10 Lessons I Learned During Summer Vacation

goodbye summer, oh my handmade

Okay, so we didn’t really have a vacation, we had a work our butts off movecation instead (literally-I lost 30+lbs!), but amidst the busy there was time for soaking up the summer glow and learning some major life lessons. This was a big summer for us as a family and as a result lots of things got put on multiple back burners while other pots were stirring. I narrowed my aha! moments down to these 10 Lessons I learned on My Summer Vacation:

1. I am stronger & more capable then I give myself credit for. From flying across the whole country with my first ever passport to replanting our family in a new town (& a business trip to Brooklyn too), whenever panic struck I told myself, “you can so do this” and I could.

2. The days might be long but the summer is short. In Canada it feels like the summer is gone in a blink, the long hot days are quickly blown away by cold Fall winds. This is  also true for life seasons and business transitions. When we were in the midst of moving it felt like it would never end, but it did, and now it seems like it wasn’t that bad considering all we accomplished. When Ila was a baby it felt like I would be doing diapers forever but I just looked away and now my baby is a tanned gazelle whose long legs are carrying her into Grade 2 and her 8th (gasp) birthday. I don’t want to miss those precious seasons that are over so fast!

3. Run away into the sunset. The real sunset, a metaphorical one, either way-just go chase it down. You will likely never catch it, not fully, but in most things it is the chase that brings us alive. We chased sunsets this summer with the kids half asleep in their car seats, windows down, driving along the ocean with the sky on fire. We also chased dream sunsets-the kind that lead you to pack up your life and leap into adventure. I am convinced a life without racing into the sun is just not worth living.

4. Remember why you fell in love. After 9 years of togetherness Chris and I got a little too comfortable with our love and slowly started to forget what made us happiest-coastal towns, lazy beach days, farmer’s markets, those random getting lost car rides, and so we started fighting, becoming resentful, and growing apart. We needed to refocus on what we love about each other and our life and fall in love all over again. It is important to do this for our businesses too, setting aside time to remember what we love most about what we do, and then making time to celebrate and fall into it again.

5. Not working is hard work. Hello, my name is Jessika, I am addicted to the internet. Being forced to stop working COMPLETELY because I had no phone or internet made me realize I almost never stop work completely. Sure I will take a day off but I will always check in at night or make up for it by doing a couple hours early in the morning. When I spend the day at the beach I think about work multiple times-for August I forced myself to put thoughts of work away. I also helped myself with this by having my mama throw a virtual Kitchen Party and getting the posts ready in July. I have to admit it was tough, sometimes I failed, but hey we all have our weaknesses right?

what I did on my summer vacation, oh my handmade

6Get out of your brain & into your body. Force your brain to shush! It is hard to check your email when you are splashing in the ocean, climbing up trails, or romping about outside. For those of us who work inside sometimes we forget how vital it is to put away the screens and let our body take over. My legs are still bruised up from leaping over waves and tumbling down hills-it is the sweetest ache ever.

7. To everything there is a season. Blogging in August is tough-in 2010, 2011, and again this year our traffic dropped over 35% and comments 50%, Twitter and Facebook are always quiet. The whole world takes a break…next year we are joining Susannah Conway and taking part in the August blogging break. A guilt free month off=awesome! Coming back energized and full of ideas? Brilliance.

8. Laziness can be a virtue. I am one of the least lazy people I know. I never nap, I don’t sleep much, I push myself forward at every opportunity. This summer in between moving madness I forced myself to laze about in the sun reading and drinking fizzy drinks, to go to bed before 3am, to wake up late, and here is a big one-to NOT write down every single idea that pops into my head*. Knowing when to indulge laziness and just be still is a talent that I am working on!

*this might have caused a few internal implosions at the time but magically when I sat down September 1st to get back to work all those ideas were still waiting for me!

9. My secret to joy is knowing what fills me up and reaching for it. Heart in hands, gut in knots, doing it anyway, opening up to my own potential and capacity for grandness while keeping our family happy and whole. Our life in Halifax felt stale and we needed community + space to roam. Once we made the decision to go back to coastal small town living everything fell into place (even though we had to work hard for it). Now life is imbued with a sense of purpose and completeness. This whole adventure has been a coming home in more ways than one.

10. The world isn’t going anywhere without me. I am not big on defining success by numbers or metrics but even I get panicked when all the numbers start dropping and the comments are q.u.i.e.t. It is also hard not to feel guilty when you are at the beach and there is work to be done. I had to call myself on this over and over again and remember that everything that matters would still be there when we got settled, that there was time enough for all the to-do’s. Today Ila starts her new school, Sela heads off to her first day at pre-school, I start work on our Aeolidia redesign we are back to our #omhg chat schedule. The internets are waking up again and getting ready for the fall and holiday rush now it is time for me to get back to business!

That is the heart of what I learned this summer now it is your turn! Share a lesson or lessons you learned this summer in the comments and next week I’ll email you all a link to download last September’s Back to Business ebook + a gold star.

Also be sure to join us today for the first #omhg chat after our August break from 1-2EST on Twitter to chat about what we learned this summer & look ahead for the Fall. See you there!