Last week, I travelled down to lovely Orlando to see my very good friend Linda and her partner, Pam. Florida was hot, sunny, humid and just perfect for getting out of Michigan’s cold, drab winter. It was great catching up with Linda and seeing her new home. She had had enough of Michigan’s brutal winter last year and wisely moved away.

Linda and me in her backyard

Linda and me in her backyard

Taking a break was cause for celebration. And yet, I felt anxiety about leaving everything behind – my routine that is, things I “need” to worry about, things I technically should get done, leaving the house I should be cleaning.

There’s a lot of “shoulds” in my life.

It seems that I schedule something for every moment of my day, from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. I work full-time while working part-time on a master’s degree. It’s a full load and when I’m in the middle of my semester, it’s like I put my blinders on, hunker down and put a laser focus on work and homework … and not much else.

After a while, this becomes tiring and the routine actually becomes addictive – having every moment of your day accounted for. I regularly watch the clock to see where I am in my day and what I’ve accomplished … and what I still need to do.

It was actually hard for me to let go of that routine and allow myself to have fun. I kept telling myself “Let go. Let go. Let go.”

And that’s what I did, as challenging as it was. I took time to enjoy dinner at an open-air restaurant near the beach, amid the palm trees and sunshine. I laughed and listened to other people’s laughter.

I took time to read for pleasure rather than having to bend my mind around yet another dry academic article about public relations. I took time to eat ice cream and to stare out the window at the geckos that regularly climb the outside statuary in Linda’s backyard. I didn’t check my work e-mail once!

The view of Linda's backyard. Notice the gecko on the water pump?

The view of Linda’s backyard. Notice the gecko on the water pump? I know, the photo’s a little dark!

Last week reminded me how important it is to take time to have fun, amid all the bustle of life. Days pass so quickly and though there is some comfort in having a routine, it’s not always such a good thing to have a regimented life. There’s not much room for spontaneity or just letting life take you where it wants you to go.

So, now as I sit here on my final day of vacation, I’m choosing to take it easy. I’ve caught up on homework, the house is reasonably clean, things are put away and in a while I’m going to go and bake some cookies for my friends and neighbors.

Tomorrow will come soon enough when I go back to the regular grind.

I hope you take some time today to do something fun!