DVDs for the car ride that won’t leave you feeling dead inside upon repeated viewings.
Thoughts about work. You’re off the clock. Step away and let your feet dangle over the edge of your life for a while.
Flip flops. Backup flip flops. Emergency “Henry buried my flip flops and now I can’t find them” backup-to-the -backup flip flops.
A novel that will leave you feeling less alone in the universe. Less weird. Or at least less alone in your weirdness.
Vanity. What will make this trip memorable has very little to do with the flatness or roundness of your abs.
Patience. Fact: You will be hit in the face with a pool noodle this week. Sand will be in everything (including/especially the Fig Newtons). The car will eventually smell like feet, sun screen and day old french fries. Embrace it all as part of the adventure.
Lectures about why we don’t hit people with pool noodles.
Tools for looking at the world differently: goggles, binoculars and a magnifying glass. The world becomes much more interesting when you take a closer look.
Worry. It is a relentless bully. Work will be here when you get back. The house (probably) won’t blow up. The world will still have its problems. This doesn’t mean you need to think about them constantly.
Awareness (you forgot this one last time).
Wisdom, particularly the wisdom to be silly in public.
Efficiency. Some organization is helpful. Avoid chaos if you can. Beyond that, hold things loosely.
Uno. And watch out for that damn Draw 4 Wild Card.
Shovel and bucket. There are sandcastle moats that need digging and seashells that need collecting. And who knows what you’ll find when you dig beneath the surface.
A journal. Reflect on your life from a distance. Record the details of the memories you are making. Attend to the deeper meaning of things. Watch the kids write their names in the sand. Write your name in the sand. Watch the tide wash them away.
Perfectionism. The journey is more than a series of tasks that you need to manage. Let it have its high points and low points, like any good adventure.
Your ears. Be a generous listener. Make your fellow travelers feel deeply heard. It’s one of the best ways to express love (along with buying the googly eyed trinket at the tacky, overpriced gift shop).
The need to be right.
Resentments towards your partner that you could have let go of by now, but haven’t.
Exuberance. And if that sounds too tiring, bring occasional enthusiasm and an openness to try new things.
Comparisons. There will always be someone who is more something than you, but there is only one you.
Your soul. It may be old and a little worn out, but it is still your best part.
Don’t forget to make memories.
Don’t forget to make a life.
Safe and soulful travels, Friend.
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David and his wife live in the western suburbs on Chicago with their two children, who David says “fill my days with laughter, excitement and a significant amount of property damage.”
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Latest posts by David Clinton (see all)
- A Therapist’s Back-to-School Checklist for Parents - August 25, 2017
- How to Crush Your Child’s Spirit in Six Easy Mistakes - June 16, 2017
- How to Ignore Your Way out of a Midlife Crisis - April 21, 2017