What are your vacation moments?

atlantic city
At Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, N.J.

Whenever it starts getting cold and the holiday season approaches, I start thinking about what has been going on in my life. The New Year is on my mind.

One of the big changes in my life for 2013 was that I started working with my husband. This means a lot of time in the same apartment, staring at different screens. We have been kind of busy so this weekend we decided to take a one-night trip to Atlantic City.

The first thing that happens on a trip like this is that we get in the car and rejoice that there’s no TSA or airport to deal with. (I still hate packing! It’s a real problem.)

Let’s call it a road trip because what should have been a two-hour drive actually took four. That was all right. One of us is driving and the other is DJing. It’s a trip to spend some time together after all. We wanted to get away for a day or two, before anyone really noticed we were gone.

We go without our families, we put our obligations on hold. Despite the ridiculous, mid-day traffic in New Jersey, we have a good time getting to our destination. He lets me choose the music. We talk about politics, the economy, the future. I talk about that guy from Duck Dynasty who was in the news. We entertain ourselves and say sweet things instead of yelling at people slowing down on the highway.

We stay at Harrah’s for the night. Our goal was to check in and go swimming. We relax in a hot tub with a bunch of strangers instead because… vacation. We check out of work mode for those hours — it’s all about us.

happiness quote

But vacation is not life. That doesn’t mean life is not good when we get home. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have good moments before getting in the car.

A few days ago, a friend and I discussed how people are able to choose a partner* and then live with them for the rest of their lives. There’s the cliche five-year itch and the marital bickering from knowing too much or getting too comfortable. She asked me how couples deal with seeing the worst of each other over time.

What do I think, you ask? Yes, it’s wise to continuously do things for each other. It’s good to give, even when you don’t feel like it. But what really help are the “vacation” moments. Not the physical act of leaving your home. Instead, it’s free and only takes as long as you want. That is, you have to remember that the good moments happened at all. It’s easier to remember the negatives. It’s easier to joke to your friends about the cliches because like any stereotype, the truth is there.

I’ve been seeing these “memory jars” posted online, which really makes the idea literal. Basically, you put a note in a jar whenever something good happens, big or small, and then you read all of the notes at the end of the year. I think it’s a great idea to bring to a relationship or just to do for yourself.

I might give it a try, and remember being on vacation all year ’round.

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