I have a problem. I didn’t even realize that I had this problem until I started to look back on some old vacation photos. To most people who look at them, you wouldn’t even realize the problem that I am talking about. You wouldn’t be able to tell that I have a problem letting loose and having fun on vacation. 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going on vacation. I love the planning and maybe that has something to do with it all. I start to think about everything that there is to do once we reach that final destination. When you think about it everything should be fun whether it is visiting a beach, pool, amusement park or whatever local attraction we are visiting. 

I want to see and do it all that I have it all perfectly planned out in my head. Taking a relaxing time to see everything while sometimes rushing to fit it all in. It almost seems like it doesn’t make any sense but it does when I look back on pictures from a trip we took St. Louis several years ago. 

It is a family picture from the seals exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo. Take one look at this photo and you can see exactly what I am talking about. One might assume that this trip was in the heat and humidity of a St. Louis summer and that I was just hot and tired. But that wasn’t the contributing factor for my facial reaction in this photo. I didn’t even enjoy the show from my memory. I wasn’t able to let go from what my version of vacation which is getting in as much as we can. 

I see pictures from the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City and remember the selfishness in wanting to say, “let’s wait in line to get to the standing room only section” instead of experiencing the experience of being at an All-Star game. We could have spent our time walking around enjoying being at Kauffman Stadium in the middle of summer watching men play a boys game. 

Many times especially on vacation I get in my head and worry too much about what others will think or that we are missing out on something else. 

I look back on pictures from our trip to Baltimore and I see someone who was stressed about handing the camera over to someone else after telling them how to use it. I couldn’t take in the moment and be OK with the fact that the picture would not turn out the way that I would have liked it. Blurry or not, smiling or not, it didn’t matter, we were in the middle of the Inner Harbor and I couldn’t let go that one picture wouldn’t be what I would like it be. 

Over the years, my overall deminer has changed and now it takes me a bit longer to “let loose.” I think back to the 10-year anniversary trip my wife and I took on board a Royal Caribbean cruise. While I was loose and relaxed the entire trip, it took me 3 days to show just how relaxed I really was and truly enjoy the experience taking it all in. One example was when the cruise ship activities director was doing a quiz show in the auditorium and I volunteered to go forward and answer questions. While I was never chosen the introvert in me is still trying to explain how I even allowed myself to open up to such a thing. 

Now we are staring down another vacation, and I don’t want these memories of having a terrible attitude or not allowing myself to be more extroverted. None of those experiences were all too enjoyable unless you count the time on a cruise ship. It’s time for me to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Many times especially on vacation I get in my head and worry too much about what others will think or that we are missing out on something else. 

It won’t happen on this next vacation. It’s time for me to truly sit back and enjoy a family vacation. I need to stop worrying about whether or not we hit up a baseball game or if we aren’t seeing one of the local attractions. After looking back and thinking about the memories that I was sharing with my family, I realize that I don’t want our next vacation to be that. I don’t want to be remembered as the one who was grumpy the entire trip. I want to look back on this trip and be reminded of the fun that I had and the quality family time and memories I shared with my kids. 

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