We got back from Greece on Friday evening after a 3:30 am wake up call, nearly 24 hours of travel from door to door, and a Zurich airport adventure tracking down a carry on bag we accidentally left on the plane from Athens. We did get the bag back, but it took 5,000 steps, four trips through passport control, and a $50 fee to do it! Jet lag has us waking up in the wee small hours of the morning, but other than that it has been a pretty smooth transition back to the reality of our daily lives.
It was a great trip and a wonderful experience. We saw beautiful places, enjoyed delicious food, and had a nice mix of group tours and time on our own, and of activities and down time. Most importantly we reconnected and rekindled the loving relationship that had gotten buried in the stress and anxiety of all of the challenges and changes in our lives. Don’s physical and cognitive symptoms even noticeably improved while we were away.
We’ve been talking about how we can keep this “Greek magic” alive now that we are home.
Managing stress is certainly one important factor, as was having the time and space to really talk, but I also think that I can take some of the credit for managing my own expectations and reactions. When Don puts something away in the wrong place, or misplaces something, or asks the same question five times in the space of 30 minutes I’ve been working hard on just taking a deep breath and letting it go rather than correcting him, or nagging him, or getting exasperated. It takes just seconds to move something to the right spot, or two answer a question, and usually the thing that is misplaced is just as easily replaced if we really can’t find it.
I’ve also been working on receiving his love when he demonstrates it in the ways that are natural and meaningful for him. Instead of expecting him to show me love in the way I would do it and getting upset when he doesn’t, I try to remember that just because he doesn’t always show love in the ways that I want (like giving me gifts) doesn’t make it any less heartfelt.
The result is that he is less anxious, I am less on edge, and we both feel more loved and more loving.
All of this was relatively easy for me when we were in the vacation bubble, but the trick will be keeping it up when I am stressed out by work, too many commitments, and not enough alone time or down time – especially as we head into the crazy holiday season.
This morning during my jog I listened to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists – Between Heaven and Here by Kris Kristofferson and realized that it could have been written for me. It has some great lines that go to the heart of the changes I need to sustain if I want our Greek magic to continue – I think half my battle to stop “wasting my feelings on something that so little matters” and the other half is remembering that “Maybe the secret is making believe when it matters.” I’m going to listen to the song daily to remind me what I need to do…