Anyway, it's three weeks later now, & the Ohio portion of my trip - the vacation part - is over. Cue the sad trombone. But all back-to-the-real-world mopiness aside, I'm really, really proud of myself for disconnecting as well as I did. In a move nearly unprecedented for me - me, who sometimes puts up "out of office messages" on the weekends out of guilt about not getting back to people quickly enough - I turned my work email off of my iPhone & only checked it once, from my laptop, for half an hour. Despite the occasional niggling panic about all the things I wasn't getting done in the office, I managed to do almost no work while I was away, which is, you know, how vacation ought to be. After a really rough few weeks at work - a few weeks that, frankly, had left me emotionally barren & professionally burned out - this trip back home was exactly what I needed.
I came back with so much to say, too. I fell asleep at night, in my childhood bed but with Nathan next to me, thinking of things to say & write & do, changes to make, steps to take. I woke up enthusiastic & inspired & excited about life - or, at least, about vacation. I thought a lot about myself & my ambitions & who I was versus who I am & whatever all of that that means, basically, in the grand scheme of My Whole Life & the subcategory of What Comes Next. As cliche as it sounds, I feel like this visit gave me a real understanding of what people mean when they say they need to "recharge their batteries."
Needless to say, there are a lot of posts swimming through my head now. There are a lot of things to say. And in true-to-me fashion, I feel like I need to say them all now or that they'll become irrelevant & untimely, so I'm tempted to just start writing each & every single one of them this very minute. But for now, for the next three hours, while I wait in a cafe at the Austin airport for Sean & our friend Daphne to get in 8:30, I'm going to check in on some work stuff, & then I'm going to close my computer & get back to reading the book I took on the plane, Dark Places by the brilliant Gillian Flynn. I know that being at SXSWi for the next few days will mean all systems go, all the time, & that certainly includes my hard drive - but I'm going to savor the remnants of my vacation while I can.
In the meantime, here are some pictures. Ohio, I love you. Thanks for restoring my sanity.