middle of a postcard.


A postcard that I had almost missed, because all I know how to do anymore is rush from what I am doing to whatever it is that comes next.

*I recognize that I am very privileged to view Cuba as "paradise", as that isn't the experience for many of its citizens.   

4 comments:

  1. You're only the second person I know who has gone to Cuba these past several months, and the other friend also found it idyllic. Glad you were able to find the key to relaxation.

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  2. glad you had some vacation time. i know what you mean, to be constantly wondering about what's next. i have had several deep thoughts with my stubborn mind and we (both my independent mind and myself) committed to stopping wishing time goes faster so i can get to the next best thing. to be honest, i have not succeeded at all.

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  3. I have the same issue when we travel, always thinking ahead or wondering if I'm spending my precious time off wisely - it always takes a few days to just be present and appreciate what is happening. Drinking helps, obvs ;) So glad you got to take a vacation!

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    Replies
    1. Yes to the drinking! The vacation was very needed and very appreciated. I'm learning to take them more regularly so that I don't become a miserable human being.

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